Pumping at Work

Kristin - posted on 06/26/2009 ( 44 moms have responded )

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I just had a baby girl 7 wks. ago and am worried about pumping at work when I return in the fall. How will I find the time and a place that is private? Any tips?

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Kimberly - posted on 06/27/2009

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Actually, with the idea that schools are there to help children, it would only be logical that they allow teachers to help their own children, too, especially when it can easily be done at lunch or during break periods. If a workplace makes it extremely difficult or denies a woman the right, I know the La Leche group loves to help out!

[deleted account]

It's SO wonderful that you are planning to pump!! I recommend that if you don't already have one, get a DOUBLE electric pump. They are expensive, but they can be rented. I pumped with a one-sided hand pump, so my hands were always occupied, and it took all of my lunchtime and time after school. I didn't hear about the double electric until much later.
I also support what Kara said about the picture. I had a picture of my daughter with her mouth wide open as if she were about to latch on. This helped me get the milk flowing when she wasn't there to get things going! I would sit behind my desk, planning book and picture in front of me, pump up under my loose shirt. I actually had my principal and her supervisor walk in, and the supervisor never knew what I was doing. My principal, however, realized, and hustled him out of my room!! LOL
One more thing. Try not to skip your planned times to pump if you're busy. Skipping too many will slow your milk production and you may wind up supplementing, even if you didn't want to. If you start to supplement, your milk production will naturally slow down, but that's entirely up to you. If for some reason your milk production is cutting back when you didn't intend it to and you fear having to supplement, take a 3-day weekend, nurse all weekend, and by the next day back to work, your supply should be back up to meeting your baby's needs.
Happy nursing!

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Chalanda - posted on 07/17/2009

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I went back to work in March after having my baby. I breastfed my baby in the morning and then pumped what was left so that my breast didn't get so heavy during the day. I then pumped during my lunch break at 10:30am. I would put a sign on my door that said, please knock and everyone knew that meant, pumping in session.
If I had and afternoon prep, I would use it to pump at times but not much because I still had other work to do. I would then immediately pump when I got home @ 5pm because by then the baby had already eaten. I would not pump again at work in the afternoon when school was over because the janitor was in cleaning the room. If i was running low (not often), I would pump at night when the baby slept for longer periods of time (but only from one breast in case he woke up). I would repeat this procedure everyday and my baby is now 6months old. The only thing about it is having to drag around my medela pump everywhere I went. If we had grade level meetings or other meetings that we needed to attend, I would let the principal know that I would have to step out for about 20-30 minutes and she was okay with that.

Amy - posted on 07/15/2009

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I pumped at work for all four of my children. I have sat on the floor behind my desk and locked the door. I have pumped in the bathroom, I even used another teachers classroom one year (it was empty at the correct times). My girlfriends helped me get a 15 minute break each day to pump. Between that and lunch I nursed all four for one year.

Jennifer - posted on 07/15/2009

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I also pumped this past year at school I had a little bit of trouble so it was very important that I was relaxed. To do this on looked up songs for pumpomg and breastfeeding on the internet and found a couple of good ones. I didnnot lock my door, but I did let the sectarties know so they would buzz me if a student was coming. I also wore a privacy sheet/shield over me, so that no one could see anything. Talk to your supervisors, but also know your rights they can NOT keep you from pumpoing. You have that right as a mom. Make sure you stand up for yourself if you need to.

Sarah - posted on 07/14/2009

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Do you have a nurses office? That is where we do it in our school. The nurses office has two bathroom's and one of them is for nursing mothers.

Beth - posted on 07/14/2009

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Congrats on your baby girl. Most of the teachers that replied did similar things that I did. I pumped in my classroom during my planning period with the door locked and a sign on it. I listened to music and tried to do deep breathing to relax. Other teachers have used the guidance counselor's office or the principal's office. I only nursed for sixth months because I got stressed out about loosing out on my planning period.

