thread: working with my boobies

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Add helle on Facebook

    Sep 2008
    Bunbury, Western Australia

    working with my boobies

    Now that I have your attention!

    Can some of you lovely ladies tell me about working while still exclusively breastfeeding? Any tips and tricks any of you have would be fab!
    I have a job int this morning for a part time job in retail, but I'm feeling uneasy as i still very much want to breastfeed my little babe, but i really want to get this job! Any of your stories would be appreciated xx

  2. #2
    Registered User

    Mar 2011

    Hi helle!

    I'm not much help as I have been BF my little man for four months and just about to head back to work as well! I am hoping to keep BF and will be giving my little guy EBM while I'm at work. There are some really helpful girls on here so hopefully they will be able to give u some advice!

    How long seethe shifts likely to be and are u hoping Someone will bring Ur little one to u for feeds or are u wanted to give EBM?

    Good luck with ur interview and your success with working and breastfeeding!

  3. #3
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Jan 2006

    Others who have done this will hopefully be along shortly to share their experiences.
    The ABA has quite a bit of info on this subject too. You can give the help-line a call to chat with a counsellor about your specific circumstances, too, and the ABA has a booklet on breastfeeding and work available through mother's direct.
    Good luck with your interview

  4. #4
    Registered User

    Nov 2008
    in the ning nang nong

    I did a super long post about this after someone else asked recently ... let me see if I can find it ...

    FYI: it's completely doable. DS1 was exclusively breastfed until just shy of 6 months, and comp fed until 10 months (then self weaned, the cheeky little thing) and DS2 is exclusively bf and hopefully will be until 6 months too, and then comp fed as long as he likes

    Both times, I was back at work after 8-9 weeks, and pumping and bf the rest of the time. You can do it

  5. #5
    Registered User

    Nov 2008
    in the ning nang nong

    Here 'tis

    Hi there,

    Well done! This is hard work, but so worthwhile, if you're able to keep it up, and have a supportive workplace.


    I had a little wheelie bag (just a normal little work one I was given one Christmas) that I kept all my stuff in: my pump (I absolutely recommend getting a manual if you can afford it: I got the Avent one, which was cheapest at Chemist Warehouse when I got mine ... best $130 odd that I've ever spent), cups and lids, a microwave steriliser (which is a great thing to use to rest the pieces on to air dry even if you don't sterilise them!), a BUNCH of paper towelling, a little book of pictures of your baby (which apparently help stimulate milk let down), a big bottle of water to drink or a thermos to make a hot drink in, if you prefer, a pack of biscuits of muesli bars or apple or something to snack on, a book to read if you like, notepad and paper (you never know what thoughts come to mind when you have a spare 10 minutes to think about your baby...), a cloth nappy or hand towel or something (to protect your work clothes against leakage), spare breast pads, spare bra and top (in case of really bad leakage), actual pads (just in case! you never know!) and some people also use rubber/silicone gloves to protect your hands, when washing the pump etc with hot hot water (I tended to just use my hands and paper towel).

    I often would also take my diary (record book, not journal) and I'd write down how much I pumped, as a good reinforcer for myself ... it's hard work, and it's good to show yourself how well you're doing for your baby.

    I also took a little esky, and if you freeze your milk rather than leaving them in cups, then transfer into the bags at work, so you can wash the cups and lids and leave them there. You can buy specific little ones for this, but any esky is good. I also kept a prima or two in the freezer, so on hot days, I'd chuck a rock solid frozen prima in the esky with them to make sure it keeps cool on the long commute home.


    As much as possible, pump whenever you'd feed. More, if you can. You can't always pump as much as your bub would drink, because they're so much more efficient than a pump ... even a magical electric pump with wings. I personally also pump extra in the morning and at night to make sure I have enough - but you'll need to figure out what is feasible for you, with the support time and energy you personally have.

    You'll also find out what your workplace is required to let you do, and what they will let you do. Eg: I pump twice a day at work, but it probably takes me closer to an hour each time. Sometimes, I need to do a third extra quick pump, otherwise my breasts will explode in all their milky glory ... but I can work through lunch or back late or start early or whatever, to make up that extra time. Some places are stricter on the 30 minute rule (or whatever it is).

