Pumping on the Job

February 8, 2018

Balancing work and the desire to continue breastfeeding can be a challenge. If you live in a state that has pro-breastfeeding laws in place and requires employers make allowances and provide support for nursing moms, consider yourself lucky.

The two most important things to determine when pumping at your work place – the Where and the When.

The When:

  • Get on a schedule and pump before your breasts get full. Try to pump the same number of times you have been breastfeeding at home. This is typically every 2-3 hours for babies under six months and 3-4 hours for those older than six months.
  • Do you best to utilize breaks and your lunch hour to accommodate your pumping. Be sure to speak with your employer ahead of time, so expectations are set up front.
  • If you have a double-sided electric pump, the time away should take around 20-30 minutes including set-up and clean up.

The Where:

  • Hopefully, there is already a designated space for breastfeeding mothers — not the bathroom. If there is no pre-appointed spot, look for somewhere both private and comfortable.
  • Make sure the space you use has a door that locks. As a last resort, hang out a sign alerting your coworkers.
  • Have a conversation with either your boss or HR to hammer out the details so there are no misunderstandings.

We recommended you have the following 5 items on hand:

  1. Your breast pump and accessories – a double-electric breast pump works best
  2. An anti-bacterial soap and 2 soft cloths for washing and drying
  3. A cooler with ice packs for milk storage, if there is no refrigerator available in your office
  4. Comfort items such as a photo of baby and water to hydrate
  5. Breast pads in case of leakage

Don’t forget, a nursing bra and nursing top or dress can help make pumping at work a more pleasant experience.


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