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BF & returning to FT teaching - ideas please TEACHERS!

(33 Posts)
BuckminsterFullerene Fri 22-Jul-11 21:27:00


I'm returning to full time teaching (secondary) on 1st September when DS will be 24 weeks. He is EBF and I want him to continue exclusively on breast milk (as opposed to formula or cows).

We've prepared as much as possible in terms of practicing expressing & making sure DS will take a bottle of expressed milk regularly.

My issue is with continuing to express at work.

I've spoken to the relevant member of SLT and been told that I can express at break & lunch time. A room has been provided. The problem is that break is 20 mins and lunch is 45 mins. Factoring in tidying-up time & other end-of-lesson admin, and necessary detentions (especially in the first few weeks of term), I don't think I'll have enough time to go across the school, express, and make it back in time to prepare for my next lesson. (I had a practice on a KIT day, it took me more than 30 mins).

I've received my timetable for September, and have 2 full teaching days each week (3 days with 1 hour free each). It would be difficult to change the timetable at this point (I really should have thought of this 6 weeks ago) and, besides, I wouldn't want to split my groups with another teacher.

I've looked at the NUT Maternity Matters document, and their recommended reading on returning to work whilst breastfeeding, but I'm not sure what I can reasonably ask for, or even what might be practically feasible.

Please can you tell me your experiences and ideas.

(I'd like to avoid FF as far as possible at this point, but this is no judgement on anyone else's feeding choice)

DialMforMummy Fri 22-Jul-11 21:30:10

Can you freeze breast milk? If you can maybe this can be an option?

travispickles Fri 22-Jul-11 21:37:04

I am also a sec school teacher going back part time in September (30 weeks). I am going back p/t more or less for that very reason. I have two full days and I am going to express in my classroom blush with the door locked at lunch. I will probably throw it away - it would be to stop my supply dropping/ me getting engorged (but you wil probably need it as you are doing f/t). But it is a nightmare - I haven't even discussed it yet as I feel in my school that, in spite of legal obligations, I will be gossiped about as some crazy hippy out to make life difficult. Based on my pregnancy experience.

BuckminsterFullerene Fri 22-Jul-11 21:40:40

I can, and I've got a good stash in the bottom of the freezer! But I'm aware it won't last long and I'll need to keep expressing.

Would it be feasible to only express in the evening after DS has gone to bed (when I'll need to continue working too). Although whenever I've tried it recently I can only get around 60ml.

I'm thinking I'll need to express to avoid engorgement as well (god forbid leakage in class!)

lurcherlover Fri 22-Jul-11 21:43:11

I am going back 4 days in Sept and have already ruled out expressing as an option on the days I'm going to be in for the reasons already's just so difficult to express as a teacher. I wouldn't even have a room I could use (all lockable ones have massive windows and no privacy), other than the toilet (I don't think so). And even if I did, as you say how would you fit it in with the timetable? I'm going to bf before/after work, and as and when DS wants it at weekends and on my day off. On workdays though he'll have to have formula sadly. He will be 10m though so older than your DS. It is crap though and I sympathise - I racked my brain for ages to think of a solution and couldn't get anywhere.

And I agree with travis - I would be gossiped about as a hippy out to make life difficult if I asked for special consideration to express at work.

BuckminsterFullerene Fri 22-Jul-11 21:45:03

x-posts, travis

Re: the 'hippy' thing - that's the vibe I got from the member of SLT I spoke to. She doesn't have children, and doesn't really seem to 'get' the pregnancy & new-mother thing (why would she, I suppose). She's one of 2 women on SLT (3 blokes, one of which is the Head), neither of whom have children.

I don't care if anyone else thinks I'm weird (there's plenty more to gossip about!). I'm actually surprised to find how adamant I am that I don't want to move on to formula. But I really really don't want to!

BuckminsterFullerene Fri 22-Jul-11 21:47:32

x-posts again, I'm slow today!

Thanks Lurcher - you're right about not being able to find a solution. I just can't fathom it out.

It seems absurd that in a place where we all work with children, that doing something so basic for a child is considered 'weird' or me trying to be 'awkward'.

