Tips for Pumping At Work {part one}

Brandy & I are both in the throws of new mom-hood & one of the joys that comes with being a nursing working mother is having to pump at work. Brandy shared her pumping tips earlier this year & just recently noted the makings of a great at work nursing room. I thought it would be perfect time for me to share my tips for pumping at work as I’m just now two months in.

First, some background…I went back to work full-time when my babies were seventeen weeks old. Along with my purse & lunch bag, my breast pump came to work with me. We’d been friends since the babies were hours old thanks to them being born six weeks early & then in the NICU. I used a hospital grade pump at the hospital, the NICU & then rented one from a local LC at home for the first three months. I pumped after each nursing session 24/7 for the first couple of months building up my supply & frozen stash. {I have enough supply easily for two babies & QUITE the frozen stash built up.}

Now on to my tips:

  • The ultimate dream scenario is to have two pumps. A few weeks before going back to work, I purchased a Medela Freestyle. I’ve discussed Symphony versus Freestyle, so I won’t go into that here. But the Freestyle is very easily mobile to go back & forth with me daily. A couple of weeks ago, a coworker who’d just stopped pumping left her Pump in Style at work for me. It’s been fabulous to have a dedicated ‘at work’ pump & an ‘at home’ pump.
  • Have spare pump parts. The Freestyle & Pump in Style use different parts. Luckily, I have 2 sets of both which saves me from frantically wash either nightly. I pack & carry the clean parts in a ziplock bag to & from work in the pump bag.
  • While you’re pregnant or before you return to work, check to see if your office has a dedicated pumping room. I work at a large enough company that we have a dedicated ‘nursing mothers’ room’ hooked up with a comfy recliner, a table with a clock radio & a mini fridge. I believe the Affordable Care Act {ACA} of 2010* helped push my workplace into giving us pumping mothers’ a special room versus an old closet. If you’re office doesn’t, then you’ll want to look into a nursing cover &/or car pump adapter.
  • Try to plan to pump on your break times. It helps keep your coworkers happier. So does bringing in donuts. The ACA also grants workers the right to reasonable break time to pump. Instead of the usual morning & afternoon chat breaks with my coworkers, I use that time to pump. I also take a shorter lunch & will pump then too. 
  • Keep on your baby’s schedule. That’ll make the transition back from pumping to nursing simpler. My typical schedule is that I nurse the babies around 730a before daycare drop off. They tend to eat at daycare at 10a, 1p & 4p so I try to stick to close to those times with my pumping. This allows me to keep my supply up & make enough for the next day’s bottles {I produce thirty plus ounces a day in three sessions}.
  • You can mix like temperature milk from the same day or two. So if you have six ounces bagged, warm & six ounces refrigerated, store them both in the fridge until they’re the same temperature then you can make three, four ounce bottles. Once I’m home at night, I’ll divvy up the bagged milk into the babies’ bottles that way they’re ready for the next day.

I’ve realized I have a lot to share in regards to pumping at work. Stay tuned for more tips to come soon! Do you have any tips to add to my list?

*Check out National Partnership.org for more breastfeeding workplace information.

13 Comments

  • HeatherK says:

    I have two major timesavers that worked for me. The first was to refrigerate my pump parts, that way I didn’t have to wash them throughout the day at work. I just threw them in the sink with bottles when I got home. Also … after I had my first I had my own office with a lock, and in the beginning I just put on a hands-free bra and tried to work and pump at the same time. But I found that I was pumping way more at home than at work. When I was relaxed and taking a break or reading a magazine during pumping: I pumped almost double and had TWO let downs each session. I ditched the work-n-pump sessions for a little relaxation and was able to pump WAY more. I didn’t use a single drop of formula for my son and breastfed 14 months. My second was another story: low supply from the get go.

    • Suz says:

      I want to HUG whoever told me that pump parts were fine refrigerated. I keep mine in the work fridge all day too.

      I kinda wish my office aka cube had a door, but I have to say it is noce to get away from the work for a bit & pump. I haven’t had a supply issue & agree that being able to relax is key.
      Suz recently posted..Pumping at Work {Liberating Working Moms}My Profile
      Twitter: suzstreats

  • molly says:

    Great tips! I so remember being a working, pumping mom. It ain’t easy!
    molly recently posted..My BoysMy Profile
    Twitter: adayinmollywood

  • I’d pick a pump that is easy for you to clean. I just got whatever my insurance would help pay for (ameda), and it turned out to be really easy to clean (everything but the valves went in the dishwasher). We got a single Medela electric number at the hospital and it wasn’t as easy to clean for me. I also put together a baby photos flip-book to help with a let-down and it was great. As a way to relax while “getting something done” I also listened to an audio book while pumping.
    Ms. Future PharmD recently posted..The coolest class I’ve taken yet in a whole lot of years of collegeMy Profile
    Twitter: MomPharmD

  • Megan W says:

    Thanks for the tips! I’m already looking forward to part 2. I start back to work after Thanksgiving so I have a feeling this site will be a lifesaver.
    Megan W recently posted..Ava: 2 MonthsMy Profile

  • Emily says:

    It was briefly touched on in the comments, but I’d love to know more about cleaning the parts. What is really required? How often do you wash them and how do you wash them (dishwasher, steam bag, handwash, etc.)?

    • Suzanne says:

      I refrigerate parts in between uses during the day. We hand wash pump parts & the day’s daycare bottles in the evening. I have both the dishwasher container & the microstream bags but haven’t used either. I do keep the medela wipes in my pump bag & have used them a time or two at work. Hope this helps!
      Twitter: suzstreats

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