Publish date: 31 July 2023

Kirsty shares how she’s able to express at work, for World Breastfeeding Week 2023

In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week 2023, one of our nurses, Kirsty Cajiao shares her journey on returning to work as a mother who breastfeeds.

She said: “Breastfeeding has never been easy for me with either of my children, but it has been especially challenging with my youngest.”

At 6 months old, Kirsty decided to wean her baby boy Henry from breastfeeding. However, she found out shortly after that he had cow’s milk protein allergy. CMPA/CMA is a common allergy where a baby’s immune system responds abnormally to the proteins found in cow’s milk.

This led to Kirsty deciding to continue feeding when returning to work.

“This was a necessity, as well as an anxiety-provoking reality. I was worried about where I would be able to express and how I’d find the time to. However, when I found out about the expressing room at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, I immediately felt easier about the thought of returning to work.

“On my first day back, I went to the expressing room at lunch time, and I was pleasantly surprised! It felt homely and was nicely decorated with a comfy chair and muted lighting. It was very relaxing and provided a nice escape to express.”

This space has allowed Kirsty to get back to doing what she loves, without having to worry about how she’ll feed her baby.

Kirsty is an acute pain nurse specialist, working in a small team which covers the whole of Northumbria. Her role involves seeing post-surgical and trauma patients to advise the best pain-relief options. She also looks after medical devices relating to pain and delivers training within the Trust.

“I love working closely with patients and seeing the real difference that early intervention can make. I’m happy that I’ve been able to return to work comfortably, and I’d encourage other mums returning to work to have a look at facilities available and discuss what support there is with their line manager. These rooms will hopefully allow working mums to continue breastfeeding.

“Having this type of space in the workplace is massive to me and has really helped to relieve the anxiety of returning to work while breastfeeding. Everyone who has had a baby and returned to work knows how stressful it can be, but this helped a lot. Thank you Northumbria!”

In addition to furnishing these rooms, the trusts’ Bright charity has also funded cool bags for all staff members going on maternity leave. The idea is that when they return to work, the bag can aid storage of the expressed milk in a cool and safe environment.

For more information and support regarding infant feeding please visit