How to Share Your Lactation Plan with Your Employer

Adapt this sample lactation plan letter to fit your needs

Use This Letter To Share Your Lactation Plan with Your Employer
Getty Images / Jamie Grill

If you are succeeding at breastfeeding, you'll want to continue when you go back to work. To do so, you'll need to pump breast milk while at work. You'll also need to know your rights, and you'll need a plan.

Specifically, you'll want to write a letter about your lactation plan that explains what you need to successfully continue breastfeeding. If you're unsure what to include in your letter we have included a sample letter to help get you started.

Create Your Plan

Before you send a letter to your employer, consult your human resources policies about breastfeeding. Do they explain what accommodations they provide you? Do you see any roadblocks you need to tackle?

Then, talk with working moms inside and outside your company to learn what their lactation plan was like. It's also important to know your rights with regards to breastfeeding at work.

Under U.S. law, employers must give all nursing moms of infants a reasonable break time and a lactation room that is private and sanitary. A bathroom is not considered private or sanitary.

The exception is if the company has less than 50 employees and has received a small-business exemption after demonstrating an "undue hardship." This exception means that the company believes they can't afford to offer you these accommodations. 

To get everyone on the same page, your company may request a letter outlining your lactation plan. If your company takes this step, you have the opportunity to find out everyone's expectations and you get to voice what you need. If you've already had a conversation with your manager about your lactation plans, include what you agreed upon in your letter.

Remember, when you return to work you may be sleep deprived. Having a plan will ensure your continuation of breastfeeding goes smoothly. Your plan will be a huge stress reliever because it's one less thing you have to worry about. Plus, stress can affect your pumping, so you want to do everything you can to ensure your success.

Lactation Plan Letter

Here is a sample lactation plan letter. Adjust it to meet your individual situation and needs.

Dear (Your Supervisor),

I am emailing to let you know that I plan to continue breastfeeding my baby after I return to work on [date your maternity leave will end]. Here is the lactation plan I hope to follow in order to be successful.

During the work day, I will need a private room with an electrical outlet in order to power up my pump. My priority for this space is privacy, not size. If you are considering creating a lactation room, like other companies, I'd love to offer feedback on how to make that happen.

To provide enough milk for my baby, I will pump two to three times each day at regular intervals to maintain my milk supply. These breaks should last about 30 minutes. This time covers going to the lactation room, setting up the pump, disassembling and cleaning the pump parts, storing the milk, and then returning to my desk. Please let me know if you'd like to discuss any work schedule modifications that may be needed to accommodate these needs. 

As you consider my lactation plan, please keep in mind that research indicates that lactation programs lower the amount of lost work time due to sick babies by 77%. Plus, employees whose babies are breastfed experience half as many one-day absences as those whose babies aren't nursed.

Overall, I take pride in the quality of my work for [employer], and I want to assure you that I will continue to meet the same high standards you've come to expect from me. Thank you for your willingness to make accommodations for me and other nursing mothers to come.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Before Sending the Letter

Edit the letter to fit your situation and your company's policies. For example, if your company already has a lactation room, omit the paragraph that mentions that. Also, if there are other needs you want to address, be sure to include them. This letter is your opportunity to make your voice heard about what you need to succeed and keep your baby well-fed.

View your letter as the beginning of a conversation. Expect to meet with your supervisor or the human resources manager to set your plan in motion. Once the plan is established and implemented, you and your coworkers will adjust to your new responsibilities and will be better equipped to help you succeed at breastfeeding.

A Word From Verywell

Having a plan to pump when you go back to work will not only relieve stress and make your transition smoother, but it also will ensure you are successful in maintaining breastfeeding. Keep in mind that it will take a few days to adjust to pumping at work. It's likely you will have some anxiety about pumping in a new environment and you may struggle initially.

But don't let this deter you. Take a few deep breaths, relax, and think about your baby. In time, pumping at work will become a routine part of your work day and you won't think twice about it each time a pumping session rolls around.

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  1. U.S. Department of Labor. Break time for nursing mothers.