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Pumping at work can be so daunting and can discourage a breastfeeding mother retuning to work, from continuing her and her baby’s breastfeeding journey. I’ve compiled a list of tips that helped me successfully breastfeed my first for 15 months, and currently my second, even after returning to work 12 weeks postpartum.

  1.  Go with the flow.

With my first, my baby’s caregiver always had formula as a back up.  It really took the pressure off me because some days I just didn’t pump enough or baby was really hungry.  The caregiver knew to always use the pumped milk before using formula.  And my baby had had formula prior to my return to work, so he was accustomed to it.

With my second I had to start using Dr. Brown bottles with preemie nipples to slow down how quickly my baby was gulping down the pumped milk. We also introduced a paci to pacify her while I was away.

So far I had not had to use formula with my second, sometimes I sneak in extra pumping sessions while I’m getting ready for work, which helped me increase my supply.

2. I recommend having a Medela Pump.

I have this one.  The book bag makes everything easily accessible. When I first retuned to work I was using a Lansinoh pump, after I switched to Medela, I was pumping more, and had a much easier time lugging everything around.

3. Consider pumping in the car.

I have a 30 minute commute, so pumping in the car is part of my pumping schedule, after I made the switch to the Medela pump.  I purchased their car adapter, and use this bra to remain hands free.  This nursing cover helped me cover up everything without interfering with my seatbelt.

  1. Use a small cooler.

I purchased this small cooler because it looked more like a lunch box than a cooler.  I kept it in the fridge at work, but it also kept everything cold on days that I kept it with me instead.

  1. Use the Medela Ice Pack.

I used this Medela Ice Pack.  I recommend having two of these in case you forget to refreeze it one day. It fits perfectly between the bottles, not taking up extra space.  It is also dishwasher safe!

  1. Use one set of pump parts a day.

You do not need new pump parts each time you pump during the day.  All you need to do is keep your pump parts cold.  My cooler had two pumping bottles, and two spare bottles in it each day.

  1. Pump into the bottles your baby uses.

Tip #7 is crucial because chilled breastmilk separates, and much of the fat will stick to its container once chilled. This didn’t work for me, and may not for you either, but there is a way around it. I was using a Medela pump, but my first baby used Lansinoh bottles, and my second uses Dr. Brown’s, with preemie nipples. Each day my cooler had two Medela bottles topped with the pumps parts, and three of the bottles my baby uses topped with caps like these.  On a typical day I would pump 12 ounces from three 30 minute pumping sessions.  I kept an extra capped bottle in my Medela book bag. After each pumping session, I would pour the milk into a bottle, and pray that I didn’t spill any. So far I haven’t spilled any milk, but I did knock over my coffee one time.

  1. Get a breastmilk friendly bottle warmer.

The Kiinde Kozii is a bottle warmer specifically made for warming breastmilk.  It can warm a bottle or breastmilk storage bag. Kind Kozii has great customer service too.  When I got it out of storage, for my second baby, I noticed that the knob was broken, they sent my a new knob, no questions asked, and it still works good as new!

  1. Work out the details before you go back to work.

Prior to returning to work I talked with my pricipal (I’m a teacher) about when and where I thought I could pump.  I pump 3 times a day, for 30 minutes at a time, in a small storage room, and in my car.  Neither are ideal locations, and I have been walked in on a few times.  I always keep my back to the door just to be safe, and in the car I cover up with this nursing cover. Ideally you need at least 20 minutes of pure pumping time, so try to arrange in additional time to get set up, etc.

  1. Keep you eyes on the prize.

Countless times I was beyond ready to throw in the towel.  Keeping up with all the bottles, being unavailable during my planning time, the awkward moments of being walked in on or lugging my supplies around, I was ready to give it all up. I would just remind myself that my goal was to nurse my baby for a year, and I did not want my job to get in the way of that. You can do it mama!

Thank you so much for reading my post! Do you have any pumping tips?


  1. aprillea99hotmailcom

    Good tips! I remember the days of pumping at work. I pumped in a closet at work with my second child. People were always knocking to get their coat or something else they needed. Not a very relaxing experience.

  2. kraveexpression

    I could not even imagine how difficult it must be to pump at work. Good for you for sticking to it. I’m so thankful I had a year off with my kids. Great Tips!!

  3. erynwhalenfitness

    You really nailed all problem areas for pumping at work! Several of these issues I wouldn’t have even thought how to combat. Thanks for letting us learn from your experience!

  4. thehouseturnedhome

    Pumping definitely comes with a whole set of challenges. These are some great tips on making it a little easier.

  5. Andy

    Thank you for these tips. Very helpful!

  6. Meme

    I’m also a teacher and it’s so hard to find time to pump! Thanks for the encouraging words!


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Hi, I'm Dana.  I'm a teacher by day, blogger by night, and a mom always.  I try not to take myself too seriously, and I'm not in the business of telling people what they want to hear.  Join me in balancing a career life, mom life, wife life, and staying true to yourself.  Thank you for visiting my blog.

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