Focus on Feeding – Breastfeeding & Returning to Work or Study

Returning to work doesn’t mean that you have to stop breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding exclusively (giving your baby no other food or drink) is recommended for around the first six months. After that time, breastfeeding is recommended alongside solid food (see the section on weaning). Therefore, it’s likely that you’ll be breastfeeding when you return to work or college.

The following information may help you:

  • Consider your baby’s age when planning to breastfeed and returning to work/study, your baby may be eating solid food during the day.
  • Contact the Infant Feeding Peer Support Workers based at your local Children’s Centre or ask for advice from other mums on our Breastfeeding in Sheffield Facebook page.
  • You can arrange for childcare close to work or college so that you can breastfeed during breaks, or before and after work. The evening feed can be a wonderful way for you to relax with your baby after work or college.
  • You can express breast milk (taking milk from the breast by hand or using a pump) so that someone else can feed your baby while you’re at work. See our section on Expressing breast milk and the Unicef Baby Friendly ‘Guide for Parents who Formula Feed’
  • Ask your employer or college for flexible working hours that are arranged around your breastfeeding needs.
  • Think about it early. Before you go back to work, write to your employer/tutor to let them know that you are breastfeeding. You may have an HR department that can help. It can make preparations, such as finding you a private room where you can breastfeed or express your milk.
  • Have a trial run with childcare before returning to work, discuss things with your childminder such as providing her with labelled and dated expressed breast milk. See our section on Expressing breast milk
  • Before returning to work, you should give your employer written notification that you are breastfeeding. Your employer must then conduct a specific risk assessment of your workplace. They must take steps to protect your health and safety on your return to work.
  • There is lots of useful information in this leaflet about Breastfeeding after returning to work or study leaflet from the Department of Health.

What are your rights?

Although employers are not required by law to accommodate breastfeeding mothers, it is good practice in accordance with the Health and Safety Executive, for employers to do the following:

  • Offer facilities to rest and time to express
  • Discuss flexible working hours
  • Discuss availability of a private space
  • Discuss the possibility of feeding baby during breaks
  • Discuss availability of onsite childcare

Useful contacts

  • Maternity Action helpline: 0808 802 0029
  • Health and Safety Executive:
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Breastfeeding Support Groups

Breastfeeding Support Groups in Sheffield

Click the link to find a list of the breastfeeding support groups across the City, Breastfeeding in Sheffield – Support Groups Jan-Mar 2023 (1)

You can also look on Eventbrite to find a group that suits you and to book your place whilst numbers are still limited, 

There will always be a trained Infant Feeding Support Worker at these groups to offer help and advice on your breastfeeding journey.  There will be other mums there too who can share their experiences with you and offer support. You are welcome to try as many of the groups as you like and in any area of Sheffield.

There is at least one Infant Feeding Peer Support Worker attached to every Family Centre (formerly known as Children’s Centres) in Sheffield. They can offer breastfeeding support over the telephone or on a one to one basis, at the groups, cafes and drop-ins they hold.

The primary aim of the Infant Feeding Peer Support Worker is to support mums to breastfeed but we recognise that you may need support however you choose to feed your child.

Family Centres

Family Centres are for families with children under 5 years old. They provide a range of services, depending on what’s needed locally. The services offered will not be the same everywhere, because needs and communities vary greatly. Types of services include:

  • information, advice and support for parents and carers
  • health services
  • family support
  • employment advice
  • family learning
  • parents forums

Contact your local centre to find out what’s available near you.


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Breastfeeding Friendly Venues

The Equality Act 2010 came into force in October 2010. It says that it is sex discrimination to treat a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding. It applies to anyone providing services, benefits, facilities and premises to the public, public bodies, further and higher education bodies and associations.

If you are breastfeeding in a public place such as a café, park, shop, cinema,, on a bus etc, you cannot be asked to stop or refused to be served. You are also protected on public transport such as buses, trains and planes.

However, many people still find it daunting to breastfeed in public places, so in Sheffield we have a list of venues which would like to show their support to breastfeeding mums and families. These places have been accredited with Sheffield’s Breastfeeding Friendly Award.

Click on the link below to see the current list of venues, by postcode area but do remember that you have a legal right to breastfeed anywhere and cannot be asked to leave or move.

Sheffield is a Breastfeeding Friendly City!!

Sheffield Breastfeeding Friendly Venues 2022

If you would like to nominate a venue for the Breastfeeding Friendly Award, please contact us at

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