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how common is it to express milk for your baby at work?

(69 Posts)
yourclavicle Sun 25-Nov-12 10:18:35

I've been thinking about this as I'm currently expressing for the second time at work. I seem to be regarded with quite a few confused shock hmm faces and a lot of people have never even heard of expressing.

when i asked about expressing facilities when returning to work after DC1 was born, it was the first time anyone had ever asked in a workplace with hundreds of employees. It's quite nice that 2 others have since been able to use the facilities though. smile

is it really an odd/unusual thing to do?

it's a bit of a pita on a daily basis, but it allows me to carry on bf and I'm happy to do it.

if it wasn't for the fact that my wage is highest, I'd rather have me and my boobs at home instead of DH though, it'd be easier! grin

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 28-Nov-12 11:46:57

Mine did exactly that- not sure what happened- if my letdown was too fast and somehow the poor thing was overwhelmed. Anyway, I got a tip to put it in a tub of rice and put it in a dry place and it worked- the rice absorbed all the liquid. My friend, whose cleaner washed her entire breast pump in hot soapy water,was not so lucky.

Anyway, I also like the Swing. Had a rental Symphony for my first DC as couldn't get a good "yield" with the Swing, but with DC2 by boobs appear to be playing ball. Good job as DD is allergic to formula and I'm back at work 3 days a week.

mmmmsleep Tue 27-Nov-12 18:54:40

I started with medela swing which worked well but after episode of it sucking milk back into motor unit and piping wouldn't work on battery mode and got mould in tubes. I went for double lactaline which was good. It loses suction if valves get tiny nicks in though.

attheendoftheday Tue 27-Nov-12 09:03:28

I expressed at work. It was no problem at all. But I don't know anyone else who has done. I'm not sure why as it was not a big deal to anyone.

Bouncey Mon 26-Nov-12 23:27:50

Tooimmature I second the medela swing. I didn't express at work (baby was nearly a year by then) but in the early days dd was in special care for a short while and fed through a nasal tube, so I was expressing 5 or 6 times a day. Medela swing is very good, quiet, fast and efficient.

sleepneeded Mon 26-Nov-12 22:29:40


I wonder if someone else can come on like Tiktok and help.

To be honest I never expressed I think I was partly too lazy with the storage and the flaffing about and my baby just waited for me to be there, iyshim. I also didn't have leaky boobs but then I never ever got on with expressing.

I did try pump early on but never seems to be able to express.

At 11 to 12 months - my baby just seems to have cheese and yoghurt and eat solids and have water when I was not around.

I think if I went back 4 days if I bf before and after work then that would be fine.

At weekends we tended to have quite long bfing sessions and I'm sure I still did night feeds.

This time around I think I'll be a great deal more confident. I don't know if that helps you or not???

It is interesting how taboo bfing and the workplace still is.
I don't think anyone knew that I was bfing and I only stopped when I got pregnant and decided 2.5 years and bfing and having severe morning sickness and working huge hours was enough for me.

Interestingly my toddler is switched on and even though I have not bf him for 6 months he does not hesitate in saying "oh when the baby comes can I get some of that milk again mummy it was my favourite".... cue batting eye lids, hugs and kisses and "i'll be such a goody goody if I can get some of your milk".

Rhienne Mon 26-Nov-12 12:47:49

I froze all my EBM. But DS had had expressed milk from v early on, due to the tough start I had with BF. So he was used to bottles, and the taste of frozen.

I had a Medela (think it was a Symphony) hired from the hospital to start with, due to the above mentioned issues with starting BF (mastitis, tongue tie... Etc). That turned out to be quite a big bill when we kept it for so many months, but it was efficient! Then I got a Medela hand pump when I returned that, which worked for the few occassions I pumped when I was on leave. After returning to work when DS was 9 months, I was quite glad when DS dropped his day milk, as pumping by hand every single day, even just once a day, was getting to be a pain.

