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Expressing at work - they've offered the disabled loo as a room to breast-feed

(23 Posts)
MaidaVala2000 Mon 18-Mar-19 17:06:54

I am due back to work on Wednesday. DS has just turned 9 months and is still feeding at least a couple of times during the working day. Getting increasingly worried about how he will cope when I am back at work. I am doing 4 days initially including one from home but that still leaves 3 full days, leaving around 8.30 and back around 6.30. I am building up a store of expressed milk for him but not sure he will take a bottle as he never has before although he drinks water from a cup so I guess could have his milk from a cup too. I will, however, need to express at least twice a day at work to get rid of excess milk and ensure that DS has milk for the next day. I asked work if there is a private room where I can express milk and have been told to use the disabled loo. I would rather not as it's not hygenic plus everyone uses it and I will be constantly interrupted and nervous which is bound to affect how much I can express. I don't want to be awkward but don't feel comfortable using the loo. Difficult thing is, we are very pushed for space at work and I know there isn't another room free that they could give me. Should I suggest that I work from home more so that I can continue to feed my son, at least until he is 1?

Hollowvictory Mon 18-Mar-19 17:09:07

What will change though when he is 1?

PickAChew Mon 18-Mar-19 17:09:18

Have you asked if they're happy to prepare their lunch in the toilets, since that's effectively what you'd be doing?

Kaddm Mon 18-Mar-19 17:09:54

If there isn’t a room in the office, do you have a car that’s parked in any sort of reasonable location to do it?

MidwifeyForLifey Mon 18-Mar-19 17:11:25

That's against the law to make you/request you use any type of loo to express.

In fact, you're entitled to full pay whilst off until they make reasonable arrangements.

MaidaVala2000 Mon 18-Mar-19 17:14:32

Well, when he is 1 he can have cow's milk during the day and is bigger and hopefully less dependent on breastfeeding. I thought he would be feeding less to be honest but he isn't and I am certainly not going to stop him.

I work in central London so don't drive to work. Not the easiest to express in a car anyway! I'm not fussy but I do like a degree of privacy!

Silversky70 Mon 18-Mar-19 17:16:57

I thought employers had to legally provide you with a room that isn't a toilet and a fridge.

PotteringAlong Mon 18-Mar-19 17:17:43

Not helpful to expressing, but my 3 have all still been breastfed when I went back to work. I didn’t express and found that my supply adjusted quickly. They didn’t have milk in the day and just made up for it in the morning / evening / overnight.

TillyTheTiger Mon 18-Mar-19 17:18:49

You are entitled to somewhere clean and private to express breast milk, this does NOT include toilets.

Employers are obliged under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 to provide “suitable facilities” for a breastfeeding employee to “rest”. The Approved Code of Practice states that these facilities should be conveniently situated in relation to sanitary facilities and, where necessary, include the facility to lie down. These “rest facilities” are very likely to also be a suitable place for breastfeeding or expressing. Although private, the ladies toilet is never a suitable place in which to breastfeed a baby or collect milk.

The Health and Safety Executive and guidance from the European Commission recommend that employers should provide:

access to a private room where women can breastfeed or express breast milk;
use of secure, clean refrigerators for storing expressed breast milk while at work, and facilities for washing, sterilising and storing receptacles.

www.maternityaction.org.uk/advice-2/mums-dads-scenarios/6-breastfeeding-rights/continuing-to-breastfeed-when-you-return-to-work/

In my old workplace we booked out a meeting room at set times so we could accommodate this sort of request - would this be a possibility where you work?

PotteringAlong Mon 18-Mar-19 17:18:56

That’s not to say they don’t need to provide somewhere if you want it, I just meant don’t worry that it might be the end of breastfeeding if you don’t want it to be!

GrubbyHipsterBeard Mon 18-Mar-19 17:19:31

What outcome would you like? A toilet isn’t suitable but you say there are no free rooms - what do you suggest as an alternative?

IncrediblySadToo Mon 18-Mar-19 17:19:46

He’s 9 months, he will be fine with solids and water. He will soon get used to the new routine.

Who will be looking after him?

They can’t magic up a room they don’t have 🤷🏻‍♀️

Think carefully whether asking to work from home more is a good idea or not, then do what you think is best. We don’t know your employer or your career situation.