Cheryl - posted on 07/14/2009

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Hi Kristin,
I did the same thing when I had both of my babies and it can definitely be worked out! I guess it partly depends upon which grade that you teach, but the TA could take over the class for 20 minutes for you to pum in the morning and then again in the pm. Also, depending upon your lunchtime, you could pump then. I was fortunate in having a wonderful administrator who was willing to work with me and supply someone who could come in and watch my students so that I could pump. Many times other teachers are willing to combine for short periods, or maybe you cuold pump during your kids specials (PE, art, music) when you don't actually have them. Again, I don't what grade level you have, so these suggestions are just shots in the dark! Good luck;) Cheryl

[deleted account]

Hey Kristin, I pumped at work for all of last year, and it worked out fine! I used my classroom (I teach high school) during the periods that I was free (luckily, I wasn't sharing a classroom this year). On days that there was a conflict in my room, I went to the nurse's office. Either way, they have to help you find a place by law, so don't be too shy to ask!! Good luck!

User - posted on 07/13/2009

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I locked my doors and opened my biggest teacher cabinet. Set a chair down facing inward. Have a picture of your baby right in front of you. 10 minutes tops. You'll even have time for lunch, and a small break. You will have to get use to a routine to feel pretty good and secure. Oh...Lights Out. No distractions. I did it for a year. kim

Amy - posted on 07/12/2009

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With both of my babies now 5 and 3, I pumped like crazy and stored it for use later (I never used it until I had to go back to school) I would pump after almost every feeding...actually sometimes I would feed on one side and pump on the other at the same time, an extra hand would have been helpful :-) drink lots...and don't let others put pressure on you or make you feel guilty...for sure make sure you have an electric double pump, I propped mine up while I was at school, and was able to correct papers, etc. so I didn't feel as bad about using up my "planning time". Another thing that worked for me was to talk to my specialists to see if they could schedule my pe, music and library at a consistant time each day to accomodate my pumping schedule-never hurts to ask...oh, and for sure use the microwave sterilizing bags-they are great! Good luck!

Sarah - posted on 07/11/2009

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My daughter is 10 months old and I have been pumping at work for almost 8 months. I will not lie that after a while it gets very hard because you never have time for yourself. I teach at a Child Care Center so I don't have to worry about recess and I get regular breaks. Also, my baby is at the same Child Care Center so I get to feed her instead of pump on my lunch. However, all three of my breaks are either spent feeding her or pumping so I never have a minute for myself and that is hard. There are days where I just don't want to pump but if I don't then I won't have enough for her the next day. I have to pump in a room with no lock but I just put a sign on the door and for the most part no one bugs me. You do get in a routine but just remember to give yourself at least a few minutes to go to the bathroom and eat a snack. Good luck!

Tianay - posted on 07/11/2009

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I pumped during my lunchbreak and it was difficult. Ask your principal if they have a room that is not being used you can set up shop. It was very stressful and difficult to eat lunch, pump, and clean in 20 minutes all in my classroom. My milk ended up drying up because of the stress and I got depressed. I know it's possible and I hope you can make it work!

Randi - posted on 07/10/2009

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My daughter is 2 months and I plan on pumping when I go back to school. I currently pump twice a day at home, once before I go to bed and in the morning about an hour or two before she wakes up. This way I am comfortable with pumping and I have a supply of frozen milk just incase my supply drops when school starts. I plan on pumping in my room and having a sign to hang on the door. I have used an old sports bra to make a handsfree pumpiong system for myself so that I can still get work done while I pump!



Good luck!

Tanya - posted on 07/09/2009

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I have 3 kids and nursed each one. I recommend talking to your principal early and let them know your intentions that way they can help you find a suitable space with a locking door (not the restroom) such as an empty room, nurses office, or conference room. The obvious times to pump are your lunch break and planning period, but if you need an additional time, you might be able to enlist a parapro or teacher's aide to provide you with a pump break. My experience is that usually the admin. will accomadate you if you give them a head's up. Good luck!

[deleted account]

We have designated areas for that, but I did not care to sit in them when I needed to eat lunch or check my email. I just shut and locked my door. I sent out an email to all staff who had master keys that when I had a note on my door that said, "Busy", they were not to open the door with any keys. I explained why. It worked great! I pumped all year long! Good luck.