    For the 4pm feed - this would depend on how full I am, and how far it is from work to home. I would do a full pump if there was any risk of getting blocked ducts or mastitis or anything. But if there wasn't, then I'd do a quick smart pump, and race home and finish it in person

    Check with the ABA, but I've been told that most women pump 80% of the pump in the first 10 minutes - I'm not sure whether that's per side or what. It wasn't accurate for me personally, but maybe you'll find that works for you? If I had to keep it short, I'd do a quick pump from both sides, rather than draining one and leaving the other. But check with the ABA.

    Making it easier and more efficient

    Get yourself in the mood as quickly as possible ... know your surroundings - can you make them quiet and a little dark and secluded so your warm and comfortable, so you can be thinking about your bubba, and thinking milky thoughts? Can you put your legs up, and take a great big drink? Do you have easy access to a power point if you're using an electric one (I got someone to move a big desk for me and put an extension cord into the wall, draped over the front, so I could just walk in, close the door, and plug my pump in right on top of the desk) and have everything right there ...

    Get a system in place.

    Know where you're going to put your milk, when you're going to get it, how you're going to clean your gear ... feel perfectly comfortable with it (I got some weird questions from curious people - not at all malicious, just bizarre queries from people who'd never been exposed it it ) ... how you'll respond if you get ... interrupted ... etc. It may never come up, but if you've turned your mind to it, it might be a bit easier if it happens.

    Drink heaps of water. Last thing you need is dehydration

    Other stuff

    Be prepared for lots of extended suckling/snuggling sessions, when you're back at work ... I'm sure you've already thought about that, though! I found that having a bath with DS when I get home was a good way to catch up on missed skin-to-skin time.

    And be kind to yourself ...

    That's all I can think of right now.

    Feel free to ask more questions.

  6. #6
    Registered User

    Jul 2005

    I bf DD1 after returning to part time work away from her at 7-ish mths. It was two afternoons a week. I would feed her just before leaving her (with a gf) and then as soon as I returned (gone about five hrs). I left ebm with her, but it never got used. I could have done the same time frame every day if needed.

    This time around I needed to go back into my client's office 10-2.30 one day a week and DD2 was only three months. I got a nanny who comes with us and lets me know when it's feed time. I feed her right before I leave them and she generally only needs one bf at midday before we get home at 3pm.

    Don't know how much help that is, but it might give you an idea of time frames b/w feeds. GL!

  7. #7
    Registered User

    Sep 2005
    In the middle of nowhere

    PN outlined it well. I did 12hour night shifts around your DDs age with DD1.
    Same as the others I fed just before I left and as soon as I got home/DH brought her to work. I'd express a couple of times overnight, but she was only feeding once so I always had spare milk. I never needed more than 20minutes at a stretch, but everyone's different.
    Totally agree with having a plan before you have to start.

  8. #8
    BellyBelly Member

    May 2008

    I returned to full time work when DS was 10 months old. He weaned at 3 and a half.....
    Never drank much ebm, so I was expressing much more for comfort than for milk - but he was happy with food and water (and EBM on cereal) until I got home.

    There was an interesting time when I would walk in the door to be greeted by "hello booboos", and he moved all the day feeds he wasn't getting to the middle of the night - but that might have happened anyway!

    The double pump is a worthwhile investment - as is getting hold of as many "bits" for the pump as you can, to save washing!

  9. #9
    Registered User

    Nov 2008
    in the ning nang nong

    I personally also found that the double pump wasn't going to be a good investment, as I have to massage the puppies to get the milk flowing, and I find much more comes in if I press the boobie in a bit from the side / top / underneath to massage the different ducts as we go. As you hold the pump onto the front, I need the other hand to do this - so I can't do two sides simultaneously.

    But some women obviously find it works well! But maybe see if you can try a double out before buying it - as they're pretty exxy, and if a single would be just as good, you might as well save your pennies.

    Keep spare cups and bags at work - I've had to go out more than once to find a pharmacist which stocks them because I've forgotten to pack them, and it's just a huge nuissance, as not many places have them (and I work right in the middle of Melbourne CBD - can't imagine what would happen if I was in the burbs or industrial area or rural...) and it's just not worth the stress. So I just keep spares here all the time. Also spares of breast pads, paper towells, and a cloth nappy for big spills.

    Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum ... can't think of anything else.