Are you a breastfeeding mama who will need to start pumping at work?

Being home with our babies 24-7 is an ideal world. But the reality of the matter is, most of us need to work. In order to keep breastfeeding, we need to pump. 

Pumping at work can seem a little daunting. Some days we feel like we can hardly get through our regular work day never mind adding in pumping to that mix.

Are you wondering how you will manage pumping at work?

Take a deep breath, mama! It is totally doable. 

I am here to help get you through it. And not just scrape by. I want you to feel super confident when you go back to work!

pumping at work

Transitioning from Exclusively Breastfeeding to Pumping at Work

Freezing Breast Milk: How to start a breast milk freezer stash

One of the most important and helpful things you can do for yourself is to start building a breast milk freezer stash. 

If you know from the beginning that you will be returning to work after your maternity leave is over, then you can start planning early. And you don’t need to feel overwhelmed with saving tons of ounces, honestly. Having just a few days worth of breast milk is all you need.

I wanted to create a huge breast milk freezer stash, so in the later months of my breastfeeding journey I would be able to cut down on pumping and relax more. For tips on how I created a breast milk freezer stash until we ran out of freezer space, read this.

Breast milk storage bags

An ultimate staple for a breastfeeding and pumping mama is breast milk storage bags.

You will use these to store your milk until you are ready to use it. This particular brand of bags by Lansinoh have a double ziplock seal and an area to write the name (if your baby goes to daycare that is useful), date and time (you pumped the milk), and amount in the bag.

Breast Milk Storage Containers

Being organized is important as a mom. It is extra important to be organized as a pumping and working mom.

You need to educate yourself on the guidelines of proper breast milk storage. And an amazing item I found to organize all of my breast milk bags in the freezer, are these containers. 

Pumping Schedule

Use a Pumping Log

Download and print this free pumping log to help you keep track of when you pumped and how much you got each time. I created this tool when I started to feel like I wasn’t pumping often enough.

This is a great tool to bring with you to work. When your mind is elsewhere- use this as a reference for each time you pump to keep you on track! 


printable pumping log

It is SO important to make sure you pump enough when you are away from your baby.

Download my pumping log now!

pumping log

How often should I be pumping?

You need to be pumping as much as you would be feeding your baby if you were home. On average- this means you need to pump every 3 hours. 

This tool will also let you learn your output trend.

What is an output trend??

Using this chart you will be able to reflect on your pumping outputs and see patterns develop. There are times of day when your output is greater than others. It can be helpful to recognize and understand what your body does.

When you chart your outputs you will be able to spot a decline in your output early. Spotting a decline early is KEY to maintaining your breast milk supply so you can know when to step it up. The sooner you add in a power pump session or two- the better!

For help on Power Pumping read my article here.

I used this technique when my supply had a sudden decrease, which would happen from time to time after working. This technique is perfect for the working mama because it requires less time than the traditional power pumping method. >>Tell me more!<<

More tips for increasing breast milk supply

pumping and working

When to Start Pumping

Begin pumping from day 1.

If your goal is to create a breast milk freezer stash, this is how you do it. Pumping from the get-go is the fastest and easiest way to have a strong milk supply. This will allow you to have plenty of extra milk to freeze.

Be mindful when you are using this technique because you risk potentially becoming engorged and mastitis if you aren’t pumping often enough. Your breasts will be producing more than your baby needs so you need to be diligent in removing the excess milk often. That is the key to your massive breast milk freezer stash.

How often should I pump to increase milk supply?

The more you pump, the more your breasts will produce. The fundamentals of breastfeeding and pumping can be summarized in 3 words:

>>> SUPPLY AND DEMAND <<<

The more your baby (or pump) demand, the more your body will supply. Simple right??

While it is a simple concept, it will take a lot of work. You will want to pump after feedings to tell your body it needs to make more breast milk. Keep in mind- after feedings you generally won’t get a lot of milk out because your baby has just emptied them.

diagram showing a breastfeeding relationship is based on supply and demand

What to do if breast milk supply is decreasing

Sometimes it is inevitable, that going back to work will result in a decrease in your milk supply. Why? Because nothing can replace directly nursing your baby.

If you notice a sudden decrease in milk supply, add in power pumping sessions.

What is power pumping?

Power pumping is a technique where you increase the frequency of pumping in short bursts. It mimics when your baby goes through a growth spurt and is cluster feeding.

Does power pumping work?

If you put more demand on your breasts to make more milk, they will. Power pumping puts more demand on your breasts and they will respond by making more milk. It usually only take a couple of days to see the increase in milk supply from power pumping.

Want more? Get a free guide to breastfeeding and increasing breast milk supply

These are the most important things you need to know about breastfeeding a pumping here.

>>Increase Your Breast Milk Supply<<

Planning for Pumping at Work

Once you have educated yourself on the basics of breastfeeding and you have started to utilize the tips above- you should be feeling pretty good about going back to work. If you start building your breast milk supply while on maternity leave, you will feel much more at ease. Trust me!

Breastfeeding a baby is no walk in the park. Pumping comes with it’s own set of challenges as well. When you combine those two things AND add in the fact that you are working- it can be a monstrous task. But you can do it! 

Pumping at work will take perseverance.

It takes lots of planning and figuring out your body. But you can be successful! For any questions or if you are in need of support, comment below!