Can you or have any of you pumped while pregnant before you had your baby?

Jenna - posted on 02/07/2010 ( 22 moms have responded )

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I was just wondering if you can or if any of you have pumped to get your milk going before your baby arrives? I tried breast feeding my other two kids and didnt succeed So i was just wondering if maybe i pumped and saved my milk that will get it going and ill be able to breast feed this time around, but i am due in two weeks. So im not sure if its ok to pump now or i should just wait till baby arrives.

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Kayla - posted on 02/20/2013

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i am between 37 and 38 weeks preggo and have been pumping for the past five days ad ive been geting between 1-1.5 oz of breastmilk each time...

Katie - posted on 02/08/2010

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Jenna,

I would skip the pre-delivery pumping. Like others mentioned, it is not going to bring in your milk supply until you deliver anyway.

Both of my girls were delivered via c-section, and it did not affect my ability to nurse them. It is highly recommended that you get baby to breast within 1-2 hours of delivery, but this is solely because the baby is at his most alert in that time, NOT because he has any physical necessity to eat. Your milk probably won't come in for 3+ days after delivery, but your baby's body is prepared for that. ALL he needs is the small amount of colostrum that you will have. No supplements of any kind are necessary while you are waiting for your milk to come in, contrary to what many people may tell you, so there is nothing to be concerned about in the hour(s) following your surgery. Furthermore, if you give the baby a bottle in those first days, it can have a very negative affect on his latch and make it much more difficult to nurse. True, many babies can switch back and forth without a problem, but just as many cannot. The way a baby sucks on a pacifier or bottle are completely different from the way he sucks on a breast, and if he sucks your breast the way he sucks a bottle, you are in for a world of pain! You will not regret holding off the bottles, at least for the first several days while you and baby are getting the hang of things.

The best way to become successful at breastfeeding is to breastfeed - meaning, get the baby to your breast as soon as you are able, and breastfeed every 1-3 hours AROUND THE CLOCK. Once my milk was in, I never woke a sleeping baby to nurse, but I did up until that time. If you had supply issues with your other children, then pump after every feeding until your milk comes in. Bag and freeze whatever you pump - then if you do decide to bottle feed at any point (I didn't,so I ended up throwing a lot away, but most women need to at some point), it's all right there for you.

Instead of pumping, the best thing you can do to prepare yourself is line up a great lactation consultant. I saw a consultant with both babies. My older daughter was a breeze to nurse - I never experienced one moment of pain - but it was so reassuring to have someone be able to check and confirm that YES, we were doing this right! With my 5 week old, it has been a little bit tougher, and the lactation consultant has been invaluable. I honestly don't know if I could have forged on without her. Once you get the hang of it, nursing becomes like second nature, but until then, enlist all the help you can.

Also, check out Dr. Newman's website (drjacknewman.com) and Ameda.com for articles and videos. Watch every video they have (the Ameda one is very helpful). I also LOVED the book "So That's What They're For!" by Janet Tamaro. If you have time, pick it up. I brought it to the hospital for both deliveries, and referred to it endlessly for the first few weeks.

Good luck with everything! I really hope it works out for you, because it is such a gift to your baby (and yourself!). A few weeks after delivery, when you are waking up for night feedings and realize that you have the luxury of rolling over to a basinette, grabbing the baby, feeding him, and putting him back, without EVER getting up to make a bottle, you will be one happy mommy! That (and much more) makes it so worth a few short weeks of frustration.

Kayle - posted on 02/08/2010

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DON'T DO IT! Unless of course you'd like to have stronger, longer, and MUCH more intense contractions. Nipple stimulation at any time during pregnancy, even after 37 weeks, can induce labor and research has shown it to cause the labor pains to be more intense and painful.


