When should I start pumping?

Megan - posted on 12/30/2008 ( 15 moms have responded )

22

36

1

I am due Jan. 5 and will return to work in April, but was wondering how long I should wait before I start pumping and creating a surplus. I heard that I should wait 4 weeks before pumping...but am uncertain on when to pump breastmilk.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Crystal - posted on 12/30/2008

4

15

0

My lactation nurse told me to wait till my baby was 3 weeks.

Renae - posted on 12/31/2008

2

14

0

I was pumping as soon as my milk was in (for me about 5 days)you get engourged and it makes you more comfortable and it helped with the latch on will less full breasts, it is important not to pump too much before a feed but I had flat nipples and it helped us feed more effectively, it was challenging to pump at first read the manual for the pump you use but hang in there. the more you pump the more milk you will make. I was lucky with my little one she went from breast to bottle and nipple sheild for 5 weeks and now she is 18mth and we still BF. good luck

Amanda - posted on 12/30/2008

3

19

0

I started pumping the day after i had my daughter it made my milk come in sooner and i just started to freeze the milk. when i went to lamaze class they told me the 5, 5, 5 rule for breastmilk. you can keep it out of 5 hours in the fridge for 5 days and freeze it for 5 months. i was lucky my baby never had nipple confusion. i went back and forth from the bottle and breast feeding from the beginning cuz i had her 3 and half wks early and she was very jandice so i had to feed her my breastmilk out of a bottle at first but than once she wasnt jandice anymore i only feed her off my breast.

Lori - posted on 12/31/2008

3

0

0

I started pumping about week after he was born...to empty my breasts to help increase my production and to have a surplus in case production dropped off after I went back to work. The more you pump or the more the baby eats, the more you make. My production didn't drop off when I went back to work. I pumped every 2 1/2 to 3 hours. I even woke up in the middle of the night even if he was still sleeping to pump. At first I got very little, but then after about a week of pumping diligently I increased my supply and had a nice surplus. I still pumped at work too, once before I started my shift, then at least twice during my shift, then fed him as soon as I got home. We didn't introduce the bottle until he was about six weeks and he had no problem. He had trouble latching on the first week but he learned. It was a tough first two weeks, but soooo worth it in the long run. Remember, in quite a few states, your work has to allow you the time to pump, so don't stress about not having a surplus by the time you go back to work no matter what your profession (I'm in law enfocrement), you can still pump at work.

15 Comments

View replies by

Chrysta - posted on 12/30/2008

1

7

0

I had a c-section and baby went into NICU right away. The pump came into the room with me directly after I arrived. I only got a few drops, but they gave everything to her right away--and this also helped me to stimulate after she was off the IV and allowed to try to breast feed. This is my second child and I did not want to wait, because I was competing with formula (also a NICU baby the first round) with the first child and never produced enough. Now, this time, I completely took control when we got home and had about one formula feeding and I pumped 15 minutes after each feeding. Now I'm doing 2-3 pumpings a day and slowly building up some frozen supply, which allows for someone else to feed her by bottle once a day. When I return to work, I am praying that I can keep close and keep up with demand. We'll see. I could not with the first one.

Also, one thing to remember is that each woman is different. Some women, like myself, feel like we're pumping a dry well, and others flow like they have twins (when they don't). Always good to start early and see what the milk flow is like after a feeding.

Megan - posted on 12/30/2008

10

8

1

Looking back I wish I had pumped more... When I was on maternity leave, I would pump after each feeding, and when I had, what I thought was, a good back stock, I stopped, and only pumped when I returned to work. When my son was about 4 months old, he began to take three 7oz bottles at daycare (he's always been a big eater) and I couldn't keep up with that pumping, and began dipping into my freezer stock. By the time he was 5 months, I was out of frozen milk, and we had to start doing half milk/half formula for 1 of the bottles, and it has continue to decline, and now at 8 months I'm lucky to get 9 oz pumping. So, long story short - it's never enough...if you can do it, pump and store...just watch the dates like others have said. Good luck!!

Anna - posted on 12/30/2008

82

33

8

I was a week late, so I actually started pumping before he was here to stimulate labor. Who knows if thats what did it or not!

Are you wondering about when to start pumping for extra milk or to give a bottle? If you want to pump to give the baby a bottle I would wait at least 3 weeks to make sure breastfeeding is well established. My little one is 3 months and still doesn't take the bottle well, but it's worth it to have a great breastfeeding relationship.



If you want to pump to have a milk supply for when you go back to work, keep in mind how long the milk will be frozen before you use it. I have heard as short as 2 months and as long as 6, so I only keep it for 3...it's right in the middle! I started pumping when he was about 6 weeks during his long morning nap. I had plenty of milk, so I didn't have to worry about that. If you don't have enough milk, you can always start earlier and the pumping should increase your milk supply. Just know that at the beginning they eat about every hour or 2. He's 3 months and still likes to nurse that much. I love it though, so I'm sure that has something to do with it!



Good luck with your little one! It can be very trying in the beginning, but hang in there, it is definaltely worth those tough first weeks!

Heather - posted on 12/30/2008

1

14

0

With my first child, I didn't pump for the first few weeks after I came home & found that I never seemed to have enough milk to keep her fed once I went back to work (when she was 6 weeks old). We had to switch completely over to formula when she was 6 months old. With my second child, I started pumping breast milk the day after I came home from the hospital & have not had a problem yet- we have at least 150 oz frozen in our deep freezer just in case I do start to run low like the last time. I would suggest pumping as soon as you feel ready- I've even heard of women who've pumped while still in the hospital. It's a great way to get a good supply of breast milk going.

