Breastfeeding back to work?!

SalonGeek

Help Support SalonGeek:

Hairgurl

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Location
London
This is a personal and possibly sensitive topic and not intended to offend anyone:
I’m a pregnant self-employed salon hairdresser, intending on breastfeeding as long as I can (always have done, it will be a priority for me), eg. up to a year if possible. The issue is, I plan on going back to work way before that. My friend who breastfed is like “oh it’s fine they have to provide you a space to pump privately and they have to let you store it in the staff fridge”, but my salon is tiny with no extra rooms, we’re all self employed so as far as I know nobody is legally obligated to ‘provide’ me anything, and I don’t think storing my breastmilk along with everyone’s lunches would go down well at all, understandably. Any advice from anyone who breastfed? I can’t seem to find another hairdresser at all who ever did, I seem to be the only one of my colleagues and friends. I know I’ll be judged for this at work because no one else did it, but whatever. I just need to work out a plan!
 

CFBS

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2015
Messages
2,354
Reaction score
2,149
Location
Somerset
Surely the first issue is about taking a young baby into a salon environment? How are you going to make this work when attending to your clients in the salon?
Your colleagues cannot be expected to help out and also insurance implications?
 

Hairgurl

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Location
London
Surely the first issue is about taking a young baby into a salon environment? How are you going to make this work when attending to your clients in the salon?
Your colleagues cannot be expected to help out and also insurance implications?
I’m not going to have the baby in the salon! I’m referring to when someone goes back to work while still breastfeeding, they pump the milk with a machine about every 2 hours and store it somewhere cold, while someone else has the baby at home feeding them my expressed milk from a bottle. You have to express the milk throughout the day or your breasts become engorged. It’s standard practice in most workplaces apparently but doesn’t seem to have ever happened anywhere I’ve worked.
 

CFBS

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2015
Messages
2,354
Reaction score
2,149
Location
Somerset
I’m not going to have the baby in the salon! I’m referring to when someone goes back to work while still breastfeeding, they pump the milk with a machine about every 2 hours and store it somewhere cold, while someone else has the baby at home feeding them my expressed milk from a bottle. You have to express the milk throughout the day or your breasts become engorged. It’s standard practice in most workplaces apparently but doesn’t seem to have ever happened anywhere I’ve worked.
Sorry, I have misunderstood your original post.
 

TheDuchess

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2014
Messages
913
Reaction score
1,072
Location
Bath
I can’t comment on expressing milk at work as a hairdresser, but I have breast fed and I also supported my daughter when she returned to work whilst breastfeeding.

it does depend on when you return. It’s quite tricky to express meaningful amounts of milk in the early weeks when you are still learning - everyone is different, some women have no trouble at all from week one, others struggle. Best to plan for struggling and then you’ll be covered for all eventualities.

Your breasts can feel quite full, uncomfortable and sensitive when you’re new to feeding which could make hairdressing a more physically challenging job and taking time out to express milk when you’re already feeling uncomfortable isn’t as straightforward as nipping off for a “dump”.

By the time you get to 6 months you’ll have got everything sorted. Your baby will be starting on solids and easing off the bottle, so your milk production will stabilise and adapt to whatever routine works best for you. You might not even need to express milk at work, unless you work very long hours.

Assuming you return at 4 months, you might need to express twice during the day. And you might need around 30 minutes. You need to practise from the start, not wait until feeding is “established” (whatever that means). Ask for recommendations for a breast pump from a breast feeding support group, an electric one is pricey but worth it. I never found a manual pump worth bothering with and just expressed manually, swinging my boob out over the sink and aiming for a container.

You need to think about where you can go. A cafe with a breast feeding area maybe? (Boobs are more visible when you express, it’s harder/impossible to be discreet). You could enquire at local businesses, they may have somewhere you could use. You might feel a bit vulnerable in a car on your own.

My daughter used to pop into a toilet cubicle at work and it didn’t bother her. (There was a big fuss when she mentioned this casually because HR had slipped up in not setting up a space for her). You can use the toilet in your workplace, although you might want to avoid lunch time when lots of people want/need to go. In theory you could use your chair space at work, just bung a cape over yourself and you’ll be fine!

