Pumping at work is hard. I can’t say it enough. It is so worth it (as long as you and baby are happy), but man, it’s hard.
Unfortunately, for many of us moms, pumping gets especially complicated once you’re headed back to work.
You’re suddenly trying to manage a busy work schedule, a pumping schedule, and thinking about your baby, all without being stressed. Yikes.
Let me ease some of that stress by giving you four effective tips to pumping at work. You’ll be feeling better in no time and your breast milk output will thank you!
For everything you need to know about pumping – don’t miss my favorite pumping guide – the Pumping 101 ebook.
4 Tips to Pumping At Work
1. Workplace Pumping Policy
I’m crossing my fingers that your workplace already has one of these policies in place. If your workplace has a pumping/nursing room for you as well, I’m jumping for joy!
The law requires that workplaces allow moms reasonable time to pump throughout the day. Check out the National Conference of State Legislature’s website to find your state’s requirements and some really helpful addition resources like this Q&A on pumping rights at work.
I also created this infograph, with information from the United States Breastfeeding Committee, to help show how allowing pumping benefits your employer! Don’t be afraid to be a mom who’s pumping at work, you can be successful!
Now, if your workplace does not have a consistent room to pump in, don’t fret, I’ve got you covered! Through a grant, I was able to create several pumping bags for my workplace that could be used by mothers in any room, when a specific room was unavailable.
Pumping At Work “On The Go” Bag:
- Your Pump
- A Cooler Tote to save your stored milk. Your pump will usually come with one, but if not this one is cute and less obvious as a pump bag! It’s what I used for my workplace bags.
- A Nursing Cover if you want more coverage for those “just in case” moments (I like how versatile this one is!)
- A Temporary Lock – I would have loved to include these in our kits, but they did not meet our firecode. Make sure you look into your company policy.
- Hand sanitizer
- “Do Not Enter” Breastfeeding Sign – so easy to make yourself (check out my free printable and instructions)
Now that you’re in a room, and have all your equipment, it’s time for tip 2!
2. Keep Your Schedule
It’s so important that you keep your pump schedule while you’re pumping at work. What does this mean? It’s a pretty simple idea, but you need to be serious about it.
Don’t skip pumping sessions. If you end up skipping a pumping session for one reason or another, your milk supply will likely drop. Breastfeeding and pumping is based on supply and demand, if you are not creating the demand, your body will not make the milk supply needed.
Read more on the basics of breastfeeding supply and demand.
If you have a meeting around the same time you are schedule to pump, it’s okay to adjust your schedule by 30 minutes or so, but try not to cut out any sessions.
Most moms find it best to pump every 3 hours for 20 minutes. However, some moms may vary in this and need to pump more or less frequently.
It can be helpful to write down your schedule (I love this weekly whiteboard from Amazon) and block off time in your schedule each day to make sure you get your pumping in.
An example of my daily pump schedule while working an 8 hour shift was:
- 7am feed my baby
- 10am pump
- 1pm pump
- 4pm pump
- 7pm feed my baby
3. Drink Lots of Water and Get Your Calories!
Your body needs BOTH water and food to make your milk. Whether you’re pumping at work or at home, don’t forget about the important of your diet!
Yes, breast milk is a great calorie burner, but it also requires calories. Try to have some healthy breastfeeding snacks on hand to keep you full throughout the day – these can be a lifesaver to through in your desk or keep in your purse.
Drinking tons of water but not eating enough due to dieting can still cause your milk supply to dip. Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water daily.
If you’re looking for more great recipes and ways to keep your calorie intake under control the Postpartum Cure is an amazing program to check out. It has great, healthy meal plans made for breastfeeding moms and fitness programs to keep you in shape and feeling great.
If you were like me, you might love that big water mug you got from the hospital. If your hospital didn’t supply you with one (first, why not? They’re amazing!) – order one like this one. I love that it’s huge, keeps my water cold, and is pink! I recommend using it daily and refilling it throughout the day.
Pumping at work can cause many moms to feel stressed. If your day has been hectic and you’re an hour late to your pumping session, try your best to take some time and relax.
Try not to think about work.
Sit down with your pump and breathe.
You’re working hard to supply great nourishment to your little one, you’re doing great!
Listen to music, look at pictures of your little one (a great way to speed up/start your letdown), or just sit and think. Relaxation can cause your letdown to occur sooner and can also increase your milk supply.
Increasing Breast Milk at Work
As always if you become too stressed between work, your family, and pumping enough milk it’s okay to be done. You’ve done so great. The most important thing is a happy fed baby and mom, whether that’s through formula or breast milk.
Storing Breast Milk at Work
Breast milk storage can be another worry for working moms. Thankfully your milk will stay good in an insulated cooler all day long, just try to get it into the fridge or freezer as soon as you can. The Ultimate Breast Milk Storage Guidelines has some great information and easy rules to follow for storing your breast milk safely. This milk inventory log is super handy and helpful!
How to Pump at Work
All these tips should help guide you to successfully pump at work. If you’re still struggling contact your lactation consultant or physician to see if they have suggestions.
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