Hesperian Health Guides

When Parents Work Outside the Home

In this chapter:

Many parents, including those with newborn babies, now work away from their homes. This can make it hard to give a baby nothing but breast milk during the first 6 months of their life.

a worker at a sewing machine talking to her boss
But he could get sick without my milk.

Working parents need support to breastfeed. Some jobs allow someone to bring their baby for a few months after birth. This makes breastfeeding easier. If there is child care nearby, it might be possible to breastfeed during the day, on breaks. Some employers organize childcare centers so parents can have their children close by.

Here are some ways to make sure your baby gets only breast milk while you are at work:

a smiling woman with a baby on her back while she works

Keep your baby nearby for 6 months after birth.
Or have someone bring the baby to you at feeding time.
a woman handing a baby to another woman

You should not have to choose between your work and your child’s health.

When you are with your baby, feed it only from your breasts. If you sleep with the baby at night, it may feed more, and this will help you to make enough milk.

In some cases, people ask a friend or a relative, like the baby’s grandmother, to breastfeed their baby. If you want someone else to breastfeed your baby, they should be tested for HIV and have no risk of becoming infected while breastfeeding.

This page was updated:22 Jan 2024