For chilling, don’t worry about what other people think, but bear in mind that the temperature in a tiny fridge isn’t that low. You just need an insulated lunch box, filled with frozen ice packs. You can pop a thermometer in for peace of mind if you wish. Pop your milk container inside your lunch box and no one will be the wiser. That’s what my daughter did, it was fine. You can buy small fridges, the technology varies, some can only chill to around 25 degrees below ambient temperature which isn’t much good in a heatwave.

You can get lots of advice from NCT and there are lots of Mum focussed online groups. Don’t worry about finding another hairdresser to advise you. Just talk to someone who has expressed milk at work. Oh and slightly off topic There was a hairdresser near me who took her tiny baby to work in a sling and just carried on working...

Good luck and let us know how you are from time to time
 

TheDuchess

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2014
Messages
913
Reaction score
1,072
Location
Bath
Just noticed your comment about pumping every 2 hours. That’s if you are separated from a newborn - say if you have a premie kept in NICU. US Mums are allowed to return to work shortly after giving birth. In the U.K. 2 weeks leave is the minimum (not sure about self employed).

You normally feed a baby every 4 hours (ish) so you need to express a feed sized amount no more frequently than 4 hours. You nurse your baby just before you go to work, then you’re good for 4 hours, you express lunch, then you go home and give your baby a feed. You keep a milk stash so that there is enough for a snack before you get home - you don’t want a contented and full, sleeping baby when you walk in the door, nor do you want a fractious, starving infant. You want to feed as much as possible yourself because you need the “demand” to maintain your supply.

You can very easily go longer than 4 hours without your breasts becoming engorged. If you are lucky enough to have lots of milk, you just express until you are comfortable which takes less than 15 minutes.
 

Hairgurl

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Location
London
Just noticed your comment about pumping every 2 hours. That’s if you are separated from a newborn - say if you have a premie kept in NICU. US Mums are allowed to return to work shortly after giving birth. In the U.K. 2 weeks leave is the minimum (not sure about self employed).

You normally feed a baby every 4 hours (ish) so you need to express a feed sized amount no more frequently than 4 hours. You nurse your baby just before you go to work, then you’re good for 4 hours, you express lunch, then you go home and give your baby a feed. You keep a milk stash so that there is enough for a snack before you get home - you don’t want a contented and full, sleeping baby when you walk in the door, nor do you want a fractious, starving infant. You want to feed as much as possible yourself because you need the “demand” to maintain your supply.

You can very easily go longer than 4 hours without your breasts becoming engorged. If you are lucky enough to have lots of milk, you just express until you are comfortable which takes less than 15 minutes.
Thank you very much for all that advice! I know my colleagues will all think I’m mad doing all this, as they were all basically pro-bottle anti-breast, but I have to get over that.
 

102020

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2015
Messages
9
Reaction score
7
This is a personal and possibly sensitive topic and not intended to offend anyone:
I’m a pregnant self-employed salon hairdresser, intending on breastfeeding as long as I can (always have done, it will be a priority for me), eg. up to a year if possible. The issue is, I plan on going back to work way before that. My friend who breastfed is like “oh it’s fine they have to provide you a space to pump privately and they have to let you store it in the staff fridge”, but my salon is tiny with no extra rooms, we’re all self employed so as far as I know nobody is legally obligated to ‘provide’ me anything, and I don’t think storing my breastmilk along with everyone’s lunches would go down well at all, understandably. Any advice from anyone who breastfed? I can’t seem to find another hairdresser at all who ever did, I seem to be the only one of my colleagues and friends. I know I’ll be judged for this at work because no one else did it, but whatever. I just need to work out a plan!
Good luck!! I did it 23 years ago in my salon staff room and stored it in the fridge is a separate bag. Can’t remember having any issues really just getting the timings right so not to scar my fellow workers😂😂
I managed for a year and my son is now a strapping 23 year old.. enjoying as it’s all part of life’s story
 

Hairgurl

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Location
London
That’s great news, thank you! I was hoping there would be someone here who had done it. That gives me a lot of hope.
 

Latest posts

Top