Back to School Pumping Tips for Teachers
Planning your return to work as a full-time working mom but this can be especially tough when you are a teacher. Here are some tips for teachers who need to pump.
Get The Right Tools
A spare pump, pump parts, and some simple additions to your wardrobe can make pumping much easier when you’re a teacher. If possible, keep a spare pump in the room you’ll be using to pump, along with a set of pump pieces that you can wash and sterilize at the end of the day. This will lower the number of bags you will need to and from work every day. If you are lucky enough to pump in your own classroom, consider investing in a small dormitory-size refrigerator which will allow you to store your milk right where you teach instead of storing it in the faculty fridge. Purchase a tube-top style pumping bra which allows you to pump hands-free. This lets you grade papers or check email while you’re pumping.
Give Yourself Privacy
Teachers frequently tell us they have trouble finding private places to pump in their building. Whether you’re pumping in a supply closet, secretary’s room, or the science lab, hang privacy curtains or blinds and use a sign on the door to let people know not to interrupt you.
Get Your Administration on Board
Prior to your return to work, inform your principal of your plans to pump at work. Know your rights, but also consider their concerns that classroom coverage needs to be addressed if you are not able to pump during your free periods or planning periods. Remember that they need to make accommodations but doing so will be easier if you have already thought of how you can help to make it work. Perhaps you would prefer to pump during your free period and your planning period, but be careful not to plan your schedule too much. Pumping at work will likely require some flexibility and planning ahead for that flexibility and discussing it with your administration will make the experience go more smoothly for you, your supervisors, and your students.
Hopefully you are not the first mom to use a breast pump in your school. Look to other moms who have already pumped to see how they did it. How did the second grade teacher do it last year when she came back from maternity leave? Does she have any words of wisdom to share with you? Does the librarian down the hall have insight in how to schedule the pumping breaks? Does the Earth Science teacher have rock solid recommendations on how to keep your tenth-grade students from realizing you’re pumping milk in the prep room? Other moms offer wonderful words of been-there-done-that wisdom that can make a big difference in your pump-at-work experiences.
Teachers love their jobs and love their students. Don’t let pumping get in the way of doing the work you love for the people you love. #HappyPumpDay!