Works for Me Wednesday: Making Pumping Work

by jessicaturner on August 31, 2011

I’m on week three of pumping during the day while I am away from Adeline.I thought some of you, particularly other working moms, may be interested in a post about how pumping is going and what works for me.

{For those of you who could care less, come back tomorrow.}

I have had a harder time getting into the swing of things with pumping this time around.

During my maternity leave, I pretty much fed Adeline whenever she wanted to eat.

And she wanted to eat all the time.

Which left me drained (figuratively and literally) and definitely not wanting to pump.

So I didn’t ever add regular pumping to the mix. As work got nearer, I knew I needed to get going – Adeline needed to get the hang of a bottle and I needed to get used to pumping.

Thankfully, we both seem to be doing okay.

I have been using my Medela Pump n Style, which is what I used with Elias.

Early on, I was dealing with some pain and realized I needed to get larger breastshields. Thankfully, I was able to pick some up at Babies R Us.They have made a big difference (no pun intended).

I am thankful that Wendy, the founder of Pump Ease, sent me a hands-free pumping bra to try out. It has made pumping remarkably easier because I don’t have to hold on to the bottles. I just snap it on and it keeps the shields in place, allowing me to email and work while I pump. I never would have thought that a $42 bra would rock my world so much.

Each day I pump in the morning after I feed Adeline, and then two or three times while at work. I have been producing enough milk to keep her full during the day AND she is taking a bottle with ease (she likes Tommee Tippee). I have also been going to day care on my lunch break, which is great to see her and to nurse (and not pump!).

I have a little sign that I hang on the office door that I pump in. It says Milk Time. :) I made it with modge podge and scrapbooking supplies.

All in all things are going well. I don’t know if I will continue to pump full time past six months, but I am going to do my best! I have friends whose babies wouldn’t nurse, so they pumped for all feedings. I think they are saints. I don’t think I could do it.

Did you pump for your babies? What worked(s) for you?

This post is linked up for We are That Family’s Works for Me Wednesday.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristin Smith August 31, 2011 at 6:36 am

I am glad that you have gotten into a schedule that is working for you! My girl is 8 months and I stopped nursing her at about 7 months. When I went back to work pumping was really easy at first…but then we moved to another state, I started working from home and it all kind of fell apart!! It is crazy but when working from home I was feeling this bigger pressure to “prove” myself…and so I wouldn’t leave my desk for anything….pretty soon I was on;y pumping 1 time in an 8 hr period and she was mostly sleeping through the night as well…so my body naturally just kind of stopped the process!

The week after I stopped she got her first ear infection and I had HUGE guilt!! But I have to remember that I gave her 6 mo with almost no formula and that was good for her….

I know you are also in the process of moving, selling your condo etc….so don’t put too much pressure on yourself if things change. I know it is the best option, but I also had to give myself credit for the time I did nurse her and not feel guilty when I stopped!

Thanks for sharing your experience!! Blessings!


Angela August 31, 2011 at 7:25 am

Way to go girl! I have an almost ten month old that still primarily drinks breast milk. I have not had such a great experience as a working mother trying to continue breast feeding. I work in a place that although they do not interfere with my legal rights, make it very hard on me to continue. I work in a cube farm and there are no pumping rooms in my building or the building next to me or the building next to that. I have to walk two blocks to be able to use a private room. I work at a university so all of the buildings are considered my workplace. For the entire university there are three pumping rooms. So there is always a wait to use the room. I have kind of learned the schedule of other mothers and plan around that to make it easier on me. Keeping my milk supply up has been a challenge. It seems that my daughter eats more out of a bottle than she does when she is with me. So last month I started supplementing her with a few ounces of formula at daycare. It took a lot of stress off of me knowing that if I couldn’t pump enough one day she wasn’t going to be hungry. Sometimes there are meetings, sometimes there are deadlines, sometimes you just can’t stop what you are doing. So supplementing has taken the guilt off of my back. And now that she is ten months I just keep thinking “only two more months…I’ve been doing this for ten months….I see the finish line…I can do this!” I was unable to nurse my son and I remember how heart broken I was over that. So whenever I think of how hard it is I also think of what a privilege and joy it is to be able to share this with my daughter.


jessicaturner September 1, 2011 at 9:10 am

Yes, supplementing with Elias gave me relief as well.


Claire August 31, 2011 at 7:35 am

I love the ‘milk time’ sign – what a clever idea!



