First Time Pumping at Work

Jennifer Johnson

Posted By: Jennifer Johnson

I didn't grow up around breastfeeding moms. In fact, I grew up making formula bottles for my little sisters.

220.5 ounces was the grand total of frozen milk I was able to store before returning to work. Plus 10 fresh ounces for my first day back. The day I've been dreading since the moment she was born.

I woke up extra early so I'd have time to pump before leaving. And since I had been used to sleeping in until 9 most of my maternity leave, this wasn't the easiest adjustment.

I was hoping my daughter would stay asleep but in the middle of the night, after she ate I kept her cuddling with me. So shortly after I got up, she woke up.

Normally I'd nurse her back to sleep but I guess she knew I wasn't going back to sleep either, so she wanted to stay up and play. I had my husband help with her so I could get ready. I hooked up my pump and hands-free pumping bra so I could do my makeup while I prepared some milk for the next day.

When I was done I had pumped five and a half ounces from one side (Lil' J had nursed from the other side earlier and I was thinking I'd nurse her again before I left).

I cleaned my pump, got dressed and was ready to leave. To my surprise I left with minimal tears, probably because she had fallen asleep in her swing.

I was immersed in my job with no time to think about missing my daughter. But when my first interview was done and I was invited to eat lunch with them, I politely declined so I could go home and see my baby.

I had called my husband on my way home, so instead of warming another bottle for her, he let her wait to nurse. And boy was she ready. She likes to eat but there must be something different about it coming straight from the source because she didn't want to let go. I loved having her snuggled in my arms and watching her stare and smile at me as she ate. So much so, I forgot to eat! (My thoughtful husband packed some pizza for me to take with me back to work.)

It was another five hours before I had the chance to pump again -- my first time at work. It was about time for me to go home but I wanted to leave my pump at work, and I know my daughter wouldn't give me a chance to pump at home, plus I still had work to do so I took my laptop, and camera into the makeup room where there were two other breast pumps lined up next to mine.

While I was trying to get everything set up, let's just say things got a little messy. I hadn't pumped in hours and apparently my body responds really well to seeing the pump, almost as well as when my daughter cries. I felt something wet on my leg and realized I was squirting from both sides. I hurried and hooked the pump up so more precious milk wouldn't be lost on the make up room floor.

Other than that debacle, I had no problem pumping hands-free and working at the same time. The most time consuming part, I'm finding is cleaning all of the parts after pumping. At home I leave the pieces out to air-dry but I'm obviously not going to do that at work. So washing and drying all the pieces took some time.

I got another nine ounces to bring home and was more than ready to go home to my daughter.

Pumping is a lot harder at work than at home. It's taking time out of my busy schedule, and I'm usually worried the whole time, fearing they'll need me for some breaking news story.

I'm hoping to keep a weekly pumping schedule so I don't have to throw out any frozen milk and so I can keep building supply. I have a Wednesday through Friday schedule but. I'm hoping to do something like this:

  • Wednesday: Use oldest frozen milk to feed baby with while I'm away. Pump at work for Thursday.
  • Thursday: Use Wednesday's pumped milk and pump for Friday.
  • Friday: Use Thursdays pumped milk and pump for Saturday.
  • Saturday: Use Friday's pumped milk and pump for Sunday.
  • Sunday: Use Saturdays pumped milk and freeze what I pump that day.
  • Monday and Tuesdays I'll take a break from pumping and just enjoy nursing my baby.

So far I've been able to pump enough milk for the following day as well as visit my daughter during my lunch breaks but I know with my job, those things won't always be possible. But I'm grateful for the good start we've had and hope to keep it up.

Any tips for making pumping more efficient at work?

12:00pm on Tuesday October 19
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