how common is it to express milk for your baby at work?

(69 Posts)
yourclavicle Sun 25-Nov-12 10:18:35

I've been thinking about this as I'm currently expressing for the second time at work. I seem to be regarded with quite a few confused shock hmm faces and a lot of people have never even heard of expressing.

when i asked about expressing facilities when returning to work after DC1 was born, it was the first time anyone had ever asked in a workplace with hundreds of employees. It's quite nice that 2 others have since been able to use the facilities though. smile

is it really an odd/unusual thing to do?

it's a bit of a pita on a daily basis, but it allows me to carry on bf and I'm happy to do it.

if it wasn't for the fact that my wage is highest, I'd rather have me and my boobs at home instead of DH though, it'd be easier! grin

AuntPepita Sun 25-Nov-12 10:24:32

I did, but I also had to ask for somewhere to o it as we had just moved into an open plan office; even the meeting rooms were made of glass!

They put some blinds on one of them for me. That was 4 years ago though and despite loads of babies since then, no one else has.

GotMyGoat Sun 25-Nov-12 10:30:41

yep - i was the first one at my worklace to ask for an expressing room - it's not very common and if you look at the stats you can see why - many women don't go back to work till baby is 11/12 months old, and only 3% of mothers are still breastfeeding by five months, and I think it drops down to 1% after six months, and then a lot of women don't go back to work at all.

I went back to work at 7 months, and pumped 2/3 times a day, stopped pumping at all by 11 months as dd was perfectly happy to wait for me to come home to feed by then.

I didn't speak to a lot of people about it at work, although my office knew why i had longer breaks, and had a discreet handbag with all my bits in. I was happy to talk about it, but didn't want to shove it in peoples faces if they didn't want to know!

I was speaking to a breastfeeding support health visitor last week who insisted that breastfeeding breaks have to be separate to lunch breaks and are paid - I insisted she was wrong! Would have made my life a lot easier if i didn't have to eat my lunch whilst pumping, in my 30 min break so i could get back to my baby asap.

gemma4d Sun 25-Nov-12 10:36:00

I did, but it wasn't particularly enjoyable. I expressed one feed a day between age 6 months and 8 months, then switched to formula for the one feed a day which I worked through.

I hand expressed until I got brave enough to ask to use the (unused) medical room which had - bliss of all blisses - a plug!

yourclavicle Sun 25-Nov-12 10:36:21

pretty much the same as me. have had to go back at 6/7 months and with dc1 stopped at around 11 months. smile

i also only talk about it if someone asks!

i forgot about the bf stats being why it was so unusual. blush duh.

BrianButterfield Sun 25-Nov-12 10:38:14

When I went back to work, DS was 9 months old, old enough to go without milk in the day, and he wouldn't drink from a bottle anyway. I fed him before and after work which was fine. I really wouldn't have wanted to express at work unless I really had to. I think it's quite common in the US though, where they have shorter ML.

yourclavicle Sun 25-Nov-12 10:38:33

i have a plug in my room too, but have back up batteries just in case! grin

yourclavicle Sun 25-Nov-12 10:42:50

i work some unsociable hours so it's the bedtime feed i need to express for the longest, i was able to stop during the day sooner.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sun 25-Nov-12 10:51:10

I do. DD is 16 weeks and I'm back at work 3 days a week. I express a feed every morning and was planning to mixed feed, but DD has had a reaction to formula so the GP said to keep her off it if possible. Live overseas so no "right to expressing room". Have to sit in the loo- fortunately they are extremely clean. Also, I'm a contractor so I bill my hours- therefore I'm expressing in my own time.

However, expressing is very common amongst professional women as mat leave is only 45 working days (9 weeks) and bf rates are very high within that demographic. Sometimes I do hear the pumps going when I go into the bathroom grin. I am just waiting for the day when someone nicks my breast milk for their tea.

I have to admit that before I had a baby, I didn't know about expressing so it's not that weird that many people don't know that it exists as a concept. Also, as Goat says, with mat leave at 1 year, and most women taking 6 months, you can see why not many women actually need to express given bfing rates at 6 months are so low.

