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Expressing and storing milk at work


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#1 TheGrouch

Posted 16 April 2012 - 10:11 AM

Hi all, I have read through the tips for expressing at work that are pinned in this forum and they are very helpful. I was after a bit of specific advice too, I hope you don't mind.

I am returning to work 3 days per week on Wednesday. It was an unexpected job offer and a bit earlier than I had anticipated returning to work, but I am lucky that DH can take 4 months of paternity leave and care for my almost 7mo DS.  Anyway, I don't have a huge freezer stash as I wasn't expecting to go back to work just yet, and I am very committed to BF him until 12 months or beyond. On days I don't work I am planning to express 50ml twice a day to stick in the freezer in case pumping at work goes pear shaped.

DS has been exclusively BF to 6 months, starting solids in the last few weeks. He is still feeding 5-6 times in a 24 hour period.

My job will involve being in the office some of the week, but at other times going offsite to run training for the full day. My concerns about bring offsite and running training are (1) finding a place to express - I may have solved this, I figure if I drive then I could express in the car during breaks (2) storing milk once expressed if there is no refrigerator available and (3) washing pump parts.

Has anyone had a similar experience, and any advice?

I am also trying to put together a "kit" of things I will need, so far I am thinking:
Pump (Medela Swing)
bottles/bags to express into
Cooler bag of some sort
Breast pads just in case
Something to wash pump parts with??? Not sure what???

What am I missing here?

Thanks so much. I always really appreciate the help I get in this forum, it has kept me going with BF  original.gif

#2 Georgie01

Posted 16 April 2012 - 10:24 AM

I expressed at work for months and never used the fridge, I had a great cool bag with ice packs that worked really well. I just used to rinse the pump with hot water during the day and give it a good clean at night with hot soapy water - you could use a thermos of hot water on the road or the ABA website says that you just need to rinse in cold water ABA page

Not sure about your job but if I was going to be offsite I could sometimes arrange for a meeting room or office to be set aside for 20 minutes or so (best to arrange in advance if possible)

#3 TheGrouch

Posted 16 April 2012 - 10:29 AM

Thanks Georgie01, it is a new employer and job so I am not sure yet what the offsite situation will be like. So preparing for most pumping unfriendly environment as a worst case scenario.

#4 lucky 2

Posted 16 April 2012 - 10:47 AM

From a timing perspective the ebm can be left out of the fridge for 6-8 hours in a "not too hot" environment, so the cooler bag with or without a ice brick could be fine to get you home again to access a fridge. The training site would have a fridge anyway for storing refreshments?
Good luck with your new job, it sounds exciting!


#5 TheGrouch

Posted 16 April 2012 - 10:56 AM

Thanks Lucky2, I am excited, but also a bit sad about leaving DS even though he just adores his Dad, and I know they will have a great time together.

#6 Tesseract

Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:00 AM

Good on you! I went back to work full time when DD was 12 months and have been expressing for over a month for her. People have asked me why I'm bothering, but I want to keep breastfeeding her and she is still taking a fair amount during the day.

A few things:

You might find your son will drink less milk while you are away (at least initially). Some babies reverse cycle (feed more at night when mum is around) to make up for your absence. I co-slept for a while to encourage this. I've moved her back into her bed now (sooooo tired), but when she wakes at about 5 am she comes to our bed to snuggle and feed on and off for a few hours. This lets me know she is starting the day with a really good feed.

DD also eats waaaaay more solids when I'm not around, so make sure your DH knows to offer more solids than your son is taking when you are around. Also might like to offer some water to quench his thirst if he's not taking much milk initially.

You are fully within your rights to have your expressing supported by your workplace. To be honest I've found most people really great about it, and the ones who are uncomfortable just agree to any and all my demands!

I use a cooler bag that has three ice pack inserts. It works well but is better if I keep it in the fridge also. When you are off sight do these locations have a fridge? Even just putting the cooler bag in the fridge for a few hours here and there where you can would help keep the temp down for when it's out of the fridge while you're traveling.

I have a medela swing and it is great, but it is only single sided. I decided to go for this because I only express in my office and wanted one hand free to surf EB while I did it, but you might want to think about a double pump because this will be a lot quicker for you.

The washing pump parts is the most annoying bit. I actually refuse to do it at work because my work kitchen is gross and has heaps of people coming in and out, I don't really want the confused looks. I only pump twice a day max, so after the morning session I just put the breastshield section back in the cooler bag...without washing it. I have heard of other mums doing this, but I don't know if it is recommended (probably not!). My reasoning is that if the milk is ok in the fridge then a few drops on the shield should be ok too...breastmilk is antibacterial...it's not coming into contact with anything else...my baby puts everything in her mouth anyway...But yeah, with all that in mind a rinse under hot water will probably be fine for you, IMHO.

