Looking moms who are pumping successfully at work

I'm preparing for when I have to return to work, and am just wondering if there are any moms who have success stories about pumping at work?

 The moms I have seen return to the workplace have all given up after a month or two of pumping on the job.  Ultimately they feel like they are away from their desk too much; they are afraid other coworkers resent them, etc.

Is anyone out there doing this well, and if so, what are some of your tricks?  How do you get things done quickly?  What pumps are you using?  What is your nursing schedule like?  Are you taking shorter lunches/coming in early or anything to offset the time you spend away from your desk?

I really want to be able to nurse for at least 6 months after I return to work, but I have yet to meet someone who has done so successfully.  Can you help?

Also, I was curious about day care - do they normally let you provide bottles of breastmilk for your baby to have throughout the day?


Re: Looking moms who are pumping successfully at work

  • Well I recently stopped pumping at work b/c we are weaning gradually, but it worked out VERY well for me for over a year.

    It took me about 25 min each time & I pumped 2 times daily while at work.  I pumped around 11am & 3:30pm daily.  It would vary slightly depending on if I started feeling engorged sooner/later.  I did not adjust my work schedule because I pumped.  I am legally allowed to do it and I know the ins & outs of the law.

    I could really care less if others resented me honestly.  I was feeding my baby & that was the most important thing to me.  I worked diligently while at my desk & did my job well so it didn't impact my work or anything.

    I use an Ameda Purely Yours pump.  It has worked well for me.  I purchased a second set of flages so I didn't have to clean at work.  This was for my own convenience.  I brought each set to work in a separate tupperware contained my pump bag.  I found this to be efficient.  I also often ate my lunch while I was pumping or at least a snack.  I don't frequently take my full lunch break (or a lunch break at all).  This was true even before I had the baby though.

    Daycare absolutely will feed your baby pumped milk.  You just bring how ever many bottles your baby needs daily all set up for them.  Also, you can bring a frozen bag of milk to keep there in case your baby needs more or one spills or something. 

    You can absolutely make this work.  The biggest piece of advice I can give you is that you MUST be fully 100% committed to making it work for it to work.  If you start to skip pumping sessions b/c you get busy at work your supply will be negatively impacted.  Good luck!  You can do it!

    Edit: Also, I pumped before I left for work after I BF my baby & also right before I went to bed after I BF her to sleep.  This allowed me to have a robust freezer supply.  I ultimately ended up donating that b/c I didn't even need it, but it was nice to have it on hand in case I ended up needing it. 

    Edit: I also recommend the Simple Wishes pumping bustier.  It makes pumping hands-free. 

    BFP#2 12/6/11, EDD 8/13/12. Missed M/C found at 13w4d, HB gone. D&C 2/13/12. Lilypie Second Birthday tickers Daisypath Anniversary Years Ticker
  • I took off 12 weeks then went back part time for a a month or 2 then fulltime.  My son has never had formula.  I work while I pump most of the time and usually work through lunch.  If you work through lunch, it is important to occasionally give yourself a lunch break, so you don't get burnt out.

    daycare will take your breastmilk and sometimes keep an emergency frozen stash for you, too...try to pick a daycare nearby that allows you to BF during your lunch hour...this can be your "break" and help keep your supply up, too. 

    It is a lot of work, so you will need your husband on board.  Part of why I have been so successful is that my husband literally does EVERYTHING related to pumping besides pumping!  He washes everything & even packs my pump back while I'm getting ready for work.  We found out that buying extra "cones" was necessary, so we could just leave the dirty set at home and have a clean one to take to work.  Just assume you will be so sleep deprived you won't want to deal with it.

    DS born 8/2010 - preliminary stages of SN int'l adoption - fur mama to 2 shelter dogs;  cloth diapering, babywearing, EBFing mama

  • I pumped when I worked part time for 3 months and then 3 more months of full time work. I stopped when DD was 11 months because her milk intake went down and she is just nursing morning and evening now. It is a commitment yes, but doable. If you cross post over at Attachment parenting you will get a lot of success stories, people there have been good about both advice and encouragement.

    I can recommend the Ameda Purely Yours pump (it is a closed system so you can even buy one used opposite Medela). It is the most powerful pump I have tried and it has good adjustments for suction and speed. Also cheeper than the similar ones from Medela. It is 'one handed' by design where Medela's are two handed except for the Freestyle.


