Pumping at Work: Tips and Must-Haves

Oh back to work mamas! After 4 months out with my little girl, I am back to work and that means pumping at work too. Sometimes I feel like a pro, other days  I feel like I’m not pumping enough. The struggle is real! 

My first piece of advice if you will be pumping at work is to practice pumping before you go! No one needs the added stress of trying to figure it all out the firs time around, in between meetings and conference calls!

Thanks to the ACA you can get a free breast pump through your insurer, so make sure you get one early on and practice while on leave so you get comfortable with it. I got a Medela pump through my insurer. I also have a manual pump which I also recommend you get… you can read all about why I love my manual pump here. 

Build a stash of emergency milk. Before I went back to work, I started pumping and freezing milk, bags of about 2-3 oz each. This will help if I ever don’t produce enough milk, I can unfreeze the milk. (But make sure to add to the stash if you unfreeze). I like these Lansinoh bags for storage. 

Know your rights! You have the right to time to express milk, and you have the right to pump in a place OTHER THAN THE BATHROOM. Read more about  break time for nursing mothers here. 

Figure out where you will pump before you go to work. If you can, try to find out what facilities are available before your first day back, that way, you will not be stressing out about this on the first day back. Pumping at work shouldn’t be stressful, but many time it is, and stress can harm milk production.


pumping at work-tips and must-have items to help you succeed as a working mom who pumps at work!

Set alarms and reminders on your phone. I set the alarms so I remember that I have to go do it. If I’m in the middle of something, it may be hard to get away, so the alarm helps with that.  
Dress the part. As a first-time mom I would’ve said button down is the way to go, but I’ve learned some things about dressing for pumping. First, I hate button down shirts, LOL.
Really, I learned that there are other types of clothing that facilitate pumping: in the summer, tube dresses, spaghetti straps, for example. In the winter, layers – tanks (I love the $5 at H&M and the nursing tops at H&M too) over tees or sweaters. I got my nursing bras at H&M as well. 

Another great accessory to consider getting is a Hands-free bustier: This is a great one from Medela. 

Leave extra clothes at work. T-shirts if you ever leak, and also (heaven forbid!) if you spill (that precious liquid gold) on yourself! 
Drink a lot of water. Personally, I have a refillable water bottle that I use to drink water throughout the day. I make a point to fill it up before going to pump, and I drink the entire contents of the bottle while I pump, then I fill it up before I go back to my desk.


Have extra pump parts at work. Part of the stress in the AM is making sure I have all the parts I need: bottles, caps, tubes, etc. Keeping some extra parts at your desk will be helpful if (gasp!) you forget something at home.

Join support groups. Today, there are many support groups on Facebook: local moms groups are great for meetups, some pediatricians now have support groups as well.
Don’t forget the nursing pads! I have used disposable (like these from Lanisoh) but I recently discovered Bamboobies nursing pads which are reusable. 

Nursing tea and cookies. 
I purchase lactation cookies from a local baker in Astoria, SugarSnap cookies.
 I love Yogi Tea Nursing Support and I drink a tea mid-morning, and another mid-afternoon (sometimes I will have one a night as well).

I love that Yogi tea comes with motivational quotes like this one: 

Mamas, pumping at work is hard work! Don’t get discouraged! I share snippets of my pumping journey on my IG stories, make sure to follow me on Instagram and feel free to reach out if you have questions or support! 


Ok this is a very rare pic… here I am #breastfeeding my little girl… with my firstborn I was very shy and wouldn’t breastfeed in public – but now I’m a LOT more relaxed about it… because it’s normal and part of nature, right? I’m still a bit shy when it comes to doing it in front of people that I know- because it is a bit awkward, but in public, like the park? Or the subway? Sure (and yes I’ve actually done that!) if you have an issue with women breastfeeding in public and not with the sexualized images of women you have a problem, not the women who are breastfeeding. What’s the craziest place you’ve ever #breastfed?#normalizebreastfeeding #lactancia #mommymilk #momlife #mkbkids #motherhood #momsofinstagram

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Diana Limongi
Diana a mom, activist, nonprofit professional, podcaster and writer from Queens, NY. She writes about motherhood, activism, raising my multilingual kids, culture and travel. She and her multicultural family live in Queens, NY.

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