Scheduling Pump Breaks at Work

As a freelance writer, I enjoy a very flexible schedule. This is fantastic in terms of pumping milk for my baby during my work day. Ordinarily, I just set my timer to pump, put down my work, and hop to it every few hours.clock

Recently, I took on an exciting assignment. The only downside? Lots of specific meetings I need to attend in person at set times. Scheduling my pump breaks has proved a real challenge for me recently. I know this is the reality for most working moms. Fitting pumping breaks into the work day feels daunting!

My solutions have been imperfect, but here’s what I’ve got for now:

  • I shifted my baby’s last feed of the morning. I used to top him off right before his dad takes him to daycare, but now I’ve been making sure he gets an extra good feed a little bit earlier
  • I shifted my first pumping session an hour earlier. This allows me to go to my morning meeting and dash immediately to pump afterward. (It’s not practical for me to pump right before the meeting)
  • I’ve got several sets of flanges already screwed into bottles and ready to go. This cuts down on a few minutes for me as I just keep these “ready to go” parts in a ziplock bag inside my pump bag, since (of course) I’m usually zooming to get somewhere right after I pump.
  • I don’t have an office, because I’m self employed and going to other work sites for my meetings. So, I pump in the back of my van. This is actually pretty nice. It’s warmer in there than in my house! And there’s leather seats and a DVD player. Basically I’m at the movies.
  • I have a bunch of nuts in my pump bag. I get super hungry all the time and nuts are the best snack I’ve found right now to give me a protein boost in between meals.

I tried some other tweaks in my routine and figured out it’s better for my sessions to be closer together rather than spaced out too far. The only thing worse (I think) than zooming around like mad to pump is to feel engorged and leak during a meeting with clients!

I’ve also gotten super paranoid about leaving my pump bag unattended in my vehicle, so I carry it around with me wherever I go. Sometimes, a client is a mom who recognizes it and it’s so nice to just be real with her about this challenging time.

I try to remember this is such a short time in the grand scheme of my career, even if it feels like an eternity. Even if it’s annoying and hard, I’m still providing optimal food for my baby while I’m away from him and that makes it a little easier. That and the chocolate bar I also hide in my pump bag.

How do you adjust your pump schedule when work gets intense? Leave us a comment to share your experiences!

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