A new survey looked at the factors causing new moms stress as they prepare to go back to work. One of moms' chief concerns: feeling pressured to stop breastfeeding.

woman holding up dress shirt with lactation stains
Photo illustration by Sarina Finkelstein; Adobe Stock (1)

Moms heading back to work after giving birth face a bevy of challenges, from wondering how, when, and where they're going to pump to managing the cost of child care. A new survey conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Seraphine Maternity aims to shed light on the main worries that moms returning to a workplace have, and some of their chief concerns revolve around breastfeeding.

Eighty-nine percent of the 2,000 moms survey said they are breastfeeding, and 72 percent said they're breastfeeding between 4 to 12 months. Sixty-six percent said they planned to continue breastfeeding and/or pumping after returning to work. But a third of the moms surveyed reported that going back to work was the reason they stopped breastfeeding, and as if that wasn't unnerving enough, 19 percent even reported receiving pressure from work to stop.

Moms polled said they were concerned about leaking milk through their work clothes and the ensuing embarrassment (39 percent) and being able to pump at work (28 percent).

But the biggest worry among moms heading back to work after giving birth revolved around balance. Eighty-two percent found themselves concerned about maintaining a healthy work-life balance, while forty percent feared they would get too tired to do their job properly.

That said, the survey pinpointed plenty of heartening stats:

  • Sixty-nine percent of moms were excited about going back to work after being on maternity leave, 79 percent said they came back to a supportive work environment, and 65 percent felt that being a mom enhanced their performance.
  • Almost half (49 percent) noticed they were able to have flexible working hours upon returning to the office while 34 percent came back to work and found a breastfeeding room.
  • Twenty-seven percent were given time to pump, and another 35 percent received more privacy when they got back from maternity leave.

And while there's most definitely room for improvement, 17 percent were able to take advantage of childcare options organized by their workplace.

The most applause-worthy aspect of the whole survey is that it sheds light on working moms' very real frustrations and successes. The more we can discuss and improve upon all the aforementioned numbers, the better off employers and families will be.