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Going back to work - ebm or ff during day?

(23 Posts)
FortunateHamster Thu 06-Jan-11 23:54:12


I'm going back to work four days a week at the end of March when my son will be 8 1/2 months old.

Right now he's breastfed and has one meal a day (but should be three by March).

I just can't decide what to do re. milk in the day when I'm at work, and I have to start thinking about it now because if I do decide to express, I should probably start building a mini-milk bank in the fridge asap.

I'm looking for people's experiences and thoughts and preferably no judgey-pants (and definitely no use of the word 'militant').

I enjoy bfing my son but am not a massive fan of expressing. I'm not ruling it out as I've done it in the past for the occasional day away (eg a wedding), but I'm not sure I would 'enjoy' expressing a few times a day at work, where it would be hard to find space to do it. Is it recommended or law that companies find you space now? Because I can only think of the disabled loo or a meeting room (that's in frequent use) at a push as somewhere to go.

Part of me thinks that as he'll have dairy (assuming no allergies, should find out soon!) in his diet by then anyway, does it really matter if he starts having some formula at that point? (And I have nothing against ff in general, though I don't like formula companies tactics - want to avoid ff/bf controversy if poss here!) Or is it better/easier to give him expressed milk until one year, which will only be a matter of a few months, and then he can go straight to cows milk? How many feeds is he likely to want in the day at 9 months anyway? Argh so much to think about!

MumNWLondon Fri 07-Jan-11 00:38:09

I EBF until just before 6 months and went back to work 3 days a week, he had 2 bottles a day. He was very happy to drink the formula but basically lost interest in breastfeeding as the bottle was easier for him. He still had BM at 7am, 6pm and 11pm.

I just didn't want to express at work and I didn't mind him having formula. But gradually he wouldn't feed for more than 5 mins per side, then 3 mins. Would offer both sides several times, but he only really wanted the "fast milk" and as his sucking time reduced my milk supply dwindled.

He is now 9 months and is totally FF. He has 3 bottles a day, 7am, 2.30pm and 6pm. I don't regret the choice I made, you have to do whats right for you.

If you do want to continue to BM, here are my tips:

a) use sippy cup or bottle with newborn teat for milk feed so that he doesn't drink loads if it

b) make sure he is really hungry when you come home from work (this was mistake I made as he had solids at 5pm so wasn't actually that hungry for bedtime milk

gaelicsheep Fri 07-Jan-11 00:47:10

My DD will not take milk from bottle or cup, so my plan for 3 weeks time (yikes) is to feed her before work (around 7am), immediately afterwards (around 4pm), evening and night. She will have to cope during the day with plenty of dairy, some EBM in food as appropriate and water to drink. I hope this will work as I will be very very stressed otherwise! She'll be 7.5 months.

PenguinArmy Fri 07-Jan-11 02:18:07

I use expressed milk. At this age I had got her to one 3oz bottle while I'm at work. At 12 months I will cut this out.

She makes up for it by eating loads rest of the time, but she always fed frequently anyway so I experienced no regression.

I thought I would use formula but found myself unable to do it. But I have also not given her any dairy.

It's a completely personal decision though. I think by this age, while it's not great they will survive without milk in the day, if your happy for them to feed more at night.

Livinginoz Fri 07-Jan-11 03:18:54

DS was 7 months when I went back. He ended up having EBM for 6 weeks until I gave up.

Employer was really good (NHS) so I got a room to express and they said to go whenever I needed to (I went twice a day to get 2 bottles, which was what I'd managed at home practising!). However, I found it v v stressful expressing, constantly looking at watch, feeling like I was being judged, worrying about work being missed by not being at desk. In the end my supply reflected this stress and I gave up as I was only getting a couple of ozs each time.

DS had FF for the time he was in nursery and I BF all other times, and luckily never had any issues with supply, even though I worked 4 days a week.

I did stock up for about a month before, so it was a while before he actually started the formula rather than EBM.

In hindsight, I think I wouldn't worry so much. I was adamant he wouldn't have formula, but actually once we made the switch it never bothered me!

jaggythistle Fri 07-Jan-11 07:41:04


I was not a big expressing fan either, but I decided to give it a go when I went back to work when DS was just under 6 months.

