Is it okay to breastfeed at work?
Returning to work does not mean you have to stop breastfeeding your baby. You can continue to breastfeed when you return to work for as long as it suits you and your baby.
Your company should support you to continue to breastfeed by providing you with breastfeeding and expressing facilities and flexible lactation breaks. If they do not provide this support, they may be discriminating against you and could be breaking the law.
Many women decide to continue breastfeeding after their return to work without issues. The decision to continue or stop breastfeeding after your return to work is a personal one. However, there are some practical considerations to be made. To successfully breastfeed or express milk at work, you might need access to:
- A private area (not the toilet) with a comfortable chair
- A suitable refrigerator for storing expressed breast milk
- Somewhere to store an electric or manual breast pump
- A power point close to a low table, next to the chair (if you’re using an electric breast pump)
- A wash basin to wash hands and rinse out pump parts
- Enough time to express milk during your lunch break and any other breaks if needed
Many employers in our industry offer specific support for breastfeeding, including dedicated private breastfeeding rooms that are not available for general use, check your enterprise agreement or intranet to see if your employer offers any particular support.
Free online resources
There are many free online resources with information about breastfeeding at work.
For a step-by-step guide on discussing your breastfeeding needs with your manager, visit the Raising Children website.
For support and information about breastfeeding, or tips for continuing to breastfeed when you return to work, visit the Australian Breastfeeding Association website or phone the ABA helpline 1800 MUM 2 MUM.
For further resources and downloadable content, visit our Resources for working parents page.
FSU members have been working together to secure better breastfeeding conditions in the workplace for generations. If you experience difficulty approaching the subject with your employer, unfair treatment or discrimination, <link to page HOW TO ADDRESS UNFAIR TREATMENT> get in touch with our Members Centre for advice.
The above is provided as general information. For workplace advice or support about your individual circumstances, please contact FSU on 1300 366 378.