RingoBaa Sun 25-Nov-12 10:56:02

I also live abroad and maternity leave is only 8 weeks here so expressed in the sick room. I'm sure except for the nurse my colleagues had no idea but I suspect expressing is much more common in countries like the US where maternity leave is very short. British women are lucky to get so much time off.

ChunkyPickle Sun 25-Nov-12 11:06:08

I don't know about the UK, but when I was hiring abroad (Malaysia) a potential employee asked about facilities (which we didn't have - I ended up giving her a key first to the server room, and then a store room! - the few offices had windows and no blinds/weren't lockable)

I hadn't had a baby at the time, so it took me a couple of seconds to catch up with the question, but after that it was no problem at all, no-one cared, no-one had a problem (although I understand she had to pass out network cables a couple of times in an emergency!) - I just felt guilty that I couldn't offer her somewhere a bit more comfortable!

lyndie Sun 25-Nov-12 11:25:41

I did with all 3 of mine but I had my own office that I could lock myself in. My work bought me a fridge! I had 2 or 3 expressing breaks per day, separate from normal breaks. There was no problem as my employer had a breast feeding policy and I had to write to say what my plans were. The only thing that did happen initially was that sometimes someone would knock on the door as I was in the middle of things so I made as sign with a picture of a baby and a breast pump that said 'I'm busy' and that stopped any interruptions!

OOAOML Sun 25-Nov-12 11:43:11

I did both times (UK, quite a big company). I was able to use a first aid room on the understanding that if there was a first aid emergency I would leave. Second baby I was in a different building and had keys for a locked fridge, they didn't have that first time. I used an electric pump for a while, had to have someone from Premises check the cable was ok first but that was standard at the time for bringing in anything electrical.

Some colleagues thought it was a bit weird, but first time round I was working in an area where very few people had children so they probably hadn't thought about it.

GotMyGoat Sun 25-Nov-12 12:12:51

I hadn't heard of expressing before I was pregnant - so I could understand how weird it sounded to colleagues - like the idea of the illustrated 'I'm busy' sign!

Compared to the US we are incredibly lucky - but I have heard that in other european countries you are entitled by law to paid expressing breaks, so i'm a little jealous of that.

I had a fridge bought for me, as my employers were very worried about me using the staff fridge for the milk-in-tea reason!

englishbreakfast Sun 25-Nov-12 13:02:42

I'm in the UK. I went back to work when DD was 9.5 months and expressed for 2.5 months at work as wanted to BF till she was 1yo. I had a small freezer bag with ice blocks, which I then put in the office fridge wrapped up in a couple of shopping bags so it was discreet and there was no chance anyone would open it / see what's inside. The MD of the company, his PA and the receptionist knew but I don't think anyone else did (I didn't even tell my line manager because it never came up. The MD gave permission so I didn't see the need to tell my line manager too and I didn't want to embarrass him (he is quite PC and open minded but also a single man with no children...). I expressed once a day during my lunch hour. I had to use our stationery room as it was the only room with a lock... I was lucky that only a handful of times someone tried to barge in while I was there but the receptionist fobbed them off to wait without telling them I was there expressing.... I think I am the only one who's ever expressed at work in our company... All in all, it wasn't a particularly comfortable experience but I didn't care as was doing it for DD...

I only went back to work after my first, 7 years ago - I went back to teaching in a UK state sector secondary school - they were hugely unhelpful.

I asked about arrangements for expressing, as well as about the possibility of part time working, which they were also unhelpful about (the head informed me in the corridor that "women should make up thier minds, come back full time with your mind on the job or stay at home and look after your baby" though he was very careful to follow the proper channels in formal meetings and written correspondence. With regards to expressing, my head of department gave me a patronising smile and informed me that "Its all very well but schools are different, you can't expect to do that here" and it became a running joke among a couple of colleagues that i should chuck the head out of his office at break times so I could express, as it was the only room where people would knock before entering. I never pursued it, and ended up mixed feeding from 6 months - I stuck to formula during the working day even at weekends (although she never took much) and breast fed before and after working hours. I did continue to BF til 11.5 months, by which time I had handed in my notice. smile

Timeforabiscuit Sun 25-Nov-12 13:54:01

Worked in Local Government, they were absolutely fine with it had a small "reflection room" downstairs that I used and stored in a cool bag in the fridge.

