The “Joys” of Pumping at Work

Every new nursing mom has to pump at some point.  Whether it is because your baby has a bad latch or you want to be away for more than a few hours, you need to plan ahead and express your milk.  I began to pump very early on (at the hospital) because little miss was not a nursing pro and the nurses wanted to make sure my milk came in.  I was successful, and Jessa eventually became much more skilled at eating.  I still pumped a few times a day, and I began to build up quite the stash of frozen milk.

Fast forward to about 2.5 months into being a mommy.  The time had come to head back to work.  At this point I knew that I wouldn’t have a problem using my pump, and I also knew that Jessa would easily take bottles at daycare/with the babysitter.  So, it would be a pretty easy transition, right? Not necessarily…

One must first realize how much you need to remember to take with you when you leave for work in the morning! I always have my lunch, purse, pump, Jessa’s daycare bottles, and Jessa.  A couple of mornings each week I also have a giant bag of materials that I use to treat kiddos at their homes/daycares.  In addition, inside the pump bag I have to make sure that I not only have all the pump parts but also the ice pack for the cooler and pump wipes since I can’t easily wash the parts with soap and water. Getting out of the house is a chore in itself.  (Remembering to get everything back home is also difficult, and I have unfortunately left my pump at work! Ugh…)

Lana pump at work

Once I am at work, I have to make sure that I have time to pump.  I work as a speech-language pathologist at an outpatient clinic, and my schedule can vary at times.  I generally try to squeeze paperwork in between clients, but this has to be put on the backburner when I have to pump (or I do daily notes in the bathroom while I pump, which I do often).  All this while dealing with frequent knocks on the door when someone needs to use the restroom, or finding out the hard way that the lock on the bathroom doesn’t always work.  I definitely try to hurry, but we all know that you can’t really rush too much!

I plan to continue to breast feed until Jessa is one, although I definitely have learned to take it just a day at a time.  I’m very lucky that I have been successful in breastfeeding, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t look forward to the day when I can use my “free” time at work to do paperwork in place of rushing off to the bathroom.  It is also exciting to think about having one less (large) item to lug with me to work each day.  Making my schedule would be SO much easier if I didn’t have to factor in time to pump.  Oh, the things we do for our kids!

Feel free to vent a bit about the “joys” of pumping at work! What time savers have you found, if any? Was it an easy transition for you, or do/did you find it harder to pump at work than you thought? Share your thoughts and experiences!

Lana Criswell is a born and bred Hawkeye fan who has lived in Iowa City for almost ten years! She came for college and never looked back. Lana has been married to her husband, Tom, for two years and is momma to Jessa (3.5 months) and Charlie, the dog. She finished graduate school nearly four years ago in speech-language pathology and works at Children’s Center for Therapy in Iowa City. She is excited to be able to work 80% time now and have some “girl time” with Jessa each week. Lana loves spending time with family and friends, cooking/baking, going to Hawkeye games, going on walks around the neighborhood with the dog, and reading.


  1. A lot of you have given some great advice! I know for me personally, I only had to pay a fraction of the cost of the pump and insurance covered the rest. Also, as far as the pumping in the bathroom goes…we definitely have FAR fewer than 50 employees at my job. However, I hope Katherine’s great info helps a few of the rest of you!

  2. I can relate. I’m an outpatient PT and my notes are so behind. It’s hard to make time to step away and pump. Such a commitment but well worth it in the end. Oh, and they’re knocking on my door right now.


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