Melissa - posted on 07/07/2009

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Hi! I have nine month old twin boys, born in October. I was able to pump at school from December until June. In my classroom I was able to go in a corner by the phone with the door locked. I pumped twice a day, so if the kids needed to have lunch in the classroom, I used a room off of our media center. I've found that the women I worked with were very understanding that I needed to pump. Talk to your coworkers about finding a room you're comfortable using. I had a little cooler that came with my pump and stored my milk there. If I ever forgot it, I'd put it in a brown paper bag in the teachers' lounge freezer. I'd rinse out the pump parts until my next pumping, then wash them thoroughly each night at home.

Congratulations, and good luck!

Jennifer - posted on 07/07/2009

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They sell these bags at babiesrus where you can clean all your equipment by placing it in a bag and microwaving it. A friend suggested this to me. It might cut down on the time of having to rinse everything.

Carole - posted on 07/07/2009

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Not knowing your school, it's hard to say. Hopefully someone at work will have access to a quiet room that is unused during a part of the day when you don't teach and can use it. One teacher I worked with had a tough time at the end of the day remembering to get the pumped milk from the refrigerator to take home. Solution? Put your car keys in the fridge with the milk - can't leave without them :-) Good luck and have a good year!

Colleen - posted on 07/07/2009

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Hi, Kristin: My daughter is two now, but I nursed her until she was 13 months. She was born in October so I pumped during most of the school year. I had prep right after lunch so I used this time. I recommend finding an "out of the way" room that locks and not everyone in the building has a key to open. Bring headphones so you can block out the background noise. (Some people recommended tapping my daughter cooing; my sister - a nurse - listens to relaxing music). Also, start pumping at home a few weeks before you go back to work. There seems to be an art to pumping and I found it easier to master in the comforts of my own home.

Carlyn - posted on 07/07/2009

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When I was pregnant my high school was undergoing a remodel. I urged my principal to consider making a "mommy room" off the teacher's lounge, and they did! I was a very tiny room (a closet really) just big enough for a chair, an outlet, a network connection, and a small shelf. I pumped in there for over a year. Since I was a very busy new mom, I would bring my laptop and do e-mail or lesson prep while pumping. However, that room was not ready when my DD was born. I used the battery pack for my Pump in Style to pump in all sorts of odd places, including a locked classroom (once, I was too nervous about a kid walking in to get a good let down), in the supply closet, and in a conference room. I also had a car hookup and a hands-free system that I used to pump in my car during my morning and evening commute. (Yes, I know some people would not agree with this, but I had an hour+ commute each way and it worked well for me.) Some of the other ladies at my work did not like the tiny mommy room (the door had no lock) so they pumped in the nurses office, in the back room of our daycare facility, or in their car. I also sometimes pumped one side at home while my daughter nursed the other in order to have enough milk. But I made it and I'm very proud that my daughter never had formula.

Make sure you tell your principal about your plan to pump so that you can get good times scheduled during the day. One day I missed a pumping session because of a meeting and I ended up leaking all over my shirt during my afternoon lesson. Thank goodness it was Friday and I was wearing a jacket! They might also have a small room or office that the school could convert into a mommy room. It will be esp. tempting to them if they have a big staff or a lot of young moms. Good luck!

Janine - posted on 07/06/2009

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I used the computer server room. The janitor was kind enough to put a lock on it so I could lock it from the inside. The Aven Isis is a silent hand pump that worked well for me. The hum of the computers drowned out all the noise and was actually relaxing in an odd way. The other thing that worked well was that I was able to pump on one side while my son was feeding on the other. I did this at our night-time and morning feedings. Good luck!

Kateri - posted on 07/06/2009

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Don't give in to the pressure from others. You are making the best choice for your daughter and if others don't see that there opinions shouldn't matter to you.

Kateri - posted on 07/06/2009

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I was lucky to have an understanding grade level team. I pumped in my room (taped bulletin board paper over the windows and locked the door) when the kids were at resource in the morning and then my team would take my kids to recess in the afternoons while I pumped then I would meet them outside. The only real problems were when we had long meeting right after school and I only got walked in on one by a maintenance guy who didn't heed the Do Not Disturb Sign on the door.

Good luck!

Becky - posted on 07/06/2009

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I did it in the clinic during snack time. They had beds and curtains for privacy. My IA covered my class for me. My principal was very supportive. If yours is not, I'd get a note from your daughter's dr. I did it until Abby was a year old. It's tough, but you can do it!! I also pumped in the car on the way to pick up my daughter. Just make sure you have it on good, and cover up with a big shirt, and drive on!

