Top Ten Tips for Pumping and Working Moms

"Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (May). This carnival is dedicated to all moms, celebrating Mother's Day today. Participants will share various topics covering A Breastfeeding Mother's Top Ten List. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants."

It's been six months since I started working again after my maternity leave, six months since I started pumping at work. It was a big adjustment at first, but it eventually got better (and I got used to it).

To help other moms who are going back to work soon, here are my Top Ten Tips! (Note: This is based on my experience and my pumping situation in my office)

The Essentials
1. Buy a reliable breast pump.
Manual or electric, single or double, it's your choice. What I use (and would recommend) is a double electric breast pump. My pumping time with my breast pump takes around ten to fifteen minutes. I have a manual breast pump which I only use when I'm at home.
This is my pumping setup at the office.
I don't pump as much milk when using a manual except when my breasts are really engorged. Here's what I notice when I use a manual breast pump. When I pump my left breast, the right breast will leak, right? Now, one breast would take ten minutes, when I shift to the other breast, no more milk comes out or I can only pump so little. So I really prefer a double electric pump.

Additional tip: Research and read on about breast pumps before buying. Read reviews, forums, or ask your mommy friends who are using breast pumps. From there, choose the one that you like or suits your needs. My choices were down to the Medela Freestyle and Avent Isis Duo, and I bought the latter. It serves its purpose, I love my Avent!

2. Choose a storage system.
There's a lot of storage system that you can choose from. You can store milk in resealable storage bags, Avent Via Cups or feeding bottles. Your storage system will depend on your milk supply. I have all of the three storage containers but I haven't used the storage bags as my milk supply is just enough for Y's one day consumption. I'm using Avent Via Cups, Avent Feeding Bottles, and Breastflow Feeding Bottles.
What I like about the Via Cups is that they are stackable and Y can feed from it directly (by putting the adapter and teats). I can use them instantly as they are pre-sterilized (for first use). Now, I only use them to store Y's food. But the down side is I can only use it up to three times. The Avent feeding bottles are the most convenient, they fit my pump perfectly and Y can also feed from it directly. The Breasflow Feeding Bottles are my back-up.

Here's what I do with my milk. On weekdays, what I pump today is Y's milk for the next day. For Friday's milk, it's what she'll drink on Monday. Or when I go out, that's what her yaya feeds her. I pump on weekends too. Nowadays, it's rare for me to have extra milk to freeze, which is what the milk storage bags are for.

Remember, store milk at the back of your refrigerator. Not at the door. Refrigerated milk can be store up to seven days. After that, freeze your milk. Frozen milk can be stored up to two months. More info here.

Additional tip: Start pumping and storing milk two weeks before going back to work/your maternity leave ends. Pump milk enough for two to three days so you'll have a buffer or more so you'll not worry while you're at work if your stored milk is enough or when your baby is having a growth spurt (like what I'm experiencing now!).

3. Buy a cooler bag and ice packs.
I have the Igloo Cooler Bag. I bought it in SM Department Store (they got it all for you! Hehe). There's a lot of choices, style, design, and sizes. I got the middle size.
My ice packs: Techni Ice, Avent, Ice Packs from Babaymama
Buy ice packs for you cooler. I used to use two sheets of Techni Ice plus the Avent ice packs that came with the breast pump but I'm not satisfied. Then the Techni Ice got ripped, the Avent ice packs leaked! I don't know how it happened. So I bought Ice Packs from Babymama. Now I use one sheet of Techni Ice Dry Packs, four Nano Silver Ice, and one Blu Ice. They stay cool for about about ten hours. So far, so good!

Additional tip: You can opt to put your expressed milk in your office's/breastfeeding or pumping station's refrigerator (if you have one). Be sure to sealed it in a zip lock. Then freeze your ice packs in the freezer and just packed everything in your cooler before going home.

The Tips
4. Pump every two to three hours.
I set a pumping schedule for myself. My work hours is from 9AM to 7PM or depends if I come early or late. Flexi hours. But basically my pumping schedule is 930AM, 1230PM, 330PM, and 630PM. At home, I nurse directly. When my milk supply is low or when I want to boost my supply, I pump every two hours (depends on my work load for the day).
Le Sportsac for my pump, Igloo Cooler Bag, Nursing Mom Changing Pad
Note: Notify your boss/bosses know that you'll be pumping every three hours everyday. And I hope your boss/bosses is as understanding as mine. Also, strictly follow your schedule and don't go beyond four hours without pumping. It might result to engorged breasts or may affect your milk supply.

5. Wear comfortable and easily accessible clothes for pumping.
You can wear button downs, nursing tops, or other whatever clothes that is accessible for pumping. Sometimes I wear a nursing bra, sometimes I just wear a normal bra.

6. Sanitize!
Bring alcohol, soap, tissue, and hand towel when you pump. Have a kit with all these inside. Always wash hands with soap and water before pumping! Or with alcohol when there's no accessible water or sink.
Tissue, Alcohol, Hand Soap
After pumping, as for your pump parts and bottles, I don't clean it every after use. What I do is just put them in a zip lock and put it back in my cooler. I sterilize it at the end of the day at home. But if you want to clean it after use, you can use breast pump wipes to clean every after use or use a microwave steam bags to sterilize.

