If you are a breast feeding mom, when do you have time to pump at work?

Marissa - posted on 01/02/2010 ( 27 moms have responded )

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I am breast feeding, but work at a charter school that does not give us daily preps. I am running myself ragged trying to pump during my 35 min lunch period. I am often torn between pumping and eating. Pumping always wins.
Please share with me how you are able to pump.

Thanks!

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Mary - posted on 01/14/2010

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I pump in the morning on one side while I feed my daughter on the other, then double pump during my prep or recess, and then again while I feed my daughter when I get home at 4. I also go to my babysitters and nurse my daughter on my lunch. I try to snack whenever I have a break. I have found that if I don't drink enough water, I am not as successful pumping. I usually use the adult bathroom at our school because it is the most private. However, we do a library office that can be locked and I have used it also. It's not easy, but I don't want to give up nursing.

Toni - posted on 01/13/2010

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Try to find a comfortable spot so you can snack while you pump. I have a table and a box under the table to put my feet up. I balance the bottles in my lap/on the table while pumping. I am actually able to get one hand free to snack and sip water while I pump. You can also try placing the pump bag (if you have one) in your lap and using it to help balance the pumps. They also make hands free bras that allow you to hook up the pump bottles.

Janice - posted on 01/11/2010

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Oh do I remember those days. What I did, was I made sure that I allowed myself and my little one enough time in the morning for a good feeding before I left for work. At that time, she was 4 months old and really only ate 5 times a day. So, I just had to pump once during the day. I put a sign on my door that said, "Testing, DO NOT ENTER!" Then, I would sit at my desk and pump. Then as soon as the final bell of the day rang, I made sure I was the first one out the door. I rushed right to my baby and that was another really good feeding. Then, just followed the rest of the day schedule as usual. The key is finding what's right for you. If you are in an elementary teaching position, it may be more difficult. Elem. teachers are so busy. If you don't get a lot of time, maybe your team mates could give you the 10 or 15 minutes after lunch during recess to pump while your kids are just playing anyway. I also strongly suggest you tell your administrator or talk with the school nurse. They can sometimes be a strong advocate. Tell you principal that you really want to pass along a strong immune system to your little one so you can be there everyday possible. That may help motivate him/her to help you carve out some time in your day to do this wonderful thing for your baby. Hope that helps.

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I told my principal before I returned to work that I would need time to pump. Of course she made a schedule that didn't allow for pumping. I told her I was willing to quit if she couldn't accommodate (yes I was bluffing - well kind of). I pumped before work, during lunch, during planning, and after school if necessary. I was working 10 hour days at that point so I needed to pump a lot. I agree with the hands free pumping. I even know moms who use rubber bands to attach the pump to their bra. I would grade papers while pumping. I pumped in my classroom and locked the door. I was walked in on a few times by people who couldn't read the sign on my door. They were much more embarrassed than I was. It's hard work and requires planning but it was worth it.

Amy - posted on 01/09/2010

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I don't know how to do that thing where you quote someone else, but if I did, I would quote from Kristin's comment and second her suggestion! The hands free pump is awesome. Also, someone else suggested bringing food you could eat on the go... another thing I did that really worked. I used a small work room to pump in. It was formerly a book closet, but I brought in a comfy chair, small radio, and a couple pics of my son. I had a little station set up in the corner and I would lock myself in to pump. My co-workers also had the key, but they knew my situation, so I made a funny little sign parodying the "got milk" commercials and hung it up whenever I was in there.
Good luck! I won't say it was easy, but I will say it was worth it!

Kristin - posted on 01/08/2010

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Marissa,

You HAVE to buy this pumping bra type thing I have. It's not a bra but you put it on when you are pumping and it has 2 slits where your breasts are. YOu insert the flanges and then connect everything else and you can pump hands free and you get decent milk. The company that makes it is called Easy Expression Products. It's so funny looking but a lifesaver. I pump and eat at the same time (or correct papers!) Good luck!

