Pumping at work schedule

When I was going back to work after maternity leave, one of my biggest fears was being able to keep up a good pumping schedule so I could keep DJ on breast milk for at least 6 months (although my long term goal is a year or more).  I had so much anxiety around figuring out my new “routine”.  I could just not wrap my head around how I would make all this work!  There wasn’t a lot of resources online about the schedule of working moms that pump.

I have been back to work now for just over 2 months and I finally feel like we have a good routine going.  Also, I use the Medela Freestyle pump.  I love it but will have to do a review on it later!

6:30 – J and I are both dressed and ready for work.  I get the baby changed and he “packs the bags”.  It is so helpful that he knows what this means.  I would highly suggest making a list for your husband to help with this or make sure its done the night before.

My pump bag includes:

  • Medala Freestyle pump
  • Pump wall charger
  • 2 extra freezer milk storage bags
  • Set of pump parts stored in the little medela cooler (we use a different cooler for bottles so this one just stores my parts but anything could be used).
  • 6-8 bottles with flat lids (for pumping 3-4 times while at work)
  • Sometimes I throw in a few pieces of chocolate!

I take DJ to daycare and feed her there from 7-7:30.  This totally was not my plan but it works for us because J can help us get out the door (he leaves at 6:45) and she is more awake for her first feeding.   Usually she only takes 1 side so sometimes I pump the other side while I drive to work.  My drive between daycare and work takes about 25 minutes with lots of traffic lights.  At my first long light, I set up my pump with one bottle and hook it up.  I don’t use a hands free bra but just use one of my arms to hold the bump against me.  After about 10-12 minutes, I wait until I hit another long light and I “unhook” and put everything away.

At work, I try to pump in the morning between 10 and 11 am.  They have a pump room (required by law) with this little sign on the door:

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Once inside I quickly set up my pump which looks like this (note, these are Gerber bottles, not the medela ones that came with the pump).

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I usually pump for anywhere between 12 and 18 minutes.  It requires a lot of compressions and keeping my mind off work stuff.  My first pump of the morning usually yields between 4-6 ounces!  Here you can see, my one side was almost 3. 5 ounces (she ate off this side at 7 am at daycare so it had been a good 3 hours) but the other side only produced 1.5 ounces (I had pumped this side on my way to work).  This is a totally normal variance for me, but usually as the week goes on and my body gets used to pumping both sides at once it evens out.

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DJ currently takes about 4 ounces per feeding at daycare.  One time saving tip I found was to go ahead and combine milk after pumping to try to make full bottles.  So in this instance, I would add a bit to the larger bottle to make it a full 4 ounce bottle and leave just a bit in the other bottle.  This way, I know I have one full bottle ready for the morning and its less pouring to do at 6:30 am when we are half asleep!

After all that’s done, I run water through the breast shield to rinse out any milk left in the pump.  I set on the counter to “drip dry”.

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After that I set them back in the Medela cooler bag which I then throw with my bottles into the fridge downstairs.

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This process takes me about 20 minutes in total.  I am thankful my job is flexible enough to allow me this time.  I will repeat this process on my lunch break and again in the afternoon.  Sometimes I then will even pump on my way home if the baby has just been fed (sometimes she is waiting to eat as soon as I get home).  Some days I only get 3 sessions in and some days I get in a lot more.  So far I have been able to keep up with her 16 ounces per day and only dip into my freezer stash a little bit!

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One thought on “Pumping at work schedule

  1. Pingback: Breastfeeding a Toddler | The History of Us

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