If this is something you’re interested in doing, you will need to give your employer written notice that you plan to breastfeed when you return to work. The sooner you do this, the more time your employer will have to provide you with a healthy, safe and suitable environment to express and store milk, although they are not legally required to do so.
Your employer is however legally required to provide somewhere for breastfeeding mothers to rest.
There may be other considerations that you could think about.
If you want to place your baby into day care, and the day care centre is close to work, then your employer will allow you to pop out to breastfeed your child during breaks if that’s required.
You might also consider ‘expressing milk’, which means taking milk from the breast using a pump, and then storing it so that you or a carer can feed your baby throughout the day.
You are also legally allowed to request more flexible working hours to help you with breastfeeding your baby.
Some forward thinking employers have a personnel policy to define how they support breastfeeding in the workplace. This policy might define a special break allowance to allow new mothers to feed or express milk for their baby, and should also provide a comfortable, warm and clean room (certainly not the toilet), a fridge (or a clearly sectioned part of a communal fridge) in which to store breast milk, and flexible working hours for new mothers.
If an employer has this kind of policy then they’ll undoubtedly talk you through it when you inform them that you’re pregnant, so that you can be clear about what facilities you’ll have when you return from maternity leave.
Note that the law says it’s up to the mother of the baby to decide how long she wishes to breastfeed for, so any facilities or assistance your employer offers you should be provided for as long as you decide you need them for. It would be illegal for an employer to remove these privileges.
If you feel that you’ve been treated unfairly by your employer with regard to any breastfeeding opportunities, or indeed with regard to any maternity-related incidents or workplace policies, because speaking to an expert lawyer can quickly clarify whether your situation is illegal or not. QualitySolicitors offer Free Initial Assessment, which is a free short chat so we can listen to your situation and ascertain how we might be able to help you; call us now on 08082747557.
You’ll find lots of interesting information about breastfeeding at work on the Maternity Action website.