Back to work and breastfeeding

(14 Posts)
chandelierswinging Fri 26-Feb-16 13:53:41

Also posted in back to work.

I had my "maternity risk assessment" at work today (I'm 14wks pregnant) and the subject of returning to work whilst breastfeeding came up. It's likely that I'll be returning to work (3 days a week) when this baby is approx 5.5-6 months old (sob, sob! I managed a full year with DC1/2!) and I had thought I would probably wean off the breast and onto formula for this purpose by then. However, the HR manager was very keen to be supportive (provide a small fridge for my office, make sure my room is lockable- it is, and ensuring I have undisturbed time to express) so I thought I'd ask for any first hand experiences on the realities of returning to work whilst breastfeeding. Is it fairly easy, or a total faff? Does baby respond okay? Could you carry on actually breastfeeding on the non-working days, or is it all bottles of expressed milk? How did your colleagues respond? Those and any other thoughts gratefully received.

chandelierswinging Fri 26-Feb-16 16:22:53

Hopeful bump!

CMOTDibbler Fri 26-Feb-16 16:38:35

I went back to work ft when ds 4.5 months, and although some colleagues were a bit hmm about it, I expressed for a year at work. It made quite a nice break tbh as I'd trundle off to the first aid room with a coffee, book and pump and have a sit for half an hour.
When I was with ds he always had milk direct - I never bottle fed him.

My only issue was one christmas eve when I wasn't fast enough taking my milk out of the canteen fridge before they cleared it, and I had a hilarious conversation with facilities about 'wheres my bag with my milk in'.

It wasn't a faff at all really. I had a rucksack my pump lived in, a big lock n lock box that the sterile stuff went in, and pumped directly into the bottles he'd later be drinking from

Rolypolybabies Fri 26-Feb-16 19:22:22

I went back at a month with dd2. It is a faff at first... But soon became easy. I book breaks at set times, lock the door and pump. I use an ameda double pump and can be done in about 15 Mins. A cool bag and ice block keep it cool enough all day. Has actually been easier than when I left dd1 on formula as still have the benefit of boob to sleep and cosleep in the night of needed as couldn't function on little sleep at work. Give it a go... You may surprise yourself and is a great way to keep close to a little one who you don't want to leave so soon x

Rolypolybabies Fri 26-Feb-16 19:23:41

Also subtly drop into convo that you are pumping and no-one disturbs you for extra work for fear of seeing a boob

IndomitabIe Fri 26-Feb-16 19:36:09

I went back when DS was 5.5 months and expressed for 6 weeks. It was a total faff, however I will do it again.

It was only a faff because I'm a teacher and returned f/t, so could only use break and lunch. Break time (20 mins) actually only gives 10 useable minutes after you've sorted bits out and walked to and from an appropriate room (miles away), so had to give that idea up, so only expressed at lunch (40 mins, so only 30 useable minutes), which meant having no interaction with my colleagues for 6 weeks.

But, it was worth it to me. At 6 months when DS started on food I introduced formula too for the time i was at work, and BF'd the rest of the time. It worked pretty well.

I know employers are legally obliged to provide time & space but it really doesn't work like that in state schools.

This time I'm in a new school with a much more understanding person in charge of this sort of thing (and the timetable), so who knows, it might be better facilitated.

Runningupthathill82 Sat 27-Feb-16 09:58:47

I went back to work when DS was four months and expressed til he was a year old.
It was fine on the whole, if a bit annoying to always have to have the cool bag, bottles, steriliser etc sorted as well as getting me and DS ready in a morning. And then running home with all that stuff in my rucksack could be a pain!
I had no problem breastfeeding at night and on weekends, as well as on the rare occasions I could arrange meetings so I could see DS during the day.

Knowing what I know now, would I do it again? Probably not; I'd just use formula during the day and bf at night. But at the time it seemed very important!

chandelierswinging Sat 27-Feb-16 10:26:46

Thank you all for your replies; most helpful.

CMOT Loved your Christmas Eve story! Expressed milk is liquid gold!!! I'm sorry to hear you experienced some challenges with colleagues attitudes. There aren't many people with young children or babies in my department, although we work in education so everyone is very supportive of families/family life etc, but I would be the first person doing this in the 12 years I've been there, so I'm a little anxious about how it would be received. It's probably my own worry though, rather than it being a reality.

Roly Did you buy or hire your pump? 15 minutes sounds ideal. I co-slept with DC2, which really helped with our BF relationship and my sleep so it's great to know you maintained that.

Indomitable Yes, wow! I can see it must have been a massive effort in a school, even once a day! Well done you!! I work in Higher Ed and, at the time I'm due back, I've got mostly school visits (which I can time as I wish) and office based stuff, so not much lecturing. I think it would be a different story altogether at another time of year. I barely get time to eat/wee (like you) when it's a busy teaching time, so I have no idea how is have time to sit and pump!

Running I think that's why I hadn't considered expressing as a possibility- it seems like it would be easier to use formula, at least when I'm at work. I've surprised myself with that thought tbh! I was a bit BF obsessed with DC2... Maybe I'm loosening up in my old age? wink

IndomitabIe Sat 27-Feb-16 10:30:55

Thanks chandelier, it was a bit of a mission and it's really nice to have it acknowledged. Thank you for that.

Just reading Running's post about getting everything organised; I'm not sure I'll actually be able to do it this time. It's tricky to get us all up, ready & out as it is without adding in washing & sterilising a pump.

Maybe I'll be less precious about adding in formula before weaning this time.

Hmm, food for thought...

Good luck OP.

IndomitabIe Sat 27-Feb-16 10:31:11

Thanks chandelier, it was a bit of a mission and it's really nice to have it acknowledged. Thank you for that.

Just reading Running's post about getting everything organised; I'm not sure I'll actually be able to do it this time. It's tricky to get us all up, ready & out as it is without adding in washing & sterilising a pump.

Maybe I'll be less precious about adding in formula before weaning this time.

Hmm, food for thought...

Good luck OP.

IndomitabIe Sat 27-Feb-16 10:31:58

Oops. The app was clearly lying when it told me it had failed to post! hmm

Redhead79 Sun 28-Feb-16 09:29:59

This is all very reassuring as I'm currently pumping ready for my first day back tomorrow! Dd 3 1/2 months so hoping I can keep it up for as long as possible....
Good luck op.

BurningGubbins Sun 28-Feb-16 09:50:14

I went back to work at 9 months with my son, who had CMPI so couldn't have formula. I managed to eke out pumping until he was 1, but it was hard work logistically getting all the stuff together every day and only being able to pump at lunch definitely affected my supply. I don't think I could have lasted much longer/don't think I was getting enough milk out of it in the end to make it worth pursuing for longer. I also found it quite precarious pumping for the next day as I didn't always produce what I felt was enough and never had any in the bank.

Rolypolybabies Sun 28-Feb-16 17:10:02

Ameda dual lactaline are about £100 and then I got a set of flexishields that insert into the cups from the ameda website as they encouraged the milk out easier with lower suction. I found a video of the baby feeding helped me get my head into milk mode too. Good luck!xxx

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