Warning: What you are about to read is a true, no-holds-barred account of a typical pumping day for this working and breastfeeding momma. It’s not pretty, but it’s true. All of these experiences have really happened, though (thankfully) not all on a single day!
6:30 am – Wake up blearily as my 9-week old stirs. I pick him up from the crib and nurse him back to sleep, wishing I could do the same. Little guy kept me up half the night! Must be a growth spurt.
6:50 am – Ugh, drag myself out of bed and go wash my pump parts and bottles in the kitchen. Try not to lose the tiny white membranes to the drain. Fill the bottles for the day from yesterday’s batch, and freeze the extra … trying not to spill any of that liquid gold in the process. This takes WAY too much precision this early in the morning.
**PRO TIP: You can use a breast shield as a funnel for pouring milk into bottles and freezer bags.**
7:20 am – Pack up my bag for the day: sterilized breast shields, valves, membranes, extra bottles, cooler bag, ice pack, gallon Ziploc, nursing pads, and all of my other work-related items. Luckily, I can leave my pump at work. One less item to carry. Double-check that my outfit is pumping-appropriate. Yup!
**Pro Tip: Make sure to pack yourself lots of protein-rich snacks for while you pump. Almonds, peanut butter, hardboiled eggs, hummus, and greek yogurt are great options. Did you know breastfeeding mamas need an extra 300-500 calories a day?**
8:00 am – Arrive at work. Empty and organize my pumping supplies at my desk, then get to my morning duties.
9:00 am – First pumping session of the day! I’m lucky enough to be able to pump in my own office, which makes things a little easier. Put up my “moo” sign, shut the door, close the curtains, put all my pieces together, zip on the hands-free pumping bra, and get to work! I pump right at my desk and go through e-mails while those bottles fill up.
**PRO TIP: I place my breast shields in a large plastic baggie and store in my mini fridge between sessions so that I don’t have to wash them every single time. This saves SO much time!**
10:30am – I’m a librarian, and today I’m doing storytime. Loads of babies, toddlers, and their caregivers pile into the room. One of the babies starts crying. Uh oh … cue the almost unbearable pain of let-down. My shoulders curl forward as I try to continue as if nothing’s happening. No such luck–I’m leaking! Arrrrrgh!
**PRO TIP: Make sure you keep extra nursing pads everywhere! In your purse, your car and stashed in your office… even a cut up disposable diaper will help, in a pinch!**
12:00 pm – Second pumping session. Have to ask a teen volunteer to leave the room, with a vague excuse and apology: “I’m sorry, I’ve got to kick you out. I need to … um, use the room.” The same rigamarole to get ready, except this time I’m pumping while eating my lunch. Get walked in on by the maintenance person, who is much more embarrassed than I am. Guess he didn’t know what the “MOO” sign on my doorknob meant. Whoops!
2:45 pm – Sitting at the reference desk at work. After helping an elderly gentleman find the tax forms, I feel an unmistakable wetness on my shirt. Sigh. I’ve got to flag someone down to cover the desk for me while I run back to my office and change not only my pads but my wet bra and shirt, too.
**PRO TIP: Keep an extra set of clothes in your office, or car, for those times when your nursing pads fail you. Whether you use the washable or disposable kind, I can guarantee you will experience them leaking at one point or another. Of course, this point will take place when you’re in public.**
3:00 pm – Third and last pumping session of the day. Happens to coincide with a phone conference, so I leave my phone on mute for the majority of the meeting, hoping they can’t hear the distinct “hee-haw” sound of my pump whenever I contribute to the conversation. As we’re discussing which new books we need to order, I’m applying nipple butter to my poor, tender ladies. Pumping sucks–literally.
**PRO TIP: Apply your chosen nipple butter before pumping–it helps with the friction tremendously.**
5:00 pm – Pack up. Make sure I take everything home with me to wash this time. Don’t forget the ice pack! Double-check that the lids are nice and secure. Spilled breast milk is definitely worth crying over, and I’ve done my fair share of it.
5:30 pm – Rush home, and transfer all that milky goodness into the fridge. I’m just in time to feed my little nursling and soak up his baby smell. He makes all the craziness worth it. My husband starts dinner while I simultaneously nurse the baby and play with the toddler. It’s hard being away from them for so long each day, but that’s a topic for another post.
Do you pump at work? Have any tips for other pumping mommas?