breastfeeding pump

By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr Janice TUNG Associate Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

Returning to work soon? Here's how you can work and keep up your milk supply for your baby at the same time

For the new mother, breastfeeding is a daily routine at least for the first few months after childbirth. With their new arrival so dependent on them, some new mums are concerned about going back to work and finding ways to express milk for their baby at the same time.

This is a natural concern, but there's no need to stop breastfeeding when you've finished your maternity leave! With a little bit of planning, your baby can still be fed on breast milk. Here are some tips to help you out:

Start Storing Early

start storing early

About two weeks before your maternity leave ends, start storing your milk. This can be done by pumping, or expressing milk from the breast, either with your hands or using a manual or electrical breast pump.

Related: Holding Your Baby Right for Breastfeeding

Feed Your Baby Before/After Work

feeding baby before work

Before you head off to work, make sure to feed the baby and fill them up. Do the same the moment you return home so your infant doesn't feel hungry for too long.

Related: Breastfeeding as a Working Mother

Pump At Work

pump at work

You can express and store breast milk even while you're at work! Take your breast pump to the office and use it either during your lunch break or right before you leave to go home. If your office has a pantry, leave your breast milk in the refrigerator — but make sure to inform your fellow employees first and label them carefully with your name and a date.

Here's a handy chart to help you figure out how long you can store your breast milk:

​​Place of StorageStorage Duration
Expressed milk at room temperature of 25°C 4 hours
Expressed milk in a cooler with ice pack at 15°C24 hours
Breast milk freshly expressed and stored in the fridge at 4°C48 hours
Frozen milk in two-door fridge stored at -5°C to 15°C3 - 6 months
Frozen milk in deep freezer at -20°C6 - 12 months
Thawed breast milk stored in the fridge at 4°C24 hours

Related: Nature's Best Food: Breast Milk (Nutrition for Baby)

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Sources:

The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific

Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore