When & How Should I Pump My Milk?
Reasons or times to pump your breasts to remove milk
- If baby cannot latch or nurse well. Pump every time baby attempts or every 1-3 hours, 8-10x/24 hours)
- If your breasts are still full after breastfeeding baby or baby only nursed a short time or only nursed on one breast at a feeding. (This might occur with engorgement also.)
- If baby is preterm (born before 37 ½ weeks gestation) or is sleepy at breast when nurses
- If you are using a nipple shield to nurse baby
- If you are away from baby and baby cannot nurse at your breast
- Every time your baby feeds from a bottle. It is recommended to wait about 3-4 weeks before introducing a bottle to your baby. This helps breastfeeding and your milk supply to become well established.
There are 3 steps to early breast pumping.
- Massage your breasts for 1-2 minutes before pumping
- Pump your breasts 15-20 minutes. (15 minutes first few days, increase to 15 - 20 minutes as milk supply increases)
- Hand express drops of colostrum about 2 minutes from each breast after pumping (especially in the first few days when you are not pumping very much milk/colostrum) Hand expression may remove more milk than early pumping, & helps make milk faster.
To store pumped breast milk or increase your supply, pump 10-15 minutes right after baby has breastfed. When pumping in place of a breastfeeding, pump 15 or 20 minutes. To remove breast milk, you may hand express or use a breast pump.
Please call the UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital Lactation Consultant with questions at (563) 557-2837.