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How a Nurse Pumps at Work

Not all breastfeeding mom journeys look the same.

How a Nurse Pumps at Work
*We’ve partnered with Teat & Cosset to make the back to work transition a little bit easier for breastfeeding moms. Shop now for 20% off + Free Shipping using code WELLROUNDED. The job of a registered nurse is not unlike motherhood: it’s emotionally and physically demanding, and requires long hours, dedication and compassion. Being a mother and nurse at the same time? Well, it’s not for the faint of heart -- between the needs of your family and the needs of your job, you’re basically taking care of people 24-7! And if you’re a nursing nurse, you’ve got to fit some breastfeeding and pumping in there too. For registered nurse and brand new mom of two Amy Kiefer, breastfeeding -- and pumping -- has been a learning curve as she preps to return to her job at the University of Wisconsin’s Carbone Cancer Center. In between chemotherapy patients, she’ll need to find a few quiet moments to pump breast milk for her 3-month-old baby boy. And when she’s at home, she’ll need to nurse and pump some more, both to regulate her supply and to help prep little Trey for the long days of work ahead. We know there’s so many women out there like Amy, with non-traditional jobs that require some creative thinking when it comes to breastfeeding or pumping. So we’re partnering with Teat & Cosset, one of the most beautiful nursing-friendly fashion brands out there, to celebrate those moms…and all the others out there that are committed to pumping when they return to work. Below, Amy shares some of her pumping and working strategies, while showing off her Teat & Cosset style. Are you a pumping mom? Show us where you pump on Instagram for a chance to win an item from Teat & Cosset! Use the hashtag #thisiswhereipump and tag @wellroundedny! Amy is wearing the Teat & Cosset Mila Nursing Pajamas (above). What’s a regular day like for you at work? I work in the chemotherapy part of the clinic, which is very busy. It is common for us to treat 90 patients in a day. These patients either need chemotherapy or supportive care (fluids, blood products, etc.). Many of the patients are battling cancer, but we also see people with a few other illnesses/diseases. I love my job because our patients are SO sweet and inspiring. It is amazing to see people that are battling for their health and maybe even their life, be positive and happy. It inspires me every day to be thankful and to go after my dreams. How is your job different than that of a traditional pumping mom at a 9-5? Nursing can be a very hard job to pump at. Our clinic is very busy. For me to take two extra breaks during the shift essentially can leave my coworkers shorthanded for that time. As a nurse, I’m responsible for a set of patients. This means, that a coworker has to agree to take over the responsibility of these patients while I’m gone. I work in an area where people are at risk of reacting to their treatment drugs. This means that as the nurse I am responsible for immediately giving the patient emergency medications, closely monitoring the patient’s signs and symptoms and implementing other fast interventions to help them. Depending on the situation, these events can take more than an hour to resolve. If this happens at a time when I’m planning to pump, I would just have to wait. It is not uncommon to have a shift where a few events like this happen and that makes it extremely hard to get off the floor to pump. How will you make breastfeeding/pumping "work" while working? I do my best to plan my shift out. This way, I’m leaving to pump when all my patients are on “cruise control” and hopefully will not need much when I’m gone. For me, pumping and breastfeeding takes a whole lot of positivity and perseverance. I know that I’m going to make it work and I’ll adjust in whatever way it takes. Were you this determined to breastfeed before you had your first baby? I really wanted to breastfeed our first baby, Maxwell, because I heard all about the benefits and the bond that I would feel. I wanted to provide our baby with the best nourishment I could and I wanted to feel the bond that everyone kept talking about. To be honest, I thought it would be much more natural and easy. I was in for quite the surprise when I found it to very much be the opposite. Maxwell had tongue tie and coupled with my inverted nipple anatomy, my nipples were wrecked only a few days in. It was an extremely painful experience, and something that I had no idea would happen. I had never even heard of tongue tie. Thank goodness for the lactation consultant that spotted it and got us on the road to recovery. I made an appointment with an ear, nose and throat specialist and Max had his tongue clipped. It was eight weeks into breastfeeding before I was completely pain free. After all that, things got much better. Max and I breastfed for 14 months before weaning. There was a lot of the special bonding along the way. Amy is wearing the Teat & Cosset Gemma Maternity & Nursing Sweatshirt (above). What about for this second baby Trey? This time has been much easier. I experienced only the “normal” nipple soreness in the beginning. Trey and I have had pretty smooth sailing and we were breastfeeding pain free in just a week’s time. This has made all the difference in the experience. The challenge of this round of breastfeeding is my oversupply and lopsided supply. I had these issues last time, but this go around they are amplified. Often times other mamas