It was the first time I needed to express at work yesterday. I was in a new office, doing training, with new people, and no one knows I’m breastfeeding and expressing. Why would they?
I thought my best bet would be at lunch, I didn’t need to express then, but was out early and back late and didn’t want to run the risk of engorgement later.
It starts with pins and needles for me, and gets very tight. It can come on quite quickly and is painful, and no one wants to play block duct Russian roulette.
If I knew of a quiet room to steal away, I would have, and no one would have been any wiser.
Unfortunately, I just didn’t know the building, and you literally needed a security pass to go to the toilet.
I therefore asked a nice girl on my training, if she knew of any private rooms, like a prayer room or first aid room, or one that just wasn’t all glass. Literally every one I could see were glass boxes. And while I couldn’t care less, I didn’t want to shock the natives, or get a fruity nick name.
She screwed up her face and looked bemused, ‘eerrrrmmmm…..what for?’
‘I’m breastfeeding and need to express and these glass offices aren’t very discrete’.
‘Oh oh oh, don’t worry, we will sort this’. Then we made some jokes about flashing boobies and I think I even made a ‘waahhaaay’ sound. Where that came from I don’t know. But her security pass wasn’t much better and we were stuck with glass all seeing cubes.
So I went to reception on the ground floor, as they must know, or could ask facilities. Man and women on reception, so head to women.
‘That’s a funny question, you’re right, no ones ever asked me that one.’
‘We have a large disabled loo, you could use’.
Did she just say that.
I smiled and said very politely. No I’m sorry I can’t use a toilet.
I think as soon as she’s said it, she wanted to take it back. Her face became completely animated and she picked up the phone.
I will get you a training room, I’ll ring my friend. She got me a pass to get in the training section and got her friend to meet me. Before I left she said, ‘I’m sorry I mentioned the loo, I know that’s no good for expressing’. Shaking her head, chastising herself.
So I got to the room, it had a lock on the door and a small glass panel, which you could view the whole room, but it was the last training room at the end of the corridor so no one was going to walk past or accidentally walk in.
‘Do you want me to cover up the glass with paper?’
I assured the receptionist’s friend it was fine and I’d just have my back to the door, no one would have a clue.
I got my kit out and I’d only gone and forgotten my ice blocks, they weren’t in my cool bag.
So a mad dash out again to Sainsbury’s and I’m back with frozen garden pea’s. Of course it was raining, so now I’m drenched, late, had no lunch and not even expressed. I was really excelling myself.
By this time my lunch was over and I had to go and ask the trainer for some more time. So I had to tell them too.
‘Oh god, take as much time as you need’. Phew.
So my learnings on expressing at work from today.
1. If I’m in a new building, ask reception / colleague / manager, as soon as you get there, and set something up for later, so your not stressing and wasting time later on. Plus you don’t then have to tell random people you don’t need to.
2. Remember all your expressing kit, put a reminder on your door, steering wheel etc, and avoid mad pea dashes.
3. If you do forget, improvise. I would have been so angry to pump and dump. So the frozen pea’s saved the liquid gold.
4. If you don’t get many breaks and want to eat and express at the same time, take snacks / a packed lunch. You’re not wasting time having to go out for food. A fruit flapjack and a banana saved me today.
5. People are nice and most are very understanding and will want to support you if you need help.
Does anyone have any more tips?
Le Leche League have some great advice on returning to work and expressing.