by maipham

May 11, 2022

breastfeeding and pumping schedule for working mom

This post may contain affiliate links so I earn a commission. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Looking for a simple yet effective breastfeeding and pumping schedule for working mom? You are at the right place.

When you return to work after being a mother for a period, a lot of things have to rearrange for you. Being a mother is challenging for anyone, but being a working mother is even more difficult. As a working mother, you must both ensure your child's meals and return to your work routine after nearly a year away. So, what should you do to avoid the afternoon rush home as it's time to feed your baby?

At this time, you require an appropriate Breastfeeding and Pumping Routine for Working Mom - a schedule that balances your life, reduces anxieties about your baby’s meals at home, and supports your return to work.

Now, we come to an ongoing effort: pumping at work.

Why working moms need a breastfeeding and pumping schedule

breastfeeding and pumping schedule for working mom

Going to work means you won't be able to be home for all of your baby's meals. Pumping during work can save you time and have your milk ready as soon as you come home - just in time for your baby's meal.

A breastfeeding and pumping schedule guarantees that your baby gets his or her meals on time even if you are not at home, as well as that your body produces milk regularly.

If you expect to be away from your baby for two or more feedings, pumping is essential for all breastfeeding moms (not just working moms). To maintain your body generating breastmilk, you must pump. If you miss two or more regular feedings, your body will get so out of sync with your baby's needs, and you will stop producing baby food.

If you don't pump at work and instead breastfeed your infant before and after work, your body will only produce milk at those times. So you won't be able to feed your kid throughout the day when you're at home on weekends. Maybe you want to do that, but you'll have to supplement with formula or donated breastmilk.

How much milk should I store at home for my baby when I get back to work

Can I Reheat Breast Milk More Than Once

Many moms are unsure about the quantity of expressed breastmilk they should have on hand when they are away from their babies.

Milk consumption rises significantly in exclusively breastfed babies during the first few weeks of life, then levels out between one and six months (though it likely increases short term during growth spurts). Breastmilk consumption does not appear to alter with a baby's age or weight between one and six months. Breastmilk intake will remain constant after six months, depending entirely on the baby's other food intake, until the milk intake decreases over time.

Between the ages of one month and six months, exclusively breastfed newborns consume an average of 25 ounces (750 mil) each day. Various babies consume different quantities of milk; a common milk intake range is 19 - 30 ounces per day, which is around 570 - 900 mil per day.

It's a frequent myth that you'll need a sizable "milk stash" when you go back to work. If you're not pumping much beyond your baby's urgent needs, this might be distressing. It's not necessary to have a 100-ounce cache, as you may have seen elsewhere online. To be on the safe side, only around two days' worth of milk is required. If your baby is 3 to 6 months old, they will most likely need 3 to 4 ounces every 2 to 3 hours, depending on their weight. 

This appears to mean that if you're gone for eight hours at work, you'll need around 24 ounces in your stash to get you through the first day of work, plus a little more for emergencies. To prepare. pump once a day after your first-morning feed for about a month before going to work.

Also, keep in mind that you should avoid pumping for the first six weeks after giving birth to avoid disrupting your milk supply.

How many times should I pump at work?

When to pump

Choose the best portable breast pump for travel

While you're at work, pump every three hours to keep your milk production up and express enough milk to feed your baby. Depending on how long your workday is and how long your commute is, this could work out to two or three times per work shift.

You'll need to make an appropriate schedule with your employer, but one of the pumping sessions can be done during your lunchtime. The rest of your pumping times will be decided by your busiest work hours or whether you have any paid breaks that you can use for pumping.

How many times and how long

How to store breast milk?

Pumping every three to four hours at work for about 20 minutes is a good idea. This may appear to be a lot, but it all comes down to supply and demand. Every several hours, your infant drinks milk. Pumping that frequently will ensure that you can meet their demands.

You should expect to pump 2 or 3 times during the day if you work a standard 8-5 (with one hour for lunch). A fourth pump should only be used if your commuting time takes more than half an hour (putting an extra hour to your day) or if your supply is insufficient.

