(Closed) Expressing and going back to work, particularly if you have a demanding job

posted 4 years ago in Babies
Post # 2
8682 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

sharontobemarried:  What country are you in? I seem to think your an aussie but I can’t remember. I am pretty sure if you are then there are laws around requesting flexible working arrangements. Have a look for the fair work australia best practice guide for parental leave as it has all the information you might need to know about your rights. If you can’t find the answer then definitely give them a call. 

Post # 3
1214 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

You can bring a cooler and store it that way. Also, US CDC now says breastmilk is safe for 6-8 hours at room temp, and 24 hours in a cooler with ice packs. As far as a demanding job goes, that’s tough. As much as pumping breaks is totally legal and encouraged, finding the time to take the breaks is a different story. When I worked at a bank I used to pump in the vault. Haha. How behind would you get if you took 15 minutes every 3 hours? Your job has to allow you to do that, but if you end up making up all those 15 minutes at the end to catch up, is it worth it? You can pump now in between feedings and store your milk in a deep freezer and that’s good for 6-12 months. If you open the deep freezer a lot or store it in the door, go with 6 months. If you stick it in the back with minimal chance of thawing when you open the door, more like 12 months. 

Post # 4
715 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

sharontobemarried:  commenting to follow.. I’m a pharmacist as well, planning to breast feed but only get 12 weeks maternity leave. I’m 39 weeks pregnant now. I’m full time in one location so I have that advantage but I’d love to hear how other moms with demanding jobs have successfully pumped. 

Post # 5
9677 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

How often did you express at work?  3x a day  (9:30, noon, and 3pm) –> as many times/bottles as my baby eats while I’m gone.

How did you store the breastmilk at work?  I keep it in my Medela PISA cooler that comes in the tote bag- no fridge needed.

Where did you express?  our HR conference room that has a lock.  Occasionaly used another small conference room when they were busy with a sign.  they’re required to provide you with a place that is not a bathroom in the US.

How did you transport the milk home?  I just leave everything in the medela tote bag and bring it home


Definitely look into the laws where you are, you are probably legally allowed to take breaks and they will have to work around it.  My job isn’t really demanding though, so I can’t help you there.  I’m just in an office.  I have deadlines but nothing I can’t handle along with pumping. Sometimes I pump around meetings and adjust my schedule but I’ve been doing it for 6 mo now at work so often times people schedule meetings around me 😉

I think your biggest concern just might be the location and the breaks.  You should be legally allowed breaks.  I’ve pumped in my car before for other things, so if I really had no where else to go…I could always go to my car.  Throw a nursing cover over you and you’re ready to go.

Storage is pretty easy. You just need a little mini cooler.  Both Medela and Ameda make coolers that work specifically with their bottles.  Most of the medela pumps with the tote bags or backpacks come with the cooler.

I don’t bother sterilizing anything and during the day I just rinse out my flanges in hot water and put them back in my tote bag after I’m done.  Some people store them in the fridge but I find that to be more trouble than it’s worth so I just rinse them out so they’re ready for next time.  Then wash them at home after work.

There is no reason to keep sterilizing bottles and pump parts all the time IMO.

Post # 6
315 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Have you looked into hands-free pumps like the Freemie (http://www.freemie.com/)? If you really think you’ll have issues taking breaks, that might be a good option. You could put it on in the bathroom and then go back to work.

Post # 10
8682 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

sharontobemarried:  Even better if you are in the union. This is what you pay ypur dues for after all. Good luck.

Post # 11
380 posts
Helper bee

I’m a dentist, and sometimes I didn’t even have time to drink water, go to the bathroom, or eat lunch (before baby).  So I feel like I kind of know what pressures you might be feeling.  But, now you HAVE to take breaks, even if it’s inconvenient.  I actually asked them to lenghthen my lunch time so that I’d have extra time to pump.  But still, sometimes I’m running behind or they squeeze patients in, and I don’t have that extra time to pump.  So I’ll grab whatever time I can to get a pumping session in.  Sure, sometimes patients are waiting, but I figure 5-10 minutes isn’t too unreasonable.  (I would make sure you have a good quality pump so that you can pump relatively quickly.)

I went back to work at 4 months, and only pumped once a day for 15 minutes, and not at regular times during the day.  If I really don’t have time, whatever time I can is better than nothing, I figure.  I’ve never had any problem with maintaining my supply, and my baby doesn’t drink much milk when she’s with the babysitter, so I don’t need a lot anyways.  BUT I only work 2 days a week, so maybe if you’re working full-time only pumping once a day might not be enough.

I pump in a little lab room with a door that doesn’t lock, so I have to put a stool by the door to stop people when they try to open it.  Not ideal or relaxing, but you do what you’ve got to do.  There’s a small fridge I can use, and I just put the bottles into an opaque bag so people can’t see the milk in case they have a problem with it.  Transport it with the special cold-pack medela bag that came with my pump.

Oh yeah, and I always thought that it would be easier when Dirty Delete started solids too, but I think usually the transition is pretty gradual, so the baby is still getting most of the calories by breastmilk in the beginning.

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