Pumping Tips For the Working Mom

Walking with Sarah Wells Bag

Before Aiden came along, a breast pump was not something I ever thought about, never mind considered using. Now, almost nine months later, I sort of feel like a pumping expert. Of course, I’m not, but I have learned a lot along the way about what it means to be a pumping mom. Here are some pumping tips and tricks for success.

There is nothing easy about being a pumping mom. There is office scrutiny and having to plan your day around leaving the office (if you don’t have a private office) for at least 15 minutes several times a day. At best it is inconvenient, and in the worst cases, could cause a lot of stress, or even put your job in jeopardy. Then there is all the stuff you have to remember to take with you every day. Plus, dealing with cleaning everything in between pumps. I totally understand, and appreciate, why mom’s stop once they go back to work.

There are some things you can do to make things a little easier.Sarah Wells Bag

  1. Get a cute pumping bag — This serves two purposes. One it could make it a little less obvious to the clueless people in the office what you are carrying around and two, if you must pump, you might as well treat yourself with something cute! I LOVE my Sarah Wells Pumping bag. This bag was made by a working, pumping mom and you can tell. There are two insulated compartments on the sides one for the pump and the other can hold an ice pack and your milk. If you work in an office where you don’t want to keep your milk in the shared refrigerator (or where there is no refrigerator) this is ideal. One compartment is larger than the other so it works with several different pumps. The main bag is roomy and can hold all of the stuff you need to bring to work, plus your pump parts. It is also easy to clean.

2. Have extra parts — It will be a lot easier if you keep as many of the parts as possible in your bag, that way, you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything. If you are fortunate enough to have a second pump, you could keep a whole set up at work in a desk drawer. It’s also a lot easier to clean if you have an extra set.

3. Speaking of parts, in between pumping sessions, don’t stress about cleaning them! You can keep them in a plastic bag and throw them in the refrigerator (or your bag, with an ice pack). The cold will keep bacteria from growing. Sarah Wells also has a Pumparoo bag which does the same thing.

4. To minimize the number of tiny bottles you need to bring to work, and to save space, bring two bottles to pump in to. Then combine the expressed milk in a mason jar. In addition to saving space, the milk fat does not cling as much to a glass jar. One thing to keep in mind is that you can add fresh milk to cold milk, but not cold to fresh (you don’t want to heat up the milk). As long as there is more cold than fresh milk you should be good.

5. Use coconut oil inside the shield to reduce friction and make pumping more comfortable. You could also try Pumpin’ Pals. Pumpin’ Pals are shields that a lot of mamas find more comfortable. They didn’t really work for me, but I know they do work for a lot of others — it’s definitely worth a try (they have a good return policy if they don’t work for you)!

6. When combining milk into bags or bottles at the end of the day, use the shields from your flanges as a funnel so you don’t lose any milk.

I try to minimize my time out of the office, so I had to come up with some creative ways to make sure I was pumping enough during the day. Here are some ideas:

  • Pump in the car — At first the thought of pumping in the car was overwhelming, but it’s actually really easy. Make sure you have a good hands free bra (I use the Rumina and love it) and a car adapter.
  • Power pump — If you have a long commute, like me, you could do this one your way to/from work. If you can’t do it in the car, find a good time to do it at home, maybe before you go to bed. To power pump you leave your pump on for 20 minutes, off for 10, on for 10 off for 10 and then on for 10.

Check out the #LateNightNursingFeed (createdย  by Lynzy and Co) I hosted for more ideas from mamas. Feel free to add your tips as well! Another great resource is the book Work, Pump, Repeat by Jessica Shortall.

Are you a working, pumping mama? What did you find worked best?

