Well, we survived our week in Vienna. Me, Reubs and the boobs.

Reuben with his passport waiting to board his first flight

I’ve got to say the breastfeeding element of my week at work was the easy bit. What I failed to prepare for was leaving my little fella for 5 long days! The first evening when I had to go meet my boss was heartbreaking as I had to leave him crying and it was all I could to do not to cry myself! Then the next day was really sad. It was a long day, and I was exhausted from trying to settle Reuben for hours on end in a bloody travel cot so when I finally left work with my aching feet (to say they felt like they had been chopped off at the ankle is an understatement), a newborn crying on the tram completely tipped me over the edge and I arrived back at the flat in floods of tears!

The gang of course were completely fine and by the end of the week, dare I say it, I was actually enjoying myself. I was working with some lovely people (the dream team was Yvonne, Rachael and I – they really kept me going, looked after me and were good fun), meeting old friends and colleagues (all of whom were told about Reuben – I was a single with no B side – I bet the other people on the stand dreaded those little words ‘so what have you been up to…?’), and feeling like a human again.

Me and Rachael, taken by Yvonne – my saving graces!

Having said that, I did spend the week pining to be back on the sofa with Reuben and one night I even got home after Ruben had gone to bed – what do you mean he doesn’t need me to put him to bed?!?

BUT we’re here to talk about boobies! Don’t get excited boys, they are no longer the fun bags you remember (in fact a friend of mine told me about having to call ‘it’ off the other day because she’d drenched her hubby in milk half way through – these are not sexy times, ladies), they are employed full time as milk machines, and here’s my breastfeeding tips during my week of being employed full time….

1. Your baby eats more than you think during the day – on the first day I only expressed once and as a result by the time I got home my boobs were literally as square as a milk carton because they were so full.

2. Don’t chance it – it took me a few days to get the expressing right and I mistakenly chanced it at the end of the day in the hope of feeding Reuben as soon as I got home. What really happened … I was completely drenched by the time I got home and Reuben had just had a bottle.

3. Express every 3 hours – it seems a bit excessive but I found that my boobs sent me a tingling signal and I would express about 3 oz (about 10 minutes per boob)

4. Find a fridge – Rachael hunted down a fridge for me as she hated the idea of me wasting the milk. This meant that apart from the first day, Reuben actually ended up not having much formula at all as I was bring about 9 oz back and expressing in the morning.

5. Don’t let people hug you too tight – it friggin’ kills!

6. Try and find a nicer room than the one I did – I got very intimate with the inside of the disabled toilet…

The salubrious surrounding that I was expressing in 3 times a day!

I actually took 2 types of expressers with me during the day, the Rhythm Electric Breast Pump Set and Breast Express Breast Pump both by Nuby. The electric pump comes with an attachment to make it a manual pump, which is what I took with me (although there is also an attachment for batteries so you can have a portable electric breast pump – I just couldn’t find batteries in my hurry to leave! One day I’ll plan and pack in advance…) because it is the easiest and most efficient way to express and as I was able to store the milk in a fridge, it has a much bigger capacity.

Breast Express Breast Pump

The Breast Express is a handbag sized pump, which came in handy when I was out and about, and needed to quickly express some milk off to avoid engorgement/soaking wet shirt syndrome! It’s significantly cheaper than any other pumps I’ve come across (less than £14), which is probably why new mums in America who have to go back to work (often much earlier than us lucky folk in the UK) apparently love these mini pumps…I recon it’ll come in handy at home too for little trips out like going to the gym or a night out… whenever that happens!

Working mum with the youngest ITS world congress delegates