Guest Post: Pumping at Work 101

Pumping at Work 101 | CorporettePumping at work: it’s one of the toughest parts of going back to work after maternity leave. In past posts we’ve covered what to wear to pump at work, how to manage pumping in different offices, pumping during work travel, and how to dress professionally when you go back to work (when your pre-pregnancy clothes still don’t fit). Today Reader K gives you some basic tips for pumping at work and recommends a few helpful products. Thank you, K! 

My best friend gave me great advice before I went back to work: The dread is worse than the reality. I was nervous about leaving my little guy with someone I barely knew; I was nervous I would not be as good at my job as I had been before I left for leave; I was nervous that I would sit at my desk missing him all day. Basically, I was nervous about everything.

But now, seven months in, it hasn’t been that bad. For the most part, I have managed to focus completely on whatever I’m doing, whether work or home life. That means I am really efficient at work and then don’t really check my email once I get home until after my son goes to bed. (Fortunately, we hit the baby jackpot and got a great sleeper.) The hardest part, though, was pumping at work. After reading comments here and talking to my sister and some friends, I got into my routine. (Pictured: breast pump overload, originally uploaded to Flickr by madichan.

Read the rest of the post on CorporetteMoms… (but feel free to comment, on topic, on either page)… 



  1. Also in Academia :

    This password-protected, part of the content here/part elsewhere, leave a comment anywhere system seems like a bit much. I love your site, but this is too complicated for my 3 minute break-style of reading!

    And why that went to moderation is now a mystery for the ages.

    • WHOOPS! Sorry guys — I forgot to make it public before I rescheduled it. (In order to let guest posters see a working draft we often publish it to a date in the past with a password — this time I forgot to take the password off and make it public. Sorry about that!!!)

    • Anon Worker Bee :

      You probably won’t see this but using the word s!te put you into moderation

  2. I’ve pumped at work for the past 6 weeks and management has been very supportive, giving me exclusive access to an unoccupied partner’s office, complete with a couch and refrigerator.

  3. I don’t have time to read past the title but I will just assume this is related to pumping iron in which case I will contribute that I keep an 8lb weight under my desk for tris and bis when I am stuck on the phone in a conference call.

  4. AnonForThis :

    Not to be a jerk, but I’m pretty turned off by all the mom posts on Corporette lately. I can’t have kids, and I’m okay with that because I never wanted them – but I don’t need a reminder that I’m defective, either. It’s also pretty distracting from the professional posts. I was excited for Corporette Moms because I thought it would decrease, not increase, these posts. I can’t be the only one, although I’d expect most who feel similarly wouldn’t bother commenting. Any way to maybe have a feed on the side instead that’s less obtrusive/more easily ignored?

    • Anonymous :

      I took this as a more live-and-let-live posting. It’s something that gets done by X% of the professional women in the workforce, and if we rely on the media to inform us of The Realities of Post-Partum returning to work, everyone is off in la-la land, as this tumbler points out While I won’t be pumping for the next 40 years, it’s decent exposure for me. Professionals have bodily functions, including lactating parents. Having the space and time to attend to them makes sense.

      On the spectrum of pushing back media stereotypes, Julie Ma has a recent article, 25 Famous Women on Childlessness, you are in good company, though the “defective” comment made me pause.

    • I think this comment is a little unfair. I believe this website is trying to hit on all aspects of a professional woman’s potential life, including motherhood. I am tall and don’t look good in cap sleeves, but I am not turned off by posts that are directed at petite women or those who like cap sleeves. I know this is a silly analogy, but it’s hard to expect every post to be relevant to every woman because we are all so completely different.

  5. Diamond Lil :

    I would say, if you aren’t lucky enough to have an office of your own to pump in, please leave a note at your desk saying when you’ll be back.

    We currently have an employee who has developed a reputation for “never being at her desk”, which is unfair but understandable. She’s in a room pumping several times a day, but you have to sit near her to know that. Everyone else who comes into our area just sees that she’s not at her desk again. And even for us in her area, if we don’t sit right next to her, we don’t know if she’s pumping and going to be gone for a while, or has just stepped away to the bathroom/kitchen/printer etc.

    All of which could be solved by her putting a note on her cube saying “Back at 10:45”, but she’s resistant to doing that because “it’s none of their business what I’m doing” and doesn’t want to hear that while that’s true, it is our business when she’ll be back at her desk working.

  6. I think this post is appropriate because non-moms would also have observations of how co-workers who do pump are accommodated. Whereas normally those non-moms wouldn’t go to the mom site to contribute, here if they want to they can and hopefully everyone is a little better off professionally because of it.

  7. TMI... TMI... :

    This may make me sound insensitive but I wanted to survey fellow corporettes. I used to work with a woman who would announce that she “had to go pump” during the work day and even during meetings. If a meeting ran long, she’d promptly jump out of her seat and proclaim “I’m leaving. I have to go pump.” I know that she discussed needing time to pump with management and had approval/permission to do so on the job as needed so it really wasn’t an issue. It wasn’t like she was the first pregnant staff member in the company’s history. And while I understand needing time to perform this important activity and I’m mature enough to not giggle like a kid at the idea of her going to “squeeze her boobies” I felt that this was terribly inappropriate and awkward in mixed company. I don’t make an announcement about what I plan to do during a bathroom break, so why would she share this much? I (and others) just felt that this was way too much information, although it was fun to watch the childless guys squirm at the thought. I’m under the impression that she’d overshare in order to justify her absence to colleagues but it seemed extreme. Were we just being too sensitive (or insensitive)? I mean, yes, we’re all adults here, and sure, we should all be mature enough to know that mothers need to pump to feed their babies but what ever happened to modesty and keeping certain things private?

    Eventually others at the organization (even men) would promptly leave meetings using the excuse “I have to pump.” Gotta love an inside joke.

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