Equally valid, there are many options when a breastfeeding mother has to go back to work in the office/outside the home.
When I talk about going back to work, I of course mean back to the world of paid, outside work. We agree that raising a child or children is already a full-time job.
The most important thing is to respect the mother's decision.
Continue exclusive breastfeeding, switch to mixed breastfeeding, or wean. It is possible to continue breastfeeding your baby while going back to work!
It is often quite difficult to separate from our baby, so it is important that all the conditions are in place for us to have the best possible experience and to make it as "easy as possible".
If we choose to stop breastfeeding, it must be a choice, and this choice must be informed and not experienced as an inevitability. As always, information is our best tool. If the mother decides to do so, it can be very useful to have a breastfeeding counsellor accompany her during weaning.
It is also possible to switch to mixed breastfeeding, giving the baby the breast when the mother is with him, and formula milk in her absence. Be careful how you give formula milk! At any age, bottle feeding can lead to bottle/nipple confusion. Here too, a breastfeeding counsellor can help the mother to find the solution that suits her best.
Finally, it is perfectly possible to continue breastfeeding. If the baby is "big" he can nurge when his mother is there, and eat "normally" when she is not there. If the baby is smaller (like at the end of maternity leave, 4 months) it can be very smart to make a milk bank beforehand.
Guess who will be your best ally? The lactation consultant again!
There are many things to consider, such as who will take care of the baby while the mother is at work or away, how many hours, whether it is possible to express milk at the workplace, how the baby will be offered, how old the baby is, and so on…
There is also the possibility that sometimes the person who takes care of the baby in the mother's absence can bring the baby to work during breaks (you can check with your boss to arrange your schedule) so that the baby can breastfeed directly. Of course, this option is not available to everyone, but when it is possible, it avoids a lot of questions and any risk of confusion. In this case, or if you decide to express milk in the office, it can be very practical to think about the clothes you will wear, so that you can pump without having to undress, or breastfeed your baby during breaks. Our clothes are designed for this. For example, the plain white magnetic-opening breastfeeding top can be worn with a suit if your job requires a certain dress code.
If it's already happened, tell me, how was the return to work for you? How did baby experience it? And what option did you choose?