Monday 8 July 2019

My Breastfeeding Diary (Baby #3): Back to Work

*Warning: Detailed documentation of breastfeeding and its related terms ahead. Reader's discretion is advised; please do not read if you feel uncomfortable =)


Shortly after she turned one month old and fully breastfed by direct latch alone, I started to become worried about the amount of milk that I needed to prepare for her when I eventually go back to work.

I was entitled to 16 weeks maternity leave (thank you Singapore!) and it is compulsory to take the first 8 weeks consecutively, and the last 8 weeks according to your personal preferences (like annual leave).

I decided that I wanted to go back to work after 8 weeks of leave and then spread out the rest of my 8 weeks of maternity leave so that I only needed to work 3 days a week for about 5 months.

I had learnt my lesson the hard way with my boy, who didn't drink milk frozen for more than a month. I had to throw away bags and bags of my precious milk! This time, I was careful not to keep breast milk frozen for longer than a couple of weeks because I was sure littlest baby girl will not drink it.

In order to ensure freshness of the expressed milk, I decided to start pumping an extra 100-150ml of milk every day about 2 weeks before I was due to go back to work. By the time I returned to work, I had about six 180ml packets of milk for my baby.


At work, I used a Spectra pump that I had borrowed from my friend. I really like Spectra as the suction is very powerful and can empty my breasts quite adequately.

My friend's Spectra S1
I have always pumped anywhere when I had my boy and that's not going to change now that I have my girl! I find it so much easier to just pump at my desk πŸ˜‚
My daily output

I usually pump about 150-250ml per session. I tried to pump at least 4 times (i.e. every 2 hours) when I'm at work but, unsurprisingly, I haven't been successful! I suppose I was too ambitious! Now I try to achieve at least 3 sessions a day at work so that I can maintain my supply.

Pumping 3 times a day wasn't the problem for me; it's washing my pump 3 times a day that's the issue! I really don't enjoy washing the pump!

When I complained to my colleague, she suggested that I put the pump parts in the fridge so that I can re-use it and not have to wash after every session. That really helped to lighten the burden of washing for me!

I read about the usefulness of the Freemie online and bought it to try it for myself. Instead of the usual funnels, Freemie collection cups fit into your regular nursing bra and collects your milk so that you can go hands-free. Apparently you can even pump while walking and I decided to try it. Guess what? It works! πŸ˜„

Freemie collection cups

You can choose to buy Freemie's pump motor or you can use your existing motor. Freemie is compatible with motors such as the Spectra and Avent. Do check whether your pump motor is compatible before you buy!

Unfortunately for me, when my Freemie first arrived, I found a crack in barrier. I tried to get it replaced but the process took a reeeeeaaalllly LONG time!!

There was a crack in my barrier when it arrived. Don't forget to examine all your pump parts before you use!

After multiple emails and calls back and forth for 2 months, a representative from the distributor FINALLY called me and told me that she will deliver the barrier to my house! I was so happy to receive it so that I can finally use my Freemie!

I really like the Freemie as it is indeed very convenient. I connect the cups to the motor, put them in my bra and viola, I can do whatever I need to do with both my hands. It is especially useful when I need to pump while taking minutes during meetings! πŸ˜„

To help me to transport my pump and milk, I also bought a bag with a cooler compartment at the bottom.

Pump at the top, milk at the bottom
Cooler compartment to store milk

I have since upgraded to a bigger bag but still use this bag to store the pump motor.


While I was managing my pumping at work, the mum in law was trying very hard to feed the baby at home.

Unfortunately, no matter how we tried, the baby refused the bottle!

It was not the milk because she would reject all types of my expressed milk, no matter whether it was frozen or freshly expressed.

It was not the type of bottle teat or brand because we tried 3 types of bottle teats from different brands such as Avent, Pigeon and Dr Brown and yet she would reject them (I refused to waste money to buy more after that!). She would suck on them for the first day and then completely reject them the next day!

It was definitely not because I was hovering around and the baby could smell me because I was at work the whole time.

The mum-in-law tried letting her cry, hoping that she will eventually realise she had to suck it up and drink. I mean, as long as you are hungry enough, you'll eat anything right? Who would say no to a growling stomach? Most people would eventually give in, don't they?

Evidently, not my stubborn and determined littlest baby girl. The longest she had ever gone on a hunger strike, having drunk only 20ml the entire day, was 10 hours!

She wants what she wants and no amount of coaxing will do. It was a nightmare for my mum-in-law, who couldn't bear to hear her cries all day.

Finally we decided to try feeding her using a syringe, which was painfully slow and exhausting but seemed to work to get a little bit more milk in her system.

When she turned 4 months old and showed interest in food, the mum-in-law tried feeding milk with a silicone spoon to some success, it really depends on the baby's mood!!!! 😴

However, the baby will only drink expressed milk for at most 2 feeds in a day. If the mum-in-law tried to feed her with expressed milk again, the attempt will be met with screams of anger! πŸ˜’


I could tell my mum-in-law was almost at her breaking point and decided to give her a break by bringing the baby to office. I was hoping I could utilise my 'supermum powers' and take care of a baby while working a full time job.

Baby at work with her favourite person! πŸ˜„
Sleeping in her stroller at my cubicle

Although I managed to get work done while taking care of my baby (miraculously by God's grace!), it was physically and mentally exhausting! By the time I got home, both baby and I were so tired that we fell asleep earlier than usual and slept through the night!

If I can't take care of her for a whole day in office (especially not on days that I have meetings and/or trainings) and the mum-in-law can't take care of her for a whole day at home, the best compromise would be to split it between us (me half day, mum-in-law half day).

Usually this means that I will bring her to office in the morning, meet the mum-in-law for lunch and then she will bring the baby home (if I have meetings all day, she would bring the baby to me during lunch and go shopping till it is time for the baby's next feed). This arrangement has been very inconvenient for the mum-in-law logistically but has saved her a lot of frustration so she is happy with it so far. So thankful for a dedicated mum-in-law! ❤️

The littlest baby, on the other hand, LOVES going to work with me and meeting all my colleagues. She smiles at every single person she meets and wins their hearts! This is great because so far, no one has complained about her being in office!

So very grateful to understanding bosses and colleagues, who have had to endure the sudden cries of a baby every now and then but yet are always happy to see her in office! Colleagues have also volunteered to watch her while I finish my work. I really love my workplace! Very, very blessed! ♥️

Hopefully I won't have to bring her to work any more once she starts eating more solids when she turns 6 months old and can drink more milk via the silicone spoon. We're also crossing our fingers that she will suddenly drink from the bottle🀞🏻Until then, it looks like the baby is sticking to me for a while, everywhere that I go!

Thank God that I still have maternity leave left! I'm enjoying every minute with my very clingy baby while I still can!🀱πŸ₯°


This post is part of my series My Breastfeeding Diary, where I document the highs and lows of my breastfeeding journey. 

Past posts in My Breastfeeding Diary series:

Baby #2
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 1 Week
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 2 Weeks
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 3 Weeks
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 4 Weeks
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 2 Months
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 3 Months (Back to Work)
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 4 Months
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 5 Months
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 6 Months (Weaning)
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 8 Months
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 10 Months (Battling bronchitis)
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 12 Months
Breastfeeding Baby #2: 13 Months (End)

Baby #3
Breastfeeding Baby #3: The First Month
Breastfeeding Baby #3: Back to Work
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