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#WFH Pumping Schedule: Baby holding wooden clock

How moms who work from home use a pumping schedule to achieve breastfeeding goals

Breastfeeding when you work from home has its pros and cons. If you’re a new mom who works remotely, you’ll likely benefit from setting up a pumping schedule. Whether you’re an exclusive pumper or using a pump to supplement breastfeeding, a routine lets you keep track of breastfeeding milestones and structure your day. Plus, a schedule will help you concentrate on either working or feeding your baby, rather than worrying about both at the same time. Here’s what to consider and how to set up your ideal working-from-home pumping schedule.

How many pumping breaks should working moms take? 

The number of breaks you take to feed your baby depends on what your workday looks like—and how often your baby gets hungry. Most babies from one to six months old require about 25 to 30 ounces of milk in a 24-hour period, so you should pump and nurse as often as you need to hit this goal. This will differ for every mom depending on her milk supply and personal breastfeeding goals, but will typically be anywhere from four to 14 times in a day. 

Other factors to consider when determining how often to pump include: 

  • Your baby’s age: As your little one gets older, they’ll likely need to feed less often so you’ll be able to take fewer breaks. 
  • Your pumping vs. nursing schedule: If you’re exclusively pumping, you’ll need to pump more often. But if you’re nursing and pumping, you can balance the two however works best for you. We recommend using a breast pump during the workday, as it can be a great way to create barriers between work and home life, which can be seriously important to a work-from-home mom’s mental health
  • Your milk supply and production goals. Some moms are looking to build up a freezer stash and some are trying to boost their supply. But because every mom’s milk supply is different and breast milk fluctuations are normal, what’s right for another mom might not be the best schedule for you. If you do need to produce more milk, try working a few extra pumping sessions into your day to get things on the move.
  • How long you pump for. The longer you pump, the more milk you’ll produce and the less breaks you’ll be able to take.
  • Your workday schedule. What does a typical workday look like for you? If there are natural lulls where it would make more sense for you to pump, add it to your calendar. If it’s difficult to schedule longer pumping sessions, then plan for more frequent, briefer sessions throughout the day.

How long should pumping sessions last? 

Again, the length of your sessions can depend heavily on the above factors—mainly, how long do you have to pump and how many times does it make sense for you to pump in one day? But in general, the ideal pumping session usually lasts about 15 to 30 minutes. Remember, you’re trying to reach that 25- to 30-ounce goal in a 24-hour period, so calculate the time you need to pump based on that goal.

What’s the best breast pump for a working mom?

Depending on your lifestyle and needs, there are a number of great insurance-covered breast pumps to choose from. But most working moms are looking for similar characteristics in their breast pump—quiet, powerful and easy to carry. Some of the quietest breast pumps even make pumping on Zoom calls possible. 

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Breast Pumping Schedule Sample

Keeping in mind the above information about how often babies typically eat, how long to plan pumping sessions for and the ideal breast pumps for working moms, here are a few sample breastfeeding and pumping schedules to help make sure you get started on the right foot. 

Exclusively Pumping Moms

If you’re an exclusive pumper, you’ll need to pump more often and for longer than a pumping and nursing mom. 

Pumping Schedule for Exclusive Pumping Moms

If you need to add in more sessions, try setting up a cadence of pumping every x hours. Don’t forget to build time into your workday to take real breaks too—you need food, hydration, bathroom breaks and time to snuggle with your baby.

Pumping and Nursing Moms

For breastfeeding and pumping moms, decide ahead of time when you want to nurse and when you want to pump. We recommend nursing your baby before and after the workday and saving the breast pump for those busier hours.

Pumping Schedule for Breastfeeding and Pumping Moms

These are just two examples of how to work breastfeeding and pumping into your work day. Do whatever makes the most sense for you and your schedule. Make sure you’re constantly stimulating your supply and getting the milk you need to feed your baby. If you encounter issues or have additional questions, request an insurance-covered visit with a certified lactation professional. These experts are here to help moms and babies thrive throughout the breastfeeding journey.