Breastfeeding & going back to work...my rights...

(16 Posts)
JenniferAnistonsHair Fri 08-Jan-16 21:00:26

Hi, I'm going into work tomorrow to discuss altering my shifts a bit when I go back to work in a few months time. I currently work for 8 or 9 hours at different times of day, but as I'm breastfeeding, I really can't leave my baby for longer than 6 or 7 hours without milk. She will be about 10 months old when I go back. She is eating proper food reasonably well, but is still on several milk feeds per day & night.

I can't express & she won't take a bottle. Plus the fact I really want to continue breastfeeing & dont want to give formula. Does anyone know what my rights actually are? All I can find is the stuff about giving women a clean & private place to express & somewhere to store expressed milk. Nothing about flexibility of hours for mothers who exclusively breastfeed.

In an ideal world, I'd like to do 6 hour shifts, in order to get back to feed her. Financially it's doable, & my husband is fully supportive. I'm really nervous about discussing it though, & I feel really emotional about it. My workplace is full of women, & they're are incredibly unsupportive of other women it seems. I've been there several years & haven't once felt supported in my job, let alone in a personal matter such as this. I get the impression they'll be shocked I'm even breastfeeding (they haven't been in contact at all since I went on mat leave), & will just say "give her a bottle".

I really hope they surprise me by being wonderful about the whole thing, but I could do with some advice on how to handle what I think they might throw at me...any help would be hugely appreciated. I'm getting all anxious as I type this. I'm such a wuss!

Whatdoidohelp Fri 08-Jan-16 21:04:30

You have the right to apply for reduced hours/part time/ flexible time and they must consider it but they do not have to grant it if it does not fit business needs.

In your application for reduced hours definitely state the need for reduced hours is so you can feed your baby. You don't have a right to this just because you are breastfeeding. The may say no and that they will provide somewhere you can express. Whether or not your baby will take a bottle or not is not their problem. Have you tried lots of different teats and flow settings?

HermioneWeasley Fri 08-Jan-16 21:08:46

Could you either delay your return until she's a year, or use accrued annual leave to do shorter days for a couple of months? It seems a bit short term to change your working hours so you can BF - she'll be able to drink from a cup soon if she can't already.

EdithWeston Fri 08-Jan-16 21:09:00

Breastfeeding is not protected once the baby is over 6 months.

That means you have no additional rights. You can request flexible working, just as anyone can, and the organisation must take the request seriously and refuse only for valid business reasons.

You do have the right to return to your previous role.

Expressing to cover your absences would be something to consider.

Artandco Fri 08-Jan-16 21:12:54

Tbh by 10 months she doesn't need milk in the day so will be fine. As others said its only until 6months you have the right to time to express etc.

9hrs out the house means you can still feed her first thing, when you get home and in the evening. 3 feeds is what most have at that age even if parent home all day. You can feed overnight also if you want. Can eat food and drink regular milk and water in the day. Formula not needed as your can still feed a few times a day as main milk

kittyvet Fri 08-Jan-16 21:21:13

My daughter never took the bottle. We taught her to cup feed with a doidy cup from 3mths. I went back at 9 months and she did get expressed milk in the day but by 12 months it was only once at lunch because I was there to breast feed. She definitely made up for it evenings and mornings. We continue like this at nearly 15mths. She has several feeds a day when I am home. I taught her to sign and she doesn't ask for milk when I am not there anymore. Your baby will adapt.
Have you tried different pumps? I found the medela better than arlo. I rented from my local children's centre.
Hope the meeting goes well.

Artandco Fri 08-Jan-16 21:26:11

Yes I wouldn't add bottle either. By 6 months mine used the doidy cup mentioned above also for water/ milk if not breastfeeding

Lightbulbon Fri 08-Jan-16 21:45:10

Use a cup.

If you reduce your hours you have no right to increase them again later.

JenniferAnistonsHair Fri 08-Jan-16 21:51:57

Thank you all. I didn't realise breastfeeding was only protected until they were 6 months. I know she probably doesn't need much milk during the day, but going by what she does now, she's certainly not reducing her milk intake much since she's been weaning.

I'm not looking for a permanent change to my hours. Just slightly shorter hours until I finish breastfeeding, which may only be until she's one, or a bit older. It's not set in stone, will wait for her to decide when she's had enough, but is only fairly temporary. I'd be happy to stick to the shorter hours if they wouldn't let me increase them again though, but assumed they'd orefer me to just reduce them as a short term thing?!?!

