As an employer, we provide lactating employees with the support, resources and flexibility they need to express milk at work while separated from their infant. A reasonable amount of break time is provided for lactating employees so they can express milk as often as needed for up to a year after their child is born.
For questions about lactation or lactation at work, contact the Lactation Services and Lactation Clinic at 603-650-6159.
Employees seeking time away to express milk should work with their manager to identify a private place—other than a bathroom—that may be used to express milk. Managers and employees are encouraged to contact the Lifestyle Improvement Program for assistance with identifying an appropriate location.
Planning for your lactation at work
Having a plan prior to your return to work will help ease the transition. Here are some tips to help you plan for and support your lactation while at work.
Talk to your manager
Have a conversation with your manager about your intentions to pump before you go on maternity leave and again a few weeks before you return to work. This conversation should include your anticipated schedule and a request to access appropriate space.
Graduate Medical Education Residents and Fellows, please connect with your program director to discuss how to meet your lactation needs prior to returning to work.
Remember to ask questions of your manager, such as:
- How will the workflow go when I come back?
- Is there a designated pumping space in my current department?
- Most people express for 20 to 30 minutes, 2 to 3 times during an 8-hour shift and 3 to 4 times during a 12-hour shift. How will we accommodate that?
- Do I mark my Outlook calendar as busy or is there another place to annotate my time?
- Who should I report to and advise that I am going to pump?
- Is there a refrigerator to store my pumped milk?
Our Lactation Consultants are available and happy to assist with these conversations.
Plan your return day
Consider returning to work toward the end of the week. This will allow for fewer days away from your baby during your first week back and a more gradual transition.
Questions to ask yourself
- What will my breastfeeding/chest feeding needs be?
- What will my pumping schedule be while at work? Example pumping schedules can be found on websites such as Healthline.
- What supplies will I need while pumping at work?
- Will I want to talk with a Lactation Consultant for advice?
Find lactation spaces you can use
You can work with your manager to identify an appropriate space prior to your return to work. Before returning to work, find out which pumping spaces are closest to your work area. This will greatly reduce stress. Know what is available in that space so you know what to bring with you. It is good to identify at least one back-up space as well. If space is not available in your building contact the Lifestyle Improvement Program at 603-650-5950.
Once you’ve identified an appropriate space, schedule your pumping sessions in your calendar. Remember that a short pumping or breastfeeding session is better than no session at all. Your milk supply will decrease if you skip too many sessions.
Build a backup milk supply
While you are on leave, freeze and store the milk you pump to use once you return to work. Consider storing it in small amounts (2 to 3 ounces) for unexpected situations or delays in regular feedings.
Consider talking with a Lactation Consultant about pumping options to build up a supply of of milk before returning to work.
Take care of yourself
No matter how you choose to feed your child, being a working parent can be tiring. Get as much rest as you can, keep stress to a minimum, eat nutritious foods throughout the day, and drink plenty of water.
Government and other resources
- Breastfeeding educational and working guides (womenshealth.gov)
Hotline for questions: 800-994-9662
- Guide for nursing moms with sample schedule templates (The Pumping Mommy)
- Parenting and Breastfeeding support (kellymom.com)
- Talking to your boss about breastfeeding (New Hampshire Breastfeeding Task Force)
- New Hampshire Breastfeeding Task Force
- New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Breastfeeding Promotion and Support
- Vermont Department of Health Breastfeeding Resources and Information
- Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Clinics Pumping at Work policy (Note: This document is on the intranet. To access it, you must be on the network.)
- Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Clinics Lactation Support brochure (PDF)
- Mamava Pods are private and secure with roomy benches, space for a stroller, and a place to plug in your pump. There are several pods available across Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Download the Mamava app to find and unlock Mamava pods.
- Women’s Health Resource Center provides parenting and baby support groups and classes, pumps and supplies, and a boutique.