How to Schedule Pumping Breast Milk | Storing Breast Milk & Returning to Work

Breastfeeding is one of the greatest experiences for me during early motherhood. I breastfed my eldest until she was almost 18 months and my little one year old until he was 8 months. Breast milk has been such a wonderful source of nutrients and healing for my babies. My experience breastfeeding my son was a bit more challenging. Nonetheless, both experiences were beautiful and exhausting, but I loved every moment of watching them nurse.

how to schedule pumping breast milk
I can say that I was a little obsessed with pumping. I purchased a hand pump from Amazon and a double electric pump from my insurance company.  I’d pump on a regular schedule if my little fatso wasn’t eating and if I wasn’t sleeping. I got little rest and I put a great deal of pressure on my already exhausted body. I pumped everywhere, yes that’s my car! Here I explain why that wasn’t the best idea.

I remember around this time last year I’d just headed back to work after an extended maternity/medical leave and I was overwhelmed with sadness. The sadness stemmed from a couple of areas. #1 I hated the job I was returning to. #2 Obviously I didn’t want to leave my son and finally, I  knew because of medication I was scheduled to resume taking I would have to stop nursing him. My goal throughout my maternity leave was to stockpile enough breast-milk to last a year. I didn’t meet that goal, but I did have enough to last him 3 months after I stop physically taking him to the breast. So I ended with enough milk to last me until he was 8 months old. Please let me explain my journey to the picture below.

Breast Milk Storage

how to schedule pumping breast milk

The picture above shows how I stored my milk.

I used Lansinosh bags and a shoe container in the beginning. Eventually, I changed to 16oz and 4oz Mason Jars. To help you get started here are the products I used including my pumps.

My video below explains how I stored my milk and the process. Keep in mind I this video was recorded in the early stages of me figuring things. Some things I tried other things not so much!

Breastfeeding: My Process  

Happy Pumping!

After returning to work I quit my job of 7 years the next week. (Didn’t I tell you I hated it) . I did start a new job about a 1.5 month after, but to leave was a relief.

My son was almost 3.5 months old and I insisted on exclusively giving him breast milk when I started the new job (crazy I know). The pump room at my new job was nicely laid out and private. I put myself on a strict pumping schedule. Here it is what it looked liked.

Work started at 8 a.m (usually meetings in-between but I pumped at least 4 times and no less or I would leak everywhere)

  • First pump 7:30 a.m at work
  • Pump 10:30 a.m
  • Pump 12:30 p.m.
  • Pump 2:30 p.m.
  • Leave work 4 p.m.
  • Breastfeed 5 pmish
  • Breastfeed 7pmish
  • Pump
  • Breastfeed throughout the night
  • Breastfeed around 5 am
  • Repeat

It was a brutal schedule, but I managed to bring home around 12 oz a day and sometimes more. I drank water during my pumping scheduling and took Fenugreek.  Fenugreek is a herb that helps to increase your milk supply. I suggest you do your research, I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. It worked for me and I did not have any issues with it.  Once I started working and my baby was taking the bottle I did see a dip in my milk supply so the Fenugreek helped.

Coming to Grips: Weaning, Is It worse for Mom or Baby?

I will be the first to tell you I did not want to stop nursing my son. Our breastfeeding relationship had to come to an end because of my health issues. I was sad and some days, even depressed. I felt like a failure. I beat myself up about it for weeks. When I look back on it I was putting stress on myself for no reason. After I stopped pumping, which was around the 6-month mark, I started supplementing his milk with Enfamil Gentlease Infant Formula Powder. It was an easy transition for him.  I’d fought myself so badly and cried many nights prior, thinking what a horrible mother I must be for giving my baby formula. I just want to say for all the mother out there. You are not horrible. You are HUMAN. Just look at the schedule I was adhering too, it was stressful, to say the least. Keep in mind I was a new mom and a sick mom,  I wasn’t treating myself kindly. 

Weaning him from the breast was a little more difficult than it had been with my daughter. She bit me and I decide that was it no more, plus I think at almost 18 months she was over it. But he as still happily nursing and I had to tell him no. It broke my heart. Slowly offered the breast to him less and less. He would cry, I would secretly cry. It hurt, but we made it.

how to schedule pumping breast milk

Breastfeeding Help 

A word from the wise don’t sweat the small things. The most important factor in all of is this is that you remain happy and healthy so you can provide a healthy environment for your baby. Supplementing or strictly pumping is okay. If you give your child any time with breastfeeding you are doing a good job.

Seek help from your spouse, a friend, your nurse or doctor. We had to take our little guy back to the hospital the next day and a lactation coach came in and helped latch him on to me properly. With my daughter, the experience was so much different and easier.  With my son I needed help and guidance, he was not able to latch properly and I immediately felt guilty. I was an experienced parent, previous nursing mom and still needed help.

Trust me with each child it is different. Don’t be afraid to seek guidance. I believe breast milk contains some type of miracle berries for babies. I’ve watched my baby have an allergic reaction from eating something and drink a bottle of breast milk and see the rash disappear.  Breastfeeding is something special and if you are able to do it I encourage you.

Please if you have any questions feel free to ask, I am still seeking to get my lactation license so I can help other mothers like myself.  I’m here to help.

how to schedule pumping breast milk

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Janelle Robinson is from Chicago a proud wife and mother of 2 (teen and preschooler). She is health educator and writer with a focus on providing families with resources and tips throughout all stages of parenthood.


  1. Reply

    I was an exclusive pumper since 1 month post partum, sadly. Now that I am back to breast at 4 months, I still pump round the clock! Pumping is hard work. Hopefully one day, our babies will realize how much it took to raise them 🙂

  2. Emily


    I can totally commiserate with you on being forced to wean when you didn’t want to. I had to wean 5 of my 8 earlier than I wanted because I got pregnant again and my milk dried up. I also was pumping while working with my second child. It is hard! I was lucky that the daycare was close enough to my work I could actually go breastfeed her at lunch. Without that I don’t think we would have made it as long as we did (7 months).

  3. Reply

    I’m a new mom and my baby is 4 weeks old tomorrow. She doesn’t latch well without a nipple shield and I also have flat/inverted nipples so that makes things a little more difficult. She favors the right so the left breast makes barely an ounce at each pumping session. It’s so hard to stay on a strict pumping schedule and I feel so bad that I have to supplement. Plus no one in my family BF so no one understands. I’m drinking mothers milk tea currently hoping I can build a supply within the next 4 weeks before I return to work. I’m going to try my hardest to make it to at least 6 months. 😓

    • Reply

      Hi Destiny,

      My nipples are flat and inverted as well. Try taking a warm showering while your baby is down for a nap it helps the milk come down and you can pump a little then. Remember the more she feeds and the more you pump the more your breast will start to produce. Please don’t feel bad for supplementing. If you watch some of YouTube videos that is my biggest regret, being way to hard on myself. You are doing a great job just keep it up and rest.

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