Anyone expressing at work (office)? How do you make it work for you?

(20 Posts)
dizzykitty Fri 01-Mar-13 13:15:43

I returned to work at 6 months and expressed initially 3 times per day and reduced to twice a day at about 10 months, and continued until 12 months. I was fortunate to have had the general support from managers and colleagues. I was also fortunate that I am incredibly organised so that this daily military operation could continue!

I would take sterilised bottles to work in a cool bag. On arrival I could transfer a freezer pack to the freezer ready to keep my haul cool on the way home. I had a plastic box the bottles fitted into which was labelled 'breast milk please do not use' so that the bottles were identifiable but secured, a small plastic bowl and a mini bottle brush for washing up (in case anyone objected to me using the washing up bowl) and my trusty medela swing pump. Oh and of course lots of baby pics on my phone to help with let down.
I was able to use meeting rooms not in use (these generally have locks on the doors) for the 10-15 minutes it took me, which was great although did sometimes require some trecking around to find one.

After pumping I would put the bottle(s) of milk in the box in the fridge. Wash up in my small bowl, and then use the bags you can use to sterilise in the microwave to sterilise the relevant bits of the pump ready for the next time.

At the end of the day I'd get my freezer pack out, and put my bottles with in a cool bag to keep it cool till I got home. On getting home it was either decanted into sterilised feeding bottles for the following day, or to bags for the freezer for storage.

It's a bit of a mission, but if you have the will, you will find a way. I was so chuffed that by the end of my DDs first 12 months I had managed to provide all the milk she needed (and even some spare for the milk bank). I still breast feed her now, but only need to express for my comfort when she stays over at Nanny and Grandad's!

Sorry this is such a long post!

HorryDrelincourt Thu 28-Feb-13 22:28:16

I agree with Xenia that the feeds you do do are a real watershed between home and work. The closeness definitely makes up for having to be away.

I expressed with ds1, took my cup of tea with me and expressed at tea break and then just before I left work as these were the times he fed when I was home. I had milk storage bags and a insulated bottle bag to keep it foolish on way home. Kept in the fridge we used for lunch food. I expressed in the first aid room. I managed to express enough for one feed in two pumping sessions. I just rinsed pump and bottle under a very hot tap/just boiled kettle. Didn't sterilise as he was over 6 months. I did this for 3 months until he dropped to only having milk first thing and last thing so I was with him then.

Xenia Thu 28-Feb-13 20:11:00

larkin, I have never bottle fed any of the babies (they always associated me with breastfeeding) but they did take a bottle from someone else (I never tried to give one - actually that's interesting that Ive had 5 babies and not once ever given one a bottle may that's rare) they had a nanny when I went back to work who came each day and there was no problems but they were doing that from 2 weeks old when I returned so I don't know if that made it harder or not.

I always fed immediately before I left the house and as soon as I walked in the door - quite a nice relaxing thing to do when you get in.

CMOTDibbler Thu 28-Feb-13 15:52:41

I expressed 3 feeds a day for a few months, then 2 for a few more, then 1, using the first aid room and the canteen fridge.

I travelled for work, and pumped in the back of the car under a shawl, in loos, hotel rooms, on planes and all sorts!

Don't buy a special cool bag - take your lunch in a nice one, then take your milk home in it grin

I expressed for a year at work, and until ds was 23 months when I was away overnight for work, so it can really work out

leedy Thu 28-Feb-13 15:41:25

I stopped expressing at about 14 months, largely because DS1 was showing less and less interest in the bottle and I wasn't going to go through all the faff of producing the stuff if he wasn't going to drink it! Boobs adjusted after a day or two and he still had that feed at weekends for a couple more months.

I got a really good mini cold bag with freezer pack thing with my Medela pump as part of a set. Also Pacapod-brand changing bags come with a mini cold bag (though not the freezer yoke), I think you can probably buy them separately too.

I expressed three times a day to get two feeds.

One bit of kit I found difficult to find was small insulated cold bags. Avent do a good small bag intended to hold two bottles.

The Kellymom website gives good information about keeping pump clean etc. I rinsed it after each session and took it home at night to clean and sterilise.

I had a tupperware in the fridge at work that I "hid" my milk in.

Pictures and videos on phone can be useful.

LarkinSky Thu 28-Feb-13 10:40:50

I found this thread helpful too as I'm going back to work
Ft next month, when dd2 will be 21 weeks. She currently won't take a bottle and I'm really anxious about how it will work given my demanding job, but hope I can carry on breast feeding for a year as I did with Dd1 (wasn't working with her though).

Dd2 currently feeding every 2 hours or so in the day... I'm going to need a lot of breastpads for all those long meetings!

Did anyone give up expressing at work, (particularly for a bahy under 6 months) and if so, why?

ivanapoo Thu 28-Feb-13 08:21:15

PS reverse cycling sounds scary!

ivanapoo Thu 28-Feb-13 08:19:55

Thanks for your posts everyone, good to know how people did it and it has given me a few ideas for how to approach it with my employer. I'm planning to go back to work at about 10 months for 2-3 days a week and would like to breastfeed until DS weans himself off. I am hoping I will only need to express maybe twice a day max.

Xenia Wed 27-Feb-13 18:11:34

I did it with three babies from 2 weeks (worked full time) although a long time ago. I had a useful book on breastfeeding at work. I took a portable hand battery operated pump. I took in each day an insulated freezer bag with ice packs which stayed cool. I expressed I think about 3 times a day, disabled loo etc. I did not want to mention it to anyone and that worked out fine.