Most analysts agree that no matter why you're pumping, you should do so for at least 20 minutes. This 20-minute is used for the double-sided electric pump. In case you are using a single pump, it would be 20 minutes for each side. You'll also need to account for the time it takes to get to and from the milk-expression area, as well as to wash your hands and equipment.

Ready my guide: How to increase milk supply fast?

Too much pumping

You want to do everything you can for your kid, but pumping for too long or too frequently might lead to serious complications. Some mothers pump so much that their breasts get overfull if they miss a pumping session.

Furthermore, over-pumping can be isolating for mothers. Have faith in your nature and your instincts, and know that it is capable of producing just the perfect amount of milk for your baby. It's not a race; it's just about feeding your baby!

Read my guide: Can I use a manual breast pump everyday?

What does pumping at work look like? 


Pump breast milk for travel

It's crucial to know your rights before returning to work. All nursing mothers must have a space other than a lavatory, that is hidden from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, where an employee may pump breast milk, according to the law. This law covers hourly workers as well as some paid workers.

Employers must also give working mothers "appropriate break time" to produce breast milk until their infant is 12 months old, according to the regulation. So don't be hesitant to discuss your requirements with your employer. While not all employers may first comprehend the needs of a breastfeeding mother, they must follow the law.

So, make sure your pumping room meets the following conditions:

  • Private, but not a bathroom
  • Hygienic - clean environment
  • Close to the workplace, not in a different building or on other floors
  • With reasonable break times, you have enough time to pump, store milk, and clean parts.

Also, some essentials should be in the pumping room:

  • The door can be locked on both sides.
  • Comfy seats
  • Clear surfaces
  • Pumping station outlets
  • Cleaning sink for pump parts
  • Freezer for milk storage
  • Mirror
  • Space for personal storage


How to use a hand or manual pump

pumping for newborn

Occasionally, the unexpected occurs. Your electric pump has failed, or you have left a portion of the pump at home. You'll be glad you know how to express your milk with your hands on days like this. Furthermore, combining hand expression with pumping can increase the amount of milk you can store for your baby. Here's how to do it:

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Collect your milk in a clean container with a wide opening.
  3. Apply a warm washcloth to your breasts to encourage milk flow.
  4. Gently rub your breasts to help you express more milk. Assist yourself by putting one hand under your breast. Use your other hand to apply gentle pressure in a circular motion. Massage from a variety of starting points, working from the chest to the nipple. Leaning forward as well as gently shaking your breasts can also assist get your milk flowing.
  5. Place your thumb and fingers around one to two inches away from the base of your nipple with your other hand. Squeeze tenderly into the middle of your breast, then loosen up your hand and repeat. The milk won't flow speedily at first but keep on going and it will start to drip.
  6. Switch up between the right and left breasts frequently, and rotate your fingers and thumb placement around your nipple to vacant all areas of the breast.

How to use an electric pump

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Bring the breast cover, milk container, tubing, and breast pump together.
  3. Place the breast shield on the upper side of your breast. It should be comfortable and well-fitting. The tunnel should be 3 to 4 mm larger than your nipple. To make a good seal, center it and gently press it.
  4. Switch on the pump at a low intensity. Keep adjusting until milk starts to flow.
  5. Clean the breast cover and all areas that come into contact with breast milk after each use. The cleaning instructions for each breast pump will be different, as described in the manual. Pay close attention to these instructions.

Tips for an effective breastfeeding and pumping schedule for working mom

  • Make a pumping schedule for yourself and follow it.
  • When you need help, speak up for yourself and ask for it.
  • Keep yourself hydrated and well-fed throughout the day.
  • While pumping, gaze at photos or videos of your baby to help stimulate milk production. 

How much breast milk should I expect when pumping at work?

How long should you pump

Many breastfeeding moms try to arrange 2–3 pumping sessions throughout an 8-hour (including commute) workday as a rule of thumb. A typical pumping session yields 2-4 ounces from both breasts in a 20-minute double pumping session (single pumping will take double the time). Normally, you'd expect to pump between 4 and 12 ounces of milk while at work.

If you work a 12-hour shift, pump every three hours to assist maintain your breast milk production on days when you're away from the baby, which means the amount of milk you can pump at work is roughly 8 to 16 ounces.