Erica - posted on 07/05/2009

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I also pumped for almost 7 months at work. I went back to work when my son was 3 months and pumped till he was almost a year. I was lucky to have an office that locked. If you can (depending on what you teach) ask for a free period early in the day, that way you can keep up your supply. In the beginning, I would pump twice a day and then I went down to one. I will say that I would get a dual pump and they also have a "hand free model" so you can do other things like eat lunch or a snack. Good luck!

Ryan - posted on 07/04/2009

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Hello. I pumped for the entire last school year. I am a special ed. teacher at an elementary school, I make my own schedule, and I taught in the room that had been the lounge-no windows. I made several signs during the year with pictures of cows or blue-footed boobies (the birds). I pumped twice a day for 20 minutes each. I have a medela free style pump--expensive, but so worth it! I told the kids that I had to "make baby food" and that it was a private time and I couldn't have germs getting into the food. They were so good about it. I just split my planning period up to get the pump time in. It was kind of a pain to pump at work and people walked in on me a few times, but it was worth it. Good luck!

Sarah - posted on 07/04/2009

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I think the most important thing is talking to your supervisor and working with them to figure things out.
As a preschool teacher, I don't have a planning time or recess to pump; instead, I clock out for a morning "mommy break" (what I tell the children) and go into the teacher break room/ toy storage room to pump. I've actually had to start using the bathroom there instead of relaxing on the couch, because I've had the maintenance man walk in on me too many times to be able to relax anymore!
Pumping in a bathroom is far from ideal, and I hate having to do it there (definite ick factor!!), but that's my end result.
I feel very strongly about wanting to BF until my daughter is a year old (at least), but even though she's only 5 months old, I'm already getting the "how long are you going to do that? / put her on formula". There seems to be other teachers who think I'm getting special treatment; maybe they don't realize I have an unpaid break, where they have a paid one....
Anyway,, do your best to stick with it as long as you feel you want to, and like I said, work it out ahead of time.

Nicole - posted on 07/03/2009

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Hi Kristen, I pumped with both of my kids. My team was very understanding. I don't know what grade you teach, but I teach 1st so, when they were at recess I would send them out with the other teachers, close and lock my door and begin pumping. then in the afternoon was when my conference was, I would do it all over again. I nursed both of my children for a year. Just remember to try to relax. I didn't produce as much with my daughter, but with my son I could have fed the neighborhood. I think it was because I was more relaxed witht he 2nd one:) Good luck!

Leah - posted on 07/02/2009

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I'm a music teacher and I used my storage closet. It locks and doesn't have a window. I have also offered it to the other moms on my campus that pump. I pumped on my conference period and during my lunch and stored the milk in a cooler. Pumping is hard and you really have to relax to get your milk to let down. I read a book and that really helped. I also had a really great principal. She walked into my room looking for me once and I answered her from the closet. She knew what I was doing and was really cool about it.

Debbyie - posted on 07/02/2009

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I just finished doing the same thing. With my oldest daughter who is now 4, I worked at an elementary school, and given that we had shorter breaks and days where we had to stay in the classroom because of inclement weather, I had to give up nursing at about 9 months due to a low milk supply (and I had been having to supplement for 2 months before that). However, now that I teach high school and have a 57 minute prep period built into my day, I was able to go the entire 12 months that is recommended. I would advise people who teach high school to see if you can negotiate a midmorning preparation period, which for me was third. It made a HUGE difference for me, especially since I am an art teacher who often had students working during lunch or right after school.



I tried to do tasks while pumping that didn't require much brainpower...I know it sounds silly but I think pumping (and nursing) made me unable to concentrate on much. Gotta love those horomones. I HATE pumping at work, but it was worth it.

Jennifer - posted on 07/02/2009

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Like the others, I put a sign on my door that said "Please do not disturb," closed the blinds to the windows and locked the door. I would pump a half hour before the kids came and again at lunch and once more after the kids left. I usually pumped enough milk to have a good supply for the next day. I also pumped once a night before I went to bed so I could make it through the night. Good luck! Going back to work was so hard, but now it's summer and I'm home and loving it.