I was quite discrete and didn't say anything about my right to breast feed, I just explained to my manager that it was important to me, I wanted to keep it up and showed how I could do it.

It was a complete faff though especially the washing up, so I ended up going to the nursery at lunchtime and feeding dd there - which was absolutely lovely in the middle of a long day.

Did the same lunchtime feeds for dd2, it's the main reason I stayed with my employer - they were supportive.

Sabriel Sun 25-Nov-12 14:07:37

I was the only person to ever ask in our office. I used the medical room because it had a lock and opaque glass, and they bought me a beer fridge grin

maybenow Sun 25-Nov-12 14:09:37

I only know one person who did it and she went back to work really really early and her dh was a sahd.

Everybody else i know has taken 12 months off and by the time they went back been bf only at bedtime.

CMOTDibbler Sun 25-Nov-12 14:14:08

I was the first to ask at my work (though not a suprise as very few women), and only one other has expressed at work since. I used the first aid room which worked really well.

I expressed for a year at work as I went back ft at 4.5 months, and I expressed all over the world as I travel for work. Managed to store enough that ds never had formula or cows milk as a main drink, and fed till 23 months.

Bouncey Sun 25-Nov-12 15:09:20

No, but I didn't go back until DD was 11 months. I was still BF and fed her in the morning and evenings. As it happened, DD was in a creche in the same building, so I could just have popped downstairs and fed her myself!

Ellietrotter Sun 25-Nov-12 15:13:16

I am a musician and work funny hours so often have to express while in the car-hubby driving!-or in a loo,or in the car if there's nowhere else...feels weird expressing in front of someone so I've often been pumping away in a loo feeling isolated and a bit silly before a concert just in order that I can continue to feed my baby regularly. It's worth it but it's a tricky subject to raise with someone for the first time or sneak off to do it when it would be fine to actually bf baby if baby was there! Tricky but worth it. My second baby,currently 7mo.

littlemisstax Sun 25-Nov-12 15:13:29

I did - went back to wrok 4 days a week when DD was 9 months, she fed until 14 months. I only expressed for my first month, then she'd dropped daytime feeds and my supply had adjusted.

I had no probelm expressing at work - all they needed to do was put a lock on the meeting room door.

I think it was so easy for me as my boss has two girls that she breastfed - I just had to say that I wanted to express and she sorted it all out for me. And I was given as many (paid) breaks as I wanted to express.

mummysmellsofsick Sun 25-Nov-12 15:34:25

I express at work. DS is 12 mo now and I've been doing it a few months. I didn't ask anyone because I use a hand pump and there is a big disabled toilet that no one uses so I go in there and can wash my hands etc beforehand. I keep it in a bag with ice packs and I get about 150 ml every day. I wish it was more normal to be expressing for a toddler but I don't think it's that common sad

Xenia Sun 25-Nov-12 16:09:30

Yes with the first three. I fed immediately before i left the house and as soon as I got home and I expressed every 3 ro4 hours during the day, sometimes more often. I didn't bother asking for a room and just did it in the loo. No one ever seemed tok now or bother and the milk was kept in an insulated freezer bag which stayed cold until I got home. It worked fine and I did it from going back to work around when the babies were 2 weeks old. They all fed to more than a year.

With the twins I was based at home and our nanny got me if they needed a feed - that was much easier.

I also always stored some.

I never fed a baby from a bottle once actually so they seemed to get used their nanny feeding my milk (she stayed 10 years, daily nanny) from a bottle but always when I was home, evenings, all through the night as my babies never slept and weekends/holidays was directly from me.

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