HattiFattner Fri 22-Jul-11 21:54:04

not a teacher but...went back to work at 7mo with dc2, who was ebf, and wouldn't take a bottle. Still managed to bf mornings and evenings (and overnight) without having to express during the day - my supply adjusted itself to his timetable. He bf until 11 months, (when he decided food was just as good as boob.) and self weaned

also BF Dc1 until 9mo - went back to work at 16 weeks and did mornings and evenings only.

I dropped the lunchtime feed first, then the afternoon feeds, then the mid-morning feeds. But slowly, over 10 days between changes.

Did have a major problem once when had to go to a bus. meeting up north and had flight delayed on return...major leakage, all over a gorgeous silk suit. Fortunately, the chap I was with had a new babe of his own, and was too much of a gentleman to comment on the dark circles on my top. blush

BuckminsterFullerene Fri 22-Jul-11 21:56:47

Thanks Hatti, can I ask: did your DC2 not have a bottle or anything during the day? Was BFing before and after work enough for him?

That's really reassuring to hear about you being ok during the day. Thanks!

moonstorm Fri 22-Jul-11 22:03:44

Was going to post something similar (but ds will be a year, so school will be more hmm). I will need to help stave off engorgement (after mastitis probs, it worries me a little). I know he won't need as much, but he still feeds often ish in the day and I plan to use the expressed feeds to supply him for the day at nursery. I really struggle to express. I do not want to use any fomula (for personal reasons).

It will probably be duriing break/ assembly/ lunch but what would happen if I don't get finished? I don't want to be awkward, but sort of want to do what
I'm entitled to.

Sorry for hijack

BuckminsterFullerene Fri 22-Jul-11 22:04:14

I think I'll have to bump this next week when all the teachers have finished celebrating the end of term! grin

moonstorm Fri 22-Jul-11 22:05:06

ps - with ds1, he just fed less often at nursery and more often at home. it was me with teh engorgement/ uncomfortableness problems.

BuckminsterFullerene Fri 22-Jul-11 22:06:29

Hi moon! You're more than welcome to 'hijack'! (x-posting again, what a skill!)

Don't tell anyone, but I'm hoping to continue past 12 months too! I think I'd be laughed out of school if I mentioned that one!

BuckminsterFullerene Fri 22-Jul-11 22:07:56

Am I right in thinking that if I don't express I'm more likely to suffer mastitis?

moonstorm Fri 22-Jul-11 22:19:11

I'm not sure about that. Last time I didn't suffer at all. This time if the right side isn't drained properly (normally due to distractions by ds1) I get the lumps/ tenderness quite quickly and have had mastitis. I don't want to take the risk.

Cathycat Fri 22-Jul-11 22:39:15

Hi, I breastfed all my 4 and returned to teaching. With number 3 I expressed regularly at work and it was fine, but a bit of a nuisance. However, with number 4, I read that it is ok to leave expressing and your body gets used to the new routine. As ds4 was a good eater and drank bits of other things, he managed without breast milk during the day, had a small tea at about 4 before I finished work and when I finished work I was quite full of milk, fed him, as of course he wanted by that time, he was very happy lol. So he had breast milk at about 5:30, then a supper type meal about 6-6:30 before bath, bed and another bedtime feed at about 7:00. I found the non-expressing way much better. I just trusted in my own body and at weekends and over holidays my milk supply altered again.

sleepdodger Fri 22-Jul-11 23:45:45

If you lock yourself in classroom etc you could store your milk in a cool bag with blocks (would look like lunch bag!) and then it would be good for home...

Grumpygils Fri 22-Jul-11 23:54:52

If you express every evening at the same time you may find your output at that time gradually increases (it will always vary a bit). Your baby might reverse cycle?

Is there anyone who could bring baby to you to be fed? Sometimes this is quicker than expressing.

More extreme options: parental leave or get signed off sick because of risk of mastitis (prob not v helpful blush).

Have they given you a copy of the completed risk assessment? Would you consider just telling them there is insufficient time to express?

Grumpygils Fri 22-Jul-11 23:56:30

Does this help?