BiddyPop Mon 26-Nov-12 12:39:06

When I had DD almost 7 years ago, statutory mat leave was only 4 months so I went back when DD was 4.5 months (took a month unpaid). As the rules here are facilities have to be provided up to 6 mths age, I was able to get the use of the "sickroom" easily enough, and the guys gave me the key to be able to lock it at lunchtimes and made up a laminated "Do not disturb" sign for general use but mostly cos the room was now getting used regularly by me. I just popped the bottles into the fridge upstairs (well, the freezer compartment as that was never actually frozen) for the afternoon and kept the rest of the stuff in my bag under the desk.

I did finish up after 6 months but probably could have continued as no eyes were being raised (I was still feeding at home but weaning meant bottles were reducing and formula was easier at that stage - we only finishing BFeeding entirely when she was almost 10 months). I was the first, but it was fine and I know a couple of others have used it since.

The sickroom, by the way, was an empty office in the basement that has a single bed, clean sheets to put on, cupboard with first aid equipment, and blinds that work properly (lots of other offices blinds didn't work). Not some truly awful place.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 26-Nov-12 12:30:29

I did, I asked on here about what to ask for and my rights (thanks tiktok and organicthanks) and expressed for quite a while.

Out of a staff of about 50 women, I was the only one who had ever returned whilst still bfing. so it had never been an issue before.

ScaredySquirrel Mon 26-Nov-12 12:18:04

so it's only me being pathetic about people being able to hear the electric pump?!

that's it. I'm taking mine in with me tomorrow.

cheesesavory Mon 26-Nov-12 10:47:37

I did and my hr personsaid I was only the second person to ask in her whole career. They were great, booked out a meeting room twice a day for me for 5 months and made me a sign for the door etc.

I had an ameda lacteline pump which was brilliant.

chipmonkey Sun 25-Nov-12 23:08:36

Forgot to say, I changed jobs between ds1 and ds2 but a colleague who worked there still told me later that she was doing "my trick" and expressing as well. I like to think I made it easier for her as no-one else ever had.

chipmonkey Sun 25-Nov-12 23:06:48

I did for the boys and would have done for dd if she hadn't died.sad

ds1 is 16 now and in those days, it wasn't the done thing. I had a childcare book from Great Ormond St and it said you could express in work and I was so happy to read it because I was dreading the idea of stopping bf. I didn't feel I could ask for an extra break so just expressed at my lunch break. I had a cheap little pump from mothercare, then an avent hand pump which was actually better

For ds2 I usually managed to sneak an extra break, then with ds3, I had found MN and actually asked for another break., same for ds4

Used the Avent duo double electric for ds3 and ds4, it was an excellent pump. Used it for dd while she was in NICU, it got heavy use but never let me down.

Leafmould Sun 25-Nov-12 21:54:03

Forgot to say: don't know of anyone else doing it in my workplace, but then hardly anyone has had mat leave.

Xiaoxiong Sun 25-Nov-12 21:52:32

Oh and I made my own pumping bra by taking a cheapo cotton nursing bra and cutting holes with scissors to push the breast shields through. Worked like a charm.

Xiaoxiong Sun 25-Nov-12 21:50:35

TooImmature I have the Medela Pump In Style in a rucksack. Cringy name, but brilliant for me as I was carrying it on the train while commuting.

PollySoloMiller Sun 25-Nov-12 21:35:52

I went back to work when DD was four months. I acted on the assumption that what I needed would be provided and it was - my feeling was that if I made it sound like a favour to me it might all be more difficult. I was allowed to use the first aid room as long as there wasn't an emergency and they bought me a fridge, although as I had a mini cool bag I probably could have done without that. It definitely wasn't seen as a priority though - there were a few times when they were doing flu jabs and I had to run round the building with full breasts looking for somewhere else with a socket and no windows. I managed to keep going until DD was 12 months, expressing between one and three times a day depending on how hard I was working. It is definitely quite bizarre sitting there with your breasts out and your pump going, hearing your colleagues chatting (the first aid room was by the men's loos) but worth doing if that is what you want to do - which it was for me.

beginnings Sun 25-Nov-12 21:33:02

TooImmature it's expensive but in my view the Medela Swing is worth it. I've had no problems with it at all. Never had sore boobs from it. Generally get about 4oz from the left side and 5oz or more from the right so it's efficient.

beginnings Sun 25-Nov-12 21:30:36

Xiaoxiong, my particular favourite recently was when she was on a public changing table, I was holding DD's legs with one hand, wiping her bum with a wipe in the other, she reached out and started hitting the wall and then put her thumb in her mouth before I could stop her. I really don't think a few bottles of formula a week will hurt, when I'm thinking rationally that is. I'm really glad to hear your supply regulated - I hope mine does too.