How should I store breast milk at work?

It's important to know how to keep breast milk whether you're expressing or pumping it. You may save your milk and have it ready for your infant anytime you need it by storing it. It's critical to properly preserve milk so that it stays fresh and retains its nutritious and anti-infective properties.

Now, let’s come to the right ways to store milk and how long it should be stored in each place.


Breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to eight days after being generated, although it's ideal to consume it within four days.

For ideal milk storage, your fridge should be between 32 and 39 degrees Fahrenheit. It's a good idea to label your milk and finish the oldest container first before moving on to the newer milk.


If you won't utilize the breastmilk within four days of pumping, freeze it straight away.

You can retain milk for a longer period by freezing it. However, you should consider the sort of freezer you're using as well as the location of your milk in the freezer.

You can keep frozen milk for three to four months in a fridge with a freezer compartment and a separate freezer door. You can only keep frozen milk for two weeks if your freezer door is confined within your refrigerator space. You can preserve extracted breast milk for six months or longer if you use a separate deep freezer.

Another thing to consider is the arrangement of the milk containers in your freezer. Breast milk should not be kept in the freezer door rack. When you open or close the freezer door, the milk contained inside is subjected to extreme temperature variations. To reduce temperature swings, store milk in the back of the refrigerator, away from the door.

Room temperature

Depending on how warm the environment is, you can keep breast milk out at room temperature for a different amount of time.

Breast milk should be utilized within four hours if the room temperature is 77 degrees F or lower, but if it’s expressed in a sanitary way, it may be safe to be used for up to eight hours. 


Normal breast pump for travel

When it comes to storing extracted breast milk, there are a variety of options. When choosing your container, think about where you'll store it (refrigerator or freezer) as well as how long you'll keep it there.

To avoid wasting milk, breast milk should be stored in little volumes (2 to 4 ounces) in the following sorts of containers:

  • Glass containers: Because constituents of milk are better kept under glass, this is the primary way of freezing milk. However, because glass is susceptible to breakage, it may not be as practical as other solutions. Furthermore, some child care facilities may refuse to accept glass containers.
  • Containers made of hard-sided clear plastic: These are a viable substitute for glass containers for many people. Breast milk should be stored in clear plastic bottles. You should never use bottles that may contain BPA and avoid bottles with the recycle symbol 7.
  • Freezer bags made specifically for storing breast milk: Another option for freezing breast milk is to use storage bags. It is critical to buy bags that are deliberately made for freezing expressed breast milk. This is the most probable of the three options to leak. Also, if the bag is heated up in the water, your milk may become contaminated if the water level rises above the top seal of the bag. If you choose breast milk freezer bags for storage, here are some safety tips:
  • If you're using a thinner storage bag, use two instead of one.
  • Never store your breast milk in regular plastic ziplock bags or bottle liners. Use only specially designed nursery bags to store your milk.
  • Place all breast milk storage bags in a rigid plastic storage container with a lid in the freezer.
  • Heat the bag in water that does not cover the entire surface of the bag. This prevents water from penetrating the bag. If the water you use to warm your milk appears cloudy, there has most possibly been a leak, and you should toss away that bag of milk.

My recommendation for storing breastmilk: Philips Avent storage cups.

Read my guide: Can I reheat breastmilk more than once?

Notes on stored milk

  • Once expressing or handling your milk, wash your hands.
  • Utilize containers that have been cleaned and rinsed in hot, soapy water.
  • Mix cooled milk with other cooled or frozen milk, as long as the amount of frozen milk is small enough not to defrost a cooled batch.
  • If you aren't going to use your breast milk within 24 hours, freeze it.
  • Before stashing the milk, make a date.

The priority in using milk

Always mark your milk with the date it was generated when keeping it. The oldest dated milk should be used first. You can arrange and keep a record of what you have in your freezer by precisely labeling all expressed milk. 

Breast milk color observations

If your milk looks strange when it's frozen, don't be worried. It's natural for stored milk to separate into two layers: cream and milk. Breast milk can come in a variety of colors, which is natural and healthy. These colors may include: slightly yellow, pink, green, yellow-orange.