    Single mom of DD (2010), TTC #2 since June 2013.
    Occasionally I'm blogging about my life with flybaby.
  • I exclusively breastfed until DD was 5.5 months old and have since only given her breastmilk and baby food--no formula. I've been back to work since she was 7 weeks, and I've pumped at work the whole time.

    I don't know what kind of work you do, but for me, it's much more important that I get everything done than it is for me to be at my desk every minute. I need to make sure I schedule pumping around any important meetings, but other than that, I don't give much thought to whether or not my co-workers resent it (though, I don't think they do).

    I work from 8-5 with an hour-long lunch, and I pump two or three times during the day. Pumping usually only takes 10-15 minutes, and until a recent move, I could pump in my office because I had a door. I'm temporarily in a cubicle, so I have to walk pretty far to a "pumping room," but it still only takes like 20-25 minutes. I generally pump once around 10 or 11, once over lunch (around 12 or 1) and sometimes again in the afternoon (around 2 or 3). But that schedule varies a lot depending on what's going on in the day.

    As for ways to make it quicker, I have the pump parts ready to go and keep them in a cooler so I don't need to take them apart or clean them in between pumping sessions. I use the Medela PISA with Playtex drop-in adapters, and I use a sports bra with holes cut in it so that I can have my hands free. When I pumped at my desk, I still answered emails and worked on projects while pumping. Now that I'm in the cubicle, I can take something with me if I have a document to read, but usually I play on my phone or read a book.

    Good luck! You can do it! It's not always easy, but if it's important to you, don't worry about what your co-workers think. This is a brief time in your child's life, and you are more than just an employee--you have to balance all of the roles in your life.

  • We are at 11 months. I have had 8 weeks off for summer, but I'm going to be pumping when I return in a few weeks. You can do it - just make it a priority.

    I started off pumping 3/day, but moved to 2/day about 7 months in. I pump every 2.5/3 hours - 4 hours max. I use the Medela Pump in Style, with a PumpEase bra so that I can work or drive while pumping (I have a coupon for it in my blog - link in siggy).

    I pumped at my desk with the door closed, or in locked classrooms or conference rooms (I'm a school psych), or in my car. I saved time by putting the pump parts in a ziplock bag in a cooler, reusing throughout the day, and sterilizing at night. You can skip rinsing between sessions during the day if you keep the parts cold. I pumped whenever I needed to, but almost always used the time productively - driving, writing reports, checking email, even eating lunch, etc. So, I wasn't coming in early or staying late due to the pumping.

    For day care - you normally send in what you pump the next day (and Friday's milk goes to day care on Monday). Don't let your dcp feed your LO too fast - that can make them eat too much. This is a pain for you because: 1. It's hard to keep up with in terms of supply, and 2. The baby may get pissy at night when he/she has to work a little to nurse. Encourage the dcp to hold the bottle horizontally and slow down.

    My advice is to identify a support system. get to know a local LC. Get in touch with your local LLL. Go to a meeting. Having a support system in place really makes all the difference when things get tough. Feel free to email me through the blog if you need anything. GL! You can do it! Lilypie First Birthday tickers
  • I pumped successfully at work for about 10 months (from my return to work until LO was almost a year old).  The most important thing that I did was schedule specific pumping times and put it on my calendar so that people knew I would be away from my desk at those times.  I pumped at 8:30, noon and 3:30.  I work in a very flexible environment and we are only required to be there during "core hours" from 9-3, so one of those sessions was before the beginning of core hours, one was during lunch and one was after core hours.  I had to work 40 hours a week and those were not working hours, so my day was an hour longer every day to make up for that time.

    I never cleaned any parts while I was at work to cut down on time.  I brought 3 sets of parts with me and used a new set for each session and then washed them all at night.  I also tried to wear clothing required minimal undressing to pump. I pumped using the Medela Freestyle.

    I did provide bottles of breast milk for daycare. Most daycares are going to be very familiar with handling breast milk

    An awesome book about pumping at work (and other tales of the working mom) is Milk Memos.  It's basically a collection of journal entries from moms pumping at IBM.  Not really a how to or anything but it's humorous and has stories from lots of different kinds of working moms.