DrCoconut Sat 23-Jul-11 00:00:35

I will have to go back to teaching when DS2 is 5 and a half months old. His nursery will be on site so I plan to feed him at lunch time as it will be easier than expressing and them trying to feed him from a cup, (he is a booby monster!) As for his mid morning and mid afternoon feed that will be harder. He may have to have baby rice a bit early so they can fill him as he tends to cluster feed and get quite hungry in the mornings and then again around 4 ish. He will be at nursery from just before 9 until 5 s quite a time period to cover. But only 3 days a week as I'm going PT. Don't know about expressing yet. I don't like doing it but will if I have to. I feel very strongly about continuing BF (though again not a judgement on others choices).

BuckminsterFullerene Sat 23-Jul-11 03:33:16


Cathy, that's really reassuring.

Sleep, I can't lock my classroom door from the inside, and it's a lab, so not best place to express anyway.

Grumpy, Thanks for all those resources. I wish he could be brought to me, but 3 days each week he'll be with a childminder 30 miles away. Although the days he's with DH that would be a possibility.

DrCoconut, I thought about early weaning, it was my original plan, till I realised they still need milk as the main part of the diet till 12 months. I'm not sure he'd take it anyway.

I wish we had a creche on site. It's a new building. Why would you NOT include one?! It'd be a great extra source of revenue too. Sadly not, though.

PenguinArmy Sat 23-Jul-11 03:58:53

I haven't read all of it, but I returned to work full time at 4 months. By 7 months I had had enough of expressing twice a day and we had her on just one 3oz bottle at lunchtime (from 6 months it was a reduction from 8-12oz over the day). I made sure I fed just before I left and got home on time for a few weeks. I'd feed her around 6 and 8 (am and pm) and during the night. By 10 months we had weaned her during the day and before that I was going through frozen stock.

Horopu Sat 23-Jul-11 04:24:08

I returned to school (Primary) when each of my 3 children were 7/8 months old. All three boys were breastfed and I never used formula. I breastfed them for between 13-17 months each. Children are now 13, 11, 5.

I never expressed at work, I used to feed them in the morning before I left and as soon as I got home at night. Plus plenty more times until the next morning. My body quite quickly adjusted, although I was notorious in my last place (with ds3) for leaving a trail of breastpads everywhere. With ds3 I did express a bit in the mornings (feed one side, then expressed the other) and he had an occasional bottle of that.

All three boys drank water while I was a work and had plenty of yoghurt. I do remember milk shooting across the room when I feed ds1 after work, the pressure had obviously built up. When ds2 had gastric flu my dh used to bring him in to school at lunch time to be feed as he wasn't eating anything for about a week but that was the only time.

Good Luck

roundthehouses Sat 23-Jul-11 06:11:56

hi, am not a teacher but i went back to work full time (out of the house 8.30am-5.30/6pm) 3 weeks ago when ds was only 17 weeks and have been expressing. I had a wee bit of trial and error the first few days and have now found that I personally am best to express off one side when i feed him before work in the morning (can get about 2ozs) then once at work right at the end of the day (about 4.30pm) when I get another 4 ozs and then off one side while i feed ds off the other when i get home (another 2) and this is enough for him the next day. On other days I have not had a chance to express at work and when I have expressed on my return (feeding ds from other side) i have got about 5ozs and made up the missing 1 or 2 ozs from freezer stash.

It only takes about 10mins max to get the 4ozs at work. I sterilise the pump and bottle before work and don´t sterilise again, just wash in hot water. on the first few days i did take a small coolbag with a freezer block in it to keep the milk cool but don´t bother now as I leave 30mins after expressing so it is only at room temp for an hour or so before I can put it in the fridge.

I am not sure how relevant any of this is to your situation, your day may be shorter and you may need less milk to leave in your absence - but I definitely found at first that expressing a couple of times a day WHILE feeding ds was the most productive time.

good luck, i was very worried about this before going back and actually after the initial couple of days it has been fine.

BuckminsterFullerene Thu 28-Jul-11 18:59:59

Thanks for all the suggestions & support. I've got a healthy looking freezer stash, and have started experimenting with different pumping times.

It's helpful to hear that others have managed a similar situation.

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