33 answers

Too Much Pumping?

I am the mom of 6 month old triplets, and I am still pumping. I am able to put at least an ounce and a half or so in with each bottle, and they each get bottles 4-5 times a day. I also work from home, so needless to say my time is crunched. Is it bad (other than nipple irritation) to pump for 5-10 min an hour? I am not breastfeeding, and do not have time to do so. I need to keep my milk supply up for as long as possible, but I was just wondering if there is such a thing as too much. What happens is that if I wait 2-3 hours, it takes up to 20 minutes. If I do 5 min or so every hour, how would that effect my supply? The other day I went 12 hours because I could not take the time to pump. I want to keep going as long as I can (better for me, babies and wallet), and I understand that just pumping only can reduce supply faster. I am also taking Bless Thistle and Fenugreek supplements along with over 2 liters of water a day. I also have a bowl of oatmeal a day as I have heard that helps with supply.

UPDATE... :) I am using the Medela Pump in style. It was recommended to me by the lactation consultant at Banner Good Sam. Thx everyone!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

i never think there's too much pumping. some great advice will come from a lactation specialist. tucson NW hospital has a great one. you can call and they will call back. ###-###-####

More Answers

Hello Julia,
I pumped and breastfed for almost 1.5 years and I still let him do it when I want to sleep in on the weekends. I think your doing a fantastic job and for such a long time with 3 babies is amazing. Good for you! I worked full time and went to school and to keep your milk up is to breastfeed occasionally. At least one kid a day. But I understand if thats too much. Those kids are getting a lot and that has to be difficult. They are going to be some healthy kids. If they haven't got sick yet then you know you did your job. You are a great inspiration to all mommies!

Hi Julia. I reccommend talking to a lactation consultant. Jenny Bailey, the owner of Every Mother and Child in Mesa is a fabulous rescorce for nursing moms. Call her! (EveryMotherandChild.com) She is an expert and when it comes to nursing, I always tell my clients that its better to prevent than to treat. (I'm a Doula anc Childbirth Educator) If your worried about your supply, then yes, the herbs and oatmeal do help. You can also get "Mothers Milk" tea which worked VERY well for me. (I had a daughter in the NICU for eight weeks and pumped round the clock too) There could be an issue with pumping for only 5-10 minutes in that your milk has two parts. the Foremilk is more watery and lighter and has less calories, The hindmilk is thicker and richer and is the "Cream" that is really good for your babies. As long as your pumping long enough to get to the hindmilk, you should be ok, but once again, I am not a lactation expert. Call Jenny!! Good luck. J. W.

I am a mom of twins and pump exclusively too. The twins are 10 and a half months old. I used a Lactina pump, which I rented from The Barbara Greenspun WomensCare Center in Las Vegas. They also have lactation consultants that are great at answering questions ###-###-####. I now use the Pump in Style and only pump 3 times a day (every 8 hours for 20 minutes). I still get about 36 oz of milk, even though I am down to pumping 3 times a day. I thought I would have to pump every 3 hours to keep up my supply and when the twins hit six months I started cutting out a pumping session every few weeks and increasing the time in between and just got more milk in the same amount of pumping time (20 min.). I bought bigger bottles that hold 9 oz instead of 5 oz (gerber brand at Target). My milk supply didn't really decrease much until I went down to 4 times a day. I was ready to quit a few months ago, but now that I only pump 3 times a day, it is easy to keep going. I pump before they wake up, during their nap, and after they go to bed.

Congrats to you for pumping for 3. I am exhausted taking care of 2 and finding the time to pump is hard when you have babies to take care of. Take advantage of a hands free pumping bra. I went months without one and wish I had know about them right away. Also, if you can only use the pump for 5-10 minutes every hour, then do it.


Any pumping is better than no pumping but overall, you need to make sure you are emptying your breasts completely enough and often enough to maintain your milk supply. You can do that pumping exclusively but it obviously takes a bit of work. If you don't have some sort of a hands free pumping bra, you need to get one. I have one of these


and one of these


I like both very much. The real difference between the two is that the halter has to be pulled over your head and the bustier has a zipper. Both are really easy to get on and off and really easy to use.

It takes most of the drudgery out of pumping because you can pump and still do what you need to do (within reason, but you can easily work on the computer, do paperwork, talk on the phone, read or feed a baby while pumping).

Pumping exclusively doesn't reduce your supply faster. No effectly emptying your breasts frequently enough reduces your supply. If you aren't using a hospital grade pump, I'd recommend that you try one. Rental fees for them vary but they work much, much better for most women than the other pumps on the market that are meant for more occasional pumping. A pump in style is a good pump but it isn't designed for exclusively pumping. Some women can maintain their milk supply with one and some can't.

Congratulations on making it to 6 months! With triplets and working, that is one heck on an accomplishment!


There isn't such a thing as too much, but I don't know that it would be very beneficial It depends on you and your body. I started pumping when my baby was 3 months old, and I could do about 10 minutes every 1-2 hours and get lots of milk. Now that he's 8 months, and I'm in to more of a routine, I have to pump around certain times of the day. Doing it before those times just defeats the purpose - I spend a lot of time pumping and not producing much. I think you can "train" your body to do what you need it to do, but it will take some time to get it on that schedule.

First important question... What type of pump are you using?

It isn't true that JUST pumping will reduce your supply faster IF, and I repeat, IF you have the right pump. Lots of moms have pumped exclusively for a year or more with excellent success!

If pumping 5-10 minutes every hour works for you, then so be it. If you want to stretch it out to 2-3 hours, I'd think that would be much easier on your schedule. If you have a good pump you should be able to pump every 2-3 hours for 15 minutes or so (waiting for the milk to let down TWICE each time) and get the same amount of milk. The only reason you wouldn't be able to is if you have a very low "milk storage compacity" (you can't hold much milk).

I would definately advise you to get a small hand pump or other portable pumping device that you can use when you have to be away from your "good" pump. Going 12 hours without pumping is a very bad idea and will surely decrease your supply.

The only time too much pumping is BAD is if you are pumping for more than 30 minutes at a time. You can cause some real nipple damage if you do that. Or if you are pumping with a suction level that is uncomfortable for you.

Good Luck and keep it up! Your babies are going to be so healthy & smart because of your efforts!

I nursed all of my babies (8 including a set of twins).
The times that I did have to pump, the thing I found is if you go a little longer between pumping you are going to have higher quality milk. The first little bit of milk that comes out is not as rich. After that you get (what I believe they call) hind milk. This is much richer, higher in fats and nutrients.
I totally understand the time thing, but I STRONGLY encourage you to go 3-4 hours between pumping...you will have MUCH BETTER MILK for your babies. Of course this is my opinion based on observation having nursed 8 :) . As a VERY soon to be grandma, I will encourage my daughter to gradually (over the course of several months) get to that 3-4 hours. Do with it what you will :)

I did not breast feed so I cannot give advice, but I do live in Windsor and also have triplets who are 11 months old. There aren't too many triplet families, especially around here. Do you live in Windsor? I would love to talk to you and possibly get together for a play date when yours are old enough. Good luck finding out the info you need.

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