For those employees and students who wish to carry out their breastfeeding goals after returning to work or study, Stanford seeks to provide an accommodating and supportive environment. Stanford's lactation program offers resources and support to help make your transition back to work easier (see Administrative Guide Memo 2.2.5: Requesting a Lactation Accommodation and GAP 5.9.1 Pregnancy, Childbirth, Adoption and Lactation: Policy).
Here are a few tips to support your lactation journey upon your return to work or study.
- Plan your return day. Consider returning to work toward the end of the week (on Wednesday or Thursday). This will allow for fewer days away from your baby during your first week back and a more gradual transition for both you and your baby.
- Think about your lactation needs and make arrangements. You can express breastmilk wherever you feel comfortable. To prepare for your return, you should identify a space (not a bathroom) that may be used to express breastmilk.
- Campus Lactation Spaces: Stanford University, Stanford Hospital and Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital have identified a total of 30+ rooms—for the most part, these are multi-purpose spaces—that may be available for lactation purposes. Become familiar with the campus spaces that may be used for lactation.
- If a space is not available in your building or an adjacent building, consult your:
- Human Resources Manager (employees)
- Graduate Life Office (students)
- Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) Postdoc Benefits (postdoctoral scholars)
- Once you’ve identified a comfortable space, calendar your pumping sessions as part of your daily activities. 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.
- Share your feedback on how you use the lactation spaces by completing this brief Lactation Support Questionnaire.
- Build a back-up breastmilk supply. While you're on leave, freeze and store the breastmilk you pump to use once you return to work. Consider storing breastmilk in small amounts (2-3 ounces) for unexpected situations or delays in regular feedings. Find out more information about storing breastmilk.
- Bring a reminder of your baby. Many women find that their milk production increases when they have a reminder of their baby during their pumping session. Consider bringing a photograph, an item that smells of your baby such as a blanket, or a video of your baby making cooing sounds.
- 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, eat nutritious foods throughout the day and drink plenty of water. Consider joining a nursing mothers group to share experiences and get support. Be proud of any amount of breastfeeding that you and your baby share during your breastfeeding journey.
Managers and supervisors play an important role in an employee's successful transition from baby bonding leave to work. Here are a few resources to help you support your employee during their lactation journey:
- Read the Cardinal at Work article, "What to Expect When Your Employee is Expecting."
- Read BeWell's article, "Back After Baby: How to Support New Parents in the Workplace."
- Review our Breastfeeding Accommodation Guide: Recommendations for Managers & Supervisors
- Contact the WorkLife Office via our support request form.