With babies 4 and 5 (twins) I was working for myself based at home so I just had our nanny bring them to me for feeds and always fed both at once and that was certainly easier but the huge advantages we have all gleaned from my work in those early days far and away exceed any slight nuisance of the expressing at work (and the older 3 children are pretty healthy, all graduated now, run marathons etc and I'm sure the breastmilk worked, one plays a sport of England).

HorryDrelincourt Wed 27-Feb-13 18:05:34

Yes, reverse cycling is when the little buggers darlings take their missed feeds when normal people are fast asleep sad grin

The disabled toilet was not ideal, but it was better than my next best option, which was locking myself into the library and hanging paper over the glass-panelled door. I was trying to be discreet!

I think the wording is that they must provide somewhere to express/feed which "should not" be a toilet. But it wasn't a big workplace and there weren't a lot of options. And since I wasn't worried about keeping sterile anyway (see earlier post) it didn't matter.

MinnesotaNice Wed 27-Feb-13 17:58:41

I generally only expressed once a day, usually right before lunch. However, I started pumping at home shortly after the birth so I had enough milk. Stored extra in the freezer in the Medela bags that are intended for storing breastmilk.
Where I worked, there was a small room set aside for this specific purpose. It wasn't too bad, had a comfortable chair and outlets. I used a Medela Pump in Style which is a double pump so the whole process was only about 20 mins total. Also invested in a bra to hold the shields so I could pump hands-free which was great. I would take a book and relax (no cell phones allowed where I work).
Stored the milk in a chilled bag that came with the pump. The few times I pumped a second time in one day, I didn't sterilize the shields in between, just rinsed with water. I carried everything in plastic zip-lock bags and sterilized at home. Not sure if they are carried in the UK, but the quart-sized bags work great for a set of shields.
Pumped at work for about 5 months and DS1 was BF until he turned 1.
HTH!

leedy Wed 27-Feb-13 17:35:52

Reverse cycling is when the canny wee creatures feed more at night if they don't get BF during the day. Mercifully DS1 didn't do that (though was an atrocious sleeper in general at that age so I possibly wouldn't have noticed it getting any worse).

ivanapoo Wed 27-Feb-13 11:39:31

Horry that sounds a bit crap, I though toilets weren't suitable for a start?! One of my old colleagues was given the server room, can just imagine shorting a load of computers with an ill-aimed squirt of milk...

What is reverse cycling and why does it make me think of circus clowns ?

HorryDrelincourt Wed 27-Feb-13 07:38:32

It was all very hard, actually. They obeyed the letter of the law but what was reasonable was not desirable and vice versa.

I expressed in the disabled toilet hmm which was the only room in the building with a proper door, dumped the result, and washed as thoroughly as possible in the little sink.

Storage was an issue, although I could have used the client fridge that usually only held bottles of water and (cows') milk. My main problem was a 90-min commute mainly on public transport.

In any case he was 11mo when I went back to work and only missing one feed if that, so he had ff in my absence for a bit, and by 18m my supply had regulated and he wasn't bothering with milk at nursery. confused at the memory of reverse cycling though.

I was their first ever still-bf mother.

Loislane78 Wed 27-Feb-13 07:17:17

Wouldn't it be nice if office's did little parents rooms, like John Lewis! smile. Comfy chair, water dispenser, little fridge etc. smile

At my work ladies use the first aid room. I'm not back yet but lots of others do/have so it's no biggie. I don't think colleagues mind or even notice tbh, you could just be in a mtg, loo break....

GL smile

leedy Tue 26-Feb-13 22:57:49

I expressed one feed a day for DS1 when I went back to work (he was 10 months) - I think if I'd gone back much earlier I might have needed to do more but at that stage he'd really ramped up his solids intake and was pretty much only feeding once during the time I'd be away at work.

I pumped once a day, took about 10 minutes while I read stuff on my phone, got about 5oz which was all he'd take in a bottle. I was very lucky in that my office had a provided mothers' room which was basically ALL FOR ME (and any visiting mums) as I was the only woman with a new baby in the entire building at the time (I work in IT, it is a blokey office) so I had a comfy chair and a lock and a nice HR lady to show it to me. Kept the milk in a cool bag in the office kitchen fridge with a freezable ice pack thing for the way home, nobody ever objected to it, or to me taking the extra break. As I only did one pump a day I didn't need to sterilize anything in work, just took the sterilizable bits home with me. HTH.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Tue 26-Feb-13 21:41:11

ha - fridge & space! they (public sector) didnt even do a risk assessment on me.
I expressed and kept it in a cool bag with ice packs in. i tended to do it just once a day but occasionally have been known to add more in a traffic jam.... yes really. I didnt stetilise but ds was over 1 so maybe not so likely to become ill. he never was ill.

ivanapoo Tue 26-Feb-13 21:36:52

Just curious really, as I am hoping to be breastfeeding still when I return to work and would love to know more about your experiences...

How many times do you pump each day/ how many feeds can it provide for your LO?

Have you been allocated a special room to do it in? Or a fridge, as per the guidelines?

How have your colleagues reacted to you taking time out to do it?

Do you clean/sterilise your pump between pumps? How do you do this in the office?

Can you make it work if you're on the road? I sometimes have to go to meetings out of town, and these usually mean a full day out.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now