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Returning to full-time work and maintaining breast feeding

(15 Posts)
ElphabaTheGreen Wed 24-Oct-12 07:02:45

I'm sure that this has been asked a million times before, but I haven't found anything on a search on MN, so I'll ask anyway!

I'll be returning to work full-time in February when DS will be about 8.5 months old (sad but don't really have the choice).

Please tell me if my plan is pie in the sky:
- I'd like to breast feed morning and evening
- Send him to nursery with bottles of EBM to have during the day so formula is not required.

Touch wood, I've had no problems expressing up until now, and, yes, I'm already stockpiling in the freezer!

We're doing a really long lead-in to full time at nursery, starting with two or three half-days a week now-ish with a very gradual increase to minimise my likelihood of collapsing into a devastated, guilt-ridden wreck so the transition is easier for him. This will give me some idea of how to manage things, hopefully, but I'd be interested in what others have to say about their experiences with the practicalities of it all.


lucidlady Wed 24-Oct-12 07:09:59

I did this when DD was the same age and it was fine! Watch out for frozen breastmilk, I think it only keeps for a few months so best to check on kellymom. I found that the hardest thing was sticking to the expressing routine at work, I blocked time out in my diary but was always getting called into meetings regardless.

Good luck!

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 24-Oct-12 07:26:03

I'm going on the NHS-recommended 3 months rule (although some say 6 months). I'm writing expiry dates on the bags so I don't lose track.

How often did you need to express at work?

safetyzone Wed 24-Oct-12 11:49:02

I started going back to work when DD was 6.5 months. I started stockpiling at around 3-4 months and I pumped twice a day at work (she's been feeding only one side per feed by then and I pumped on both sides), around 10-11 and 2-3. I fed her twice in the morning before I leave work and twice before she goes to bed at night (and 1-2 night feeds depending on how bad her sleep was). I stopped once she turned 1, by dropping a pumping session 2 weeks before, and stopping completely after a week of 1 session.

It was manageable but I did find expressing a complete pain, I felt I spent ages away from my desk (even though it's around an hour in total per day) and it was so dull. I did prebook time in my calendar and my boss was understanding, but I'm sure people probably thought I didn't put enough hours in my job or something. If there's a next time round I think I'd do the following:

- think about taking a longer leave, finance permitting
- Actually do work when I pump but I did worry about that affecting my pumping output!
- try pumping for less time per session (used to do 20 minutes for fear of not stimulating supply enough)
- probably would be better if I pump first thing in the morning too (baby permitting!) as I had the most milk then.

Oh yeah, buy one of those hands free bra too, I wouldn't have been able to continue for this long if I didn't have it!

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 24-Oct-12 12:29:43

I work on hospital wards directly with patients. I could try working while pumping with a bra-thing but...y'know...could get awkward. grin

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 24-Oct-12 14:43:47

How did you store what you'd expressed at work?

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 24-Oct-12 14:44:30

How did you store it at work, I mean, until you got it home?

lucidlady Wed 24-Oct-12 16:11:49

Elephaba I had a medela carry bag thing:

cheesesavory Wed 24-Oct-12 17:32:31

That’s exactly what I did and it worked really well, I bought a double pump for use at work which I would totally recommend.

I got a little lunch cool box thing for storage at work.

UserNameAngst Wed 24-Oct-12 17:45:20

I made my own pumping bra, fwiw... Cut a cross in the cups of a bf bra then could unsnap cups, put funnel bits of pump in the holes, snap back the cups, attach tubing, and MN away I mean action work emails.

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 24-Oct-12 17:49:14

I can't follow the link (on my phone), but is it the Medela Pump in Style double electric pump? If so, that's been my best friend for months smile That's got a little cool bag thingy in it hasn't it? Don't really want to make my poor colleagues retch by having to store their sandwiches in the staff fridge next to my body fluid grin

BettyandDon Wed 24-Oct-12 17:57:04

Oh goodness, I couldn't even keep up the expressing schedule when I was at home, hats off to you if you manage this (although my supply was a problem due to massive mastitis..).

I had a hospital grade double pump which was awesome but it would be too heavy to carry unless you left it at work. I think you will just need a cool bag for the fridge to hide the bottles/bags in.

To BF till 8.5 months is a huge achievement, so I wouldn't be upset if it is too hard to maintain.

cheesesavory Thu 25-Oct-12 11:18:39

It's a lot easier to keep up an expressing schedule at work as you are replacing feeds, not in an addition to smile

worldgonecrazy Thu 25-Oct-12 11:28:54

I went back to work full time (and I do mean really full time 6.30 a.m. - 7.00 p.m.) when DD was 14 weeks old and breastfed to 15 months (no formula) so it is definitely doable, especially if you are lucky enough to have a supportive employer.

Around the 8 month mark was when I stopped expressing at work, and we managed just find with feeding when I was with her, mornings and evenings in the week, and on demand at weekends.

Breastmilk will actually keep for up to a year in a big chest freezer. The good news is that babies won't drink it if it's 'off' in any way. It's best to freeze it in 4oz bags so that you don't waste too much if it doesn't all get drunk. If you lie the bags flat so they are thin, rather than freezing upright so they get fatter at the bottom (IYSWIM) then they defrost very quickly.

ElphabaTheGreen Thu 25-Oct-12 12:11:48

Great, world - that's really encouraging, thanks!

I work for the NHS who are pretty BFing friendly (as they should be). If there's any issue at all, I'll just tell them I'm a smoker. They seem to get all the breaks they like. confused

I did have another question which has escaped me for the moment, so I may be back...

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