I'm pretty relaxed about the whole thing really - my baby is full term and healthy, everything goes in her mouth, and breastmilk is going to have less risks than formula anyway:

"How do I safely transport my milk?

Research shows that bacteria do not grow readily in human milk, and that it can be kept safely at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours or more. So you don't need to worry if you can't rush your milk to the refrigerator right after you express. But it still makes sense to refrigerate the milk as soon as possible and to keep it cool when taking it home or to the sitter's. If you have refrigerator space available at work, you can store your milk there until the workday is over, or use an insulated container with reusable carry-ice to keep it cool."

Taken from Dr Sears http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/breastfee...ing-breast-milk

#7 libbylu

Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:08 AM

If you are concerned about washing you could just buy or borrow two or three hand pumps....they aren't too expensive ($65?) and just stash each one in the car after you use it and wash them when you get home at the end of the day.  Or use your electric pump for a the first thorough pump and do later pumps with hand pumps.
I agree that a cooler bag with ice packs would probably work best in your situation.  I wouldn't be leaving breast milk in random fridges....who knows what might happen to it and there is always the chance you might accidentally leave it behind.  Sitting in the car with a blanket over you is probably a reasonable option if there are no private spaces available.

#8 chocolatecrackle

Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:46 AM

Tesseract, where did you get your bag? I've been looking for a good one.

#9 Tesseract

Posted 16 April 2012 - 02:15 PM

QUOTE (chocolatecrackle @ 16/04/2012, 11:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Tesseract, where did you get your bag? I've been looking for a good one.


Howard's Storage World. It was about $30 I think. It easily fits two 150ml bottles and the breast shield part of the pump. If decanting into bags it would easily fit more milk than that. I put the whole bag into the fridge, it's zipped up, and protected from all the grossness in communal fridges!

#10 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 16 April 2012 - 02:25 PM

I have an insulated lunch bag pack which stores the pump, milk and an ice brick and a little towel for cleaning any spills..  It looks just like a lunch so I have no issue popping it in any fridge or freezer at work or offsite, or carrying it around.  I haven't had any problems with people messing with it.  Anyone prepared to steal a lunch deserves what they get.   I only left it behind once, and remembered in time to pop back.  

It's also been fine with the icebrick in the car for a few hours, but most places have some sort of fridge.

I do the same as Tesseract and just store the pump unwashed in the fridge/freezer at work for the 3 hours between pumping sessions, rather than wash it in the communal kitchen. My early childhood nurse said this was fine.  

Re finding time and space, I just grit my teeth and say to my primary contact on site "by the way, I'm going to need a short break at around x o'clock to make sure my baby has something to drink tomorrow - is there a first aid room or something I could borrow?".

#11 Feral timtam

Posted 16 April 2012 - 02:30 PM

You've mentioned you'll have a car with you, perhaps it might be worthwhile getting a car fridge? One of these ( http://dicksmith.com.au/product/M4500/d*ck...oler-and-warmer ) would be more than sufficient and if you pop a couple of ice bricks in before leaving home you can unplug it when the car isn't running and not worry about draining the battery.

If you've got access to a microwave on the training sites you could use those microwave steam sterilising bags for cleaning your breast pump parts too.

#12 beebsoferal

Posted 16 April 2012 - 02:35 PM

When I last expressed at work for DD, I used to do it in the car as I'm a community nurse and out on the road all day. It is a nuissance in the car. You are more exposed when expressing than breastfeeding so I would put a muslin over me while I expressed, which made it hard to fiddle around. When I go back to work and need to express for DS, I think I will sit in the passenger seat and put the muslin in the window to provide some privacy. Still not ideal if someone walks in front of the car. But of well, gotta get it done. I only expressed once during the shift so only rinsed out my pump shield with my bottle of water. I expressed in the morning before work and couldn't wait to feed DD when I finished. I also have a medela swing and it is great. Getting an office for a short time would be great. I just used a cooler bag for the EBM and that was fine.

#13 TheGrouch

Posted 20 April 2012 - 01:29 PM

Thanks for all the tips and advice, I survived the first day and spent some time in an empty lecture room pumping, it was quite funny, I kept expecting some awkward 18 year old uni students to come bursting in the door, but thankfully I avoided that! Regarding offsite work, I am out Thurs and Friday next week, so I am just going to be brave and ask the reception/admin staff if there is a first aid room. Being a mama is making me much more assertive than I have been in the past!!!




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