CountessVonBoobs Mon 18-Mar-19 17:26:40

If they can, they should really prioritise making a private meeting room available for, say, two 15-minute slots a day. If they are a company of any size and/or care about D&I you can make a strong case that they need to have a private space available for the needs of women returning to work and also for people who may need a space for prayer during the day. My office has a first aid & prayer room that I use for the purpose which also comes with a sink and fridge and I was involved in pushing for this and scoping out the need during our office refit.

I would go back with the info a PP has posted pointing out that a toilet is not suitable and ask them if a meeting room can be made available at set times. I also returned to work at 8/9 months PP and pumped twice a day at first, then dropped to once.

HJWT Mon 18-Mar-19 17:29:05

Everyone is saying they HAVE to provide somewhere she has ALREADY SAID they are a small work place and don't have a room!

CountessVonBoobs Mon 18-Mar-19 17:43:33

she has ALREADY SAID they are a small work place and don't have a room!

She said that they are tight for space and it would be difficult to make a room available. That's not the same thing at all as literally having no rooms. They have meeting rooms. If motivated, it's very likely they can make one of these meeting rooms available at fixed times.

And if they are sufficiently tight for space that they can't meet the needs of their employees then in the medium to long term they may need to move/refurb/reconfigure, and they will benefit from knowing from OP what they need to provide.

pastabest Mon 18-Mar-19 17:51:48

Try not to worry too much, babies are very good at adapting (although that might not mean he will either take a bottle or drink the expressed milk from a cup I'm afraid grin)

I'm going back to work when DC2 is 10 months and they absolutely refuse to take a bottle or drink expressed milk in any form. I know from DC1 though though that if they have a big feed before I go to work and a big feed when I get back they aren't going to starve in the interim due to eating solids/ drinking water.

Your employers need to come up with a better offer though, but you might find it's not as much of a problem as you think, and in the grand scheme of things if you are only planning on expressing until 12 months it's only going yo be an issue for a matter of weeks.

Invisimamma Mon 18-Mar-19 18:00:29

Is there a meeting room that could be booked out for half an hour and a do not disturb sign put on the door?

Is there anyone with a private office who doesn't use it all the time e.g. were a small company but our senior managers have their own small offices, they're often out at meetings/conferences during the day and there's usually one of those rooms free, especially over lunchtime.

DrinkFeckArseGirls Mon 18-Mar-19 18:01:58

I don’t think you need to express during the day when your DC is 9 months old. Like PPs said your supply will adjust if you feed just morning and evening.

coffeeforone Mon 18-Mar-19 18:05:39

Should I suggest that I work from home more so that I can continue to feed my son, at least until he is 1?

You know your employers and will have a better idea of how they will feel about this suggestion, but personally I'd think carefully before proposing this to them, and definitely also check is there really nowhere suitable for you to express at work.

RickyGold Mon 18-Mar-19 18:09:09

You might not need to, I went back at 6 months and only needed to express until 9 months, I carried on BF until beyond 3.

SherlockSays Mon 18-Mar-19 18:11:08

Do you want to work from home more to express or to feed your son? I assume if you are WFH then he is still going to be in his normal childcare place so doesn't resolve the issue of him not taking a bottle?

I would be tempted to not express and see how your son and supply adjust.

CottonSock Mon 18-Mar-19 18:12:50

I only just got my dd2 onto any solids in time for return to work, but didn't have to express. Yes morning, after work, bed time and in the night.

MaidaVala2000 Mon 18-Mar-19 18:31:34

Thanks all, very helpful. This is my 3rd DC although my other 2 are a bit older and I am now remembering that my supply DID adjust and they just fed all night to make up and got through the day on solids. Just worried that each child is different and DS is still feeding, enjoying the cuddles several times a day, and it's difficult to see how he will adjust. Seems a bit step going from 3 feeds between 9 and 6 to nothing but we'll have to see.

I do want to have the option of expressing at first so that I can at least leave mil for DS, even if he doesn't drink it, so will push work on what can be done. They definitely have meeting rooms that I could use but not sure they have locks on the door and I don't want to worry about someone bursting in! They are quite flexible usually so I hope we can come up with something. Working from home a bit more seems the answer at least in the short term.

My DH is taking over my mat leave for the last 3 months so DS will be at home with him. We talked about DH bringing him into my work once a day but seems a bit nuts!

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