Developing a Pumping Routine at Work

October 18, 2011
Developing a Pumping Routine at Work

We understand that going back to work can be one of the most challenging times for a breastfeeding mom. It puts incredible demands on your time and, more importantly, cuts into your precious cuddle time with your little one. So, we’re happy to provide you with these tips to make the transition back to work as easy as possible.

  • Understand the rights of working mothers. Employers are required to provide a reasonable break for nursing mothers to pump at work. That means a mother must be offered a place, other than a bathroom, to pump as often as she needs during the first year of life.
  • Talk to your employer in advance about pumping at work. Being open with your employer about your plans will help to make the transition easier.
  • Reach out to other mothers in your office for support and advice. Each workplace is different, so it can be helpful to hear how other moms have successfully pumped in that environment. Also, their encouragement can help make the transition back to work easier.
  • Bring photos of your little one to work. Some moms even choose to bring clothing with their baby’s smell or a recording of their baby’s coos. All of these items can put you at ease and help with milk let down while pumping. Also, pumping helps increase and maintain milk production while you are away from your little one.
  • Try to pump as often as you would breastfeed. Pumping every 2 to 3 hours is ideal. Although, many working moms find that, realistically, they take a morning, lunch and afternoon pumping break.
  • Breastfeed before and after work. This will help ensure your baby spends as much time as possible at breast. Also, frequent breastfeeding or pumping sessions can help maintain breastmilk supply.
  • Encourage caregivers to feed your baby no later than an hour before you return home. Then you’ll know your baby will be ready for a feeding as soon as you’re done with work. Again, this will help to facilitate bonding with your little one at breast.
  • Pump hands-free. Depending on your job, you can continue to work while you pump, if you use a hands free pump like the Medela Freestyle or the Easy Expression Bustier. Talk about multi-tasking!
  • Develop a storage plan. The Medela Freestyle and Pump In Style Advanced breastpumps both come with a cooler pack that holds four breastmilk bottles and provides up to 12 hours cooling time.
  • Use nursing bra pads if necessary. There are comfortable options that prevent embarrassing marks on work clothes.

Working moms, do you have any more tips to add? Please share them in the comments below.

20 thoughts on “Developing a Pumping Routine at Work

  1. I am a full time working mom and its really hard to pump and work and keep the milk flowing. My milk supply has decresed ever since I went back to work! I pump as many times as I can!

  2. I am working full time and breastfeeding (10 successful months so far!). Some other tips that I would add is to remember to hydrate, have snacks often, avoid excessive caffein, and to Pump for no less than 15 minutes per session.

  3. I’m a new teacher, but I’m planning on subbing this school year to care for my 11 wk old. I haven’t gone back yet, but I’m concerned that unless I have a prep hour, I will only be able to pump every 4 hours. Does anyone who works in schools have experience with this? Thank you!

  4. I started back at work and the first week and my milk supply went down. I started taking milk thistle and I started producing more little by little.

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