I had to express twice a day at first to get enough for 2 bottles, but that gradually went down to 1 and then I could stop and just feed him outside work. He is 15 months now and we are still getting on fine. I work shifts and he has warm cow's milk at bedtime if I am out and seems pretty adaptable. He has his milk from a sippy cup now, I got DH to change over from bottles when he was coming up to 1. He was able to drink water from them well so it was ok, he's not had a bottle since then.

I just took my expressing gear and a book and a drink every day. I tried to tie my expressing breaks in with my meal breaks where possible and just took sandwiches etc to eat with one hand! I didn't like leaving my colleagues to get on with it much either, so this suited me to not take extra breaks.

It weas good to just be able to bf as normal at weekends etc. Also nice to get lots of cuddles when I got home

I had a first aid room to express in though, not ideal if you don't have good facilities.

Good luck whatever you decide to do.

TCOB Fri 07-Jan-11 11:19:49

Just an idea - though as I'm only gradually going back to work now I can't guarrantee it will work. As breast milk keeps for 3 months in the freezer I am expressing every other day in order to have a huge stockpile by the time DD goes into nursery 4 days a week at the beginning of March. I really don't enjoy expressing but find that doing it little and often works better. Also - freeze little bags of 3-4 ozs as not only is it easlier but you are less pissed off when you discover your lovely 80zs over which you sweated blood has been discarded after defrosting and warming as baby wouldn't take it... angry

mousymouse Fri 07-Jan-11 11:22:23

dd was 9 months old when I went back to work and bf with very little solids.
it took her a few days but she takes formula (from a zippy cup) and loads of food in nursery.
I tried to introduce formula a month or so before, but she wouldn't take it when I'm around.

gaelicsheep Fri 07-Jan-11 11:22:27

Just a word of warnng about storing breastmilk in the freezer. After a couple of months mine was tainted. I used it to mix with some babyrice and when DD wouldn't eat it I tasted it - yuck! I'm not sure what I did wrong but I'm sure glad I didn't have a huge stash!

TCOB Fri 07-Jan-11 11:26:03

Ughh! Wonder what did that? The Boots freezer bags say 3 months (though must say mine ha sall been used within about 4 weeks so far and no probs). Not convinced that you can store for 24 hours after thawing though as it seems gunky/ separated after about 12.

AllNightMilkBar Fri 07-Jan-11 11:40:56

gaelicsheep could be excess lipase. I had that with DS1 and he wouldn't take it either. Broke my heart pouring away an entire freezer drawer full of milk sad. With DS2, either it isn't a problem, or he is less fussy. That said, I am also storing my milke lower down in the freezer, as I worried that it might be something to do with my frost-free freezer.

hildathebuilder Fri 07-Jan-11 11:52:36

Hi, I went back when my ds was 8.5 months (just under 6 corrected as he was prem) and have expressed at work most days since. I use an empty office with a lock on it and just carry on as usual, either having lunch etc, or working. I have a very flexible job mind (I'm a partner in a law firm) so so long as the job gets done no-one minds. I find I usually express once or twice a day to get the feeds DS needs at nursery, (a total of 200 ml for 8 hours) but I've always been happy expressing - one of the positives about a prem, and I have double medela pump. If you are expressing long term a good pump is a must.

I do have a freezer stash (and in a good freezer you can keep it for 6 months) but I found that bags often leaked so tend to use bottles to freeze the milk in (I had a lot of sterifeed bottles from scbu so just kept resterilising them).

It works for me as I don't mind expressing and DS does mind formula. It also helps that DS has always switched happily from breast to bottle.

I do however notice that the yield goes down if I'm ill or sressed, and that's when I use the freezer stash. I also sometimes have days out and about and the stash means I don't worry about those. I have however also found other places will provide facilities when I ask for them - e.g I've expressed in the staff room of a court and they even offered me their fridge. I expected to find it more difficult than it is, and after the intial raft of sexist jokes, which i just sucked up everyone has been supportive. I was very worried about it beforehand though.

The fact it works also helps me feel happier about DS in nursery somehow, however its not for everyone, and if you hate expressing i think it could be very depressing

jaggythistle Fri 07-Jan-11 11:57:01

I never had a stockpile of more than a few days worth for emergencies. Maybe 8 or 9 'portions' of 3/4oz.

