Working & Breastfeeding: 11 Smart Tips for Pumping Moms

Wendy Robinson | Jul 26, 2016 Baby
Working & Breastfeeding: 11 Smart Tips for Pumping Moms

breast milk in fridge
When both of my children were born, I was totally committed to trying to breastfeed for at least a year. And both times, I developed great nursing relationships with my babies and was a pumping champion ... until I went back to work. 

There was something about making the transition from maternity leave to work, and trying to pump in my office (complete with non-locking door!), that turned me from a productive pumper to a breastfeeding quitter.

I wish I'd been able to make a better go of breastfeeding and working. That seems to be a common anthem among moms, so I was curious to hear from women who were able to make it happen.

From tips to make pumping less of a pain to advice on keeping up milk supply, these totally doable ideas can help any working mom who wants to keep the breast milk flowing.


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  • Prep a Stockpile

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    "One thing that helped me was having started to pump breast milk weeks before I went back to work, so I had a decent stockpile in the freezer. It was nice not to feel like I always was worrying about milk for the next day. If I had a bad pumping session, it was comforting to know I had my stash. It also kept me from wanting to quit those times I only got one or two ounces at a session." -- Kristy P., Tucson, Arizona 

  • Get Two Pumps

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    "I have an office at my current job and that has made it easier. I pump in my office, and I keep the pump there. Now you can get a 'free' pump [with some health insurance plans], so I can have one at home and the one at work, which means less to transport." -- Erin K., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Get a Car Adapter

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    "I don't have a pumping space at my work, which stinks, but I make it work by using a car adapter and pumping in my car. I feel like I am racing the clock to get it done during my allotted time, but it's working for now." -- Stacey D., Toledo, Ohio

    More from CafeMom: 13 Genius Breastfeeding Hacks to Make Life as a Nursing Mom So Much Easier

  • Make Lunch Dates

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    "The best thing for me was that my work had an on-site child care center, so I could meet my baby for a 'lunch date' and have a nursing session." -- Holly M., Des Moines, Iowa

  • Nurse as Much as You Can When You're Together

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    "It wasn't particularly difficult for me. I would pump immediately after the first morning nursing session [to store extra milk]. I continued to nurse in the morning and at night until my kid was about 2.5 years old." -- Katrina R., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Ask for More Time Off or a Flexible Schedule

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    "Several factors helped: I went back to work when my son was 4 months old. I only went part-time, and I pumped mostly for comfort and to keep my supply up because the baby wouldn't take a bottle. I ended up just mixing the breast milk with his food after he turned 6 months and was eating solids." -- Leah M., Oakland, California

  • Schedule Pumping Sessions on Your Work Calendar

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    "I had access to a room with a locked door, fridge, and sink. It was 50 feet from my desk. I pumped until my baby weaned at 11 months. I also had the kind of job where I could just block off time on my calendar to pump and nobody questioned me." -- A'dell S., Dallas, Texas

  • Make Regular Pumping a Priority

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    "My best pumping strategy was having a good planner. I made my pumping sessions an appointment, just as important as any other meeting." -- Liz E., Grand Rapids, Michigan

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  • Enlist Help

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    "Pumping and breastfeeding take a lot of time. One thing that made it easier for me is that we made it my husband's job to be in charge of washing all my pumping supplies. At work, I'd bring enough pump parts to pump twice without having to wash them at work, and then I'd bring them home at night with the milk. His job was to wash them, bag the milk, and label it for the freezer. This is a team effort!" -- Elizabeth M., Ankeny, Iowa

  • Forget the Guilt

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    "What helped was a regular pumping schedule, no guilt about taking time to pump, and drinking lots of fluids. It also helped that I had access to [a] decent mother's room." -- Michaela A., Minneapolis, Minnesota

  • Have the Right Supplies

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    "A big thing for me was having a good pump and getting cups that actually fit my small breasts. I also made my peace early on with having nursing be a part of our daily routine. Formula was also a part of it, and I'm not ashamed of that." -- Diane L., Phoenix, Arizona

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