How often should you pump

How often should breastfeeding women pump breast milk
If you’re exclusively pumping meaning that you don’t nurse your baby, you only use a breast pump to express your milk then it’s important to know how often you should be pumping. In the beginning when you are establishing your milk supply you should pump 8 to 12 times a day. Some lactation specialists recommend 8 to 10 rather than 12.

Gasp…12 times a day. I know that seems like a lot but in the beginning you really want to establish a good supply so pumping often is key. Now you will probably hear that you should set a clock for every 3 hours to breastfeed. That’s a great idea but it doesn’t work that way for everyone. 3 hours can turn into 4 easily and you’ll find yourself stressing out because you missed your pumping time. What the La Leche League International recommends is setting goals throughout the day and having a plan for pumping.

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When I first started exclusively pumping I had a pretty set schedule that paralleled my daughter’s feeding schedule at the hospital. It was a 2-5-8-11 schedule. Basically she ate at 2am, 5am, 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 8pm and 11pm. So the nurse recommended I follow a similar schedule that guaranteed I got in 8 pumping sessions a day.

A few tips for making sure you are pumping enough throughout the day:

  • “Aim for 10, work for 8, never go under 6” –The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (TWAOB)
  • “Place 8 or 10 pieces of candy near your pump and each time you pump eat a piece. By the end of the day they should be gone.”-TWAOB
  • Find a series on Netflix to watch and each time you pump watch an episode. This helps keep you entertained and for me personally it kept me from falling asleep at 2am.
  • Use a breastfeeding app to keep track of how often and how long you pump.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you missed a pumping session. Pump as soon as you remember.
  • In the beginning don’t sleep through the night, get up and pump. One of my nurses told me not to go longer than 4 hours without pumping when you’re trying to establish your supply.
  • “Adding a short nursing session is helpful, if you’re having trouble pumping often.” –KellyMom

Once your baby is a few months old you may find that you can get by with pumping just 6 times a day and manage to maintain your supply.

Read more about Breastfeeding

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What a Breastfeeding Mom’s Search History looks like

10 Reasons why you should breastfeed

Breast Milk Storage Guidelines

Tips on freezing your milk

Breast Milk Storage Guildlines

Expressed Breast Milk Storage Guidelines for every breastfeeding mom who pumps. You worked hard to get those ounces or even milliliters of breast milk, now what do you do? If you don’t plan to feed it to your baby right away here is what you should know about storing breast milk.

Storing Breast Milk. Breast Milk Storage Guidelines you need to know. Great to save in your phone as a reference for storing breast milk.

You can save this image in your phone, tablet or email for future reference. It’s great to have on hand because trust me sometimes you get “mom brain” and can’t remember whether you can leave the milk out for 3 hours or not.

The hospital where I gave birth gave me a magnet to place on my fridge and it really came in handy. I hope this is helpful and please share it with a breastfeeding mom.

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Clair McCoy 1About Clair

Clair is a stay at home who breastfed her preemie daughter for year. Her breastfeeding journey began in the NICU and she loves sharing breastfeeding tips with other moms as well as offering support. She started Moms Make Milk in February 2015 and plans to continue providing support for breastfeeding moms through her blog and social media. You can read more about Clair ….