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Plan ahead if you want to pump at work

If you plan to pump breast milk after returning to work, it helps if you can plan ahead.

Ginger Loberger, a lactation consultant with the Breastfeeding Center of Greenville (, said it can be hard to look ahead but it can make the transition easier.

“A lot of moms – if they are just nursing – the thought of pumping and nursing is overwhelming,” she said. 

Loberger said women are still overcoming challenges at work.

“Some really have to convince their employer,” she said. “A lot of times, it’s just bringing it to their attention. They have to provide you the space – that is not a bathroom – and the time, but they don’t have to compensate you for it.”

If she sees women before birth, Loberger encourages them to talk with their employer about their goals and plans and to try to arrange in advance for a mid-week return to work, rather than starting back on a Monday. 

For smaller employers, establishing a place for pumping might be a new project. 

“If they can at least have a comfortable chair and a table and an outlet, those are the three big things moms really need when they’re pumping,” Loberger said.

Before buying a pump, Loberger encourages mothers to check with their insurance company. Most will cover the cost. 

“Go ahead and get a plan early on for storing that milk to get ready to go back to work,” Loberger said. “You really have to have that first day of breast milk bottles prepared. Start pumping at least two weeks before you go back to work. Pump immediately after nursing. The body sees that as one feeding.”

A lactation consultant can help make a plan for the amount to store and how much milk to send to day care.

Loberger said moms should try to pump the same number of times that baby is taking a bottle, but it is especially important to try to coordinate the last bottle with the last pumping time, so the supply is ready for an after-work feeding. 

No matter what the feeding journey – breast milk, formula or both – after returning to work, Loberger said support is important.

“I tell all moms we are here to support a happy, healthy family, no matter what that looks like,” she said.