Headed back to work soon? Or maybe you’re already back, and struggling? Here are tips and tricks to make pumping and working easier!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click a link and purchase something, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I love! More information here.
1. Have an extra set of pump parts at work for when you forget them
There is nothing worse than the sinking feeling of getting to work and realizing that your breast shields are on your bottle drying rack at home instead of in your pump bag. Or that you forgot to bring bottles to pump into.
Having a backup of everything you need to pump at your office gives you both peace of mind and the convenience of not having to run home when you realize something’s missing.
Try keeping extras of the following at work (or in your car, if you drive to work):
- Breast shields
- Pump parts (connector, valve, etc.)
- Bottles to pump into (with caps to store the milk)
- An extra power cord or battery pack
- Anything else you use regularly to pump (breast pads, breast milk freezer bags, etc.)
2. Wash your pump parts once
Getting in pumping breaks can already be challenging, and washing pump parts can make each of those breaks 5-10 minutes longer.
The CDC recommends washing pump parts after each use.
One way to do that without taking too much extra time is to bring as any many sets of pump parts at work as you have pumping sessions. Then you can wash them all in one batch, which will be much easier than doing it after every session.
Another option is putting your pump parts in a zip-top plastic bag or wet dry bag (like the Pumparoo)and putting them in the fridge between pumping sessions. The CDC doesn’t endorse this, but does describe how best to do it on their website.
If neither of these will work for you, you can wash after each use.
3. Stick to your pumping at work schedule, but be flexible
That sounds like contradictory advice, I know, but hear me out.
Say that you pump three times during the work day, at 9am, 12pm, and 3pm, each for 20 minutes. Then you find out that your boss has scheduled you to attend a meeting at noon, and you can’t miss it.
What do you do? Go to your meeting, but then you make sure that you get 20 minutes of pumping either before or after the meeting. As long as you get the same amount of minutes that you normally get, you should be okay.
In short, do what you need to do to get your job done, but get your pumping sessions in around it!
Not sure how often you should pump at work? More on pumping at work schedules here.
4. Have a strategy for “sneaking” in pumping sessions
If you have a job that makes pumping inconvenient (like teachers, servers, and flight attendants), it can be really difficult to stick to a schedule at work.
And even if you normally are able to pump at work without issues, sometimes situations (maybe you have a job interview, or have to travel) can come up that make it difficult to pump when you need to.
One way to handle this is to come up with a strategy to “sneak” in a quick pumping session.
For example, you can keep a small manual pump in your bag (like this one), run to the lactation room or restroom for five minutes, and pump as much as you can. (This one works well if you have a long day of interviews, or if you only get short breaks from work.)
5. Make friends with other pumping moms
If there are other lactating moms at your workplace, making friends with them can make your life a lot easier.
For example, when a meeting pops up, you may need to shift your schedule for the lactation room around. Or they might be able to loan you a breast milk bag in a pinch.
6. Consider getting a second pump to leave at work
Packing your pump up and hauling it to work every day on top of everything else you might need (laptop bag, purse, daycare bag) is time-consuming and is just one more thing that you have to juggle as a working mom.
If you’re exclusively pumping or if you’re nursing and use your pump at home as well, having one pump for home and one for work can make life a lot easier – especially if you don’t drive to work and you commute via mass transit, biking, or walking.
If you can, see if you can buy a second pump to leave at work. The high price point of good breast pumps can make this challenging, but there are some lower cost options that might work.
7. Try not to stress out about the amount of milk you pump
I know this is easier said than done, but do the best you can.
You might find it helpful to cover the bottles while you pump so you can’t see them and stress out. Some moms wear a nursing cover while they pump, or you can cover the bottles with baby socks so you can’t see your output.
Remember, your worth isn’t measured in ounces, and you are doing a great job.
What are your best tips for pumping and working? Share them below in the comments!
Nervous about pumping at work? Want help building your freezer stash, creating a packing checklist, and putting together a pumping schedule? Check out my Ultimate Pumping at Work Workbook here! Use EPUMP30 for 30% off.