Breastfeeding and Pumping

You are doing such a wonderful thing for your baby. Continue to give your baby the gift that keeps on giving; learn more about the benefits that breastmilk provide. 

Reasons why a mother might want to pump her breastmilk

  • She might be returning to work. She will pump to store milk.
  • A mother may want to pump extra breastmilk for times when she needs a break or if her husband or other family members would like to feed the baby. This is great because Mom can get some rest, while Dad has some bonding time with his baby.
a baby with a bottle, bottle-fed baby

Pumping Breastmilk Tips

How to start pumping breastmilk & breast pumping tips

  • First, find a breast pump that is suitable for your particular pumping needs.
  • Make sure you are comfortable and relaxed. Relaxing will help the milk flow.
  • Be gentle while working with your breasts. Make sure that the suctioning speed and level are comfortable, as not to hurt your nipples or breast tissue.
  • Ensure that the breast cup fits your specific breast size; if they are too small, they might restrict the flow of milk.
  • If your milk takes a while to start flowing, you can think of your baby while you pump or have your baby nearby so that you can look at him/her; this brings on the hormone Oxytocin, which helps to encourage a "let down." 
  • How many ounces of breastmilk should I be pumping? There is no specific time period that you need to pump, and there is no specific amount of milk that you need to express during a pumping session…everyone is different. The average time spent expressing is between 30 – 45 minutes.
  • A breast pump can be kept in the fridge for later use during the day, but should always be sterilized with hot water and soap at least once per day.
  • Learn more about safe breastmilk storage tips and guidelines.
  • Get yourself a different breast pump if you have trouble pumping. Sometimes it’s best to use an electric, hospital grade breast pump if your primary objective is to increase milk supply.
  • Pumping both breasts at the same time can help save time and should increase milk flow.
  • Exclusive pumping (pumping without breastfeeding).
  • Make sure that your nipple is in the middle of the shield before pumping, if it is not, you will have trouble expressing, and you increase your risk of sore nipples.

What about expressing breastmilk by hand?

When should I Start Expressing?

If possible, it's best not to express breastmilk until your breastmilk supply is fully established. If you are worried about nipple confusion, you can learn more about feeding your baby via alternative feeding methods.

First, breastfeed before you pump, this is so that your baby can stimulate your breasts as much as possible (the pump can never work as well as a baby’s suckling).

If you are having trouble introducing the bottle, you can learn more about “from breast to bottle."

Pumping to Increase Breastmilk Supply

paced bottle feeding

What about pumping instead of breastfeeding?

Pumping does not stimulate a mother's breasts, as well as a baby, does and therefore her milk supply might drop a lot if she only pumps, but exclusive pumping is possible and has been done successfully by many moms. 

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