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Breastfeeding moms, are you planning on going back to work and wondering how to keep up your milk supply? I thought the same thing a few months ago upon my return from maternity leave. Did you know that employers are required to provide employees breaks and a space to express breast milk? Click here for more information from the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition.

To help you transition back to work and manage your pumping schedule, here are a few tips I’ve found helpful.

  1. Before your first day back at work, pack your pump bag with everything you need: your pump and pump parts, breast milk storage bags, a permanent marker, ice pack (especially if you have a long commute home), cooler bag, notebook and a photo of your baby (looking at that sweet face might help get the milk flowing faster).
  1. Make sure there is a designated lactation room (not the bathroom or broom closet!) at your workplace and schedule at least 3 pumping sessions during an 8-hour workday. Be sure to block these times on your work calendar. The last thing you want is to be called to a meeting and forget that you have to pump! I try to pump at 8:30 am, 11:30 am and 3:00 pm as this is usually when my baby eats. Set an alarm on your phone as well. This has been helpful to keep me on schedule.
  1. In the lactation room, clean the table and wash your hands prior to pumping. Pump for at least 10 minutes. After pumping, carefully pour your milk into storage bags and be sure to label them with the date and volume. This will be extremely helpful when you are getting bottles ready for baby so you know how many bags to defrost. Store your pump parts in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator. This will keep bacteria from growing between pumping sessions. I use two cooler bags at work—one for my milk in the freezer and the other for my pump parts in the refrigerator. Be sure to write your name on everything that you put in the work refrigerator.
  1. When you get home, remember to put the milk bags in the freezer unless you plan to use them within 4 days. (See these helpful breast milk storage guidelines.) Wash your pump parts with warm, soapy water or in the dishwasher. A bottle drying rack helps me keep baby’s things separate from other dishes.

It is not easy to be a working mom, but feel proud that you are providing the best nutrition for your baby while you are at work. For more information and tips, check out this helpful resource from WIC.  Contact your WIC nutritionist or breastfeeding peer counselor to learn more about how WIC can help.

Happy pumping!

Written By:


WIC Nutritionist

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