Good Pumping Schedule

Updated on May 12, 2010
M.B. asks from Austin, TX
9 answers

I need advice on a good pumping schedule. I can't seem to pump daily. I have a 21 month old at home that I am chasing around in addition to my 2 month old. How often shoud I be pumping? When I do pump the most I get is 3 ounces. Is that a good amount? How long should I pump for? If there is nothing coming out any more should I keep going until it starts again or stop? If my baby is sleeping 4-7 hours should I be getting up to pump at night or just sleep? I am home all day with my kids and don't necessarily have to pump but just want to keep my supply up and sometimes my son just wont nurse but he will take a bottle. Plus I want to have some extra in case my husband is with him. I cant seem to make any extra. I usually pump and then he wakes up and is hungry so I have to give him what I just pumped.

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answers from Kansas City on

Are you nursing? Do you need to be pumping?

Here is what I do, but I don't know if your situation is the same. I would pump for 10 minutes after each time I nursed each of my kids for the first month and then I stopped and just nursed. I wanted to make sure I built up a good supply and had some back up because I had to go back to work full time. I went back to work when she was 8 weeks old and haven't had to dip into my supply. When I am with my baby I nurse her, and then I pump 3 times (every 3 hours) while at work. She gets 3 4 oz. bottles during the day. She eats every 3 hours during the day and then sleeps 8 hours at night. If you are strictly pumping, you should do it as often as your baby eats (2-4 hours). If you're trying to get extra to put back in the freezer, you should pump for about 10 minutes after each feeding. You want to pump for at least 3 minutes after the last drop of milk. As far as getting up at night, I mentioned it to my pediatrician, and he said if I want to I could, but he said it is more imporant for me to get my rest than it is to get up and pump just to have milk in the freezer.

Oh and when I pump at work I get 2-5 oz per session. It varies every day. There are a lot of mornings that I have to pump after I nurse her to get an extra ounce or two to send to daycare. I read that getting 4 oz at once is above average. You won't get as much as your baby would get from nursing.

I know how hard it can be to chase around a toddler and try to nurse and pump (I did it during my maternity leave). If you don't have to pump, I wouldn't and just save yourself the time and the stress!

I hope this helps! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I was able to build an great supply of breast milk with both of my children. My schedule was pretty strict and it started from day 1. I pumped or nursed every two hours. I used a double pump, and a hospital grade pump for about two weeks. I drank tons of water and ate more than I did then when I was pregnant. The baby is always best in keeping your supply up, just remember to use the pump as a bonus or extra help. Always nurse first and pump after the baby has gotten their fill. It seems pointless but save and store everything keep up with it and you'll see the results.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

One small tip I have that I found REALLY useful with both my children is that in the morning, I would pump one breast while the baby nursed off the other - it sounds complicated, but it really isn't. If you can set the pump up next to your bed or glider, and have it ready to go in the a.m., then you can do the pumping while you have to be sitting and feeding anyway and avoid having to add an extra session.

Because the baby sucking is stimulating milk production and you've just had a good amount of rest, I've found this to be my most productive time (I could often fill a medela 5 ounce bottle to the brim and sometimes would go to a second bottle!). This was a lifesaver for me when I went back to work because if I was short milk from the day before, this would fill the gap. Every day I would alternate which breast the baby nursed on vs. the one that was pumped. He was always satisfied and I had a full bottle of breastmilk.

If you are not going back to work and you are pumping to have extra milk for your husband or someone else to give the baby, this also works well. If you just get in the habit of doing it, you will produce the milk and it won't take anything away from the baby. I often used this milk in my son's morning cereal and also built up a good supply in the freezer. Good luck!



answers from Houston on

I have been vigilant about maintaining my milk supply. First time mom paranoia. Also, I struggled with the same pumping concerns. I ridiciously tried to nurse and pump simutaneously. That was so stupid. I hope some of my experiences will help you find a balance.

Nursing should be priority over pumping. Keeping to a routine will help maintain supply. Consistent demand will give consistent supply.