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About Melissa

Hi, Iโ€™m Melissa! I am a mama to my baby Aiden Milo (born November 2015), and a police wife to my husband Dan. I started this blog because, after having Aiden, I quickly learned that exhaustion and baby brain causes you to forget some of the er-lovely (sometimes horrible and sometimes wonderful) details related to the first several months of raising a baby. Considering we may have more kids in the future, I want to document everything we do, so we remember what worked the first time around, and hopefully help other first time mamas along the way!
  • Great tips! Didnยดt know about the putting the parts in the fridge… I also used to pump during my commute in the train….hoping that noboy would notice what i was doing under that huge scarf ;)!

    • The places we pump, right? I have pumped on a plane, car and taxi! Good for you doing it every day!

  • OMG I had no idea there were pretty pumping bags!! I want one now.

    Related Post: Pumping 101 Review

    • It makes a difference, I swear! If nothing else, it is like a little treat for all that pumping ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Loved your tip about using coconut oil. Definitely going to keep this in mind!

  • This are great tips. #3 is a really good tip.

    • Thank you! I agree, it saves a lot of time and the awkwardness of cleaning your parts in the kitchen sink with colleagues walking around!

  • Sumer

    I was a full time pumping mommy with my son. Thank goodness for the refrigerator “trick” to save time on cleaning pump parts! LOVE that pumping bag, by the way. This is one accessory I never ended up purchasing, but wish I would have.

    • You go mama!!! It’s tough, so every little trick helps. The bag was a bit expensive, but I use it every single day so definitely justified!!

  • Great tips!! I was exclusively pumping with my first and it was so hard. Luckily, with my second I EBF and it was so much easier. I’m passing these wonderful tips on to my pumping mamas!!

    Amber | http://www.everydaydame.com

    • Thank you so much Amber! That is great that you were able to EBF with your second. I was EBF-ing in the beginning but now almost exclusively pumping. It is SO hard, but worth it!

  • Gosh pumping is such a pain. Lol. These are good tips though! Wish I knew all this while I was still pumping.

    • Yes, it is! I especially hate how disruptive it is so I will do anything to make it easier ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Fantastic tips! A pumping bra definitely made life a lot easier! I had a hard time stopping in the middle of work to pump but my office had mothers’ rooms, which was nice. I could hook up the pump, use the bra and keep typing away!

    • Thank you!! Leaving is such a struggle. That is awesome that your office had a mothers’ room. I wish all offices did. I pump in my car ๐Ÿ™

  • val

    I was totally a car pumper too! Also loved discovering that you could just refrigerate pump parts between use – huge time saver! Great list, momma!

  • Pumping in the car is such a help, especially on a long trip!

  • Totally agree!

  • fromnursetomom

    Love this! I am an exclusive pumper! I just wrote a post about it, also. I love the part with the fridge. This has saved me so much time! Rock on, mama!

  • I will definitely try these tips. I’m good breastfeeding until I get back to work. I plan to breastfeed longer this time. Thanks.

    • Melissa

      Ugh. I know. It’s so hard to keep it up at work! Good luck ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Great tips! I love just stashing everything in the fridge, saves so much time. I’ve never heard about using coconut oil, ill have to look into that ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Melissa

      Yes, the fridge trick makes things so much easier. The coconut oil is a game changer!

  • Great post!

    • Melissa

      Thank you!

  • I am fortunate to work from home, but I have a close friend who is struggling with pumping at work (she is a lawyer) and her co-workers aren’t very supportive of it. I will pass these tips along to her!

    • Melissa

      Awww, I feel for your friend. It’s tough. I hope some of these things can help her!

  • caseyp1110

    Ugghhh…those days were the worse. I miss actual breast feeding, but DO NOT miss pumping at all. These are great tips though! Never knew about the coconut oil!

    • Melissa

      Yes, there are about a million things I would rather do than pump ๐Ÿ™‚

  • This is absolutely great! Will be sending this to my friend who is a new mommy and she will love this.

    • Melissa

      Thank you! I am glad you found it useful and will send it to a friend!

  • I used to pump at work and I would have loved one of those pumping bags!

    • Melissa

      It’s like the one good thing that comes from pumping at work…a new bag to add to the collection LOL ๐Ÿ™‚

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