Pumping at Work Tips (How-to Guide and Must Haves!)

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links and codes, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links and codes, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

INTRODUCTION

Breastfeeding (if one chooses to do so) is one of the most challenging – but rewarding – aspects of motherhood.

For full-time working mothers, pumping is a dreaded necessity. It is essential in order to maintain supply while women are away from their babies.

It is also important to note that employers are legally required to allow mothers reasonable time to pump while at work – in a private space other than a bathroom – for one year following delivery.

I’m going to compose a step-by-step guide for pumping at work!

TIMING / FREQUENCY

You will need to pump – on average – at the same intervals (more or less) as you would normally breastfeed your baby. My first pump session was usually between 9-10 a.m., the second was during the lunch break, and the third was usually between 4-5 when I was wrapping up my work for the day.

LENGTH OF PUMP TIME

This varies from woman to woman. Some (lucky!) women are able to pump quite quickly – in as little as 10 minutes. For others, it takes longer for the milk to flow and for their breasts to empty fully. Personally, it took me 30 minutes (including setup and cleanup) to pump each session.

METHOD

A pumping bra (allowing mom to remain hands-free) is essential in order to complete work tasks while breastfeeding. Multitasking is key! It will help you avoid that rising feeling of panic that comes from getting behind on work while pumping.

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

1) In the morning…place each phalange (with attached parts) in a separate gallon size ziploc plastic bag. You will place these 2 plastic bags in your breast pump bag, along with a sharpie pen, breast milk bags, and your breast pump + cord.

2) When you are ready to pump…attach each phalange to each breast via hands-free pumping bra.

3) Pump!

4) When finished, you will need to pour the milk collected into the pre-sterilized milk bags stored in your pump bag; you will use the sharpie to label the time, date, and amount of milk pumped.

5) Store milk in a refrigerator.

6) Clean pump parts (suggestions for this below).

7) Repeat at next pump.

8) When done for the day, take milk and pumping bag (containing pump parts) home, and immediately store milk in the freezer upon arrival.

9) Clean pump parts thoroughly with Dawn and water; allow to air dry on a paper towel or drying rack overnight.

CLEANING

This is probably one of the most challenging aspects of pumping at work. For many, who have only a cubicle for their work space, finding a place to wash (and dry) pump parts is daunting. It takes time to wash pump parts, and finding a place to allow them to air dry can be difficult as well.

When I was pumping, I used to place my pump parts in a plastic bag in the refrigerator in between pumps in order to avoid washing pump parts between pump sessions. Although I did this successfully with no issues for both my children, the CDC now recommends washing between sessions regardless. Therefore, I do recommend washing the parts between sessions, per official health agency recommendations, in order to avoid bacterial contamination. The quickest way to do this is to employ special breast pump part cleaning wipes (more on this below, in my “Recommended Products” section).

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

1) Baby Buddha Breast Pump – I used Spectra for pumping with my first child since it’s one of the pumps which most insurance plans cover. With my second child, however, I used the Baby Buddha Breast Pump. It was a complete game changer – it helps with portability, milk output, increasing supply, and hands-free pumping. I was able to dramatically increase my pumping output at work with this pump! Plus, the pump itself is the size of an iPhone and hangs around your neck with a strap. It is not covered by insurance, but it is worth every penny! (Often times, you get what you pay for, and this is certainly the case here!) Although this pump is listed at $249.99 on the website, it is often on sale for $189.99. You can get a 10% discount when purchasing this pump at the website with this code – MAKEUPDIVA10. Please read my full review here.

Baby Buddha Breast Pump

2) Hands Free Pumping Bra – As stated above, a hands-free pumping bra is a must-have for pumping at work. It allows multitasking in a way which is impossible otherwise. I personally used the hands-free pumping bra from Motherhood Maternity (featured below).

3) Cleaning Wipes – Obviously, cleaning with Dawn and water is ideal, but, if time and space are lacking, these quick cleaning wipes from Medela are a Godsend! I also love cleaning baby toys with this as well.

4) Breast Milk Bags – These milk bags from Lansinoh are iconic, and for good reason. They rarely leak or burst, and they are easy to use. It’s not recommended to store more than 180 mL of milk in these bags.

5) Pump Bag – Having a good pump bag is essential. It allows you to store your pump and parts, as well as accessories such as breast milk bags and “the sharpie.” I used this one below, and it served me well.

6) Milk Storage Bag – While some pump bags (such as above), do contain a compartment for breast milk, some don’t (in which case you will need to find one such as below).

Hope this was helpful!

Related: Baby Buddha Portable Breast Pump Review (with 10% Special Discount Code!)

Best Portable Breast Pump Review (with 10% Special Discount Code!)

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Baby Buddha Portable Breast Pump

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links and codes, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links and codes, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

If you are a mother who has been following the baby formula shortage on the news, you have undoubtedly been struck with compassion for those affected.

