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How to Create the Perfect Pumping Schedule for Working Moms in 2024

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What is the best pumping schedule for working moms?

Those first days back to work after having a baby can be the most difficult. But you don’t have to let your milk supply be affected by it.

I was able to continue to feed my son breastmilk for the five months I was working (before becoming a SAHM). It’s not always easy to juggle everything. But if you can do it, you know you’ll be giving your baby the very best nutrition.

That’s why the best pumping schedule for working moms is the one that you can maintain.

You will need to stick with a routine and pump often to continue to make breastmilk. But if you do this, you can continue to feed your baby for many months after you head back to work.

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woman using her laptop at work
Photo by Andrew Neel

How do you maintain breastmilk while working?

The best way to maintain your breastmilk while working is to pump breastmilk throughout the day.

You can carry your breast pump along with any supplies you may need back and forth to work. Or you could even set up a breast pumping station in your office, to keep extra supplies on hand.

Speak to your boss (or HR) prior to your maternity leave to let them know you plan on pumping breastmilk at work, and you will need a private, clean space to do so.

Letting them know early will should allow them enough time to prepare a place for you.

Need some extra support when returning to work? Take the Back to Work Pumping Class to become more familiar with making the transition to pumping away from home.

Can I skip pumping at work?

If you plan to continue to feed your baby breastmilk, it is best if you don’t skip pumping during your workday.

Even if you’ve created a freezer stash during your maternity leave and use a Hakaa when breastfeeding, you will not be able to maintain your supply without pumping during the day.

Breastfeeding is based on supply and demand, and if you’re not extracting breastmilk throughout the day, your body will no longer produce it.

That being said, don’t be upset if you miss a pumping session while at work. Either wait until your next session or adjust your pumping schedule for that day. And get back on track tomorrow.

How often should a working mom pump?

Each mom’s schedule will look different depending on how often your baby eats throughout the day.

A good rule of thumb is to pump each time you would be nursing your baby at home, which could be every 2 to 3 hours.

The older your baby gets, the longer the time between sessions can be. Because your baby should be stretching out the time between breastfeeding sessions as well.

How many times should I pump in an 8-hour workday?

If you’re following the pumping schedule for working moms above, then you should pump about 4 times during your eight-hour workday.

This can take a big chunk of your time during the day, especially when you’re first starting out and getting used the pump.

However, once you catch on, you’ll be able to work while pumping. Even if it’s just small things, like responding to emails or checking voicemails.

How long should I pump while at work?

Your pumping schedule for working moms should include four pumping sessions, with each session lasting only 15 to 20 minutes. You should be using an automatic double breast to empty the breast as quickly as possible at each session.

Although your baby is more effective at completely emptying your breast of milk, the breast pump is quicker and more efficient at filling those 3-ounce bottles during each session. It doesn’t take a break to breathe or need to burp or even fall asleep in the middle of a session.

And if you’re getting between 3 and 4 ounces of breastmilk from each breast during a session, you’ll have plenty of milk to take home for your baby.

Check out how to store your breastmilk and pump parts while you’re working, so that milk makes it home safe.

pumping schedule for working moms: woman using a breast pump

How do I create a work schedule for pumping?

The best pumping schedule for working moms is the one that works well for you.

This is the pumping schedule for working moms I personally used for my little one after returning to work:

4:45 am: Breastfeed and use the Hakaa

My workday started at 8 am and I had about a 45-minute commute, so this early morning routine might look a little different for you.

I would get up and nurse my son, while using the Hakaa on the opposite breast. I was able to get 4 to 5 ounces of extra milk doing this first thing in the morning.

He would then go back to sleep, and I could shower and get ready for work. And most days, he would sleep until my mom came to watch him for the day.

If you’re heading to daycare or a sitter’s house, you’ll want to plan your morning accordingly.

8:30 am: Pump

I would be at work for about half an hour before I would start my first pumping session. This gave me time to check emails or check in with my supervisor about what was coming up during the day.

11:00 am: Pump

I had a 15-minute break at 10 o’clock, so I would wait and take this break at 11.

If you get breaks during your day, use them to your advantage. And you won’t have to worry about trying to work while you’re pumping.

If you aren’t as lucky, you can always check emails or even get a little work in while pumping.

1:30 pm: Pump

Considering I didn’t want to take any extra breaks throughout the day, I used my 1:30 pump time as my lunch time.

And really, when you’re breastfeeding/pumping, you’re eating all day anyhow, so you may as well pump while you do it.

4:00 pm: Pump

The final pump of the day on this pumping schedule for working moms is at 4 pm.

That gives you enough time to pump and clean everything up, then check emails or finish any work before you go home.

6-6:30 pm: Nurse

I wouldn’t usually get home from work until 6, but if you work closer to home, this time can be adjusted as well.

I never pumped at home because I wanted my son to be able to regulate the amount of breastmilk he would need, rather than relying on the pump. Again, babies are better at emptying your breast than a machine.

And this also gives you time to bond with your little one at the end of your workday.


There you have it: the perfect pumping schedule for working moms. If you’re trying to maintain your breastmilk supply, it’s best you stick with a routine that works for you. I truly hope this schedule is able to help you continue to feed your baby the way you want to and that you have the support you need.

Let us know what your pumping journey has been like in the comments.

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