I can't really delay my return much more. Am already using 6 weeks worth of annual leave at the end of maternity.

I can totally understand my request needing to fit their business needs, & I don't have an issue with that. I just wondered how to go about the whole thing. I'm really rubbish at dealing with things to do with me. If it was a friend of mine having issues, I could be all proactive & useful, but as soon as it's a personal issue, I fall apart. I need to grow a pair, but don't think I'll be able to before the morning!!

I don't think I want to start trying to express again now. It would have such a negative emotional impact on me, I just don't think I could handle that on top of everything else.

Just a thought...in theory, would it be better for my employer if I were to work a solid 6 hour stint without a break, or me do an 8 hour stint with a couple of long breaks for expressing? In my job, I find it easier to concentrate without any disruptions, so if I were to have expressing breaks (theoretically), it would take me longer to get back into what I was doing, & I really don't think I'd be as productive. Hard to explain really, but I think I'd get more done in the 6 hours rather than 8 hours plus all the faff of expressing. (Purely a theoretical question, but would I be able to say this to my employer if they suggest expressing breaks?)

She does use a cup for water, but as I'm not expressing & don't want to use formula, she would only be able to have water while I'm at work really.

Sorry for the essay. I'm getting myself all stressed with the whole thing, cos I hate confrontation, & I just want to do my best by everyone.

Thanks again for replying... ☺️

Artandco Fri 08-Jan-16 22:01:48

You know she can drink normal cows milk now also. She just would have formula if you have no breast milk as your supposed to not fully replace breast/ formula until 12 months. But cows milk is fine to drink in between and mix with porridge etc.

Can you try and add more calorific meals also so she doesn't need to feed so much in the day. Is she feeding so much from habit or hunger? High fat and protein like avocados, houmous, almond butter, philidephia will all keep her full over lunch. And you can feed before breakfast and after dinner as usual anyway

JenniferAnistonsHair Fri 08-Jan-16 22:10:51

I knew it was ok to mix cows milk with porridge & things, but have been told they can't have it as a drink til after one. But you think they can have it, as long as it's not all the time? Interesting. I would definitely give it to her as a drink after the age of one anyway, not sure about before cos I didn't know you could. Will try more calorific meals though. I think it's probably habit as much as hunger though. She's used to me being there, so doesn't know any different...

Lightbulbon Fri 08-Jan-16 22:29:45

What puts you off expressing?

JenniferAnistonsHair Sat 09-Jan-16 08:30:12

I just don't seem to get much when I try, plus it's so time consuming. Also, having to defrost & warm it, & sterilise bottles, just seems pointless when I can feed direct! As much as I admire anyone for sticking with expressing, it's just not for me.

PotteringAlong Sat 09-Jan-16 08:37:03

Both mine wouldn't take a bottle or drink formula and I just gave them water in a bottle at nursery. It will be fine. As long as they're getting plenty of calcium and you will still be feeding them at night.

Artandco Sat 09-Jan-16 08:40:08

Yes, they can defiantly drink cows milk. It's just that breast/ formula is obviously fattier and more vitamins etc for under 1 hence they say don't fully replace those feeds with cows yet. But seeing as the guildlines are around 600ml Max at 10months of formula, which would be three 200ml bottles, and you will be feeding 3+ times yourself which will on average be around the same amount, then she will be fine on some normal milk in a cup of she wants instead of just water.
By 1 year it goes down to 350ml

Etak15 Sat 09-Jan-16 09:12:09

I've return to work when all four of mine were about 11 months, the first return I dropped from full time to 3 days the second time down to 2 days, I'm NHS nurse applied for flexible working due to still breastfeeding meant I was definantly unable to work nights, also asked for set days to fit in with dh's work days, this was all ok'd at the time - and has been reviewed following each maternity leave, my babies have all co slept fed on demand etc and was worried about leaving them esp with my first the thing I realised was that although you think they'll never survive 8 hrs with a feed they do! My 1st & 4th were good eaters so they were fine and then they were trying to unzip my uniform as soon as I walked through the door!! Number 2 & 3 were rubbish eaters they bf all the time but still they were fine when I was at work - it actually encouraged them to eat more! none of them would have milk in a bottle. I too thought breastfeeding was protected for as long as you wanted to - I know of someone that worked nights but had an extra hour to add on to their break so they could go home to feed the baby??! That was a long time ago though.

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