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Exclusive Pumping,  Parenting

Pumping At Work: Everything You Need To Know!

Leaving your little one to return to your job is not an easy thing, especially if that means you will be pumping at work. Whether or not you’re excited to go have some much-needed adult interaction or are tearfully dreading the return, if you’re a breastfeeding mom, it can be complicated!

Not only are you worrying about finding the perfect daycare, and trying to figure out when you’ll have time to shower and sleep, you’ve got to figure out how to maintain your supply by pumping at work!

Now I’ll admit, I was never a breastfeeding mom, and my little ones are off the boob juice.  But I was a long-term exclusive pumper that had to make the return to the workforce.

Below I’ll share, all of my favorite necessities, tips on how I managed, and a cute door sign to hang up when you’re in business!

 

Pumping At Work Necessities

A Great Pump Bag

A Cooler Bag

A Hands-Free Bra

Medela Wipes

Spare Flanges/tubes/parts

A Portable Pump

Storage Bottles

Understanding Coworkers

 

 

Pumping At Work Tips

Inform HR Of Your Plans

Before going back I highly recommend letting HR or your boss know your plans to pump at work. You are legally protected and they must provide you with a designated room with a lock.  Do Not Pump In A Bathroom!

This is where I failed first.  I didn’t let them know my plans.  Turns out there wasn’t a single lock other than the bathrooms in my entire office, and I worked with mostly men.  I had to use empty offices when they were available and sometimes sit in my car.  I eventually was walked in on by a male coworker so I decided it was time to speak up. In retrospect, I should have at least hung a sign, so I made an adorable one for you below!

There are now locks on every door and they cleared out a corner in the storage room for me and set up a rocking chair and table. My output was so much better when I could relax and not worry about who was going to come busting in.

 

Breastmilk Cooler

I had planned on buying one of those nice Medela coolers but my local Target didn’t have it in stock.  I ended up getting a one from Amazon and a few ice blocks and they exceeded my expectations. The top storage area was the perfect size to fit my flanges and the bottom part had enough room for two ice packs and a few bottles.  I then packed it all up and stored it in the office fridge.

Pumping at work made some of my office mates uncomfortable so it was a nice way to keep everything cool without shoving it in my coworkers face or grossing them out when I set it next to their lunch.  ( I obviously don’t think it’s gross but I try to be respectful, especially to my childless male coworkers :P)

 

Washing Pump Parts

I did not wash anything at work. Stay with me here!

I brought a quart ziplock bag, my flanges, two bottles to pump into, and one large one for storage.  If you’ve got a larger supply you may need more storage bottles.  When I was done the flanges went in the baggie and then into the top of the cooler.  The milk was dumped into the storage bottle and then all of the bottles with lids go in the top part with the ice packs. I zipped it up and it all went into the fridge until the next pump session. Every night everything got sterilized in the dishwasher while I slept.  If you don’t have extra parts, check out Maymom, their spare parts are very affordable!

Long story short, as long as you are keeping your parts cold with ice or refrigeration, you do not have to wash after every pump.  Save that hassle for home!

Pump Bag

I’d like to write and say that I bought a fancy Nurse Purse, but I just wasn’t able to justify it.  I actually used my old Vera Bradley diaper bag from my first son.  It was large enough to carry my pump, hands-free bra (If you don’t own one buy one!), some snacks and my wallet.  I gave up on a purse a long time ago. Lesson being, find a great pump bag!

 

Set A Pump Schedule

I was able to pump at work 3 times a day.  I tried to keep it a set schedule so they knew what to expect and could schedule meetings and customers around that.  Typically I pumped at 9-12-3 for 30-40 minutes. I brought my laptop with me on my 9 & 3.  Unless I was meeting my husband for lunch I typically would grab something and come back and eat while I pumped.  I did my best to get completely empty each time without spending too much time away from my desk.

 

Add A Night Pump Session For Low Supply

I’m not an over supplier.  I’m a just enough-er.  I pump 9 oz at work and he eats approx 12.  This means I pumped at night whether or not he woke up to eat.  It’s the time I produced the most and it carried me through the day.  If you are struggling to keep up with the demands of your little one I suggest some evening power pumping sessions and adding a middle of the night pump back in.

 

Freezer Stash

I would highly recommend starting your freezer stash in the early days when you’re engorged.  This saved me a lot of heartaches.  On the days I wasn’t able to keep up I didn’t stress, I just went to the freezer and thawed out a few ounces.  Had I only had a small stash when I went back to work I would have been constantly stressing about running out which is counterproductive when the goal was to relax.

Pumping At Work Door Sign

Pumping In Progress

Click Above for PDF Download!

 

So there you have it! The tried and true tips that helped me pump at work for six months as an exclusive pumper and a full-time working mom.

I hope these help!  If you are struggling with pumping, whether it be the products you are using or techniques, have a look at my other pumping related posts, they may just help you out!

15 Must-Have Items For Exclusive Pumping

10 Tips To Pump Breastmilk For Your Preemie

Ultimate Guide: Exclusive Pumping

5 Comments

  • Racheal

    Great article with helpful advice! I am a stay at home mom but if I had decided to go back to work while i was breastfeeding these would have been a great tips to help me to incorporate pumping into my work life. Thank you so much for doing your part to normalize breastfeeding! And the pumping sign is too cute!

  • Angel

    Love the sign! These are some wonderful tips. I am done breastfeed for now until we have another baby but I will definitely keep these tips in mind and refer back to them.

  • Charissa at The Wild, Wild West

    These are great tips for pumping at work!
    I had to pump with all three of my boys, and, while the experience itself was a nightmare, the tips you provide will definitely help a mama who finds herself in that situation. I especially agree about the not washing at work – it’s too much of a hassle and not worth it. I also put everything in a bag and just dealt with it all at once each night.

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