Breastfeeding When You're Back at Work or School

Breastfeeding When You're Back at Work or School

When you are getting ready to go back to work or school

When you're back at work or school

Plugged Ducts or Mastitis

You and your baby both benefit from ongoing breastfeeding.  The longer you continue to give your baby breast milk the more protection you both get. The recommendation is to breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months with continued breastfeeding after the introduction of foods to 2 years and beyond.   

Some women have to return to work or school soon after their baby is born. You can continue to give your baby breast milk once you go back.

When you are getting ready to go back to work or school:

  • Choose a caregiver that shares and supports your beliefs about breastfeeding.
  • Talk to your employer about your plans and need for a flexible work schedule.
  • Talk with your health care provider or public health nurse about changing your feeding routines. Also talk to them about your options about expressing breast milk.
  • Learn more about your rights as a breastfeeding mother from the Ontario Human Rights Commission

When you're back at work or school:

  • Breastfeed as soon as you get up in the morning and when you return home from work or school.
  • Use breastfeeding times as a break and a chance to rest, particularly after work and in the evening. Lie down to breastfeed whenever possible.
  • Depending on your baby's age, you may need to find a quiet area to express your milk. You can do this for comfort, to help maintain your milk supply and to have milk for the next day.
  • Put your expressed breast milk in a refrigerator or cooler bag with an ice pack.

Plugged Ducts or Mastitis

Changes to your child's breastfeeding pattern may cause your breasts to get more full than normal. This can lead to plugged ducts or mastitis.

Plugged ducts - A lump in the breast which may be tender, red and warm. Mother feels generally well otherwise.

Mastitis - Breast is red, hot swollen and painful. Mother has flu-like symptoms and fever.


  • Place a warm wet towel to the sore breast and gently massage
  • Breastfeed your baby often (every 2 to 2½ hrs) when at home and express when at work. Start with the sore side until the soreness fades.
  • Rest more
  • If you think you have mastitis, call your health care provider within 6-8 hours if symptoms don't go away

Do you have more questions about parenting?

  • Connect with a registered nurse from Health811 for free, secure, and confidential health advice. Service is available 24/7 in English and French, with translation support also offered in other languages. Call 8-1-1 or visit
  • Connect with a Community Navigator from 2-1-1 for information about community programs and resources across Eastern Ontario. Helpline service is available 24/7 and in many different languages. Call 2-1-1 or visit
  • Connect with other parents on the Parenting in Ottawa Facebook page.
  • There are a variety of services to make it easier for your child to grow up healthy in Ottawa.
  • You can update your child's immunization record using either the CANImmunize App or the Immunization Connect Ontario (ICON) Tool
  • If you have received a message from Ottawa Public Health such as a letter or a call regarding immunization, an infectious disease, or infection control lapse, please call 613-580-6744 and listen to the menu options carefully.

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