English I feel your pain. It took me 2.5 months to persuade DD to take a bottle. In the meantime, in order to not throw it away, I was freezing all but an ounce a day until she took the bottle. Now I have to throw it all away anyway. Infuriating sad

Sorry, meant to ask, anyone have recommendations for a pump?

This thread is simultaneously making me worry and calming me down! I'm going back to work 4 days a week after Christmas when DD will be 10 months. At the moment she has a feed first thing, one before and one after her main nap, sometimes one in the late afternoon if dinner's going to be a bit late, and then bedtime and night feeds. I've been dithering about expressing. I don't know where I'd go at work (new building since I went on mat leave), and I'm not good at expressing without spilling milk down myself. confused But I'm also worried that my boobs will start leaking frantically if I don't express, plus I want to give nursery EBM to feed to DD. I suppose I've answered my own question - I will have to express, so I'll have to bite the bullet and ask somebody at work to find out about expressing rooms. I'll probably also have to buy a decent pump - my Tommee Tippee one's a bit shit.

sorry that's a bit incoherent, toddler with a temperature restlessly asleep on me.

beginnings I froze industrial quantities in the month before I went back, but she wouldn't drink frozen the defrosted EBM, to my shock and dismay! I read around a bit at the time and discovered that apparently it does change the taste and apparently some people's milk freezes better than others confused (if I remember rightly). Most babies don't care though I don't think! I threw several litres of frozen EBM away sad

Lois and Tin it is shocking isn't it - its one of the reasons I always mentally shake my head when I hear people pondering career changing to teach because it will be family friendly (though I agree it might be more so for a teacher whose own children were at school, due to holidays). The head was a man nearing retirement whose own wife had stopped work to have their family - he told me a stupid story about giving up pipe tobacco so they could do without her wage confused My dept head was also male - he had a small child himself but his wife hadn't worked even before their child was born, and he used to make comments about being glad to have the excuse of marking to avoid having to entertain a toddler in the evenings... They made a lovely pair to work for, as the mother of a baby...

nellyjelly Sun 25-Nov-12 21:21:15

I did. Work sorted a lockable office for me. I don't think everyone liked the idea of it, especially as I stored my milk in the shared fridge. Some people are odd about that kind of thing.

Once I stopped needing to express, I kept going with the expressing break and used the time to have a little nap! Cheeky I know but DD was a terrible sleeper and I could hardly cope.

Xiaoxiong Sun 25-Nov-12 21:18:26

beginnings I did freeze some milk, but generally it was Monday's pumped milk on Tuesday, Tuesday's on Wednesday etc.

I'm now 3 days a week at work and I have found that my supply regulates so that the four days I'm at home I can feed DS entirely from the breast - then the three days at work he gets formula during the day and I feed him morning and evening.

I wasn't happy about formula initially because I worried it would hurt my supply but it didn't at all by that point (8 months or so). Also he was eating carpet fluff and partially chewed food off the floor by that point - so it seemed a bit pointless to worry about giving him a bit of formula during the day! smile

PeppermintCreams Sun 25-Nov-12 21:13:43

I didn't because I returned to work at around a year and only for 2 days a week, so it was easy for me to build up milk the rest of the week. I rushed home, expressed, drunk loads then went to MIL to pick baby up and feed him.

However, I don't think it would have been a problem, other than finding someone to cover my reception desk. I work for local government and there were plenty of rooms I could have used and fridges.

Around the same time I returned to work I was called for jury service. I asked if I could express milk during the breaks, and they said that's absolutely fine, and they had a fridge and private room for me to do that in. Didn't need to in the end though as it was short ish days.

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