Employee Resources

Continuing to express milk after returning to work or study requires extra planning, patience, and support. The below tips and resources can help to make the transition back to work/study easier and less stressful.

Before Leave

Explore your benefits options.

JHU Benefits & Worklife: (410) 516-2000 | benefits@jhu.edu | worklife@jhu.edu 

JHH/JHHS Benefits: (443) 997-5400 | hrsc@jhmi.edu 

Understand the leave options available to you (JHU):

**JHH/JHHS employees, please visit your HR page to learn more about the leave options available to you. 

Consider the possibility of flexible work arrangements.

    • Fixed starting and ending times or fixed varied starting and ending times.
    • Compressed work schedules (i.e. working 4 10 hour days).
    • Reduced-time schedules (i.e. reduced hours and tasks – pro-rated salary and/or benefits).
    • Alternate work locations.

Talk to your supervisor.

    • Key points to discuss:
      • Number and frequency of breaks (on average 2-3 15 minute breaks in an 8 hour shift)
      • Location – if there is not a designated room, can a private space be identified?
      • Milk storage – where can you safely store expressed milk? Is there a refrigerator available or do you need to bring your own cooler with ice packs?
    • You can also consult your HR representative/administrator to help facilitate the conversation or contact Benefits & Worklife. 

Find a space.

    • Explore our list and interactive maps of registered lactation rooms.
    • If a registered space is not within close proximity to you, contact your supervisor or HR representative/administrator to explore your options.

Register for our Lactation Support Program.

Think about the type of pump you may use.

    • Personal Pump
    • Hospital-Grade Pump (in our registered rooms)

Sign up for a class or support group.

    • Johns Hopkins Lactation Consultants offer a number of educational classes.
    • Support groups are also available on the East Baltimore campus.

Take a walk! Time yourself walking from your office to the lactation room and back so that you can schedule your time accordingly.

During Leave

Establish a good milk supply. 

    • If you have any trouble, contact your pediatrician or a lactation consultant before you go back to work.
    • Drink lots of water to help build up your milk supply. It takes a few days to increase your supply, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get much milk at first.
    • Establish backup milk. While practicing using your pump, freeze the milk you pump just in case you run into difficulties at work, the child’s needs change, or you wish to donate to a milk bank.

Obtain your pump.

    • The Affordable Care Act created guidelines requiring insurance companies to cover certain preventive services such as breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling.
      • A personal pump may be available to you, at no cost, through your insurance.
    • If you are using one of the registered Lactation Rooms that has a hospital-grade pump, obtain your accessory kit prior to your return to work.
    • Practice using your pump to reduce troubleshooting time at work.

Pack your bag.

    • Create a list of the items you will need for milk expression when you return to work. Some suggestions include:
      • Accessory kit and parts (container/bag to store them)
      • Clean bottles with lids or storage bags
      • Cooler for storage
      • Breast/chest pads
      • Hand sanitizer
      • Back-up shirt
      • Health snacks and water
      • A photo of your baby or the beneficiary of your milk

Check in with your supervisor to confirm your plans prior to your return and ensure the agreed upon space is ready for use.

Consider setting your return to work date to be a Wednesday or Thursday so you have a short first week to adjust.

After Returning to Work
  • At work, store your milk in a personal cooler with ice packs (it can hold it for up to 24 hours – CDC guidelines below) or in a shared refrigerator.
  • If using a shared refrigerator, store your milk in a bag with your name on the outside.
  • Register for additional lactation rooms based on your needs (i.e. traveling to different buildings or campuses for meetings, etc.)
Additional Resources

Johns Hopkins strives to use inclusive language in our materials. Though we realize that some organizations listed above have not yet made a similar language shift, we share the links in our effort to provide information useful to our community.