As new parents, you want to follow the method of feeding that works best for YOUR baby. Fed is always best. It never matters why, but there are many reasons mom’s choose to breastfeed versus bottle feeding. However, some women decide to combine the two and do both. The reality is, no two babies are the same and have different wants and needs––not to mention your own wants and needs as a mom! Your lifestyle may not allow for exclusively breastfeeding and that is totally OKAY. If you choose to breastfeed and pump for your baby, you might need some help navigating through the benefits and challenges of choosing both.
Popular reasons moms choose to pump breast milk:
- Allows dad or other family members to be involved in feeding the baby.
- It helps babies who are unable to breastfeed due to being premature, or who may have impediments to nursing properly, to receive the benefits of breastmilk.
- At times, particularly in the beginning, your body may produce more breast milk than the baby needs. Pumping allows you to store extra breast milk and may reduce the pain from engorgement.
- Pumping allows you to donate extra breast milk to other babies who do not have access to breast milk. Quite a few organizations accept donated breastmilk and safely provide it for other babies in need.
- Pump can help draw out inverted or flat nipples before breastfeeding. Pumping a few minutes before breastfeeding may help draw out the nipple so the baby can latch on and nurse more easily.
- Pumping on a schedule may ensure you are maintaining your breastmilk supply. As the baby grows, the feeding schedule becomes more spaced out, and your baby does not eat as often as it used to. Pumping allows you to maintain a milk supply while saving some extra for another time.
- Breastfeeding may become overwhelming if you are a parent of multiple infants, such as twins. Pumping allows you to breastfeed one twin while another caretaker or family member can feed the other baby breastmilk.
When should you pump?
Pumping can be very beneficial for mom and baby. However, deciding when to start pumping and the best time of day for pumping can be tricky. Depending on your baby's health and your personal choices, you may begin breastfeeding within six hours of giving birth.
If you have a healthy full-term baby, you can:
- Pump within a few weeks of giving birth.
- Pump in the morning within the first hour of waking up. Studies have shown that moms produce the most milk overnight and in the early morning.
- Pump until an hour before breastfeeding to allow your body to reproduce breast milk before the next feeding.
- Pump 30 to 60 minutes after breastfeeding to increase or maintain milk supply.
A pumping schedule may look different if you exclusively pump and bottle feed. If you are solely pumping:
- Pump at least 8 to 10 times every 24 hours.
- Ensure that you pump enough milk for your baby during each developmental stage.
- Remember, no two babies are the same. Find a schedule that works best for both of you.
How many times a day should I pump while breastfeeding?
How often or how much milk to pump is unique to every mom and baby. How much time you spend apart from your baby may influence how often you should pump in between breastfeeding. If you work and spend time away from your baby, it may be best to pump during the day you usually feed your baby. However, if that is difficult due to your schedule, aim to pump every two to three hours to maintain a proper milk supply. It is important to pump when you are away from your baby to avoid engorgement.
Tips for choosing a breast pump
If you decide to pump, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the number of options on the market. Our goal is to make breast pump shopping easier and less stressful.
There is no better way to learn about a product than to read what fellow moms have to say about the pump. What features did they like? Was the product easy to use? Were the replacement parts affordable? Was the system loud?
Check with your insurance company to determine if a breast pump is covered by insurance. Then research the breast pump available to you by your insurance. Just because your insurance covers it, it does not mean that the pump is a perfect fit for your lifestyle or what you are trying to achieve.
Ease of use
Breast pumps are designed with so many different features. For example, you may be a mom on the go and not have access to an electrical outlet during your pumping schedule. However, if you are a work-from-home mom, you may prefer an electronic hands-free option. Remember that your breast pump may be something you use every few hours, so ease of use and comfort are important.
Some brands have invested more time into creating the best breast pump for the mom on the go. In comparison, other brands may have focused on the new mom at home. Find a brand that aligns with your values and specific needs.
Tips for breast pumping
Invest in a new breast pump
While it may be tempting to save money and borrow a breast pump from a friend, it may not be the best idea. Breast pumps may contain bacteria if not cleaned properly. In addition, breast pumps may not be designed to be used for more than a year or two with daily use without the motor function decreasing.
Stock up on milk supply
When you first get home from the hospital, pumping may not be the first thing that is on your mind. However, it may be helpful to start stashing away your breast milk when you are ready.
Pump with the opposite breast during breastfeeding
While your baby is breastfeeding, utilize your other breast by pumping simultaneously. Often, the baby induces letdown, which may increase the amount of milk you express during a pumping session.
Sample breastfeeding and pumping schedule
6:00 am- breastfeed baby, then pump after
8:00 am- breastfeed baby
10:00 am- Breastfeed baby, then pump after
12:00 pm- breastfeed baby
2:00 pm- breastfeed
4:00 pm- breastfeed baby, then pump after
6:00 pm- breastfeed baby
8:00 pm- breastfeed baby, then pump after
10:00 pm- breastfeed baby
12:00 pm- pump if the baby is asleep
2:00 am- breastfeed baby
Why shop Belly Bandit
We designed an entire line of nursing bras and tanks that allow for easy access during nursing.
With a new baby comes new norms and a new lifestyle. It may take time to adjust to a pumping or breastfeeding schedule. That is okay! Every new habit takes time before it becomes routine. Always remember, take time for yourself and listen to your body and its needs. Contact your general care physician for more help if you have questions or concerns.