The coloration of your breast milk can depend greatly on what you eat and drink, as well as the prescription drugs you take. If you are worried about the color of your stored milk, ask for advice from your medical provider before feeding it to your baby.

Samples of breastfeeding and pumping schedule for working moms

How to make a workable breastfeeding and pumping schedule

Choose the right pump and milk storage method

It can be difficult to find a schedule that works for you both at home and work. But keep in mind that you'll be learning as you go.  With practice, you'll become more adept at juggling everything.

Here's a list of requirements of things you should remember to do throughout the day.

Before going to bed

  • Ensure that your breast pump and bottles are clean.
  • Make the lunch you'll need for the next day's work. Make sure you have enough clothes for you and your baby, and that the diaper bag and pump bag are fully prepared.

Before going to work

  • Before you leave, breastfeed your child and any remaining milk should be pumped if you have the opportunity.
  • Fill your breast milk cooler with your pump, storage containers, and ice packs.
  • Check to see if there is enough breast milk in the refrigerator for your baby.

At work

  • Aim to pump on time, according to the schedule you've set.
  • Make every effort to keep things as sterile as possible, including handwashing.
  • When you're pumping, try to relax.
  • After pumping, always run hot, soapy water through your pump parts.

At home

  • Tag and keep the breast milk you pumped in the fridge at work as soon as you arrive home.
  • Put the breast milk in the refrigerator if your baby will need it the next day (or in the next three days). Otherwise, place it in the freezer.
  • Continue breastfeeding your baby throughout the evening.
  • Make sure to schedule plenty of one-on-one time for you and your baby. There should be plenty of skin-to-skin contact during that time.

Samples of breastfeeding and pumping schedule for working moms

Sample 1


What to do

6.30 a.m

Feed your baby as soon as he/she wakes up

8.30 a.m

Breastfeed your child while he or she is in child care. If you have a babysitter come to your house, give your baby one last breastfeeding session before you leave for work.

11.30 a.m

Pump in a private room at work during your lunch break.

2.30 p.m

Pump during a work break


Pump one last time at work, or if you've already left for the day, skip the pumping. Alternatively, when you pick up your child from childcare, breastfeed him.


Feed your baby right before putting him or her to bed.

1 am

Feed your baby when he/she wakes up at night

Sample 2


What to do

5.30 a.m

Breakfast meal

7.00 a.m.

A quick feed and off to work

10 a.m. - 12 p.m

Pump at work or breastfeeding if you have a lunch visit

2.00 p.m

Pump during a work break

5.30 pm

Get home and breastfeed your baby


Feed your baby right before putting him or her to bed.

1 am

Feed your baby when he/she wakes up at night

Cleaning Pump Parts During the Work Day

is electric breast pump cleaning better than manual
  • After washing your hands, place all of the pump parts that have been in touch with the breast or breast milk in a basin rather than the sink because the pump parts could be contaminated in the sink by germs.
  • While cleaning pump parts, use liquid soap and hot water.
  • Scrub the parts with a brush according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Rinse it thoroughly under running water or in a separate basin loaded with clean water.
  • Wash it out thoroughly under running water or in a separate basin loaded with clean water.
  • Allow the pump parts, brush, and basin to air dry on a clean cloth or paper towel. The towel should not be used to dry the pump parts since germs could be transmitted to the pump.
  • Only store the parts until they've completely dried.


breastfeeding and pumping schedule for working mom

There are things you should have when you return to work in a new role - a mother. In the beginning, things will be challenging and exhausting, but thinking about your baby will offer you a lot of encouragement. You will be able to both be a mother and return to work quickly if you practice and stick to the appropriate schedule.

About the author 

Mai Pham

Mai Pham discovered her passion for writing a few years ago and she never stop thinking about it ever since. She finally took the leap and created Live a Worthy Life to brag about her smart ass (mainly just for fun). Enjoyed the fun writing brings, now with her new interest in everything-baby-related, she created Mommy Instinct, to tell mamas that it's ok that they mess up, that they don't know what the hell they are doing, and that it's okay to sit back and relax for a while.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}