I expressed on Monday, he got that milk on Tuesday etc etc.

Friday's went in the freezer.

If I could be arsed I expressed a bit at the weekend for Monday, if not enough a wee bit of freezer stash was used and then replaced on Friday.

Will you not still need to express at work for a while to be comfortable? For this reason I didn't see the point of an expressing marathon before going back and did it as I went along

jaggythistle Fri 07-Jan-11 11:57:24

I never had a stockpile of more than a few days worth for emergencies. Maybe 8 or 9 'portions' of 3/4oz.

I expressed on Monday, he got that milk on Tuesday etc etc.

Friday's went in the freezer.

If I could be arsed I expressed a bit at the weekend for Monday, if not enough a wee bit of freezer stash was used and then replaced on Friday.

Will you not still need to express at work for a while to be comfortable? For this reason I didn't see the point of an expressing marathon before going back and did it as I went along.

gaelicsheep Fri 07-Jan-11 12:05:05

AllNightMilkBar - that's interesting. How soon after expressing could the excess lipase taint the milk? Kellymom seems to suggest it might not just be on freezing. I tasted mine recently just a few minutes after expressing and even then I thought it tasted rancid, but maybe (my) human milk just tastes like that? I always imagined it would be very sweet and not leave a nasty aftertaste. sad

TCOB Fri 07-Jan-11 12:08:37

Never actually had the balls to try my own milk even after EBF DS and DD each for 6 months. Maybe should try some fresh stuff in order to juge what it SHOULD taste like as I too imagained to be very sweet - DH said it was like vanilla (or maybe he was just being nice).

gaelicsheep Fri 07-Jan-11 12:10:54

Lol, I never would have either if it hadn't been for DD's refusal of that baby rice after taking it fine the day before. I felt sooo guilty that I'd been trying to feed her sour milk. Now I don't trust my own milk at all. sad

TCOB Fri 07-Jan-11 12:17:01

Chrissakes - JUDGE not 'juge'!
Gaelic: your milk is utterly trustworthy, however your freezer may not be smile

gaelicsheep Fri 07-Jan-11 12:22:59

But even the fresh stuff tastes rancid to me! Perhaps I've got the sour taste fixed in my brain somehow.

llareggub Fri 07-Jan-11 12:29:24

When I'm away from my breastfed DS he just does without. He won't take a bottle and used a cup from around 10 months or so.

When I'm at work he usually has cow's milk (I went back when he was 13 months) or water. He has a feed before and after work and I've never bothered expressing. On the days I don't work he continues to feed on demand. My in-laws haven't reported any problems on the days I'm at work, so I assume he doesn't miss the feeds.

I went back full-time with my first son and didn't express then. He had formula left for him but he rarely drank it. We continued like this until he was around 2 years 9 months. He didn't lose interest in breastfeeding at all!

marge2 Fri 07-Jan-11 12:35:10

I went back to work at 6 months and expressed three times a day to start with. I work in a big office and we have a medical room I used. HR gave me a key. We had a freezer at work. My son would not take a bottle so my Mum had trouble getting the expressed milk into him. He got a bit but he was eating meals by then so he survived and so did my boobs which were getting near to explosion one day when I got stuck in a long meeting. I was only in the office twice a week and he was cutting down on day time feeds anyway by then so I only needed to do it for three months. Glad I made the effort. I used to take home about 13 ounces a day at one point.

didoreth Fri 07-Jan-11 12:44:15

I went back to work fulltime when ds was 10 months old. I never bothered expressing, always found it really hard work, and he was eating quite a lot of solids by then anyway. He went straight onto cows milk from a cup, which he loved. He certainly didn't lose interest in breastfeeding, he's still mummy milk mad at 2 years 8 months.

FortunateHamster Fri 07-Jan-11 23:26:04

This is all really great, thank you for taking the time to post.

You're making me think that perhaps expressing will be doable after all, or that he won't need any at all in the daytime. I guess it depends on what his feeding is like nearer the time. I could see myself expressing maybe one feed a day but would find it difficult to do more than that (I usually only get about 2oz when expressing, but then I don't do it very often). He's already getting quite fussy at the breast in the day (maybe due to teething?) so it wouldn't surprise me if he started dropping feeds.

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