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Expressing and the working mum - Part 1

Is it worth the hassle of expressing at work?
It's true that expressing milk can be time-consuming, and it might feel a bit strange doing it at work.

But many mums find it's worth the effort. You are still able to give your baby the benefits of breastmilk. And expressing can help you to feel close to your baby while you're away from her.

There is another benefit. Mums who give their babies breastmilk take less time off work than mums of formula-fed babies. That's because breastfed babies are ill less often.

You'll also be coming home to a baby who still wants to breastfeed. You get to snuggle with her straight away, re-establish your bond, and nurture her in a way that nobody else can. To make the most of this special moment, ask whoever is looking after your baby to feed her as little as possible in the hour before you get home. Then you and your baby can have a satisfying reunion.
How do I go about expressing at work?
It's a good idea to start at home before returning to work. Then you'll know what to expect and can set up a routine. Express after as many daytime feeds as you can, and start to build a supply in the freezer. Your baby will then have milk for your first day back at work.

You will get less milk expressing after a feed than if you express a full feed. But if you express in between feeds and breastfeed as well, you may over-produce milk and feel uncomfortable. You will probably collect very little milk at first, but soon you'll have a useful amount after every expressing session.

Tell your manager as soon as you can before going back to work, that you are still breastfeeding. Explain that you will need somewhere to express while you are at work.

Ideally, you should be able to use a private room. It could be an unused office or conference room, or even a large, clean storeroom with a chair, a table and a power point. Ask the human resources manager for suggestions, and try to get the support of a colleague or manager. A toilet cubicle isn't an acceptable place for you to express your milk.

While you're expressing at work, try to relax and think about your baby. You could take a photo of your baby, or a little item of his clothing, to work with you. Thinking about your baby can help you to produce plenty of milk. Read our expert advice on how to express more milk for other tips.

You will need to bring some equipment to work with you:

- A breastpump. Double electric pumps are most efficient, but they are expensive. Many mums find that hand pumps work just as well for them.
- A coolbag or coolbox lined with frozen ice packs.
- Breast pads.
- Bottles.

You'll need access to a fridge to store your milk during work hours.

It's up to you how often you express, but try to do it at the same time every day. Pumping once or twice a day is probably realistic, and it will be enough to keep up your milk supply.

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