The key to successfully pumping at work is finding a time and place that work for you and your team.
Where to Pump at Work
Talk to your employer and look for a private place. If there’s not one, look around for a space that you are willing to use. The space can also be used for other things, but it should not be a bathroom and should be available anytime that you need to use it.
Tips for using an office file room or storage closet: If the door doesn’t lock, hang a sign outside your door when you are pumping or ask to have a lock installed.
Tips for using a cubicle: Use a shower curtain rod, a wooden dowel, or spring clamps from a hardware store to hang a large curtain outside your cubicle when you need to pump.
Tips for creating a space: Room dividers or partitions can be used to make a quick pump room. You can even use a pop-up utility or shower tent if there are no other choices.
Don’t wait until your breasts get full before pumping. As a general guideline, you’ll need to pump the same number of times that you have been breastfeeding at home, or once for each feeding that your baby has while you are apart. Usually this is every two to three hours if your baby is between birth to 6 months and every three to four hours if your baby is 6 months or older.
Most moms will need to use their morning and afternoon break times and part of their lunch hour to express breastmilk. If you don’t have usual break times, talk to your supervisor about scheduling times for breastmilk expression breaks.With a double-sided electric pump, each pumping session will take about 15 to 20 minutes. You will also need to factor in time to get to and from the milk-expression space and to wash your hands and equipment.
With a double-sided electric pump, each pumping session will take about 15 to 20 minutes. You will also need to factor in time to get to and from the milk-expression space and to wash your hands and equipment.
Typical Breastfeeding Schedule
Mom breastfeeds her baby just before heading to work.
Mom pumps milk during a midmorning break.
Mom pumps milk during lunch.
Mom pumps milk during afternoon break.
Mom breastfeeds her baby at home or at child care.
Help—How Do I Get More Milk?
If you normally pump for 10 minutes, go for 15 or 20 for several sessions. Even if you don’t see more milk right away, the extra time will stimulate your breasts to increase production.
Pump for 10 minutes, massage both breasts and wait a few minutes, then pump for 10 more minutes, massage both breasts and wait a few minutes, then pump for 10 more minutes.
Pump more often. Add in another pumping session, either right before you go to bed or first thing after waking up. You can also pump one breast while feeding your baby on the other.
Sleep more. As much as possible, make sure you are getting a good night’s rest and napping on the weekends.
Just in Case: How to Hand-Express Your Milk
Sometimes the unexpected happens. Your electric pump fails or you leave a part of the pump at home. On days like this, you’ll be glad to know how to hand-express your milk. Plus, using hand-expression along with pumping can increase the amount of milk you are able to store for your baby. Here’s how:
Wash your hands.
Use a clean container with a wide opening to collect your milk.
Place a warm washcloth on your breasts to help your milk flow.
Massage your breast to help increase the amount of milk you express. Do this by placing one hand under your breast for support. Apply gentle pressure, using a circular motion with your other hand. Massage from several starting points, always working from the chest toward the nipple. Gently shaking your breasts while leaning forward can also help get your milk flowing.
Hold the clean container near your breast. With your other hand, place your fingers and thumb about one to two inches away from the base of your nipple. Press IN toward your ribs, SQUEEZE gently into the center of your breast, then RELAX your hand, and REPEAT. The milk will not flow quickly at first, but keep going and your milk should begin to drip.
Alternate between the right and left breast often, and rotate the placement of your fingers and thumb around your nipple to empty all areas of the breast. Expressing your milk gets easier with practice. Don’t be discouraged if you can only express a small amount in the first few days.