5 Pumping Strategies for the Working Mom

The cheat sheet every breastfeeding working mom needs.

5 Pumping Strategies for the Working Mom

Heading back to work after having a baby isn’t easy. You’ve been home, cuddling that sweet babe, and now it’s time to get back to the grind. If you’re a breastfeeding mom, you’ll have to introduce a bottle and begin a pumping routine. It seems intimidating at first – what if your baby won’t take a bottle? What if you can’t pump enough? These are all valid questions, but don’t fret! We’ve got a little pumping “cheat sheet” here for you so you can ensure you’re prepared for every little thing that can come your way. Now who says working moms can’t do it all?!

Here are 5 pumping strategies for the working mom.

1. Get a Breast Pump. First things first – you need a great double breast pump. Medela Pump In Style Advanced is the go-to choice for working moms. Packed in a sleek bag, you can easily transport the pump, your supplies and your breast milk to and from work. It comes with everything you need, including a freezer pack and bottles to ensure your milk stays cold throughout the day. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced also boasts one of the hardest working (just like you!) breast pumps on the market, ensuring that you get the best suction and most milk.

2. Invest In Some Baby Bottles. Baby also needs something in this situation, and that’s a great bottle that will help preserve your nursing relationship. When I was going back to work, we did a bottle “taste test” a few weeks prior, and the only bottle that worked was the Comotomo. When I first laid eyes on it, I knew this would be the one to work. Ensuring that the bottle mimicked the natural breast as much as possible was something that was important to me, especially because I would still be nursing my daughter before and after work and every other time I was home. Regardless of the bottle that works for you, make sure to introduce it to your baby a few weeks before you go back to work -- in case he or she needs time to adapt.

3. Don’t forget all the other pumping necessities. You should also invest in a few items to keep yourself comfortable. A hands-free nursing bra is a game changer…so instead of sitting there, staring at the wall and holding your pump, you can sit back, relax, read a magazine, browse your phone or even send emails while your pump and bra do all the work. Easy peasy! You should also ensure you always have extra pumping accessories: extra bottles, flanges, storage bags, breast pads…anything you may need. You can also organize all your pumping necessities into a pump bag, like the ones by Sarah Wells. I can’t tell you how many times I forgot my bottles or flanges and had to scramble for a solution.

4. Scheduling Pumping. Now for your schedule. Sometimes it’s hard to break away from work to go pump, but this is something that should be number one on your list. Not pumping enough can hinder your supply and put you at risk of getting a plugged duct. The more you pump, the more your body is telling itself to produce more milk (supply and demand!). I would try to pump two to three times a day – two short pumping sessions in the morning and afternoon, and then one longer one at lunch time. I also nursed my daughter right before I went to work and as soon as I got home. Make sure to talk to your supervisor to have your pumping sessions worked into your daily schedule.

5. Know the Law, know your rights. You’re also legally allowed to pump whenever you need to at work. The Affordable Care Act specifically requires all employers to provide a reasonable amount of time for you to pump until your baby is one year old. They must also provide you a clean, private place to pump (and a bathroom is not one of them). There are very few exceptions, but you can read the entire law here. Hands in the air for laws being passed!

While pumping can be draining some days -- lugging that bag, pumping in a corner of a room, not getting as much milk as you’d like -- don’t stress. You’re being a legit super-mom: working, raising a baby and pumping throughout the day! Give yourself a huge pat on the back and make that milk – err, magic happen!

Homepage image, courtesy of Dairy Fairy and Sarah Wells.

A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.


I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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