I am sorry but I must say that that is not the case for all women. I have a friend who tandem nursed her two daughters. When she was in labour for her second she would nurse her first in between contractions and it would help to relax her and eliviate the pain. Under consaltation with a Dr. I dont see how it would be a problem for you to try and pump early. Every woman is different and it may help to put you in labour as well! ;)

Audrey - posted on 02/08/2010

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Hi! I work in Labor and delivery. I don't advise you pump now unless you are trying to induce your labor after 38 weeks. Pumping causes nipple stimulation which releases natural oxytocin into the body causing uterine contractions (contractions) it may inturn start labor. Also your baby needs the colostrum that is being made now, it is very good for your baby. Just be patient with breastfeeding. After baby comes there is a supplement called "more milk plus" it works great (I use it), remember to eat well and lots of water. YOU CAN DO IT!!! : )

Emily - posted on 02/07/2010

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I would not do it. There's really no need. You'll only get small amounts of colostrum anyway. The mature milk does not come in until several days after baby is born. You'll probably just make your nipples sore.

If you think you might have problems in the beginning, get hooked up with a lactation consultant right away.

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Rebekah - posted on 02/21/2013

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Let me clear up a misconception. It won't give you painful contractions. What makes contractions painful is not fully relaxing.

Kayla - posted on 02/20/2013

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i am between 37 and 38 weeks preggo and have been pumping for the last five days and ive been able to get out between 1-1.5 oz of breastmilk each time...

Sarah - posted on 02/10/2010

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I had an emergency c-section and was handed my little girl within minutes, I fed her while they stitched my tummy up! Breastfeeding while lying flat is awkward but possible!

Selina - posted on 02/09/2010

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well i was told u cant breastfeed or pump while pregnant cause it can cause early delivery or a miscarage but it would be best to consult ur doctor im glad u want to breastfeed

Crystal - posted on 02/09/2010

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i tried too pump while i was pregnant to try in get my milk in just b/c my milk nver came in until almost two weeks after i had my 1st son, and i remember my dr asking me way befor i ever had kids if my breast where being played with alot b/c i was leaking milk and i was 15 on depo the shot. which was why but that another for another day, so i pumped just to be ready but never got anything out

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I had an emergency c-section and had my baby brought to me within an hour. They have to take the baby to the nursery for a short time. I nursed him pretty much as soon as I got my hands on him.. though I did need a little help from myhusband and pillows because i weak and pretty out of it. This was my second time around breastfeeding (I BF my son until he was almost 10 months) I quit because I had really low milk supply. He kept losing weight instead of gaining. so Now my new baby is 14 lbs. more than doubled his birth weight. He would go 4 hours without eating if I let him, but because I want to BF as long as possible I nurse him every 2-3 hours during the day, even if he does't want it. He sleeps really well, 8 and 9 hour stretches at night and so I'm going to keep on this way.
Anyway like I said this is my secind time around and even though I did it before I used the lactation consultants in the hospital just to be sure everything was right . It may help for you to be very direct and insist that your baby not be supplemented, make it clear. Best of Luck to you and your family!

Emily - posted on 02/09/2010

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I pumped while pregnant but i was still breastfeeding my 2 year old. Your milk will not come in until after your baby is born. I only got colostrum when I pumped and not much at all.

Rachel - posted on 02/09/2010

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you can. and the colostrum is really good for the baby. i would have done it but i didnt need to.

Tara - posted on 02/08/2010

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The colostrum that comes out of your breast to begin with is very important to the baby, it is rich in very important fats your baby needs at birth. I'm not sure if pumping will reduce the amount of colostrum your baby gets at birth. Also, nipple simulation can induce labor. I would highly recommend contacting your doctor for advice before pumping. Good luck with the breastfeeding! :)

Nicole - posted on 02/08/2010

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if you raise hell, you can have contact with your baby in recovery. a few of my friends successfully did this. rather than pump early, try to set up a breastfeeding support system ahead of time. meet with a lactation consult ahead of time or go to la leche league meetings before birth so you can talk about your concerns and come up with strategies to help get you over the hurdles of bfing in the first few weeks.

Lisa - posted on 02/08/2010

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I had an emergency C section and my baby was brought to me within 30 minutes of her delivery and a midwife helped me get her latched on right away. I was so drugged up and out of it I needed a lot of help that first day but we made it through.
Good luck :) we are very fortunate to have access to a lot of help and information these days so use what you can get.