Lori August 31, 2011 at 7:52 am

Great job pumping and working! It definitely is hard to manage all the time.

I returned to work when my daughter was 3 months old. I pumped at work for 10 months. Twice a day at first and then once a day after she started eating solid foods at 6 months. I continued nursing her until she was 16 months old. I probably made myself a little crazy at times but don’t regret it at all (it’s been a year since we stopped nursing). If I have another baby and pump again (both likely) I will definitely get a pumpease. They sound wonderfully helpful! One thing that did work for me while pumping was to pump first thing in the morning, before nursing my daughter. I could pump for 5 minutes and get a good amount of milk since I was so full. It was quick and easy and she still got all the milk she needed when I nursed her 45 minutes later. Oh and drink a lot of water!


Jessica August 31, 2011 at 7:54 am

I have been back to work for 5 weeks now and am pumping twice a day and going to nurse at lunch. I did it for 11 months with my first and am hoping to do the same this time. There are days I don’t mind and other days that it’s really inconvenient. When I get discouraged I just try to remind myself that it’s a big sacrifice but only short-term when you look at the big picture. Love all of the online support from other working/nursing moms though! It’s nice that other people understand


jessicaturner September 1, 2011 at 9:11 am

I love getting to go nurse on my lunch break. It is wonderful to see Adeline, touch base with her caregivers and NOT PUMP! :)


Amanda August 31, 2011 at 8:00 am

I’m so glad that it’s working out for you Jessica! I’m a teacher and last year there were 4 teachers at my school who pumped during the day. The admin and other teachers were wonderful about covering classes for us or letting us use empty rooms/offices if ours were full for some reason. We had to be careful about what we said in front of the kids about where we were going or why another teacher was coming in and somehow we all started calling it “making lunch.” Like a kid would ask where Mrs. Call went and the covering teacher would say she is “making lunch.” And we were making lunch – for our daughters’ the next day! I really wish I had used a hands free pumping bra! Good luck!


Jessica Kelley August 31, 2011 at 8:52 am

My first baby wouldn’t nurse, so I pumped for her for a whole year. It took a lot of extra time when I was home (pumping AND bottle-feeding), but I guess I took for granted how easy it made the transition back to work. I’m really hoping my second (due around Halloween) will nurse, but I’ll have to be more intentional about making sure she’ll take a bottle, making sure my supply is ready for pumping, etc.


Kelly H. August 31, 2011 at 9:49 am

I pumped with my 2nd from 3-7 months. I also work in cube city. The “pumping room” was in another building and smaller than a closet. Fortunately, we had a manager on special assignment and I was allowed to use her office. Because I have a large bust, I couldn’t wear nursing bras to work — they didn’t hold me up and I literally had to strip from the waist up to pump. I am glad I was able to exclusively breast feed for as long as I did with him. My first had major surgery at 10 weeks and we stopped nursing around 6 weeks, pumped until 9 weeks. I regret not continuing to pump for her. After a bout of mastitis that put me back in the hospital and her birth defect, I didn’t have it in me to continue. I think that’s what made me so determined to nurse my 2nd for as long as possible.

Happy Pumping!


jessicaturner September 1, 2011 at 9:13 am

I didn’t mention that I have a cubicle too. So I office hop – whomever isn’t in that day, I use their office. I am thankful to just have a door to close.


Cara August 31, 2011 at 10:26 am

I am always so impressed with working moms who pump for months and months – such a sweet sacrificial thing you’re doing for your babies:)
I am home full-time and nursed my daughter for three years – but
I always said to my working friends that I wouldn’t have made it that long if pumping was involved!:). She never took to bottles so I rarely pumped at all and sure didn’t love doing it.

Way to go!


nicole August 31, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I’m a stay at home mom and have chosen to pump and feed my baby. But she was extremely underweight. We started her on formula and now she is gaining weight like crazy and seems to be full now! So I have went down to pumping twice a day. That way she is still getting breast milk, but now that it’s not exclusive, I know she will be gaining the weight as well.


jessicaturner September 1, 2011 at 9:13 am

So glad you found something that worked for you!


elana August 31, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I pumped till 10 months with my son. It’s definitely a chore. One tip – if your milk starts decreasing try Fenugreek – available at any health food store.


Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage August 31, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I pumped for 2 of my kids all the way until they were past 1 year. Pumping at work has its ups and downs that is for sure! But it is so worth it in the end. And I believe that bfing your baby is tons easier than bottle feeding. I bottle fed exclusively with my first child so take it from experience!! And after that 6 month mark you can cut down your pump schedule. Really it gets easier after 6 months. :)


jessicaturner September 1, 2011 at 9:07 am

It does get much easier! And yes, I agree, making bottles is a pain. And formula smells. :)


Nurse Bee August 31, 2011 at 7:08 pm

I pumped with my first daughter through around 11 months or so. And my second daughter is 8 months and I’m still pumping 1-2 times a day while at work. She is sleeping in until around 7:30 or 8, so I get up at 6 and pump a bottle, then feed her, then pump a bottle on my lunch (In my car), and then feed her when I pick her up in the afternoon. That’s on a day when I start from home. On days when I head to the office I add in a pumping. It is a pain, but it’s worth it!


jessicaturner September 1, 2011 at 9:08 am

It is worth it, but that doesn’t negate that it is also a lot of work! :)


Anne August 31, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Hi Jessica, and congrats on joining the pumping sisterhood. I worked part time with my first child, so I pumped at work every day. I work in tv news, so I pumped in every live truck, edit bay, and news vehicle we had. Photogs learned to turn the radio up. Loud. I was very concerned at first when I wouldn’t be able to pump according to my son’s normal feeding schedule. In the end, I did all the pumping I could, and if I had to supplement, I did. It worked. He nursed until he weaned himself at 13 months. My second child was a totally different story. I was no longer working, so I nursed her exclusively. Until my husband and I went away for a long weekend. I pumped while I was gone. But she made very fast friends with the bottle and refused to nurse when I got home. (Argh….) So I pumped every day for the next 4 months. Until I couldn’t do it anymore. It was worth it, of course, but it’s also a trade-off. No one told me what a HUGE commitment breastfeeding and pumping is. So kudos to you for figuring out a way to make it work. My only advice to new moms is to breastfeed as much as you can as long as it makes sense for you. Once it starts to make you crazy (4 months of pumping my brains out every day finally did), I say give yourself credit for what you were able to do, and sit down with your babe, and hold her close and give her a bottle of formula. All will be fine.


jessicaturner September 1, 2011 at 9:09 am

Amen. Thank you for sharing your story.


Ashley August 31, 2011 at 11:13 pm

My little guy did not nurse well- due to being in NICU for a bit and just never getting the hang of it. I pumped for 6 months (going back to work at 6 weeks) He went to work with me and btwn pumping and bottle feeding I thought I would loose my mind. I never had time to do anything lol. But I’m so glad I did it and wish I would have stuck it out longer! Good for you! and I wish I would have had that bra!! :)


Laura@laurasblondemoments September 1, 2011 at 3:57 am

Thank you for sharing your advice on pumping and how it worked for you! With my son Ryder, who is 2 now, I breastfed at first but had to wear nipple shields and just overall became so overwhelmed with it by the time that I went back to work at 8 weeks, that I started solely pumping. I wish I knew about the hands free pumping bra then!! This time around, as we prepare for my daughter’s birth, I am planning on breastfeeding as long as I can. I will be staying home this time and won’t have the added stress of “getting the routine down” before having to go back to work.

You are fortunate that you are able to nurse and see her during your break and to also have a job that allows for “pumping time”. I could pump during my lunch break but that was so depressing in a ladies bathroom. It just fueled my insecurities that I was making the right decision to work rather than stay at home.

I am so glad that things are working out so well for ya’ll and that Adeline and Elias are adjusting so well to everything! Thanks again for sharing :)



jessicaturner September 1, 2011 at 9:15 am

Yes, I am so fortunate. I am thankful every day for my job and the wonderful team that I work with. (Working in health care helps!)


Samantha @ Mama Notes September 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I am so sorry you had to pump in the bathroom. That’s not right at all mama! :(


Lisa September 1, 2011 at 11:25 am

I pumped exclusively with my daughter for four months (she’s now 3) and for a few months with my son. I dreaded it every time, especially when I went back to work, but now I actually kind of miss it :) It was just such a neat experience feeling like I was doing something for my kids that no one else could do. I actually found it kind of relaxing to pump in the evenings while reading a book (after they went to sleep). I highly recommend the hands-free pumping bra. It completely changed pumping for me because I could read while I pumped.