Jennifer - posted on 12/30/2008

4

10

0

If you're a first time nurser, I would wait a couple of weeks to start pumping breast milk just so you can get the hang of it. It's pretty overwhelming at first. Once you're comfortable, that's when you should start. I also agree that you need to freeze in small quantities, especially if you're baby is going to daycare...my daycare asked that all bottles be 2 oz because they have to discard any remaining milk within an hour of feeding the baby (even though breast milk is heartier than formula, the rules are the same - very frustrating!). That way your "liquid gold" isn't poured down the sink if baby isn't hungry enough for a 4 or 6 oz bottle.

Kerian - posted on 12/30/2008

28

50

2

i would wait for 4 weeks before pumping breast milk. the problem is in the beginning your milk supply is still getting established. if u pump to early u might get an oversupply problem. which would cause a foremilk/hindmilk inbalance.

Katie - posted on 12/30/2008

110

14

11

I pumped breast milk very early on, but if you get engorged when your milk comes in, pumping tends to make matters worse (more stimulation equals more production...) so I would try and wait a week or two to start pumping breastmilk (after birth) so that things have regulated and you're not engorged (if you even get engorged at all). I would just pump a little bit before or after a feeding. Eventually it'll add up. The other thing to keep in mind is is to freeze breast milk in small quantities (3 oz per bag max) and to be aware of how old the milk is. It does "expire" in the freezer after 3-4 months, I believe (but there's a lot of varying info on that too). And yes as posted here, it does take a lot of time and is a lot of work to pump AND breastfeed in the early days. You may feel like a dairy farm, but just hang in there. :)

Sharon - posted on 12/30/2008

95

30

5

My oldest wouldn't latch so I started pumping breast milk from day 1 and had a surplus of milk....roughly 60 oz a day! I did that for 7 months and he had enough milk for his first year of life.



I'd pump after your baby has eaten and in the very beginning it's very unlikely that your baby will feed off both breasts, maybe you can pump from the one he hadn't fed from. This will also help you with your supply too. But I did hear to introduce bottles to baby around weeks 3-4. Good luck!

Jaime - posted on 12/30/2008

43

8

14

I've heard several different things as well regarding when to pump breast milk. I think the waiting has more to do with introducing the bottle and avoiding nipple confusion, not the actual pumping? Not positive on that though.



The most important thing it to make sure you always nurse your baby before pumping breast milk.

Lauren - posted on 12/30/2008

5

10

1

I started pumping as soon as my milk came in. I would just pump after the baby was done feeding. The only hangup is that the first 6 wks. they eat every two hours, at least that was my experience. It took me like a half our to feed and about 1&1/2 hours later she needed to eat again. So it took up a lot of time. But it won't hurt to pump often but it may give you more milk than you need. I hope this was helpful.

Heather - posted on 12/30/2008

1

14

0

With my first child, I didn't pump for the first few weeks after I came home & found that I never seemed to have enough milk to keep her fed once I went back to work (when she was 6 weeks old). We had to switch completely over to formula when she was 6 months old. With my second child, I started pumping breast milk the day after I came home from the hospital & have not had a problem yet- we have at least 150 oz frozen in our deep freezer just in case I do start to run low like the last time. I would suggest pumping as soon as you feel ready- I've even heard of women who've pumped while still in the hospital. It's a great way to get a good supply of breast milk going.

Jennifer - posted on 12/30/2008

4

10

0

If you're a first time nurser, I would wait a couple of weeks to start pumping breast milk just so you can get the hang of it. It's pretty overwhelming at first. Once you're comfortable, that's when you should start. I also agree that you need to freeze in small quantities, especially if you're baby is going to daycare...my daycare asked that all bottles be 2 oz because they have to discard any remaining milk within an hour of feeding the baby (even though breast milk is heartier than formula, the rules are the same - very frustrating!). That way your "liquid gold" isn't poured down the sink if baby isn't hungry enough for a 4 or 6 oz bottle.

Kerian - posted on 12/30/2008

28

50

2

i would wait for 4 weeks before pumping breast milk. the problem is in the beginning your milk supply is still getting established. if u pump to early u might get an oversupply problem. which would cause a foremilk/hindmilk inbalance.

Katie - posted on 12/30/2008

110

14

11

I pumped breast milk very early on, but if you get engorged when your milk comes in, pumping tends to make matters worse (more stimulation equals more production...) so I would try and wait a week or two to start pumping breastmilk (after birth) so that things have regulated and you're not engorged (if you even get engorged at all). I would just pump a little bit before or after a feeding. Eventually it'll add up. The other thing to keep in mind is is to freeze breast milk in small quantities (3 oz per bag max) and to be aware of how old the milk is. It does "expire" in the freezer after 3-4 months, I believe (but there's a lot of varying info on that too). And yes as posted here, it does take a lot of time and is a lot of work to pump AND breastfeed in the early days. You may feel like a dairy farm, but just hang in there. :)

Sharon - posted on 12/30/2008

95

30

5

My oldest wouldn't latch so I started pumping breast milk from day 1 and had a surplus of milk....roughly 60 oz a day! I did that for 7 months and he had enough milk for his first year of life.



I'd pump after your baby has eaten and in the very beginning it's very unlikely that your baby will feed off both breasts, maybe you can pump from the one he hadn't fed from. This will also help you with your supply too. But I did hear to introduce bottles to baby around weeks 3-4. Good luck!

Jaime - posted on 12/30/2008

43

8

14

I've heard several different things as well regarding when to pump breast milk. I think the waiting has more to do with introducing the bottle and avoiding nipple confusion, not the actual pumping? Not positive on that though.



The most important thing it to make sure you always nurse your baby before pumping breast milk.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms