Breast Pumping Schedule


 Bottle_of_Pumped_Breast_MilkOne question that comes up often, especially from moms new to pumping, is what should my breast pumping schedule look like?

Here you will find a good example of what a day should look like while pumping. You could also use this as a pumping nursing schedule where you could replace any of the pumping sessions with a nursing session instead.

Working moms who breastfeed find a schedule for pumping very useful as it helps them plan their day. Typically, most breaks and lunches at work are pre-scheduled so just adjust the times appropriately to best fit your day.

It is important though not to skip pumping sessions (if you can avoid it) to ensure you are replacing all the feedings that your baby is taking during the day while away from you.

Looking for a great Breast Pump recommendation? Click here to see 6 of my favorites!

Sample Schedule

working-and-breastfeeding5:30 am – Wake up, shower, get ready for the day, Nurse baby once she wakes, gather daycare items, 20-30 minutes before leaving the house- pump.

7 am – Leave for work

7:30 am – Drop baby off at daycare (optional to add another nursing session here or pump) Click here to read about Pumping and Driving.

8 am – Arrive at work

10 am – Pump during morning break

12:30 pm – Pump during lunch break (it’s best to pack a lunch so you can eat while pumping)

3:30 pm – Pump during afternoon break

5 pm – Leave work and head to daycare to pick up baby

5:30 pm  – Pick up baby. Nurse baby before you leave (often times you can discuss with your provider to wait for you to feed the baby so they don’t feed her right before you arrive. If you are going to be delayed for some reason, you should call to advise them to feed the baby. If they do feed your baby, then you would need to pump to replace that feeding.)

6 pm – Arrive home, have dinner, follow bedtime routine for baby

7:30 pm – Nurse baby and put to bed

8:30 pm – Get all daycare items ready for the next day, wash pump parts

9:30 pm – Pump before going to bed or if the baby is still waking at night you can wait for baby to wake to feed her.

Sample Schedule – 12-Hour Shift

sample-breast-pumping-scheduleA common concern from moms who work 12-hours shifts is how and when do I pump? This can be compound by the fact that positions commonly associated with 12-hour shifts, like nurses, are not covered by the ACA for protection for breastfeeding mother.

Click here to read who is covered by the ACA!

So how can you keep your supply up while working 12-hour shifts? What does a typical day look like? Try this sample schedule that can be used for both day and nighttime shifts!

4:30 am – Wake up, pump first thing for 15 mins, shower, get ready for the day. If taking your baby to daycare, get baby ready and gather daycare items (bottles etc). Nurse your baby before leaving.

6:00 am – Leave for work. 

6:30 am – Add pumping session while driving/commuting.  Click here to read about Pumping and Driving.

7 am – Start work shift

10 am – Pump during morning break 

1 pm – Pump during lunch break (it’s best to pack a lunch so you can eat while pumping)

6 pm – Pump during afternoon break

7 pm – Leave work and head to daycare to pick up your baby if necessary. Pump while commuting home.

7:30 pm – Arrive home, have dinner, follow bedtime routine for baby

8 pm – Nurse baby and put to bed

8:30 pm – Get all daycare items ready for the next day, wash pump parts

9:30 pm – Pump before going to bed or if the baby is still waking at night you can wait for baby to wake to feed her.

Note: If you are still struggling to maintain a supply, one tip is to set an alarm during the night to pump. This extra session can help a lot.

Tips for Making Pumping Faster and Easier:

Not all mothers are blessed to have a job where they can take breaks at their leisure or have unlimited time to pump. Ok, none of us have that! So here are some quick tips to help make pumping faster and easier whether you work 12 hours, 8 hours or just every now and again:

  1. spectra-baby-usa-s1-breast-pump

    Spectra S1 Breast Pump

    Invest in a great pump. Hospital Grade pumps are best as they pull down more milk faster. I suggest you look into the Spectra S1 or Spectra S2 which are both affordable and powerful hospital grade pumps! Best pumps on the market in my opinion!

  2. On limited breaks pump for only 10 minutes. Typically you should ty and pump for 15 minutes or more but on a 15-minute break, that may not be possible. So get at least 10 minutes of pumping in.
  3. Have multiple pump parts available so you don’t have to wash after each pump session. I would suggest you have 4-5 sets of pump attachments (breast shields, valves, membranes) so you can quickly pump and throw them in a bag to take home and wash. You can be in and out of a pumping session in less than 15 mins.
  4. Store pump parts in refrigerator. Another option for pump parts is to store them in a bag and put them in a refrigerator after using them. Being refrigerated keeps the milk on them fresh and allows them to be reused without washing them that same day. So if you have limited parts, this might be an option.
  5. Set up bottles or pump bags so the attachments are ready to be used as soon as you pump. This will work best if you have multiple attachments. Have the milk collection bottles or bag already attached to the tubing so you just connect the breast shields to your breasts and pump away! No time wasted!
  6. Get a really good pumping bra. Do fuss with having to hold the breast shields in place. Invest in a good pumping bra. I highly suggest the Rumina pumping bra. It is extremely comfortable, supportive and is a hands-free pumping and nursing bra all in one. Click here to read about the Rumina.
  7. kiinde-twist-reviews

    Kiinde Twist Feeding System

    Try an all-in-one feeding system like the Kiinde Twist. If you haven’t heard about this feeding system, then you need to check it out! The Kiinde Twist has pump adapter to all major pump brands that allow you to pump directly into their Kiinde milk bags. These bags serve as storage bags (can be frozen as well) and as feeding bag. You can use the Kiinde nipple or use the adapters for your favorite brand’s nipple. So pump, store, and feed from the same bag! HUGE time saver. You won’t have to waste time pour milk into storage bags, Just pump and twist the top on and go! Click here to read about the Kiinde Twist.

  8. Find and take a good lactation supplement. Herbs can be a huge help in maintaining your milk supply. Some of the best are Fenugreek and Goat’s Rue. Both are very powerful in helping increase your milk supply. Motherlove makes a great supplement, which in my opinion is the best on the market. Click here to read about Motherlove More Milk Special Blend.

Have some time-saving tips for pumping? Share them here by leaving a comment!

Related Articles – 


Read: Need Parts or Accessories for your Pump? Click Here to Find Everything You Need!

sarah wells-annie-breast-pump-bag

Read: Find Out Why All Moms Need This Sarah Wells Pumping Bag!


Read: 8 Tips for Pumping at Work – Make Working and Breastfeeding a Success!









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  1. Lena says:

    Very informative article especially for working moms! Having the right schedule is necessary not only with keep breastfeeding for longer but with organizing your day to lessen the stress. I think many women quit breastfeeding because either they couldn’t find time at work or didn’t have a good schedule. I love the suggestion for the breast pump, and I agree that it’s better to invest in a good pump as this would make it much easier and pleasant e. I was never a fan of manual pumps:)

    • Heather Grace says:

      I think finding the time and having the proper environment is a huge factor in being successful at breastfeeding while working. I was never a fan of manual pumps either and would rather spend the money for a quality double electric! So worth it! Thank you for stopping by!

  2. RenO says:

    Hi! Thank you for your thorough article on pumping schedule! This will give me a lot of benefits sometimes when I have kids, children. All those things seem really complicated tough. And taking care of your baby along with working seems super complicated! Thank you for sharing! This article really gives me some nice information.

    • Heather Grace says:

      Working when you have a small child is a challenge! I will say though that once you get into a routine, it become second nature. The first few weeks after I returned to work with my first baby were a learning experience but once we got the hang of it, it was just the way things were. We didn’t miss a beat!

  3. tatihden says:

    You have suggested a good schedule for pumping. This schedule will work if mom has all those breaks when at work. Some jobs offer extra breaks to nursing moms but others do not.
    I had a hard time at work because I only had two breaks, one of which was only 15 minutes.
    Using and electric pump can be helpful along with a pumping bra since you can eat while you pump.
    I like what your site is all about.

    • Heather Grace says:

      It can be so difficult when you only get short breaks. Thankfully now the ACA has amended the labor laws concerning breastfeeding mothers and as long as you are covered under the ACA, then you are entiteled to time specifically to pump. Our Working and Pump page has more info on what the law says and what our rights are as breastfeeding employees. Hope that helps!

  4. Ben Bristow says:

    Your website is amazing. My wife would have loved it before we had a baby. So much information. Seems to cover a lot of issues associated with breast feeding. Knowing about all of the problems that could arise when pumping or breast feeding can be a big help when you are ready to give in and quit.

    • Heather Grace says:

      Information can be powerful that is for sure! I know many mothers who quit breastfeeding because of an issue and if they had been equipped with the right information, it may have made a difference. Thank you for your comment!

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