How Much Time Do You Spend Pumping at Work?

So far, my re-entry is going well and I have only hit one small hurdle. The act of pumping is taking much longer than I expected. By the time I leave my office, check into the lactation room, set up my equipment, pump, break down my equipment, and return to my office I have eaten up roughly forty minutes. Forty minutes three times a day really cuts into productivity.

Prior to having a child it was not uncommon for me to spend 50+ hours at the office. Now I am trying to get the same job done in 40 hours (including the 10 hours a week I spend pumping).

I am sure I can be more efficient than my pre-baby self but I am not 100% sure I can be efficient enough to keep up with all this pumping. If you have any suggestions on how to optimize this process, PLEASE let me know.

3 thoughts on “How Much Time Do You Spend Pumping at Work?”

  1. I had the Medela in style pump….I would leave my charger plugged in and the tubing attached and roll it all up in the zipper part on the front. That saved some time for me I was able to get from my desk to the lactation room 20 mins pumping time and back to my desk in total of 28 mins! I used the Medela bottles to pump into instead of the bags b/c I found that was much easier for me and the little yellow caps that go on top make it quick and convenient! I would also have the bottles attached to the flanges before I got upstairs. I have friends that bought sets of flanges, valves, and tubing so that they could use them throughout the day to make the time spent washing them less while at work. I always rinsed in very hot water and set them out to air dry at my desk. LOL I’m sure my coworkers appreciated that! Then to make the actual pumping more efficient I would massage the breast to help the flow. You get faster trust me! Unfortunately I struggled to keep up with her due to my pumping output. I was fine nursing, but struggled to get what I needed from the pump. It became so stressful that I backed down to pumping twice at work and supplemented with a dear friend’s breast milk. She and I have a daughter the same age. Now at 4-5 months I can’t get her to pay attention long enough to nurse so we’ve gone to 100% supplementing with my friends milk. I remember you said you were dealing with your LO looking around while nursing. Hope it worked out for you!!! It was so worth the time I spent and wish I could have done it longer, but I had to make the tough decision of sanity or breastfeeding! Being a working Mommy is tough! Good luck :)

  2. 40 minutes sounds exactly right. I could never fully empty the breast (and keep my supply up) if I pumped for less than 20 minutes (and as we know, not fulling emptying the breast can lead to mastitis and plug ducts, and I would not wish that on anybody.) So add ten minutes on either side of that for going to and from the room, getting hooked up, cleaning parts, etc, then you’ve got your 40 minutes.

    But I got a LOT done while I was hooked up. I got a hands-free pumping bra from pumpease.com, and I could write papers, work on reports, make phone calls, read books – pretty much anything – while I was hooked up the the pump. I’m not sure what kind of job you have, but my company gave me a laptop that I took to the Mother’s Room with me every day. I also ate my lunch in there when necessary. In fact, I got more done in that room than I got at most other times of the day because I could actually work without interruption, which was practically impossible sitting at my desk.

    The other way I saved time was by storing my bottles/horns in the fridge without breaking anything down (I would just put them in a large freezer bag and make sure they wouldn’t tip over.) If you can’t store them upright, then just pop the horns off and store those separately in a freezer bag in the fridge. I saved a lot of time by not stressing about washing things in between each cleaning (and really, as long as it’s in the fridge then there’s no reason at all to clean between pumpings that occur on the same day.)

    I hope that helps! Please let me know if you have any more questions.

  3. The ladies here have some great suggestions that I also found helpful!

    For me – the whole process takes about 25 – 30 mins per pump. 20 – 25 mins to pump and 5 mins to prep and clean-up/store.

    I couldn’t do it so efficiently without using the following each day: my already prepped pump (leave the tubing and plug connected), 3 sets of Breastshields, Valves & Membranes, 6 bottles for storage (I don’t like the bags either – one extra step), my hands-free bra (by Simple Wishes) and my laptop.

    I, too, find my pumping time quite productive – answering emails, eating lunch, making phone calls and finishing administrative tasks (anything that doesn’t require me to be on my phone).

    Fortunately, I am able to pump from the privacy of my office – which saves some time – but by having multiple sets of bottles and shield kits I don’t waste time cleaning them at work.

    If you’re struggling to get enough during your pumping time – a few suggestions:
    – 10 mins into your session stop the machine, gently massage the breasts, change the location of the pump on your breast, and start it up again…
    – Bring a glass/bottle of water/juice with you. Make sure you drink the entire glass whilst you pump (it helps keep your fluids up – which I find makes it a bit easier to pump)
    – Try a supplement from Mother’s Love (I’ve been using More Milk since my daughter was born to help with my production)

    Pumping on the job is definitely tough, but it’s worth the effort if you can make it work! If not – try only pumping once or twice and supplement the other feed(s). But whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up over the matter! Find a solution that works for you, your employer and your baby. Being a working mom isn’t easy!

    Hang in there!

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