How to fit pumping into your busy schedule

How to fit pumping into your busy schedule
Whether you're a working mom or not, there are going to be times when you’ll need to be away from your baby. This is why it is a good idea to start thinking about how you'll keep the breastmilk flowing while you're gone. One of the best ways to do this is through pumping. 

When you have a constant supply of breastmilk, it becomes easier to meet the recommendation of the AAP of breastfeeding your baby for at least a year. Want to know how to pump, store, and maintain a healthy milk supply while juggling a hectic schedule? Here are some tips that will help you achieve exactly this:

1. Create a good breastfeeding routine

Experts believe that the key to successful pumping and bottle feeding is to develop healthy breastfeeding practices that will promote a good milk supply right from the start.

Breastfeed your infant exclusively and on-demand for the first 4-6 weeks. While it's tempting to start pumping early so that your partner can help give the baby a bottle in the middle of the night, nothing empties the breast like your baby. Effective nursing is crucial if you want to develop a sufficient supply.

Once your supply is well developed, you can start introducing the breast pump. Good breast pumps can be bought or rented. Note that not all breast pumps are designed for all types of breasts. Talk to your friends or other mothers in postpartum support groups and ask them for recommendations. You can also ask if you can borrow their pumps to see which ones work best for you.

As you do, think about portability and your convenience. For example, if you're on the road all day, might suffice.

2. Make a pumping schedule

Talk to your employer and find out if there is a breastfeeding room you can use and if a pump is available for you. If there isn't a specific room, inquire about what private area is available. Don't be surprised if you're the first to request it. Take it as an opportunity to be a champion for other moms at work!

With a small refrigerator or cooler that plugs into a power socket, you can turn your car into your very own mobile pumping room.

Finally, decide how you are going to store your pumped milk. Are you going to keep it in a cooler? Will you be using the refrigerator that is available to you? Your breast milk needs to be stored safely until you get home.

3. Make a schedule for your boobs

This is necessary for effective pumping and feeding. Determine the best times for you to pump during the day and stick to those times as much as you can. Your body is incredibly intelligent, and it will adapt to the routine you set for it. Start training your boobs in this way at least two weeks before returning to work and continue on your days off.

Make a note of your pumping schedule in your work and social calendars to ensure that you don't have any meetings or events scheduled during this time.

As you do, remember that while you're pumping, you're connected to your baby even while you're separated. Relax and enjoy yourself. You are only going to have to do this for a year or two, and it'll be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself and your child.

Pumping schedules for busy moms: Examples and instructions on how to make your own

Most moms who choose to breastfeed picture themselves feeding their child directly from the breast, snuggling them in their arms. Unfortunately, this may not always be achievable, and a lot of moms end up having to pump full-time, part-time, or for a limited amount of time.

Knowing how to integrate pumping into your busy schedule, as well as how to thrive (and sleep!) while doing so, can be difficult. To help you out, here are some examples of pumping schedules that are based on specific requirements.

If you expect to be pumping regularly, you probably want to create a routine around it to guide you. This way, you can plan your day and ensure that you're producing enough milk to nourish or store for your baby.

Different needs necessitate different pumping schedules. Therefore, keep your personal pumping goals in mind as you construct a plan that works for you.

📌Before you pump

It is important to remember that every breastfeeding mom is different. Everyone produces breast milk at different rates. It all comes down to your breast milk storage capacity, which varies from person to person.

Some folks can pump several ounces at a time and go many hours between sessions. Others need to pump more frequently because they don't get as much milk each time.

Regardless, most parents will be aiming for the same goal: to produce the minimum amount of milk their baby needs in a 24-hour period, which is roughly 25 to 30 ounces overall for a baby aged 1 to 6 months.

Therefore, avoid comparing yourself to others and instead meet yourself where you are. The role of the pumping schedule is to ensure your little one has enough milk for every 24-hour period while also meeting your own pumping goals, nothing more.

When we discuss pumping schedules and provide examples, it's critical to remember that these are merely hypothetical timetables.

Again, everyone is different, and some people will need to pump more or less frequently to obtain the necessary volume of milk. Not only that but as time passes and your body and baby adjust, your pumping routine will most likely shift.