1. Nurse routinely. Your 2mo will start forming his own routine (every 2-3 hours) to nurse and sleep. You can write down when he sleeps and nurses and then start seeing a pattern of hunger and sleep in order to predict the next nursing session.
2. Suckling is a key stimulation for milk production. So, you should nurse during the day. He sleeps for longer stretches at night and you can pump one time at night to build your freezer stock.
I pump at night before I go to bed because I do not want to go too long between nursing sessions (7pm- 7 am). Yes, your son will eventually sleep that long. Hang in there :)
3. Pumping 2-4 ounces is average. Everyone is different. Your body will respond if you keep to a routine. Relax when you pump. Stress inhibits oxytocin, an enzyme that aids in let down.
4. Pumping seesions average between 15-30minutes. Again, everyone is different.
5. If you are pumping at night (meaning your baby will be sleeping longer and won't need a nursing seesion right away), try pumping any extra 5 minutes to see if you get another let down. Milk supply replenishes every 2-3 hours. So, I wouldn't pump knowing I need to nurse soon afterwards. Don't pump if you know your son will want to nurse.
6.Take care of yourself. Eat healthy. Eat often. DRINK water all the time. Drink even when you think you have had plenty. Rest. If you're standing, takea seat. If you're sitting, lay down. If you're laying down, take a nap.

Lots of infomation at

You can and will increase your freezer stock which means dad can give bottles and you can get some alone time.

I hope this helps.



answers from Chicago on

i was going to ask the same as the previous you need to pump? i, too, pumped after nursing with each of my girls (i have 3) for just the first few help build up my supply and it helped relieve when I was really full. i froze everything i pumped for "just in case" times.

i went back to work after my first, so i pumped twice during the work day but stuck to just nursing in the early morning and in the evening.

after my next 2, i quit pumping after the first few weeks and just stuck to nursing exclusively. I had the extra in the freezer in case baby was with someone else and got hungry, but exclusive nursing helped me build my supply the most (and didn't make me too extremely tired trying to pump and nurse while chasing around the other kids).

i would say don't get up at night. just sleep. your body will get used to baby's schedule and when baby is hungry. if you don't HAVE to pump and you are finding it emotionally and physically difficult to pump and take care of the older child also, i would say just nurse.
just my opinion. you do what is best and feels right for you. try not to stress about it. congrats on your new(er) baby!!



answers from Austin on

I had the same problem as you except worse. When I would pump, I would never get more than 2 oz total! It was frustrating. I would just pump whenever I was in the mood (like you, I wanted to have at least a little bit of a supply). It would be good if you could fit 10-20 minutes in everyday. Don't bother getting up in the middle of the night. It's not necessary at this point. Sleep will help your supply too. I kept my pump next to the nursery rocker. Sometimes I would put her down in the crib and let my older one play in the room. I do know that when you are pumping, continue pumping another 2-3 minutes after you are dry. This will increase your supply. I will advise that you only give him a bottle every so often. Maybe every few days, so that he won't forget how to latch onto it but also not learn to like it more than the breast. If he wakes up and you have pumped recently, put him on the breast anyway. He will help increase your supply and a baby is much more efficient than a pump. If he's really frustrated and you think you are completely dry, then you know he is actually hungry. Oh, lastly....if he eats every 3 hours, let's say, try pumping about and hour and a half to 2 hours after that. You will have a little milk to pump and still enough time to make more milk before he wants to eat again. Just keep him on the breast as long as he wants so that your supply will build up. Sounds like you are doing a great job and committed to nursing!


answers from Barnstable on

Pumping really isn't a good idea if the boobies are available. I would absolutely DITCH the bottle. That will really mess with your supply. Babies are far better at getting your milk than any pump. You can really get into trouble giving a bottle rather than the breast - if the boobies are available (in the house, not off with their owner at work) feed your child at the breast. I can't stress that enough. Especially at such a young age.

As for the night time, I WOULD pump if your child sleeps longer than 3 hours at that age (or wake him/her and nurse). I am not really worried about supply as long as you nurse ON DEMAND (that is SO important). I am saying pump if the gap is more than 3 hours because you run the risk of blocked ducts or mastitis. NOT FUN.

If your son tried to refuse the breast, squeeze your breast and drip some breastmilk onto his lips and tongue. This usually will get them to latch.

But absolutely get rid of the bottle - I worry that your child is going to prefer the bottle, which is easier to get milk from, if you continue to use it. You can bring it back when he is 6 months - far less chance of nipple confusion at that age.

Best of luck. Let me know if you need anything.



answers from Houston on

Pump to stimulate milk supply even if nothing is coming out. It will increase in about 48hrs. Pump first thing in the a.m. before your first nursing w/the 2m old. Eat and drink plenty. I used to pump for about 6-8 min and get 4-8 oz. Listen to your body, if you're over tired or hungry... you won't produce as much, same w/stress.



answers from Houston on

It's been awhile since I've nursed, and I think you already have gotten some good advice. If you have any other questions or want to do some research, I found to be the absolute best website for answering my breastfeeding questions. Good luck!

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