will message me and say, “I would KILL for your supply” or “I would give a limb for your supply.” While I understand that it might look like a great problem to have, it warrants a lot of frustration and extra time too. Often times, and especially in the beginning, my breast would be too full for Trey to take OR he would start feeding and it would come out so fast that he would start choking. I worked with the lactation team for six weeks to try to slow the supply down and even it out. I’m happy to report that things are better, but both issues still persist. The silver lining is that I’m able to donate my breast milk to other babies in need. What is your plan for returning to work in terms of pumping/breastfeeding? I’m thankful that this is my second time around because my pumping/breastfeeding routine will be much easier to navigate. Although we’re exclusively breastfeeding, Trey does take bottles of expressed breast milk. My husband and I introduced bottles at about one month of age with both of our babies. This way, I’m able to have a little more freedom. We also know that this is a very necessary skill for him to learn for once I return to work. Here is my plan and tips:
  • I feed the baby before leaving for work. If my shift starts later or my boobs are still pretty full I will also pump before leaving.
  • I pack all my pumping parts the night before to make mornings less busy.
  • I leave an extra set of ALL supplies at work. I learned to do that after forgetting my nipple shields and ending up in a puddle of tears because of it.
  • I refrigerate my pumping parts between pumps, so that I can just use one set at work.
  • We send frozen expressed milk to daycare. They are willing to store a couple weeks’ worth. They let us know when they need more.
  • I will pump twice a shift to keep me supply up.
  • Before I go to bed each night, I transfer the milk into bags and put them in the deep freezer.
Since your work wardrobe is usually scrubs, why is it so important to find stylish nursing clothes when you're off the clock? Trey still breastfeeds every couple of hours, so it’s a total bonus for my clothes to be nursing friendly. I’m the queen of athleisure when not at work, so throwing on my Teat & Cosset nursing sweatshirt is a really great option for me. But it’s always very special and exciting to throw on normal and stylish clothes. My favorite clothing item to wear is a dress. Dresses and curled hair make me feel beautiful and put together, so you can often find me in those for a date night. And yes, we still date even with these little people in our lives! What's the best pumping advice you could give to a breastfeeding mom planning to go back to work, especially if she has a non-traditional desk job? You HAVE to be ready to advocate for yourself. At a busy non-traditional job like nursing, there are shifts where there is never a “good” time to go. I have to tell myself, “Amy, this is your baby’s food. You need to go and pump.” Understand that although it might not be ideal for your coworkers, it is your right and another one of your “jobs” to get it done. I also researched the laws in my state. This way, I could advocate for myself and make sure my employer was being fair. I would highly suggest equipping yourself with that knowledge and using it if you are being treated unjustly. I know some people hate pumping, but I really think of it as a nice break in the day. Because it is necessary, I might as well enjoy it! I often text my husband something sweet, have a snack, listen to an audiobook and scroll through pictures of the boys. This makes the time go by fast. Lastly, I would suggest having a pep talk ready to go. I’m huge on positivity and training yourself to be mentally resilient. There is no doubt there will be bumps along the road. Whether it be a rude comment from a coworker or a forgotten pump part. When the going gets tough, have a go to mantra ready to go. Example: “Amy, you are doing great! Look at you! You’ve already been breastfeeding for three months. Giving Trey a terrific start and you are rocking this!” Photography by Jenna Leroy for Well Rounded.

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These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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@9_fingers_/Twenty20

As a mom, I say the phrase 'let me just…' to my kids more times a day than I can count.

Yes, I can help you log into your class, let me just send this email.
Yes, I can play with you, let me just make one more call.
Yes, I can get you a snack, let me just empty the dishwasher.

I say it a lot at work, too.

Yes, I can write that article, let me just clear my inbox.
Yes, I can clear my inbox, let me just finish this meeting.
Yes, I can attend that meeting, let me just get this project out the door.

The problem is that every 'let me just' is followed by another 'let me just'... and by the time they're all done, the day is over, and I didn't do most of the things I intended—and I feel pretty bad about myself because of it.

I wasn't present with my kids today.
I didn't meet that deadline.
I couldn't muster the energy to cook dinner.
The house is a mess. I am a mess. The world is a mess.

It's okay, I tell myself. Let me just try again tomorrow.

But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes and the list of things I didn't get to or didn't do well bears down on my shoulders and my heart, and all I can think is, "I am failing."

And I think that maybe I'm not alone.

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