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Pumping at work

  1. #1
    premama is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Pumping at work


    I am planning on continuing to breastfeed my baby after I return to work. Ideally, my aim is to pump at least 2-3 times a day to keep my supply up, although I know this may prove difficult depending on work load.

    I have the following questions for other working mothers who pump at work:

    1. what is the best pump to use? I am currently using the Avent manual pump but have read other threads which seem to suggest that a double pump/hospital grade pump is more efficient and quick. Is it worth renting those Medela hospital grade pump from Celki?

    2. How do you sterilise the equipment if you need to pump more than once?

    3. How do you store your milk whilst at work? In those plastic milk storage bags for freezing or in the bottles in which you pump?

    4. How do you transport milk from work to home? My travelling time is about 30 mins on the MTR so I'm assuming I can just carry them in my bag and refrigerate as soon as I get home.


  2. #2
    plumtree is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Hong Kong

    Hi There are quite a few other threads here about pumping at work but my quick answers below
    1. I use a Medela double pump (Pump in style), bought second hand. I actually have another second hand one at work so I don't have to carry them around. Personally, I didn't get anywhere with a manual pump, and can express in under 10 minutes with the Medela, but then everyone is different.

    2. I don't sterilise all the time (2 sets of horns, just wash well and sterilise at home), but if I do sterilise, I use a container of water and Milton tablets. It's one tablet to 5 litres of water, so I use a half tablet and some tap water in a 2.5l plastic container. Cold sterilising is effective and I just keep the container on my desk.

    3+4. I bring a frozen freezer block (those small blue ones) to work in a freezer bag. The bag goes into the fridge at work and I pump (into bottles) and place them in the bag. The freezer block defrosts slowly in the day, but should be enough to keep things cool for your journey home.

    Lastly: good luck in your efforts!

  3. #3
    starbucks2 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Hong Kong

    On 1. it depends on where at work you will be able to pump. The only place I could do it is in the bathroom so couldn't have a plug in pump (went through the batteries too fast). I used a Tommee Tippee handpump at work and left my Medela Swing at home.

    On 2. because I couldn't pump in a separate room which was clean feeling (could only use the bathroom), I never kept any of the milk I expressed at work and only pumped to keep up supply. As a result, I never sterilised any of the pump parts and threw away the milk afterwards. I pumped one side at 7am (and baby feed on the other) so that meant I had one extra expressed feed for while I was at work.

    In general, I had my baby on a feed structure of 7am, 11am, 3pm, 630pm, 10.30pm (dream feed) by the time I went back at 12 weeks so I only pumped at 11am and 3pm at work. I managed to work and still breastfeed until my baby was 11 months old (but I had dropped the 11am breastfeed/pump by about 8 months).

    Good luck, it is not easy but if it is important to you then you can make it work.

  4. #4
    FutureHKmom is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    I went back to work when my son was 4 months old, pumped until he was 8 months old and have just been weaning him these past two weeks (he's 11 months old now). Pumping at work was always such a pain!!!! I wasn't a very good pumper myself.....but perseverence is the key I think!

    1. I used the Avent single electric pump and it worked well for me. After awhile, the electric motor broke though and while it was getting fixed, I used the manual pump, which I think actually ended up working better! Depending on where you pump at work, I would think that setting up a large double pump (not sure what the hostpial grade ones look like) and having to clean more pump parts would be a pain. I pumped in a conference room without windows usually but needed to be as quick as possible since I had limited time. Each pumping session took about 20-30 minutes for me.

    2. I actually didn't sterilize. I asked around and what I ended up doing was rinsing the equipment in boiling water and then keeping it in a clean container in the fridge between pumps. I would bring home the parts to sterilize at nights. But I only pumped twice at work during the day and had an extra set of pump parts and had extra bottles to hold the pumped milk when pumping so I just had to rinse one part of the pump that I didn't have an extra part for and store that part in the fridge.

    3. I stored the milk in bottles that I pumped into and also in plastic milk storage bags depending on what I had available. I then put the bag or the bottle in a bag (not clear plastic but colored so people can't see inside) and stored it in the fridge in my work pantry. I made sure to label it with my name so others wouldn't take it!

    4. It takes me around 30 min to get home too. I bought ice packs and just packed the milk in a small freezer bag with the ice packs. It wasn't really a problem even in the heat of the summer.

    Good luck!!

    Last edited by FutureHKmom; 02-21-2010 at 10:51 AM.

  5. #5
    Jo Bowd is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Beacon Hill, Kowloon.

    1. I bought a 2nd hand Medela "Pump in Style". I never got any significant results with the Avent hand-pump or manually expressing.

    2. Bought all pumping equipment into work sterilised, in a large sterile tuppleware type container. Then in between pumping used cold water method with Milton sterilising tablets. I think I bought them in Bumps to Babes or Mothercare.

    3. Stored in Medela milk storage bottles, in the fridge. I found the milk bags too much hassle.

    4. Pump in Style has a insulated compartment, where I used 2 or 3 mini blue freezer packs alongside milk bottles. When I got home the milk often felt colder than when stored in the fridge at home.

    La Leche League used to have a working Mum's email group that offered on-going support, via email. Have a look at their site, as that can be really useful support to have as a back-up.

  6. #6
    Portia is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Hong Kong

    1. I used the Medela Pump in Style Advanced the first time around. This time I have also bought a Medela Freestyle which is lighter than the Pump in Style. I will leave one pump at work and one pump at home so I don't have to lug it around.

    2. I bring two sets of horns and bottles and simply take the used ones home to wash and sterilise.

    3. I store the milk in the bottles in the bag that comes with the pump in the office fridge.

    4. Should be no problem to carry the milk home in 30 mins. My pump came with a ice pack.

  7. #7
    Koan is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007

    I just hung up the horns last month, after pumping at work for 21mnths.

    1. I used the Medela Freestyle. It served me very well. I never had to buy any replacement parts, the battery charge lasted a couple of weeks at a time. It is light and easy to set up.

    2. In the early days I was pumping 3-4x a day. I didn't sterilise the pump parts in between pumping sessions. I put them in an airtight lunchbox and put the box in the fridge. Then I washed the parts in very hot soapy water at home. I very rarely sterilised my pump parts.

    3. I stored my milk in the pump bottles in the fridge.

    4. I just carried them in the little insulated bag that came with the pump. The bottles were cold from being in the fridge at work, and my travel time is only 20mins. On days that I was out of the office, I used a blue gel freezer pack.

  8. #8
    Sheilamay is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Hi looks like you've got some great tips from the mothers above, so I won't add any more details. Just to let you know tho', that La Leche League Hong Kong has a working mothers email group, where you can chat to other working mothers, raise your concerns, get tips. It could be an additional support for you. You can join by going to the home page and clicking on a button near the bottom. LLL-HK Home Page

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