Although many women are unable to breastfeed (for multiple reasons), it is more important than ever that those who are able to do so receive the support they need.

I strongly believe that the Baby Buddha portable breast pump is one such critical tool for nursing mothers.

It is the best portable breast pump – and the best breast pump PERIOD.

As a currently breastfeeding working mom, I can affirm that an excellent pump is absolutely crucial for success. For many of us, work demands limit us to a brief 15 minute window to pump; suction must be strong in order to maximize milk output and to minimize pumping time. A huge plus is portability, especially for those of us with an older child to tend as well.

Before I launch into my explanation for how the Baby Buddha fulfills both of these vital criteria, I would like to share my own breastfeeding journey.

With my first pregnancy, I was determined to breastfeed. I knew so much about the benefits to the baby. However, as with many first time mothers, my nursing journey had a rocky start. My first child did not latch, and I was forced to resort to a standard insurance-covered pump, the Spectra, and to supplement with formula. My milk output did not accelerate as I had expected, and I was disappointed. The Spectra simply did not extract the milk I needed; my body definitely seemed to recognize the difference between a baby and a pump! At 3 weeks old, however, my firstborn finally learned to latch, a development that rescued my milk supply. I was able to establish a respectable (although not bountiful) freezer stash, which allowed me to breastfeed my son until 14 months.

Fast forward to my second pregnancy…this time, I researched pump options extensively. More and more, I was contemplating the need for portability, as I would now have a 2-year-old to chase around the house in addition to the newborn. Sifting through the pump options covered by my insurance, I was less than enthused. There were rumors that most of the other portable pump options on the market have weak suction.

After researching YouTube videos, I decided to give the Baby Buddha a whirl.

Listed below are some standard facts about this beautiful little gem of a pump:

1) Size and Portability – The Baby Buddha is a small pump, the size of an iPhone, attached to a strap which you can hang around your neck. The lightness of it allows a pumping mother, when the pump parts are secured in place by a pumping bra, to fold clothes, put away clean dishes, care for an older child, and complete numerous other household chores while pumping. This is essential, and it made life far easier than when I was pumping for my first child. The small size of it also allows for easier storage in a pump bag.

I’m including a picture below (obtained from the Baby Buddha website) of the complete setup:

2) Versatility with Pump Parts from other Brands – One other huge plus of the Baby Buddha is that you can attach the pump parts from another standard (free and insurance-covered) pump to the Baby Buddha. For instance, I used the Spectra pump parts with my Baby Buddha, and it worked like a dream. I simply attached the Baby Buddha tubing directly onto the Spectra parts. The Baby Buddha website actually includes some neat little infographics (see example below) about how to attach parts from the most common breast pumps (Spectra, Medela, Ameda, Evenflo) to the Baby Buddha. Although the Baby Buddha website offers its own pump parts, I much preferred to attach the pump to my Spectra parts, with which I was most familiar. This pump can also attach to Freemie cups.

Spectra pump parts attached to Baby Buddha pump

3) Powerful Suction – It is not an exaggeration to assert that I obtained twice as much milk from the Baby Buddha, especially during the first few months when milk production often peaks naturally. This soon led to an enormous freezer milk stash, such as I had only seen on Pinterest or heard about (with envy) from over-producing moms. I could not believe it. With my first child, I had a decent stash – but nothing like this wealth of breast milk! It became a bit of a joke in our family – I was able to fill our freezer to brim as well as that of my parents-in-law. I produced so much breast milk that my in-laws told me not to bring any more milk since they did not have any more room in their freezer! Ha! Truly – it was and is a wonderful problem to have.

This is exactly what my freezer looks like!

A few other thoughts…

This breast pump, while not quiet, is certainly not loud either.

The only 2 drawbacks to this pump…

  • I did seem to have to replace the pump parts more frequently; the strong suction of the pump seemed to wear out my Spectra parts sooner. However, I did not have to replace them more than once per month, and that is actually the official recommendation for pump part replacement.
  • I personally did not care for the Baby Buddha pump parts (flanges, etc.). I would recommend attaching the Baby Buddha pump to those pump parts for which you are most familiar.
  • This pump is usually not covered by insurance. However, an application for insurance coverage is provided on the website here; prescription is required.

OVERALL…

This pump, quite simply, changed my breastfeeding journey. I wish I had had this pump during my first pregnancy. This pump will fill your freezer in no time!

DISCOUNT CODE

  • Although this pump is listed at $249.99 on the website, it is often on sale for $189.99. You can get a 10% discount when purchasing this pump at the website with this code – MAKEUPDIVA10. Simply enter the code MAKEUPDIVA10 at checkout.*

*Please note this discount code can be applied to the Baby Buddha pump itself, not the Baby Buddha pump parts.

Related: Pumping at Work Tips (How-to Guide and Must Haves!)