Melissa - posted on 01/08/2010

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I guess I'm lucky to have a 30 minute lunch that I don't have to watch kids!! When I have students that owe recess time, I have worked with another teacher to have my students make up their time in her room. I pump in my classroom with doors locked and blinds closed. I also use a stop sign to let the kids know they can't come in.

Coley - posted on 01/07/2010

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I don't know about you, but I always get to work at least an hour before school starts. Including getting ready for work and commute time, it's been several hours since nursing. So, I would pump right before school for about 20 min. and then again on my lunch period (which is 45 min.). I did that for 10 months....my son is 2 1/2 now. It was stressful, but well worth it!!!

Jenny - posted on 01/07/2010

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Hi Marissa-I always pumped at lunch too. How unfortunate that you don't have any prep time. :( I got pretty good at holding up both sides of the pump with my arm and hand on 1 side and then eat a sandwich and finger foods with my other hand. I always pumped right after school too. It eventually got to the point that I couldn't quite keep up, so my son usually got 1 formula bottle mid-morning and sometimes a formula bottle mid-afternoon when I was not with him. I was able to nurse him for 11 months. Just keep thinking that it won't last forever and you are giving him a healthy gift to start his life.

Jennifer - posted on 01/07/2010

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If you are part of a union at your school you should try to bargain that into your contract. We don't have that language in our contract but we haven't had the trouble that it sounds like some if you have. Good luck. I am kinda glad to be done with that but would do it again if I had another. The only thing I miss was that time when EVERYONE knew they couldn't bother me. The worst thing was that the power goes out at our building regularly, and indoor recess.

I would also suggest freezing lots of milk before you return and remember to pull it out in the order you put it in.

A'Lisa - posted on 01/07/2010

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Quoting Eileen:

I'm pretty sure its a federal law that you are entitled to 2 20 minute pump breaks separate from your lunch period.



I checked into it last year when we moved to Louisiana (no laws to help you here). I believe it differs from state to state. I remember looking at the La Leche Leage website for current info....don't remember reading anything about a federal law.

Jennifer - posted on 01/07/2010

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Sort of on the same note. I bought a pumping bustier thing online for my second kid and it was wonderful. I could work at my desk during planning and lunch and pump away! I wished I had it for the first one. Worth every penny. The zipper makes it so you don't have to take anything off.

http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Expression-Bu...

Eileen - posted on 01/07/2010

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I'm pretty sure its a federal law that you are entitled to 2 20 minute pump breaks separate from your lunch period.

A'Lisa - posted on 01/07/2010

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I am also a teacher and our lunch break is only 20 mins.--and we're supposed to be supervising the kids at that time. My only other break is 30 mins. at 8 AM, which doesn't help me w/ pumping. I talked to the principal and he agreed to let another teacher take my class w/ hers while I stay in my room and pump during lunch. I pump for 13 mins. while eating a high fiber granola bar with either crackers, almonds, or dried fruit. I then pick up my class in the cafeteria, usually at the very minute they should be leaving. I make a point to drink 2-3 bottles of water daily, and of course I'm starving when I get home, but I just have an after-school snack w/ my kids, and I'm used to it now (been doing this since Aug.).

I was at another school when I was nursing my 2nd daughter, and it worked much better--I was able to pump twice a day, which I miss now.

It's hard (especially since I can only pump once a day and daycare has to supplement some formula), but it's worth it to me--I just tell myself it's only for a year!!!! :)

Jocelyn - posted on 01/07/2010

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I am an exclusive pumper, so I bought a hands-free bra that allows me to pump and do other things (like work on my laptop). Perhaps you could get one of those and bring your lunch with you to wherever you pump. As far as where to pump, I teach at two campuses and have a relatively private place at both. At one school, I use the women's faculty bathroom that has a screen in front of a couch and at the other campus, I use a restroom that no one else ever uses (it's in a weird place in the building). Both places, I still use the nursing cover I bought so that if someone does get a peek at me they don't have to see all the business!

