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Our real-mom approved tips and tricks to pump throughout the day while at the workplace
You’ve had your baby and are back to work after getting started on your breastfeeding journey, so how do you stick to your pumping schedule at the office and make it work for you? We’re here to help you pump away from home smarter, not harder—and that often starts with making sure you’re well-versed in your rights as a breastfeeding mom in the workplace! Understanding what you’re legally entitled to will equip you with the knowledge you need to best advocate for your pumping needs at the office, which in turn will help you know what you can expect so you can continue your normal pumping routine.
Here, we’ll offer some easy tips and tricks—approved by real moms who’ve lived it—on how to successfully stick to your pumping schedule at work.
Workplace Pumping Tips
Blocking off time to pump on your calendar like you would a meeting.
Once you’re synced to the rhythm of your pumping groove, try blocking off some time on your calendar specifically for pumping. This will ensure your coworkers know you’re unavailable during that time and help keep you on a consistent, reliable schedule. Remember, it’s important to pump the same number of times your baby eats to maintain your supply.
Invest in a hands-free pumping bra
A hands-free pumping bra is the best way to multitask while pumping. New York Magazine recommends some of the top-rated options here, including the popular Simple Wishes Signature Hands-Free Pumping Bra. Looking for a hands-free hack but you don’t want to spend the money? Try cutting slits in a regular bra so you can type, text or scroll away!
Have extra accessories and cleaning supplies on-hand
Another key to successfully pumping at work is having everything you need on-hand: cleaning supplies, extra accessories and back-ups will all make your work-life pumping balance easier. Essentials to keep at the office include: a few disposable nursing pads for your desk, a complete set of extra accessories for your pump (flanges, connectors, bottles and bottle lids, and valves), milk storage bags, and a back-up power cord. You’ll also want to have supplies to clean your pump—like your own washbasin for the sink and a brush used specifically for cleaning your pump parts. You’ll also want to consider keeping a permanent marker at your desk so you can quickly label your supply with the date, and some hand sanitizer to make sure your hands are extra clean before and after use (in addition to washing your hands, of course).
Ask your employer for a privacy divider or curtain in whatever space is available.
Your employer must make reasonable accommodations for you to pump at work. While some places have fancy lactation rooms solely for this reason, most employers don’t, so there may be a little creativity or makeshift interior decorating involved. One quick way to do this is by asking your workplace for a privacy divider, or to install some curtains in a place like a conference room, staff lounge or other available space (and no, the broom closet doesn’t count!). You can also order frosted door film online as a low-cost privacy solution.
Have a second breast pump at the office so you’re not lugging a pump to and fro.
While many pumps come with a carrying case that makes transportation easy, that doesn’t mean you’ll want to lug it with you during your daily commute. By keeping an extra pump on-hand at work, along with some supplies like extra bags and bottles, you’ll always have what you need at your disposal without having to constantly remember where everything is. While you’re at it, ask your employer for a mini-fridge, or dedicated fridge or freezer space so you can safely store your milk until you’re home!
Have another solution to make pumping at work easy? Share it with us on social media using the #HowIPump hashtag and your idea may be featured in a future article or our social media pages!