Expressing breastmilk at work

As of today, I have been Breastfeeding for almost 6mths. Its not a lot but its more than I imagined I could ever manage (I was so exhausted I almost wanted to give up just weeks into the breastfeeding).

When I went back to work, there was the big question of how, logistically, I could still continue to breastfeed and still manage to:

(1) not take up too much work time
(2) not return home with stale / unclean milk

After much research plus trial and error, I finally got it (I think!) !

Frequency and Timing
I pump at least 2 times a day, depending whether I’m late for work that day or not (yes.. true story) or whether I can find time to pump a 3rd time.

Sometimes, I yield more by pumping just twice a day than thrice. I think it has got to do with the fact that my breasts has more time to produce milk. So the third pump is only really necessary when my first pump is less than ideal, which for me is less than 300ml both sides).

BUT if I get to work early, I’ll definitely want to pump right after i settle down. Because the morning pumps are almost always very high yield.

And I always try to pump before lunch and not after because (I feel) it buys me an additional 1 hr’s time to produce more milk for the evening pump.

Sterilizing
When I first started pumping in the office I steamed my equipment after every pump. It took me anything from 15 to 30mins to do that each time and if I pumped 3 times a day for 15 minutes, plus about 5 mins to prepare materials for pumping, I would spend 2hours and 30mins each working day to do the milk business. Obviously, it’s not going to be sustainable in the long run.

I learnt something that saved me a ton of time. And that is to store the pump equipment in the fridge after each pump. That way, there is no need to wash / sterilize each time! This was the turning point that helped me continue to pump milk in the office whilst holding a very demanding job.

So, I only need to wash and sterilize once at the end of the day before I go off.

Equipment
Breastpump. Use a dual pump that can be operated by plugging in or by battery. Dual pump saves you precious time and portability give you the option of pumping anywhere (even in toilets, which I do).

Ice Pack.
You can get the Fridge2Go but they are very expensive at $70-$80. So what I did was to go to Daiso and get this insulated lunch bag as well as 6 ice packs (I only need 5 each time, 1 on standby).

They work as well as the fridge to go for $14 as compared to $70-$80.

Microwave Steamer
I bought my First Choice (brand name) microwave steamer from Cold Storage for $7.80. This is for sterilizing your equipment, works just like a sterilizer.

Milk Bags

I use jungle jungle milk bags bought from Fabulous Mom. We first got them for abt RM6plus for 100 during a sale. The usual price is about RM6plus for 50.

Milk Bottles
I have a number of bottles in circulation. I use Jungle Jungle bottles which were also bought by Daddy from Fabulous Mom.

Pump equipment container
Also procured from Daiso for $2. It is tall enough to hold my pump parts and wide enough to accommodate 2 milk bottles. I need this so that I can fit all of them into the fridge.

Breastpump Holder
This was an old make up pouch I bought from Muji. An expensive one. The size looked sufficient to hold my pump + charger + spare battery + marker.

I tried to fit them in and hey hey…They all fit in!

Whilst this is not a necessity, I find it very useful to have everything in one place and not have to scramble to find each part of the breast pump before every pump. Chances are you’ll forget something and have to go back for it. Going back to the office to get something I forgot is time wasting for me since I pump in the executive toilet.

Pumping Location
I pump in the executive toilet out of no choice. Our meeting rooms have full length see through panels by the side and I ain’t got no room to pump.

I just take extra care with cleanliness in handling the pump equipment and sanitizing my hand before handling equipment or milk and so far, there as been no problems with the quality of milk I bring home.

This is where the pump equipment container comes into use now. I make sure the lid is sterilized as well and use it to hold my precious equipment so that I don’t need to touch any part of the toilet.

 
 

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4 Replies to “Expressing breastmilk at work”

  1. hi hi, i just start my breastfeeding journey and your blog really inspire me a lot.
    i m quite afraid to start expressing milk at work. because of having a high demand job, and also HOW am i going do it at work.

    anyway thanks again!

  2. Hello, Kylie!

    I was also unsure and afraid that it would reflect negatively on me at work. I went to speak with my boss and colleagues, it helped – at least they know what I will be doing and what times I will be doing it and that I am not less committed or responsible because of that, although I will take come time to express. I managed it by trial and error on what works and what doesn’t, good luck, hope you find your routine too! Jia you! <3
    Estella’s most recent post : Can you teach Chinese? | Language Power 蓝格子, 跑啊!My Profile

  3. Hi, today is my first day of work after maternity leave. I have pumped and stored some milk for him. But today, i pumped in office twice and have kept it in the company freezer. Freezer is not freezing that much. it is not yet completely frozen. Question, if i travel it back to home and it still has some small crystal ice, is it still good to put back in freezer at home? Your reply will really help me. Thanks a lot.

    1. Hello!

      Difficult question you’ve asked. Heres how I personally would treat the milk:

      If it did not freeze at all in your company’s freezer and is still in liquid form, plus, you managed to keep it cool with good ice packs until you get home, I would treat it as refrigerated fresh milk which can keep in the fridge for ideally no more than 72 hours. However if the milk was frozen solid when you left office and then becomes liquid with some small crystal ice, I would treat it as thawed milk, which cannot keep for more than 24 hours. In other words, if your company freezer doesn’t freeze well, you might as well keep it in the fridge then transfer it to the freezer right away when you get home.

      These are how I would treat the milk myself but I’m not a professional either, so when in doubt, its best to consult a reliable lactation consultant!

      Good luck!

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