We pumped for 8 months while I was working. It was challenging because my
supply didn't hold up. He stopped breastfeeding at 6 months and so we pumped
and bottle-fed exclusively. I would wake up at 2am to pump even though baby
slept through the night. If I had to do that again I would use supplements
sooner and never skip pumps. Stress also made it a lot harder. With baby #2 I
actually changed jobs to work at a school where she is on-site and I don't have
to pump. That was totally worth the pay cut.
I think a lot of the challenges are just people generally
not being supportive. I was much more confident with my second and I told the
people in my life that I wanted their support and that it hurt to not have it.
It made a big difference and I'm glad I stood up for myself.
We’re still pumping and breastfeeding today at +1:)
back to work as an airline pilot at 6 months postpartum
-Pump and freeze a nice freezer stash while your on leave if you can. Costco has excellent deals on deep freezers
if you run out of space.
- My job is exempt of nursing/pumping laws, so it helped me to have good
educational discussions with co-workers about the health benefits of breastmilk
and why I personally have chosen to extend pumping and made sure to discuss
with them how often and long I will need to pump on breaks at the airport. At
times, this puts more workload on my captain on a "quick turn" of the
aircraft so I make sure to always ensure they also receive breaks through our
day by always helping with additional workload on the other quick turns. This
has helped me to get a lot of support from my fellow crews.
- Every personality is different on how to achieve goals, but for me with
pumping at work, it was better that I was very relaxed with my goal. Since it
wasn't supported by our industry, I decided to do a no pressure goal. I just
decided to take each week as it comes and evaluate how baby and I are doing. If
pumping ever got to be too stressful then I would stop. We're going over a year
now and it is still working great for both of us :)
- Be organized with your pump, cleaning parts, storage containers, and cooler.
Don't worry about labeling until you get home if you’re short on time. I use a
hand pump at work because it is easiest for me to quickly assemble and keep in
a cooler. The times that I can't do a long pump I can at least relieve and keep
my supply strong.
- If you can, choose a job that is flexible or has a good schedule and budget
for less income if you can. I have chosen to stay a senior first officer to
ensure I can hand pick my schedule. This is a pay cut and a hold on career
advancement, but it has been priceless for this time in our life. I can pick
day trips and schedules that work for my son well and also allow for breaks to
pump fairly easily.
- Dress for easy access. Wear nursing bras that unclip and a shirt that does
not need to be taken all the way off, just pulled down unbuttoned partially.
This helps with time management.
I took 10 weeks of maternity leave. When I returned to work,
I pumped 3-4 times a day. I am a high school teacher. Each day, I would pump at
least once, in my car, driving to, or from work. At first, it was a way to
reconnect and think of my little one while I was working. I had a coworker
that was pumping for her son as well, and I worked in a department, with all
women, that were tremendously supportive. My friend and I would pump side by
side and eat lunch and chat with our coworkers. It was a time to be together and
I felt supported. That feeling lasted about a year. I had to change jobs and
while my new school and department were supportive of my breastfeeding goals, I
was not able to have that same social connection. I was lonely, and when asked
to go to a meeting or do something during a time that I needed to pump, I was
constantly making others feel awkward when I told them why I couldn't make
I continued to pump until she was 22 months, when she was
down to only nursing in the morning and at bedtime. It was at around 18 months
that I started to hate pumping. It was now a tedious thing that isolated me
from others, but I kept at it. Occasionally, I would have to ask for donor
milk, but never had to use it. I always seemed to be able to provide just
enough for her while I was gone. She continued to nurse until she was 26
months. My goal was always for her to breastfeed as long as she wanted to. She
self-weaned; stopping on her own when I became pregnant again.
I think that the #1 contributor to my pumping success was
the support I received from those around me. When a workplace has a place to
pump, it's a good start, but the true contributor to success is the emotional,
and scheduling support that a workplace can provide that will make the biggest
I am not looking forward to pumping again, but I plan to
make it work.
I was lucky with J. to have a very supportive principal (I'm a kinder teacher)
that adjusted my schedule so I had the appropriate breaks to pump; but with C.
and my new principal I did not. I had to be assertive with her and demand
my time to pump. It was hard at first, but I knew I was the only advocate for
my daughter. I was committed to continuing our breastfeeding relationship and for
us that meant pumping at work. I also starting working on my stash 2 months
before returning. On days I pumped less (stress, or unexpected school
situations or illness) I was comforted in knowing I had back up milk for them.
I returned to work as a Research Assistant and PhD grad
student at ASU when my first was 6 weeks old. Thankfully, I was in a very
supportive environment. As long as I got my work done on time, when and how
didn't matter. And Z was welcome in our lab! Z became an honorary grad student
as I brought him to work. I was given a private room to nurse in. I stored my Boppy™
and burp cloths in that room. I did have to pump when I had class. At most I
was away for 3-4 hours including commute time. I would pump in the morning, and
nursed him before and after class. Our breastfeeding relationship lasted over 2
Our daughter is now almost 17 months old and still nursing
about 3-4 times a day. As we gear up for the start of a new semester of college
teaching, I'm trying to figure out how much I'll need to pump to keep me
comfortable and keep up the supply. We are weaning her, but in a very
gentle way, just slowing cutting back the number of sessions. However, we will
likely to continue to allow her to nurse before bed and upon waking as long as
that seems to be working for both her and me.
Because I never did respond terribly well to the pump, I had
to pump quite a bit to get those few ounces we needed (4-5 oz), but it was
enough to get us through. Like a few other posters, I found the process rather
lonely. I could no longer socialize at all on campus and basically came to
work, shut my office door, pumped and then headed off to class. The same thing
happened at lunch. So no lunches with colleagues, or chats before or after
class. On numerous occasions I would have colleagues question me about leaving
a meeting early, even when I had repeatedly explained that I needed to have at
least 15 minutes before my afternoon classes to pump.
It's very frustrating when people who are truly trying to be
supportive, many of whom breastfed and pumped themselves, still forget about
the complex logistics needed to keep breastfeeding while working full time. I
don't know what the solution is, but I hated that the onus was always on me to remind
everyone about my need to be accommodated.
In spite of it all, I'm very proud of the fact that I've
continued to provide her with breast milk for this long. It's been worth it,
but far more challenging than I expected.