    ~Working Mom~Breastfeeding Mom~Cloth Diapering Mom~BLW Mom~

    Blog - No Longer on the DL ~ The Man Cave
    Shawn and Larissa
    LO #1 - Took 2 years and 2 IVFs ~ DX - severe MFI mild PCOS homozygous MTHFR (a1298c)
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  • I have only been back to work for a month, but I have had no problems pumping at work since I got back.  I pump at 9:30 or 10:00 and again at 3:00.  LO is with my Sister-in-law while I'm at work and I get to stop by her house to feed him over lunch.  I was using a PISA for the first two weeks, and I hated setting it up every time I had to pump.  For the last two weeks I've been using a manual pump.  I can pump just as much and though I have to pump longer, with the time I'm saving setting it up, it's about the same. 

    You might be lucky and get coworkers like I have.  They all know what I'm doing when my office door is closed, and they're very supportive.  My supervisor was moving his office last week and left his computer in my office.  I was pumping when he needed his computer back, so he waited outside my office until I was finished, then jokingly accused me of holding the computer hostage.


    Chase was born 4/23/2011
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  • Is anyone out there doing this well, and if so, what are some of your tricks?  How do you get things done quickly?  I do not wash my pump parts after each use, just when I get home at night.  Instead, I put the parts in a ziploc bag and refrigerate with the BM bottles.  This saves me a lot of time!  What pumps are you using?  I use the Medela Pump in Style Advanced--you will need a double sided pump -this helps cut down on time, too.   What is your nursing schedule like?  I am pumping at work every 3 hours (9 am, 12 noon and 3 pm at 15 minutes a piece) Are you taking shorter lunches/coming in early or anything to offset the time you spend away from your desk?  I have always have worked 8 am-4 pm, and no I am not coming in early or anything, just eating my lunch at my desk after my 12 noon pump session so I am not abusing my time.

    I really want to be able to nurse for at least 6 months after I return to work, but I have yet to meet someone who has done so successfully.  Can you help? YOU CAN ABSOLUTELY DO IT!  When I started BFing, I gave myself 2 months tops.  I am almost 6 months in and am still pumping/EBFing at home and things are working out great. I don't plan on stopping until his 1st birthday.  Just be sure to keep up with your pump sessions, keep them short but regular and you will be fine.  Drink lots of water and be sure to have lots of snacks at your desk so you remember to keep your calories up.  Good luck, you can do it :) 

    Also, I was curious about day care - do they normally let you provide bottles of breastmilk for your baby to have throughout the day?Yep!  You just have to label them, I believe.  My MIL is watching my son so I am not too familiar with DC rules, but I just leave my MIL the bottles in the order I'd like them used.  She feeds him every 2-3 hours and I portion out his bottles the night before.  I use the milk I pumped the previous day, and on Mondays I use frozen BM to keep my stash circulating (I freeze the Friday milk).

     Please let me know if you need any help!

    Diagnosed PCOS & MFI-Success with IUI
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

  • Let me start by saying I'm an ICU nurse and work two 12 hour days a week, so my situation is a little different. 

    My pump is the medela PISA. I got it from the hospital since LO had latch issues in the beginning, so it was covered by insurance (I had bought the new medela freestyle-but returned it since I didn't open it and the medela PISA was free).

    The simple wishes is the best hands bra-I have a medela one, but it is so lousy compared to the simple wishes. Much better fit for better pumping with the simple wishes.

    I try to pump 3 times at work (sometimes only 2 depending on how sick my patient is and if there is a nurse available to cover me for 20  minutes). I use the lactation room in my hospital. I have 3 sets of pumping supplies. I put them together at home, each set in a ziplock freezer bag (I think the two gallon size). That way I am connected and don't have to waste the extra two minutes putting stuff together, contaminating it if I drop it on the floor, etc.

    I feed DS between 530 am and 615 am (whenever he wakes-if he is still asleep at 615, I dream feed him) then I pump the other side and leave for work at 645 am. At work I try to pump between 930-10, 130 and 2, 430 to 6. That way I pump every 3-4 hours. He definately eats more at home, but it is the best I can do. Sometimes I miss that last pump session, but if I do, I shower when I get home, nurse DS, then pump the other side (since I have more built up because I missed the later afternoon pump). I am usually home from work by 8pm and nursing him by 815-820.

