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How Often Should I Pump Breast Milk?

A first-time mom can be a very overwhelming experience. A new mom will not know the exact times that you should breastfeed your little one or how much they should be suckling or how often to pump. All of these questions will come naturally once the new mom has figured out her baby, but in the beginning, we all need a little guidance to know what is right and what might not be enough.

Pump or Natural?

Your new baby could be refusing the breast, and when this happens, most moms will resort to bottles of formula. The best option for your new baby to gain its vitamins and minerals needed to grow and become strong as well as to build up immunity is to feed on breast milk. If your baby is refusing the breast, you might want to find a breast pump that will help you to get the milk needed into your baby. There are several reasons that the baby could be refusing the breast, and the taste of your milk might not be the reason. A lactation consultant can help you to determine if you are doing something that doesn’t feel right to the baby or if the baby is just failing to latch on in the right position.

Positioning the Baby

If the baby is having trouble latching on, you may want to try a different position for the baby. The angle might be making it hard for the baby to suck the proper way, and if so, a small shift in angle could be what the baby needs. If you have tried a variety of angles and the baby is still having difficulty, then look to pumping the breast milk instead.

On Average

Most moms will tell you that they will pump when they begin to feel full or before they leave for work or to go out on a date or anything that will take them away from the house for some time. However, in 24 hours, you should plan on pumping upwards of 10 times. During the pumping time, if your milk is in full, you can expect to be pumping up to 35 ounces of milk.


If you want to breastfeed solely, you will want to find a schedule that works for you and your baby. You should know, however, most moms will tell you that pumping in the morning is what works best for them as most babies will sleep quite a bit, and if they pump, their breasts will feel relief upon waking up and getting ready to face the day.

To pump effectively, you should plan on breastfeeding and then pumping later. On average, most moms will find that pumping about an hour after a feed works well for them or an hour before feeding. This will still allow for plenty of milk to be readily available to your growing baby at the next feeding time.

You might find that your baby wants to feed right after you pump and if so, allow them to do so. If you have a patient baby, they will take their time feeding to allow for more milk to come in and for them to feel full.

Learn Techniques to Help

Before deciding what works best for you when pumping, do your homework. Consider it to be a learning lesson like you would at school. There are some basics that you will want to learn on breast pumping, and there are even video’s on how to breast pump properly.

Find your safe place and pump there. This will be a place that you feel is quiet and away from everyone else. This might be a corner in your bedroom where you normally sit to read a book, or it could be sitting in your bathroom with the door closed away from everyone. Either way, find what works best for you.

Think about how long you might be sitting there and bring a cup of juice or tea with you. By drinking, you are allowing yourself to build up more milk and therefore, will pump more milk for your baby. It also will help to keep you hydrated and energized to keep up with the world since your new arrival.

Wash your hands often and before each use of the pump. You want to make sure that you are not passing any germs or bacteria to the pump, which can then transmit to the milk during pumping. Your milk must remain as sterile as possible when pumping to ensure the safety of your little one.

Make sure that you wash your pump in between sessions. You can place the pieces into the warm water with soap to wash them off and keep them clean. There are some parts of the pump that can even run thru the dishwasher in the right setting. By sterilizing the pieces to your pump, you will be able to keep all bacteria off from the pump if you place the parts once sterilized back into the storage bin of the breast pump.

On the Go

When it comes to leaving the house for long periods and leaving the baby behind, you will want to pump while out. Maybe you are going out with the girls for an evening, or you have to return to work if so, you will want to take the pump with you to ensure that you are getting relief while away from home and the baby. The relief can happen a couple of times while you are gone, or maybe you only need to pump once. Be sure to also carry a thermal lunch tote with you to ensure that once the milk is pumped, you have a way to keep it cold. If the milk becomes too warm, it could spoil, and you will have lost that milk and pumped for nothing.

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