Gretchen - posted on 01/07/2010

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I had to pump during my plan time which is very short. It was horrible b/c we were in an old building and the room housed the washer and dryer and was very hot! The door did not lock either so I was always holding my breath waiting for someone to bust in. Now we are in a brand new building and I'm sure I will have more privacy but it is the one thing I dread for my next baby making me second guess breastfeeding beyond my maternity leave. :o(

Anna - posted on 01/07/2010

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take some food with you that you can eat with one hand and eat while you pump or keep snacks in your desk drawer and sneak bites throughout the day. This is what I did when I was pumping. I'm a teacher too and I don't get any breaks from the children either.

Alicia - posted on 01/06/2010

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I pump in the after-school program's room (since it is empty during the day). I can't lock myself in or permanently cover the window on their door. So I made a sign that says "Stop! Pumping in Progress" and put it on the door to cover the little window while I pump. I even added little cow stamps to the sign to make it clear what type of pumping I mean. It's not ideal by a long shot, but I figure it's enough to scare off anyone who would might otherwise have walked in on me.

Nichole - posted on 01/06/2010

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I pump in my classroom - there is only one window that I pull the blinds down on and I cover the small window on my door with a poster and lock the door. I also have my desk set up in the corner that is least visible from the door, just in case...

Linda - posted on 01/04/2010

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I am fortunate enough to have an office within my classroom. I had to put curtains up on the windows to have enough privacy to feel comfortable. I then lock my classroom door and the office door. The only thing is that there are a lot of people who have keys and not everyone is aware that I'm pumping. Other teachers that have pumped at my school in the past, also lock themselves in their classrooms to pump.

Crystal - posted on 01/03/2010

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I didn't realize that there were teachers that actually pumped at school. Where do you pump at? I am about to start subbing and I am a new mom. I wasn't sure how I was going to pump so that I could feed my daughter. I am about to get my certification to teach. I just have one more test to take and then I will be able to get my certification. I am hoping to start teaching by fall of this year, and I will probably still be breastfeeding by then as well. I hope I am lucky enough to have a supportive principal like some of you have. ;)

Nichole - posted on 01/03/2010

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I often end up pumping first thing when I get to school, before students start to arrive. I also will ask another teacher to take my class outside with her for recess and I pump during that time on the days when I don't have a planning period. And I also pump right after school when I finish my dismissal duty before I head home. It's not ideal and I totally relate to the feeling of running yourself ragged! There are days when I don't get a chance to pump at all... and then I have to do it a few times at home, sometimes I even get up in the middle of the night to pump! You will find a way to make it work - and if you're not getting enough milk to keep you baby satisfied while you're at work, you can try mixing what you do get with formula. Good luck!

Linda - posted on 01/03/2010

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Depending on which state you live in I believe that legally you are entitled to a break to pump. You might want to search on the Internet for your state's laws. You should also be able to get a note from your doctor that states you should be able to have time during the day to take care of pumping--pumping does classify as a "medical condition."

Erin - posted on 01/02/2010

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That is the same question I have! I go back in three weeks and plan on pumping the first part of my lunch period. I informed my principal so that he will be aware of where I am during that time and that makes me feel better. Looks like the best times to pump are before/after school, specials, and/or lunch period. Good luck!!!

Andrea - posted on 01/02/2010

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My principal is awesome (and I too work at a charter) and he actually arranged for someone to come into my classroom every day at 9:30 to give me a "pumping break." I pump in the morning before school starts, at 9:30 and then again when I get off at 12:30 (I only teach part time). It may not sound ideal for you, but asking your principal may not hurt if he or she is supportive.

Katy - posted on 01/02/2010

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I pumped right before my students came, during my 25 minute plan time, during my 20 minute lunch, and then right after school. It was exhausting and I ended up eating during my lunch/recess duty with students or walking around my classroom teaching. I never brought anything to eat that needed to be heated up...just sandwiches and stuff that I could eat on the go. It's so hard, but worth it in the long run!

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