    Sometimes I eat lunch while I pump (so a hands free bra is essential), but I don't have a lunch "break," like union hospital nurses or the business world, so I can't comment on cutting your lunch, but my theory is that most people have at least an hour of down time in their day (maybe 30 mins for lunch and 15 mins in the morning and afternoon), so I figure I should at least have that amount of time to pump.  

    I've only been pumping for about 2.5 months, but it is working so far and I plan on doing it until he is a year. I don't use daycare so I can't comment on that. GL!

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Well, DD is only 7.5 weeks at this point, but I've been pumping at work since 4 wk pp. I pump in our breakroom. Our office is only 4 people, so I don't really inconvieance anyone's "break". I try to nurse DD as soon as I leave home, even if I've nursed 1-2 hrs before. I call it "topping her off". Then, once I get to work I pump at 10:30 am, 2 pm, and try to get home by 5:30-6 pm to pick up with nursing again. If DD doesn't need to nurse when I get home, I pump.

    I've noticed that even if it's not her time to nurse, she still wants to nurse when I get home. I think it's comfort nursing mostly.

    Back to pumping at work... It usually takes me about 20 minutes on average per pumping session. I have a Madela PISA. I don't worry too much about how much time it takes me or what my coworkers think. My boss gave me the "ok" to pump during my pregnancy, and it's actually the law for your employer to allow you to pump (companies w/ 50+ employees).

    I'm not coming in early or working through breaks/lunches.

    6 months is my goal as well. GL!!
  • image _Amanda_:
    and it's actually the law for your employer to allow you to pump (companies w/ 50+ employees).

    I'm not coming in early or working through breaks/lunches.

    6 months is my goal as well. GL!!
    Yes, it's the law to allow you to pump but they DO NOT have to pay you for it! The average person should expect to adjust their schedule. It is unreasonable to expect that you can work less than coworkers just because you are pumping. That's the attitude that makes coworkers resentful. As a soon to be pumping employee, I know that I have to account for my time, and would not be ok with a coworker who didn't.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • I've been pumping at work for 5 months and it's going great.  I am truly blessed to have such an understanding employer.  I pump on my way in to work (7:30 AM), at 11 AM for 15 minutes, and at 2 PM for 15 minutes.  I am provided a private and locked office.  Sometimes, I'm productive and I work while pumping since I have access to a computer, wifi, etc.  Other times, I watch streaming Netflix on my iPod or read a book.  My employer has never expected me to use my lunch time to pump.  Like I said, truly truly blessed.  I work with a bunch of nurses so they expect me to breastfeed and want to facilitate that in any way possible.  I understand and sympathize with many others though that do not have this sort of support system; pumping at work can be a real challenge.  You DO have rights though and your employer has to respect them.  Please consider hanging in there for the long-haul.  Some days, I really just don't want to go pump but I think of my baby and how much of a sacrifice I am giving for her and it fills me with renewed purpose.  Good luck!
  • Oh yeah, I use the Hygiea Enriche pump and LOVE it.  It's a free-standing pump so I have just a simple black messenger bag.  In my bag I have the following items:

    1.) Collection bottles for the day with travel lids (I use Dr. Brown)

    2.) Kindle

    3.) Hands free rubber band do-hickies (check out Kellymom)

    4.) burp rag for wiping up and spills

    5.) Medela microwave steam sterilization bag

    6.) Lansinoh freezer bags for Fridays (I freeze on Fridays and rotate my freezer stock on Monday)

    **  I also bought an extra set of accessories for my pump (flange, valve, tubing, etc.) and keep it in my car just in case.  I've had to use it a couple times when I lost a valve and my tubing melted was screwed up.  Super handy. **

    A streamlining tip that I use too (from my lactation consultant) is that after I first pump, I dump all the milk into a separate collection bottle for storage.  Then, I put my flanges and collection bottles into a plastic bag and throw that in my cooler bag and into the fridge.  As per my lactation consultant (and verified by pediatrician), I use those flanges TWO MORE TIMES before I have to wash them.  Just use them, dump the milk into a clean storage bottle, and put back in the fridge when done.  This keeps any bacteria growth to an absolute minimum and you aren't washing your flanges and stuff every time.  Saved me about 30 minutes total! 

  • Thank you all so much for your suggestions - it is such a relief to me to hear that so many of you are doing this successfully!  I feel so much better now, and will use all of your suggestions.  Thanks again!
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