Jodi - posted on 07/02/2009

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Handle one day at a time. I pumped for three months morning(before work), lunch (during work) after work (as soon as the kids left for the day, and it worked out. It does take a toll after a while. Don't feel bad if you have to supplement. You may hate doing it ( I did ) but sometimes it ends up being the best thing. Best of luck.

Jennifer - posted on 07/01/2009

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I placed a Shreck Sign on my door for my oldest son. Everyone knew that meant scare in progress, mom pumping breast. It worked out great. For my 2nd, I tied a ribbon on the book room to let people know that I was busy.

Candace - posted on 07/01/2009

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Well, keep in mind, that your employer is required to give you appropriate time and place to pump. I pumped until my son was 8 months old. I just did it durning my planning periods. For about a month or so, I did need one of our instructional coaches to cover 20 minutes of one class every other day (we are on a block schedule) but the administration was very accomodating in letting me use an office when my classroom was occupied. Best of luck!

Kara - posted on 06/30/2009

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It was pretty hard for me, but I did it anyway for both my kids. The 1st time, I used the janitors locking office. We didn't have very many places that locked that also had an electrical outlet. The next time, I tried a few different places before I had to use a storage room with NO lock! I sat my chair with my back against the door & put a sign on it. I only had one "incident" of someone trying to come in.

Just make sure you have time to relax for a few minutes befoer you start. Baby's picture helps, too. I needed a clock/timer because I would get so tired sitting there trying to relax that I'd lose track of time & almost fall asleep! :)

After a week or two, it just becomes part of your routine & you hardly even care if anyone knows. Good luck!

Amy - posted on 06/29/2009

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I think it is awesome that you're planning on continuing nursing. I had 3 kids and worked with each one--but always found a nice quiet place to pump for the first 6 mos. of life and then just pumped when I got home from work. I nursed on one side and pumped on the other.

Suzanne - posted on 06/28/2009

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I pumped at work for a year. I would pump mid morning or mid afternoon (when I didn't have duty), and while I ate lunch. If you drink water quickly as you are beginning to pump it will help you let down faster, at least for me. I also pumped in the morning before work and then fed the baby about 45 minutes later, on most days. I started pumping while I was still home, after I fed the baby I would pump whatever was left and this helped build up my supply and stock some in the freezer so I always had a reserve. One more cool idea a friend shared with me was to freeze the milk laying flat in the freezer and cut the top off a 12 pk coke box and then stand the milk up in the box after it was frozen by the date and it saved a lot of space. Good Luck!!

Shibahn - posted on 06/27/2009

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I'm also nervous about pumping at work. But a colleague of mine has been doing it and our principal was always supportive of it. Just talk to your supervisor (I have a brand new principal this year so that will be a lovely first conversation!) and see what type of arrangement can be made. Hang in there! We can do this!!

Cristine - posted on 06/27/2009

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I pumped at work. I was able to pump mid morning and again after the students left. I found a quiet room that was used to store office supplies and had a locking door.

Tiffany - posted on 06/27/2009

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I pumped at work too. I was only able to pump one time a day, so I only did it for 6 months, but it was worth it. I locked my door and put a sign out too. It worked out well!

Rachel - posted on 06/27/2009

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I am a third grade teacher who pumped after going back to work in January. It was hard but I just stuck to the routine of pumping in the morning and during my break. I covered my window of my classroom and put a sign on the door to please come back later. My principal was wonderful about it. It was worth it in the long run.I also supplemented formula into her bottles as well since I could not always pump enough for the next day. Hope this helped. Good luck.

Kimberly - posted on 06/27/2009

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I asked my principal, and she asked her secretary if there was a private office I could use. I got a key to that office until I was done. I always brought along something to relax me, like a novel or a picture of my son. Otherwise, it can sometimes be difficult.

Katherine - posted on 06/26/2009

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I'm a high school math teacher. I taped something over my classroom door's window to block the view, put a note asking for anyone to knock instead of using their key, and locked my door. That is the only window for me. On days when I don't have lunch duty, I pump in there while I eat. I also pump during my conference time, as I do things like enter absentees and grade bellwork, etc. I've had no problems washing out the pump in the teachers' lounge, or with storing my milk in the fridge. Good luck!

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