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7 Wise Pumping Tips for Teachers at School

Inside: Check out these pumping tips for teachers. These tips will help you be successful in pumping breast milk at school.

One of the biggest challenges of being a new mother and a teacher going back to school is pumping breast milk while you’re away from your baby. You survived teaching while pregnant, and you’re finished with your maternity leave. You’re back to work after having your baby, and part of your motherhood journey is being able to feed your baby. Transitioning from home with your little one to having to pump at work can be challenging. Having these pumping tips for teachers in your bag of tricks can definitely help ease your mind and body.

Can teachers pump at work?

Yes, absolutely you can! You should be provided with a safe, clean, private place to be able to do so at school.

Get to know the laws about pumping at school for your state. Breastfeeding laws may vary in each state, but employers are required to provide reasonable break time and a place other than a bathroom for mothers to express breastmilk. 

If you are an hourly employee, the law may not require your time to be compensated, but know that no employer can deny you from pumping in a safe, private place at work.

How do you talk about pumping at work?

Speak up! This is probably the most important of my pumping tips for teachers. SPEAK UP!

If you are feeling uncomfortable with your schedule or your ability to pump at work, talk to your supervisor or, if needed, human resources or your union rep (if you have one). It is your right to feed your child, and if your choice is to breastfeed, you need to be allowed a reasonable time to pump at work. Your job is not just teacher – it’s mom. You have a right to Stand up for your right to be the best mom you can be with these pumping tips for teachers.

Chances are, many of your coworkers have been there as new parents, and they’ll be more than willing to help. However, they won’t know if you don’t ask! You may also need to ask for help in getting some of your recess duties covered so you can use that time to pump as well.

Teacher pumping schedule

A teacher pumping schedule will look different for every teacher and every school. 

When making your teaching pumping schedule, ask yourself these questions-

  • How often do you need to pump to keep up the supply for your baby? This is the most important question to ask! Make your teaching pumping schedule meet YOUR NEEDS!
  • What time does school begin and end? Can you pump before the start of the school day or fit one in after students leave?
  • What time are recesses or lunch breaks? Try and fit a pumping session in during this time!
  • Are there any times of the day when your students go with a special teacher? Utilize these times! 

Ask for help. You need to be your best advocate. Ask for help to make to optimize your pumping and work schedule. 

If your schedule makes it difficult for you to pump, ask your fellow teachers or administrators to cover your class for a short period of time. Ask a few colleagues to rotate helping you out so one teacher isn’t constantly covering.

Go hands-free while you pump in your classroom.

As much as you may try to avoid it, you may find yourself eating a snack or lunch or even grading papers while you’re pumping at school. Invest in a hands-free pumping bra in order to save your hands and feel more comfortable. Bras are fully adjustable and work with major breast pump brands.

Put up a privacy teacher pumping sign, from Teachers Pay Teachers. To let your colleagues know to give you privacy at that time.

Bring baby photos to look at while you pump at school.

Some moms struggle to express enough milk during a pumping session, especially when they are back to work and away from their baby. Looking at pictures of your child can help with the letdown. You may find you are able to produce more milk by giving the illusion of proximity to your child.

Plus, you should take any excuse to look at your adorable new baby!

Store milk with ease.

It would be nice to have a mini-fridge in your classroom to store your milk but that may not be feasible. If you don’t have your own mini-fridge in your classroom, use the staff fridge and protect your milk with a small cooler made for bottle sizes.

Do you have your own lunch cooler? Don’t worry about buying anything special. Pack the bottles or bags carefully to carry home. If you do not have access to a fridge or freezer, drop in an ice pack in your small cooler to keep them safe for the day.

If you forget to put your breast milk in the fridge or cooler immediately after pumping, the CDC says that breast milk can be left out at room temperature for up to 4 hours.

Remember, fed is best.

When I was pregnant with my first, I did so much research about breastfeeding. I truly believed the mantra “breast is best” and there was NO way I was going to give my baby formula. Then he came… and I had trouble producing enough to feed him. I tried everything. I drank gallons of water, took fenugreek, and made lactation cookies. Ultimately, my son was not gaining enough weight and so I ended up supplementing with formula. This was very hard for me, but I had to swallow my pride and do what was best for my son. And guess what? He thrived as soon as we started supplementing.

There is no shame in supplementing with formula or going formula-fed. You are a working mom, and you’re doing your best to work full-time and raise your child or children. Whether it’s been just six weeks or a year or more, your body produced a miracle! You are amazing! No matter what you are feeding your child, you should do what is best for you and your family. Don’t risk your sanity and health if formula feeding is a good option for your child. Fed is best. Period.

Pumping in the classroom can be a challenge… but you can do it! Following these pumping tips for teachers easier and help you to navigate teaching with a baby. Being a new working parent is a challenge, but you can do it!

If you’re reading this post while you’re still planning your maternity leave, check out these maternity leave resources to help you!

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kelsey sorenson

Hey there, new teacher bestie! I’m Kelsey, and I created Wife Teacher Mommy just for YOU! I blog about teaching and create elementary school and homeschooling resources to make your life easier. Be sure to sign up for my FREE email newsletter!

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