So, use these timetables as a starting point, but make adjustments as needed.

📌Pumping schedule for exclusive pumping moms

Pumping 8 to 12 times in 24 hours, even in the middle of the night, is needed when you have a newborn. Each pumping session should last between 15 and 20 minutes.

An example schedule for a mom who is exclusively pumping for a newborn would be:

  • 7 a.m.
  • 9 a.m.
  • 11 a.m.
  • 1 p.m.
  • 3 p.m.
  • 5 p.m.
  • 7 p.m.
  • 10 p.m.
  • 3 a.m.

📌Pumping exclusively for an older baby's schedule

The good news is that you will not have to pump this intensively for long. As your baby grows, they may adopt sleeping patterns that allow you to not have to pump at night at all.

Still, make sure to space out your pumping sessions well, and pump first thing in the morning when your supply is at its peak. If you're producing a lot of milk, you might be able to reduce the number of minutes you pump each time.

  • 7 a.m.
  • 9 a.m.
  • 2 p.m.
  • 5 p.m.
  • 8 p.m.
  • 11 p.m.
  • 5 a.m.

📌Pumping to build a freezer stash

Pumping to develop a stockpile typically entails pumping in between nursing sessions. This may cause you undue stress when you are enjoying the last few weeks of maternity leave. However, thankfully, building up that cache usually only takes a few sessions every day.

The majority of breastfeeding mothers pump in the mornings when their breasts are particularly full. If you are concerned about being able to store enough and still meet your baby's current demands while pumping, try pumping for 30 to 60 minutes after every nursing session. Your body will increase its supply after around 3 days of regular pumping.

An example schedule for a mom who is building a freezer stash: 

  • 7 a.m. (nurse)
  • 7 a.m. (nurse)
  • 10 a.m. (nurse) 
  • 11 a.m. (pump) 
  • 1 p.m. (nurse) 
  • 4 p.m. (nurse) 
  • 7 p.m. (nurse) 
  • 2 a.m. (nurse) 
  • 5 a.m. (nurse)

📌Schedule for pumping at work

Although breastfeeding moms generally find that they can pump a bit less frequently at work than at home, as long as they pump for a suitable length of time each time, your pumping at work schedule will likely follow your normal breastfeeding schedule (about 15 minutes a time).

Reduce the number of times you need to pump at work by nursing as much as possible before and after work.

An example schedule for a mom who is pumping at work:

  • 7 a.m. (nurse) 
  • 10 a.m. (pump at work)
  • 2:00 p.m. (pump at work)
  • 5:30 p.m. (nurse)
  • 8 p.m. (nurse)
  • 11 p.m. (nurse) 
  • 2 a.m. (nurse)
  • 5 a.m. (nurse)

📌Schedule for power pumping

Pumping power is a strategy employed by moms who want to boost their supply. It replicates the cluster feeding that babies do when they hit growth spurts to increase your supply. 

As a result, you'll need to set aside some time to pump your breasts for brief, frequent bursts - perhaps even several times an hour. Most women set aside an hour or two each day to pump and keep doing it regularly for about a week.

An example schedule for a mom who is power pumping:

  • Pumping for 20 minutes
  • Resting for 10 minutes
  • Pumping for 10 minutes
  • Resting for 10 minutes
  • Pumping for 15 minutes
  • Resting for 10 minutes

Depending on your needs and time, repeat the cycle for an hour or two.

Final Thoughts

Breast pumps are some of the most ingenious innovations ever. When used with the right pumping bra, they can go a long way in helping keep your milk supply going and allow you to feed your baby even if you aren't at home.

This doesn’t mean that pumps are perfect. The only perfect feeding solution for your little one are your breasts. Pumping comes naturally to some women, but it might be difficult for others. This is why you should always give your pump a test run before returning to work. Learn how to assemble it, clean the components, and store your milk correctly.

Women with busy schedules can invest in dual-breast electric pumps. Then buy hands-free pumping bras that will allow them to multi-task while pumping.

Try to do your best if you don't have a lot of control over your work schedule. Telling your boss that you need to pump and that you need a private location to do is the first step. Also, keep it simple: if you can, leave your pump at work and bring a cooler of pumped milk home with you at the end of the day.


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