I had fears of being hit by a car and bystanders going through my bag searching for my phone, only to see two bottles of breast milk, ice packs and a breast pump. Just imagine their puzzled faces!
Going back to work after having a baby is hard. You worry because you’ve left your baby in the care of someone else. You struggle in the mornings to get yourself and your baby organised to get out the door on a schedule.
For me, my commute to work is one of my few rides a week. I love my 40 km round trip commute.
I’m also breastfeeding, which means I need to express the ‘missed feeds’ while I’m at work. At the moment, this is about 1-2 expressing sessions at work. So, along with my spare bike tube, levers and bike pump I need to pack in my commuting backpack a:
- Cooler bag.
- Breast pump.
- Power cable for pump (or batteries).
- Ice packs.
- Baby bottles.
- Breast pads (in case of leakage if you get stuck in a meeting and can’t get out to express!)
- Cloth for spillages (trust me, spilled breast milk will make you cry and you’ll want something to clean it up with).
To fit all this in I need a bigger bag than my usual commuting bag. I still need to fit my work clothes in there too! (or drop them off at work on the weekend).
As you can imagine it’s a fairly big back pack and it’s lots to remember to pack in the morning after a sleepless night. On the way home from work I have one or two filled bottles of milk packed with ice to keep them cool. When I get home they go into the fridge and baby gets them the next day, or I freeze them if I’m not working the next very next day.
I use both an Avent manual pump or an electric Medela, which is pictured.
The manual one is good as it’s quieter and you don’t need a power point. You can spark a lot of suspicion in the workplace with a noisy electric pump.
I wasn’t going to stop breastfeeding in order to commute and I wasn’t going to stop commuting in order to breastfeed. Now I just carry an extra large bag on my back while riding, and have that fear of being hit by a car and not being able to explain to bystanders that it’s breast milk in my bag!