Pumping at Work

Your workday schedule was booked solid before your took
maternity leave, so how will you fit pumping into your
day and still manage to get your job done? With a little
planning on your part and cooperation from your employer,
you’ll be able to work pumping sessions into your daily
routine without having work pile up on your desk.

plan it!

Discuss your pumping plan

with your employer before you go on maternity leave. Have answers prepared the following questions before meeting with your boss or supervisor.

  • How long will you be pumping at work?
  • How much time will you need each day to pump?
  • Do you have an efficient pump?
  • Where do you plan to pump?
  • Will you need a place to store expressed milk?

If your boss seems to be resistant about your pumping at work reassure him or her that pumping will not affect the quality of your work and that you will be able to work your schedule around meetings and presentations. It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with your state laws that pertain to nursing mothers at work just in case you need to use them to support your plan.

Purchase a good quality pump

and begin pumping at least 2 weeks prior to returning to work. A double electric pump can really save valuable time during the day since it will allow you to pump both breasts at the same time.

Since a mother’s milk supply is well-established 4 weeks after her baby’s birth, it is best to delay your return to work until your baby is at least 4 weeks old if you plan to pump.

Set a pumping schedule

and stick to it. It is generally recommended that you should express milk every 3 or 4 hours during the time that you are apart from your baby.

Sample Pumping Schedule for Full-time Working Mom

7:00 AM Nurse Baby before going to work.
8:00 AM Start Work
10:30 AM First Pumping Session
2:00 PM Second Pumping Session
5:00 PM Off Work
5:30 PM Nurse Baby after picking up from daycare.

Although it is important to have a pumping plan in place before returning to work, your plan should be flexible enough to allow you to easily make changes when unexpected factors like client meetings and business trips are presented.

Dress appropriately for pumping

Two piece outfits with lightweight tops that can be pulled up from the bottom or buttoned down work well for pumping. In addition, any nursing tops or dresses that allow you to breastfeed discreetly can be worn for easy pumping access.

Be sure to wear absorbent, cotton nursing pads in your bra to soak up any leaks and bring extras with you in case you need to change them out during the day. Wearing printed tops rather than solids can help to camouflage stains from milk leaks.

With a pumping plan, the right equipment and the support of your employer you can successfully pump breastmilk for your baby after your return to work. You may even be able to help your employer develop a Corporate Lactation Program to make pumping easier for moms in the future.

Return to: Pumping at the Workplace

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