Additional tip: I use my extra changing mat (see above picture) as my "sapin" for the breast pump and bottles. Since I pump in a not so ideal place, I opt to do this for extra sanitation.

7. Relax, watch a movie!
When pumping, don't feel pressured or stressed by how many would you be able to pump. Relax! :) Don't time your pumping session. Have picture of your baby with you, and think of her nursing from you, happy thoughts! That helped me. I play the photos of Y in a slide show on my phone, sometimes videos of her too. And for a change, sometimes I play movies on my phone while pumping.
8. Label your expressed milk.
After pumping, label your expressed milk with date and time. And follow FIFO order when feeding your baby.
9. Record baby's feedings and feeding time.
At home, I have a notebook that I ask my yaya to write Y's feedings and feeding time. I keep track on how many ounces of breast milk Y drinks while I'm the office. BUT don't base your milk output from this. I personally do this just to keep track of Y's feedings.

10. Eat well and Hydrate!
Breastfeeding or not, it's always important to eat well and eat healthy. Well, sometimes I cheat with my diet. Hehe! I eat five times a day, not so heavy meals and snacks in between. Don't try dieting! I tried and my milk supply dipped. Drink to thirst! Always dehydrate yourself!

And before I end this long post, advice to mommies, breastfeeding or pumping. Patience and perseverance are keys! Don't give up when your milk supply is low. Supplement with malunggay, fenugreek or with Mommy Treats if you must. Don't equate what you pump to how much your baby is getting from the breast. Nursing your baby directly is still the best!

Happy Mother's Day!!!!

Check out other mommies' top ten:


  1. Hi Jenny! Thanks for dropping by!

    Maybe you should have the motor checked at the Philips service center here. You should not feel any pain with the suction. When you do manual pumping does it hurt too?

  2. Hi, nice blog. Thanks for the tips. I recently bought an Avent double electric but im not sure if im just going to resell it (haven't used it yet) because as of now i have Avent single electric but after 2 months it has become noisy and the sunction is now painful. 

    Hope u to hear from you. Thanks

  3.  Thanks Jenny! :) The only thing that is not so great is where I pump. Hehe..

  4.  great set-up!  i think i just stashed everything in my office drawer! haha. keep a print-out of this post and save it in your baby's album!! good memories :D

  5. Thanks! :) My baby prefers direct feeding too rather than the bottle but I'm working :( So, tiis muna while I work out on how I can be a work from home mommy :)

  6. very helpful post here! :-) I am not a pumping mom anymore, as Rysse really prefers direct feeding, but I will take note of these for our next (!!) baby. hehehe. God bless sis!

  7. Happy to help! :)

  8. This article is very apt as I just got back to work last week. Great tips! :)

  9. Hi prettygab!
    - I bought my pump online from the US (Amazon) and had it shipped here.
    - The cooler bag is bought at SM Dept Store. As well as the Via Cups and Breastflow Bottles and milk storage bags.
    - My ice packs were bought online here. ( for the blu and silver and for the Techi Ice)
    - My Avent Bottles were bought from SG since they are cheaper there. But still cheaper in the US I think.

    All of these, you can buy online here. Multiply or Much cheaper than mall prices. :) But if you have relatives in the US, ask them if they can buy for you there and have it shipped in a balikbayan box.

    Hope to help!

  10. all the things that you use did you just buy it here in the philippines?

  11. I do catch the milk from my other breast. :) Sometimes when I nurse my baby, I pump my other breast at the same time.

  12. i hope your able to "save"/"catch" the milk leaking on the other breast while pumping. Some moms put a cup underneath the other breast to "catch" the leaking milk. You can also get those breast shells that catches milk. I know Avent and Medela has those. There is also a product called the Milkies, Milk Savers that works the same way too.

  13. I use Avent Isis Uno too. Even if I stimulate I don't get another letdown that's why I like electric pump more hehe.

  14. Edited already! :) Thanks!
    Techni Ice is super useful even though mine has rips na.

  15. sis... I think you meant... Eat Well and Hydrate :) and am sure others will find this post really useful

    and I have Techni Ice too... eventhough I don't work and need to pump outside the home :)

  16. "
    Here's what I notice when I use a manual breast pump. When I pump my left breast, the right breast will leak, right? Now, one breast would take ten minutes, when I shift to the other breast, no more milk comes out or I can only pump so little. So I really prefer a double electric pump."

    --same thing happens to me, because I use Avent Isis Uno... when I shift to the other breast, only a few drops come out. what i do is stimulate my breast again for another "letdown" or milk ejection reflex. it never fails me. :)

  17. Is is normal that every time you pump your single breast, the other one will leak? I gave birth to my son a month ago, and I found this kinda weird. Where did you buy your breast pump? I bought mine at here's the link ( Can someone tell me if it's normal or what, I'm very scared about the leaking thing. Thank you so much for this informative post.

    1. Yes, that's perfectly normal! :) I bought my breast pump at Amazon. Buy a double electric one so you can pump out milk from both breast at the same time :) Hope this helps!

  18. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting. Many thanks.
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