Tips for Pumping at Work
For most new moms the thought of leaving their new baby and heading back to work may bring on many different anxieties.
There’s the added pressure of having to figure out how to pump at work and continue breastfeeding, (when you probably just started to feel like you finally got the hang of nursing on demand).
You may also feel overwhelmed as to how you will juggle work matters along with making enough milk and holding onto your precious breastfeeding relationship.
If all of this is resonating with you, you’re in the right place, mama!
This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosures here.
You’re about to get some crucial tips on how to successfully transition to pumping at work, the rights you have to do so and so much more!
Before we get to the detailed pumping at work tips, you must first be aware of the PERFECT resource for your back to work pumping success!
This must-have back to work pumping resource is called, The Ulitimate Back to Work Pumping Class.
It’s a fantastic all-video online pumping course by Milkology that covers everything you need to know about transitioning back to work while breastfeeding, maintaining your milk supply, safe milk storage, getting your baby to take a bottle and so much more!
Wouldn’t it make you feel less stressed to be shown how to prepare for pumping at work, so you can confidently protect your milk supply?
Not to mention, make your first few days back without your baby less stressful by having this detail ironed out before hand.
Of course it would! You can enroll here.
7 Helpful Pumping at Work Tips
Let’s take a look at some of the most helpful back to work pumping tips that will help you pump like a boss and tackle this transition like a pro!
1. Prepare Your Boss
Before you head back to work with pump in tow and your pumping door sign, it may be a good idea to notify your boss of the extra curricular assignment you have been given by your beautiful new manager, I mean baby.
Because let’s just call it what it is, that sweet little baby is really the new boss around!
Preparing your boss ahead of time, will help them appreciate your situation more. As well as give them the ability to adapt what they need to in order to accommodate the breaks during which you are allowed to pump.
2. Know Your Pumping at Work Rights
Most importantly, you must know what your pumping rights are as a breastfeeding employee.① You may have a boss that is not up to date on this law and a friendly reminder may be appropriate from time to time.
Look below for the main points of interest for the “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law:
- Who it applies to: Hourly employees
- Space: You are required by law to have a space provided to you that is not a bathroom. This space must also be private where no one can see in. However, employers are not required to create a permanent space for breastfeeding employees.
- Time: Your employer must provide a reasonable amount of time for you to express your breast milk. They must provide an adequate amount of time that each individual uniquely needs, when they need it and the space to do so. Do note that the law does not require pumping breaks to be paid.
- Compliance: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is the responsible party for upholding employers to the “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law. You can call this toll free number for their assistance: 1-800-487-9243.
3. Bring a Fast Breast Pump and a Spare!
Even though there may be days you are grateful for the little “getaways” you are by law aloud to have, making the task run as efficiently as possible should still be the goal.
After all, your employer does have the right to not pay you when you take extra breaks to express your breast milk.➁
I recommend a pump like the BabyBuddha double electric portable pump for something quick, efficient and powerful. Use my partnered code LOVEOURLITTLES10 for 10% off at their website.
Another little tip is to leave an extra pump at the office for one less thing to think about on those busy and early mornings.
For a portable, compact and quiet pump, yet still powerful, the Genie Plus by Pumpables is another great way to go. Plus, using the link provided, you will get a 10% discount on your total purchase.
Another great resource I should mention before we go any further, is how to get a free breast pump through insurance. The process is super easy and it could save you mucho dinero!
I had a brand new hospital grade breast pump sent to my door and all of the breast milk storage bags I could house (mentioned in the next tip) all for free!
4. Pack and Organize Your Pump Bag Ahead of Time
You do not want to be stuck at work without your pumping supplies, that could lead to so many problems and a lot of stress!
Engorgment and clogged milk ducts are a real concern when going too long in-between pumping sessions. Not to mention, the hit your milk supply can start to take if too many pumping sessions are missed. Which is another big pumping mistake new moms sometimes make.
So, take extra care to keep your breast pump bag prepared and ready to go daily.
You can also refer to this separate post on how to pack your breast pump bag for work if you’d like to hop over and see that.
Below is a bulleted list of some essential items you will want to pack for pumping at work:
- Breast pump bag
- Breast pump
- Valves and membranes or duckbill valves (less parts).
- Extra tubing
- Coconut oil
- Milk storage bags like the Kiinde Twist System
- Paper towel
- Hands-free pumping bra
- Medela breastpump and accessories wipes
- Freezer Zip-Lock Bags
Check the links above for specific product recommendations and current pricing.
5. Pump in the Car on Your Way to Work
This is a great piece of advice for pumping and working moms. Using your commute to get in a pumping session will mean one less pumping session at work. And, as we learned earlier, your boss is not required to pay you for your pumping breaks.
Pumping in the car safely may take some logistics, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly!
If you want to make pumping in the car as simple as possible, just use a handsfree and wearable breast pump, like this affordable option.
6. Secure Safe Storage for Your Breast Milk
How horrific would it be to find that someone in the office has mistaken your liquid gold for coffee creamer!?
