Been There, Pumped There. Pumping moms’ tips on returning to work

breastfeeding nursing room at san jose international airport

Nursing Room at San Jose International Airport

Questions about pumping at work? We asked moms on our Facebook page for some tips on pumping at work and here’s what they had to say:

-At first I felt bad about taking breaks to pump, then I thought if I were with my baby and she were hungry, would I stop to feed her? The answer was always YES! — Sheena

-Get a hands-free pumping bra & Lansinoh Therapearls. Record your baby crying/latching/nursing & play it back to stimulate letdown. — Kittie

-Bring a sterilized spill proof dish with lid to store milk bags in. I had a few bags leak in my lunchbox and lost the whole day’s milk….also if you pump a lot you can keep the pieces cold and go 2-3 sessions before cleaning everything (usually once at lunch and again at the end of the day). It really helps supply to nurse when dropping the baby off with care providers, at lunch and then stick around daycare when you arrive to nurse before heading home. I asked my sitter not to give bottles within 30-45min of my arrival. — Brittany

-You don’t have to sit there on the programmed let down setting, once your milk lets down, push the button to go to the more powerful setting. As soon the flow wanes, push the letdown button again to get another let down and more milk. This process plus the massage, squeeze, shake and finishing with a bit of hand expression shortened my pumping time and doubled what I pumped. — Kat

-Hands free and pump both sides at the same time! When I first went back with #1, I was taking three 45-minute breaks a day! Got it down to 15-20 minutes once I figured things out!  — Jenn

-Definitely learn to hand express. You never know when you’ll forget a pump part at home. — Wendy

-To rotate my freezer stash. I had copious milk in the first 6-7mos and so built a freezer stash without needing it. But then by 10-11 months my pump output dropped and the milk I pumped at 4mos wasn’t usable. — Shelli

-Distraction during pumping…getting on Facebook, playing a game on phone, reading a book, etc. helped increase output…wasn’t spending the whole time stressed looking at the bottle. — Colette

-As a manager, I wish I would have said no to employees and customers more instead of delaying when I would pump. — Melanie

-If your employers can’t support your pumping, they probably don’t support family first and every gritty morning from no sleep or day off to take a little one to the doctor will be an issue. Even if those times are few and far between. Take it as a sign to look elsewhere. –Jessica

-Funny you post this today!! Today it’s my first day back at work! Trying to survive!! –Elizabeth

-I learned about 3 months in that I had the right to a non-bathroom pumping area. That is a big deal! And also hands-free pumping bra helps so you can pump with help from your hands too. –Amy

-If you can before you go back- set up a lockable private NON bathroom pumping area- I got walked in for over a week in every FLIPPING place I could find- I have 2 weeks before babe turns one & I’m SO done- it has been the hardest experience of my BF relationship- I hate my pump & have had to work really hard to keep going- I love my boy more so I do…. –Rebecca

-That it’s not the end of the world if you don’t pump enough. I stressed way too much about this. Having to supplement with formula is not the end of the world or the end of breastfeeding. –Christen

-I’ve been walked in on 2x. I actually just bought some milk it signs. Well see if that helps. –Angela

-A low quality pump can make your supply go down. If you’re going to use it every day, invest in a hospital rental or a really good brand/model. I started with a cheap pump and it took me a really long time to get my supply back up. –Dani

-Do not panic! Pumping at work is different than pumping at home and it might take a little time to get used to it and let down well there. –Ashley

-Set up a pumping space when you get to work so you don’t have to set it all up when it’s time to pump. –Julie

-I bought extra sets of “pump parts” and packaged them in Ziploc bags. I had to use every precious minute of my breaks expressing milk, and it was a huge time saver. I could shove the used parts in the designated “dirty” bag, shove my milk in the fridge, and run. At my next break I had clean parts set up and ready to go. I could do a collective dish washing session at home and reuse my Ziploc bags. -Tonya

-I carried a manual pump and clean bottles with me to reduce the stress of getting back to my electric pump during busy times. The bathroom or car are not ideal but better than missing a session. Also hands free nursing bra is must have. –Jen

Do you have other tips to share with moms? Add them in the comments below!

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One Response to “Been There, Pumped There. Pumping moms’ tips on returning to work”

  1. Susan March 30, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    I just got an oxo travel brush and case. Case opens into a drying rack! Means my parts aren’t sitting on a counter somewhere and no one is using my scrub brush. Also getting a pumping nursing bra combo from the Dairy Fairy, but in the mean time it is easier and more effective for me to pit on my hands free bustier (I think mine is simple wishes) than it is for me to strap on my freestyle.

    I also got spare parts, so if one breaks, I am not sitting there having to do one breast at a time. (Also have hand pump -just on case!). I work 12 hr shifts with NO defined breaks, so I have little margin for problems.

    ,the other day, I forgot the bottles to pump into, so I scotch taped the lanai oh bag onto the pump! Worked fine.