Sheila September 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I’m going back to work in 3 weeks and will be pumping as well. Since I have an oversupply I have a good stash built up already. I only nurse on one side so can pump the other in am & night. I gave up pumping during the day while I am home. Hopefully I can pump 2x at work and that will be enough b/c my job will be too busy to do more. Plus I know this time it will be harder to keep it up for a year. This is my last round of pumping (I have 2 other kids) so im determined to make it a year and I admit I’ll be glad to “hang up the horns” at the end! It’s hard work but so satisfying!


Samantha @ Mama Notes September 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I went back to work time a couple months after my 2nd was born. I pumped just once – sometimes twice- during my shift of 5ish hours. I give women who work full time and pump full time SO much credit! We JUST ran our of our last bags in the freezer, so I have started pumping once a day again to last us until he is 12 months, when I will start to wean from the breasts. Although, lately he has been biting me SOOOO hard, I’m wondering if I’m going to have to stop nursing and just pump for a while!! I have the Medela single pump and it is extremely loud. Is that normal? Sounds like a freakin’ airplane is taking off! :)


Michelle Turner September 1, 2011 at 7:51 pm

YAY for you and all the pumping. One nice thing about continuing to pump is that as your girl grows and has fewer bottles a day, the less you will have to pump. And, there might come a point where you are ready to be done pumping but can still nurse her in the morning and at night.
My daughter was in the NICU for 5 months and I pumped until she was 8 months. Then when I was done pumping, I still nursed her at least once a day until she was a year old. I had enough saved milk (frozen) that she got breast milk until just after a year through her g-tube as well.
I thought I would share my favorite two tips I learned with pumping. First is to use a little lanolin around the nipple shield so you don’t have any problems with cracked nipples. I did this ALWAYS. It takes a couple minutes to clean off (I used castille soap), but I NEVER had a problem with blistering or cracking. It also helps the shield stick to your breast so you can pump hands free.
The other tip I learned that I used a lot was to get a cheap or old sports bra and cut a hole over each nipple. Then when it is time to pump you can slide the shield in the hole and connect to the pump. It is the poor version of the hands-free bra. This was a nice option to have for laundry day.

I wish you the best of luck as you continue to pump at work!


Robin Troxell September 2, 2011 at 8:11 am

Jessica thanks for sharing w/your audience how you are doing – I know working moms really appreciate the encouragement and the practical advice! I got to take 12 weeks off with all three of my kids and pumped when I went back to work. Since I work in an OB office, pumping was easy for me and considered ‘normal’ – sometimes I didn’t even shut the door :-) I also did come in to work occasionally while on leave to either show off the babies or do a little work and just nursed all over the place. The environment definately helped!!

Michelle your idea is genius! Wish I would have thought of that! I could usually sit the bottles on my lap and scoot up to my desk enough to keep them in place to use my mouse and phone.


Valerie September 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I’m a stay at home mom of 3 and I work part time every other weekend. I nursed my oldest daughter exclusively until I went back to work after 12 weeks. I tried to pump but I worked in a very busy lab in a hospital and couldn’t maintain a good supply. I quit altogether when she was 4 months and she was solely on formula. My second daughter I nursed exclusively until she was around 6 months. I work in a hospital lab night shift and my husband would feed her on the weekends (thank goodness she could switch from breast to bottle!!) My third daughter is now 3 1/2 months and I’m pumping exclusively for her. She just never the “nursing” down pat when she was born and I have found pumping to work best this time around (especially with our other girls and crazy schedule!!). She now nurses just fine but I have opted to just give my milk in bottles. My supply is awesome and I’m hoping to make it for a year this time. It really takes dedication to pump. Sometimes I feel like I’m more attached to my pump than I am my daughter;). Good luck to all the mommies and enjoy your sweet little ones!!


Jen September 15, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Hi Jessica,

Just recently started reading your blogs – met you a while back at an IABC meeting. My baby is 10 months and I am pumping 2-3 times a day. Luckily, no teeth yet, so I haven’t had that challenge ; ) I also have a sign on my door – it has a picture of my baby in a hat that reads “Mmmmm Boobies” – too funny! I still nurse in the morning and evening and she gets 2 bottles at daycare. It has always been easy because I travel some…4 business trips and 2 personal trips (5 planes, 1 rented mini van), so I’ve pumped in a variety of locations – airports, airport bathrooms (yuck), and the back seat of a mini van. When I’m in my office, I use the Medela Freestyle – paid a little extra for the “strap you in” version so I can work while I pump – life saver. I hope to make it to one year. Thanks for the video – my hubby and I both laughed out loud!


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