Yes, I have heard of this happing.
To avoid a traumatic scenario like this from happening to you, you will want to make sure you have a safe space for your breast milk to reside while you are working.
This could be in your Kiinde twist bags, with lid tightly secure and labeled in a designated fridge or freezer. If that is not provided, you may need to bring a cooler and store your breast milk in that.
You can even stay coordinated by matching your breast pump bag to your cooler by choosing your favorite Sarah Wells prints from her many amazing collections.
Another option is to bring a small lunch bag with a good ice pack to keep your breast milk in and keep near you by your desk, just to keep an extra close eye on it.
7. Store Parts in the Fridge Between Sessions
If you’re tight on a time crunch and don’t want to spend extra time washing parts after every pumping session, you can place them into a large zip-lock freezer bag and store in the fridge until the next pumping session.
Take note: I recommend only using this method one time to stay in accordance with the CDC’s guidelines on proper breast milk sanitation guidelines. (source)
Pssst… Still thinking about enrolling in Milkology’s Back to Work Pumping Class? Read this review to learn a little more!
8. Set Up Your Lactation Station
By law, an employer must provide a lactating mother with a suitable space to express her breast milk in. This space must be shielded from view of other employees and protected from public intrusion.➂
A bathroom is not considered a suitable space.
Setting up your pumping station at work to get it as comfortable as possible will help make the transition of pumping at work much easier.
Have your spot in the space ready to go with a seat and your supplies in place, if you can.
A pumping sign for work, is great to have displayed outside of your pumping room to detour employees from barging in on you.
7. Don’t Forget It!
Mom brain is a real thing!
Here are some pumping at work tips to help you remember your breast milk and supplies at the end of a long work day:
- Set a reminder on your phone.
- Put your purse, keys or phone in the room your breast milk is being stored in.
- Ask a co-worker to remind you.
- Place a sticky note on your computer.
Whatever it is you need to do in order to not forget your most valuable hard work of the day – do it!
8. Wear Your Pumping Bra to Work
Adapting to pumping at work is hard enough. You can however, make some small choices, such as wearing your pumping bra to work to help eliminate some of the hassle.
I would recommend you opt for a very comfortable and well-made pumping bra like these that Kindred Bravely has available on her website.
9. Wear Layers
Again, this tip promotes eliminating as much of the hassle for you as possible. So that, you can make pumping at work a seamless and stress free event.
Wearing layers to work, such as a tank under your blouse and a cardigan will help you save time when it’s time to pump!
No need for any change of clothes. Simple pull down your tank and pop in your pumping kit. If you’re wearing a cardigan, you can use it as a nursing cover. By the way, if you need any nursing covers – get them for almost FREE here with the code LOVEOURLITTLES.
10. Display Your Baby’s Photos
Chances are, you don’t need me to encourage you to bring photos of your baby to work with you. But, did you know – that looking at your baby while you pump will help you more easily achieve a let-down?
Some breast pump bags (like my favorite, Sarah Wells) even have a designated space just for your baby’s photo to go so you can view it while you pump.
11. Pump at Work Discreetly
How does pumping at your desk while working and making money sound? I’d say that’s profitable pumping right there! Who’s the cash cow now? Ok – I’ll stop.
But seriously, there are a couple of ways you can pump in public and at your desk discreetly, not hidden away in a room like some prisoner in solitary confinement.
The first option is to use something like Freemie Collection Cups and a mobile pump. This system will allow you to be completely hidden from view and pump handsfree.
If you do decide to go with the Genie Plus for this system, it is a quiet and portable pump that will get the job done beautifully.
You could also consider a small, but powerful portable pump like my personal favorite, the BabyBuddha, which I also have a discount code for to use at their website: LOVEOURLITTLES10 (use this link to shop).
The second option is to use an all-in-one concealer pump, like the Willow.
The Willow Pump is inserted directly into your bra and requires no additional pumping kit parts or pieces.
Not only will you be able to pump at work more often, but you may find that your milk supply increases because of these hands-free and concealable pumping options.
Pumping at Work Schedules
Transitioning from nursing on demand to keeping a breastfeeding and pumping schedule can feel daunting. Where do you even begin to know how to juggle all of that?
You may have questions like, when should you plan to breastfeed and how often do you need to pump at work? Feeling somewhat anxious about this new way of doing things is understandable.
As mentioned early on, the best way to get ahead of this is with the tailored help of The Ultimate Back to Work Pumping Class.
The course only takes 90 minutes to complete and you’ll feel so much more relaxed and ready to take on this back to work breastfeeding transition.
For your convenience, below you will find a table with three unique pumping at work schedules so you can get a better idea of how your new breastfeeding routine will look.
Pumping at Work Summary
Remember to prepare your boss ahead of time, so they can know how to work with you.
Bring an efficient breast pump, pack your pump bag ahead of time, secure safe storage for your breast milk, set up your pumping station and set reminders to bring your milk home.
I have all the confidence in the world that after you put these tips and tricks into your back to work pumping arsenal you will be a pumping like a boss your first day back!