Continuing to breastfeed when you return to the workplace strengthens the important bond between you and your baby, and it also has important health benefits for both of you. After a while, expressing milk becomes nearly second nature. But if you travel on business — whether it’s overnight or on short, daily trips — you will face new challenges. How can you maintain your milk supply and find time to pump when travel disrupts your schedule? The following information is meant to help you maintain your nursing relationship with your baby even when you are on the go.
FIGURING OUT YOUR OPTIONS
If you are continuing to breastfeed your baby when you return to work, you probably understand the basics of using a breast pump and of storing and transporting your expressed milk. But if your work requires travel — whether it’s overnight or long days in a car — you may be concerned about logistics and how you’ll maintain your milk supply. If it’s likely that you will be traveling for business while you are breastfeeding, you may want to think about your options.
DISCUSSING OPTIONS WITH YOUR MANAGER OR SUPERVISOR
- Ask your manager about alternatives to traveling away for a meeting. Would a telephone conference, video conference, or web conference be sufficient or appropriate?
- Ask your manager about the possibility of limiting travel while you are nursing. If you are on the road on a daily basis, could you sandwich client visits into a few days of the week and then work out of the office or your home other days? Depending on your work requirements, you may want to discuss the idea of limiting your business travel in the next few months to a certain number of trips. If you attend conferences or conventions that last for several days, you may want to talk about attending just the day or two that are most relevant to your position (a co-worker could pick up materials related to events that you might miss).
- Ask your pediatrician, pediatric nurse, lactation consultant, or human resources representative to help you prepare for this discussion. These professionals should be able to help you think about what you’ll need to address in a discussion with your manager. (the hospital where your baby was born may give you access to a lactation consultant, or a lactation consultant may be available through your employee resource program or employee assistance program (eap).)
Depending on the structure of the company they work for, some women may also find it helpful to discuss breastfeeding and travel issues with a human resources representative.
Tips for breastfeeding when you travel overnight
- Travel at the end of the week, if possible. If you can schedule a two-day meeting for thursday and friday, you will have the weekend to rest and to work on reestablishing your milk supply.
- Bring your baby with you, if possible. Do you have a friend, child care provider, or relative who would be willing to come along on the trip and take care of your baby while you are working? Can your spouse or partner take personal time from work and come with you? Some hotels provide child care services, or there may be a backup infant care center nearby. If you are meeting with people from another company, ask about temporary child care arrangements that they may recommend.
Click here to view more tips on breastfeeding as a traveling mother and to download all of these tips and more on the LifeWorks website.
Information credited to the Ceridian Corporation.