Johnny - posted on 02/07/2010

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Did you struggle with breastfeeding your other children due to low milk supply? If that is the case, pumping before the birth (but only after 37 weeks) could help to avoid that, especially if you will not be able to nurse right after the labor. But if you can allow them to have skin-to-skin contact with your LO after the birth, that can really help.

I was told by my midwife not to pump before the birth because it was not necessary. I am nursing after breast surgeries and I have done a lot of reading since that time. Much of what my research has told me is that pumping before the birth can be helpful for women with severe supply issues. For my next child, I will definitely pump before the birth. It is very true that it can lead to much stronger and more intense contractions, but for me, my desire to breastfeed without needing to supplement overrides that concern. It can increase the supply and also allow you to supplement your baby with your own colostrum instead of formula.

And keep in mind that there are both herbal galactogues and medications that can help to bring up an insufficient milk supply.

But if you had other problems like latch difficulties, etc. pumping before the birth probably won't do much to help. And allowing them to introduce a bottle for your LO's first suckling could create problems that you do not want. If it is possible to wait until you are ready to nurse, that would probably give you the greatest opportunity to successfully nurse. Good luck!

Emily - posted on 02/07/2010

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Is there any way a nurse could help you pump while you are in recovery? You may not be able to nurse right away, but pumping in recovery may be an option. When I had my daughter I was extremely sick and weak after delivery (pre-eclampsia), and the hospital lactation consultant literally held the pump up to my breasts for me so I could pump colostrum for my baby.

Even if that's not possible, it's not impossible to get breastfeeding going after a c-section.. lots of moms successfully breastfeed even when they have a c-section. Just is delayed a couple of hours. Just be vigilant in letting your wishes known to the nurses. Tell them you want to nurse your baby as soon as possible, and your baby is not to receive formula. Maybe some other moms who've had c-sections can give more info..

Jenna - posted on 02/07/2010

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well here is my thing im having a c-section and i know that you should breastfeed as soon as baby is born but i will be in recovery for two hours and they wont let me see the baby till i go up to a room. So that is why im asking if anyone thinks i should pump so i can take the milk with me to hospital and that way the baby wont have to wait two hours.

Becky - posted on 02/07/2010

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DON'T DO IT! Unless of course you'd like to have stronger, longer, and MUCH more intense contractions. Nipple stimulation at any time during pregnancy, even after 37 weeks, can induce labor and research has shown it to cause the labor pains to be more intense and painful. Right after my little girl was born and nursed for the 1st time, I pumped and I continued to pump while in the hospital, every 2 hours and right after she nursed. My lactation consultant has her patients do this to speed up their milk coming in and she swears by it. My milk was in before I was home and then she said I had enough milk for twins.....I actually ended up having a little bit of oversupply from pumping so much, but we're still happily and exclusively breastfeeding now (6 months later) and I have a hefty supply stocked up in the freezer :) Like I mentioned before, it's obviously totally up to you, but if you'll wait until after your baby's born and try your hardest to be patient until your milk comes in, it'll happen just fine and you can pump your little heart away then!

Oh, and it helped us not to supplement at all with formula since my baby had a good latch from the get go, but I know sometimes it's necessary, so if you have to supplement, ask for the little tube that connects the formula bottle to your nipple so your baby will get used to getting milk from you. I've heard that also helps babies get motivated to latch better (along with knowing the techniques yourself, of course) :) GOOD LUCK!

Jacquie - posted on 02/07/2010

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Expressing before your baby is born is totally safe from 37 weeks onwards. Not before as it can induce early labour. However even though you express before hand there is no guarentees that your milk supply will increase. You will not begin to "fully lactate" until you have had your baby as there are hormones that are released once the placenta is gone that bring your milk in. But there is no harm in giving it a go. At the least you will have milk availbale to give to you baby when its born. Just freeze it with the date that you expressed. Good luck....

Wendie - posted on 02/07/2010

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I have a sister in law that said her milk came in before her baby was due (about a month). She consulted her doctor and was told that it was ok to pump it then. I have been breastfeeding for 9 1/2 months now and didn't get my milk in till 3 days after my baby was born. It sometimes takes mother's 2 weeks to get milk in. It just matters how long you can hold off for it to come in and if you can handle the stress before. Hope that helps a little.

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