How to create your pumping at work schedule.

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Returning to work as a nursing or pumping mom can be stressful. As a postpartum working mom, I walked out of the house every morning looking like a bag lady. I had my work bag, lunch bag, kids’ school bag, and breast pump bag. Then I’d arrive at work and realize I had forgotten my ice pack and the caps for my milk bottle.

So how do you keep supply up when working? How do you schedule my pumps to replace daytime feedings? Need a pumping at work schedule? Read on for two! 

Tips for returning to work while pumping

  • Stay on a schedule. A pump equals a feed, so every time you would feed your baby at home, you would pump breast milk while away. Missing pumps can decrease your supply and lead to plugged ducts which I was prone to.
  • Stay hydrated and eat well. Returning to work is notorious for making your milk drop, so make sure you drink plenty of water and lots of good calories. There are lots of bars, teas, and supplements to help boost your supply.
  • Get a good pump. There are hands free pumps now by Willow Pump and Elvie and battery-operated ones, so you don’t need a wall outlet.
  • Get a hands free pumping bra. Go ahead, spend the money and buy the bra. This saves time and frees up your hands to eat, type, scroll through IG and do all the essential things!
  • Make sure you have a safe place to store and transfer the milk you pumped.
  • You can start pumping before you go back to work to build up your freezer stash if you want. This is helpful incase you ever have to miss a session at work.
  • Make sure you have a comfortable set up and a private space to pump.

Feed baby 3x at home, pump 3x at work

Every time you pump, it equals one feed.

So if you feed your baby three times at home, you must pump three times during the day. However, when I returned to work after my first son, I was only given enough time to pump twice during the day (which was annoying, but that’s a story for another day).

So, since I could only pump twice at work (including once on my lunch break), I pumped once at 10 or 11 p.m. to get that third bottle. 

Pump in the car on your commute

If you’re in the same boat as me, you might find it helpful to pump in the car on the way to work or home. Just get a battery adapter for your vehicle. You can also do a session right after your morning feed or at the end of the night straight before you go to bed as an alternative.

Pumping at work schedule sample #1

Below is a sample pumping schedule. You can adjust these pumping sessions to your daily routine. Pumping at work is not break time – it’s hard work!

  • 5 a.m. – Wake up, pump or breastfeed
  • 7 a.m. – Pump or breastfeed
  • 9 a.m. – Pump 
  • 11:30 a.m. – Pump (pump on your lunch break if you can)
  • 2:30 p.m. – Pump
  • 6 p.m. – Night feeding (pump or breastfeed) 
  • 9:30 p.m. – Pump or breastfeed (if needed)
  • Express milk as desired/needed in the middle of the night (MOTN)

Pumping at work schedule sample #2

Below is another pumping schedule sample.

  • 6 a.m. – Wake up, pump or breastfeed
  • 8 a.m. – Pump or breastfeed
  • 10 a.m. – Pump 
  • 12:30 p.m. – Pump (pump on your lunch break if you can)
  • 3:30 p.m. – Pump
  • 7 p.m. – Night feeding (pump or breastfeed) 
  • 10:30 p.m. – Pump or breastfeed (if needed)
  • Express milk as desired/needed in the middle of the night (MOTN)

To help with supply, manage stress

You are juggling a lot now that you are transitioning back to work and having another human to care for. I used to put my pump on, put my phone down, and take some deep breaths while on my pumping breaks to help me relax and facilitate letdown. 

How do I keep my supply up?

Stress, schedule changes, insufficient water, and insufficient nutritious food can all affect your milk supply. So what should you do? Drink plenty of water and eat foods that can help your milk supply, like oatmeal and almonds. Boobie bars and lactation treats can also be helpful.

In addition, try turning your phone off when you’re pumping. Sometimes stress and staying connected can have negative impacts you aren’t even conscious of. So turn your phone off, take a couple of deep breaths and breathe!

To wean, cut out one pump a week

I introduce solids (mushy foods) around six months. After that, I slowly increase solid foods, so my baby is on mostly solids by the one-year mark, and getting 1-3 servings of breast milk a day until I poop out and stop nursing altogether! Then, I cut out one pump a week to cut out daytime feeds. So before, when I was pumping three times a day at work, I went down to two and knocked one out weekly.

You do you

Pumping breast milk at work is hard work! Some women return to work and pump their hearts out until their baby is a year and are glad they stayed the course. Others find it too exhausting, stressful, time-consuming, or just not their jam. Both are great options or anywhere in between, mommas! You are doing a fantastic job any way you decide, whether you are breastfeeding, pumping, formula feeding, or a combo! 

And remember, if you need extra help, more information, or advice from one of our therapists, we’re always here for you! Reach out for a virtual or in person appointment

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