Pumping at School


Being a new mom is incredibly rewarding, but it can also be challenging, especially when balancing work with the demands of motherhood. One important aspect for nursing mothers returning to their teaching careers is pumping breast milk during the workday. This article aims to provide new moms with essential tips and information to help make pumping at school easier, smoother, and more effective.

1. Know Your Rights

Before returning to work as a teacher, familiarize yourself with your legal rights when it comes to breastfeeding and pumping in the workplace. The Affordable Care Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to protect nursing mothers’ rights to have reasonable break times for pumping throughout the day and provide places other than restrooms for expressing breast milk.

2. Plan Your Schedule

Plan and communicate your schedule with school administrators and colleagues. Find optimal times during your day when you can pump (e.g., planning periods, lunch breaks, or other free times). Establishing a routine will make it easier for both you and your coworkers.

3. Find a Pumping Space

Work with your supervisor or administrators to identify a private space for pumping. A dedicated lactation room is ideal; however, if one is not available, look for an empty classroom or office with a lock and privacy features such as window coverings.

4. Prepare Necessary Supplies

Prepare a “pumping kit” that includes all necessary supplies such as a high-quality breast pump, extra pump parts, bottles or milk storage bags, insulated cooler or bag with ice packs, hand sanitizer, wipes for cleaning surfaces, nursing pads, and possibly a battery pack in case of electrical outlet issues.

5. Develop a Storage Plan

Plan for safely storing expressed milk by researching your school’s refrigerator access or investing in an insulated cooler or bag with ice packs capable of keeping the milk at a safe temperature until you can bring it home.

6. Be Ready for Unexpected Situations

Emergencies or unexpected situations may arise, so being adaptable is crucial. Consider having a back-up manual pump in case of power outages or pump malfunctions and extra batteries for your electric pump.

7. Advocate for Yourself

Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and your needs as a breastfeeding mother. If you face challenges from coworkers or administrators, calmly and assertively communicate your rights and responsibilities.

8. Maintain Open Communication

Maintaining open communication with your principal, colleagues, and support staff is vital. Let them know your pumping schedule; this will allow for more understanding and support during this period.

9. Build a Support Network

Connect with other teachers who have experienced pumping at school or nursing mothers in general to share tips, tricks, and experiences. Connecting with others in the same situation can help provide a sense of camaraderie.

10. Be Patient with Yourself

Lastly, be patient with yourself during this transition back to work; it’s challenging by nature. Give yourself some grace as you adapt to balancing the demands of teaching with the demands of motherhood.


Pumping at school may seem intimidating at first, but by knowing your rights, preparing appropriately, planning your schedule, and finding a supportive community, new moms can successfully navigate this important aspect of returning to work. Remember that you’re not alone on this journey, so don’t hesitate to reach out for support when needed.

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