How to start a pumping schedule if I want to pump exclusively?

Updated on December 21, 2007
K.E. asks from Eielson AFB, AK
11 answers

I am expecting my second baby here in about 4 weeks. I breastfed my first for 6 weeks and then had him completely weaned and on formula by 8 weeks. I believe in the nutritional benefits of breastmilk, so I would like for my second baby to get breastmilk for a longer time than my first. With him I had to stop because I went back to work and pumping wasn't an option. However, I am not working anymore. Here is the thing. I did not enjoy one minute of breastfeeding my son. Even though it is supposed to be the most natural thing in the world it could not have felt more unnatural to me. It didn't hurt. I didn't have any problems with production. All things considered it really should have been a great experience for me because I didn't have any of the problems first time moms tend to have. However, I don't think I really bonded with my son until we switched to the bottle because I was so turned off by breastfeeding. With the new baby I would like to give her a bottle from the day we get home, but I would like to pump so that she is still benefiting from the breastmilk. If the second time is anything like the first milk production shouldn't be a problem, so I am hoping that I will be able to pump enough milk (since I will be pumpin exclusivly) that I will not have to supplement with formula. However, I am not sure how to get started. I know the best way would be to get on a pumping schedule, but how do you start that? Have any other moms out there done this successfully. I really want this to work because I do believe that breastmilk is best, but the thought of breastfeeding again (and now also raising a toddler) makes me want to cry just to think about. Any tips, suggestions, websites or books on pumping exclusilvly would be GREATLY appreciated.

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Some moms suggest to start pumping the minute your milk comes in (or before if you are one of those people whose milk starts flowing before the baby is born). If you want to produce a lot of milk, you will need to pump regularly and frequently. Also, consult with your lactation specialist.

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answers from Seattle on

Hey Im a new mom and my 1month would not latch on for the life in me. So I pumped. What i was told and was a success until i stopped producing. Was to pump every other feeding. It worked for me it should work for you. Best of luck. Just remember to breathe. Thats the key.

take care


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answers from Louisville on


Congratulations on the new baby! As a nurse and mother of three I understand your feelings. Some may think it's completely wrong of you to feel this way, but we all know you can't control your feelings. It's ok. With my first two I was unable to breastfeed long, the first because I had no idea what I was doing, the second because she would vomit after eating. Once I put her on formula, she was fine. With my son, we had a special situation. He was born with a heart defect and was unconscious and in surgeries for the first two weeks of life. To help his immune system, I did my best to pump and have the milk available for when he was able to take it. I started pumping about every 2 hours, that is usually when babies will eat. With you having your baby home safe, I would advise alternating between formula and breast milk. That way you are able to pump and have the breast milk available for the next feeding. This may only be necessary for the first day, the formula feeding at least and then you should have enough breast milk saved up to feed all the time. Keep in mind the baby crying for his bottle will initiate the milk in your breasts.

Others may have better advice but this is what I suggest. Best of luck and again congratulations!



answers from Seattle on

Pumping exclusively is a hard job. My first daughter refused to breastfeed, even after seeking help she would push my breast away with her hand while screaming, which of course made me feel horrible. I dreaded feeding time and finally decided to pump and then feed her with a bottle. It was exhausting. Compared to when I breastfeed my second daughter, the milk production with pumping was considerably lower and it took forever to pump everything she needed. My days where spent either attached to the pump or bottle feeding my daughter. The nighttime feedings were the worst, I'd have a bottle prepared for her, she's wake up, take 20 mintues or so to drink the bottle, put her back down and then have to go sit and pump for 45 minutes before I could go to bed. By the time I was falling back asleep, she was waking up again. By three months I was combining formula just to keep up.
My second daughter breastfed like a champ, but like you, it wasn't my favorite thing to do. But it was much easier then trying to pump everything. I'm glad I did pump, because I wanted to give her the benefits of breastmilk, but it sure would have been easier if whe would have taken it straight from the breast. Give this some more thought. Life is going to be so much busier with two and being connected to a breastpump all the time if not going to be easy. Just my two cents from my own expereince, hope it helps.



answers from Seattle on

Hi K.. I had trouble breastfeeding my son from the start. I tried to breastfeed from the minute he was born, but he wouldn't latch on. I ended up having to use a nipple shield to get him to breastfeed and even that was a challenge, sometimes ending with both of us in tears. So I decided to pump. He took to the bottle right away (having been used to the feel of the nipple shield) and feeding became so much easier and a lot more enjoyable for both of us.

I recommend using a hospital grade pump (you can rent them from many local places for about $25.00 or so per month) as it is quick and will get you the most milk in the shortest amount of time. What you will need to do is simply start pumping the minute your milk comes in (or before if you are one of those people whose milk starts flowing before the baby is born). If you want to produce a lot of milk, you will need to pump regularly and frequently.

The only thing I will tell you is that there is something about pumping that doesn't let you produce milk as long as you would if you were exclusively breastfeeding. My milk dried up at around 4 months. I was told this could potentially happen from a lactation specialist because you don't release the same hormones when you are exclusively pumping versus breastfeeding. But all in all it was a great experience for me and my son, he transitioned to formula very easily and now that he is 16 months, he is on whole milk and loves it - drinks a LOT of it every day. So I say if you would prefer to pump over breastfeed, then by all means go for it! I had some people who made me feel guilty for not exclusively breastfeeding, but in my circumstance, I did what worked best for my son and I and my son is a very happy, healthy well-adjusted child. Good luck to you!



answers from Bellingham on

First of all, Congratulations on #2!!

Secondly, please don't feel guilty for not liking breast feeding. It is what it is... I breast fed my first and now I am breast feeding my 3 month old. It is something I enjoy. If you don't enjoy it, DON'T feel guilty and don't let others make you feel guilty either!! Many, many people are VERY opinionated about nursing. I believe it is a PERSONAL decision -- one that only YOU can make.

It is wonderful that you are willing to exclusively pump. It is time-consuming, but just do what works best for YOU. That is all I can really tell you. I just wanted to give support to you and tell you not to feel guilty. If you don't enjoy it, your baby will sense your feelings and it wouldn't be healthy for you or the baby to feel stressed about it.

I honestly wish you the best of luck!!




answers from Anchorage on

Ahh, this brings back memories for me! My daughter would not breastfeed for nuthin'! She would either zonk out (seriously -- nothing we could do would wake her up!) or absolutely refused to latch on. So I pumped and fed her my milk for eight weeks. I followed a schedule -- otherwise, during those early baby weeks when we were all exhausted, I would get confused when I last pumped, when she last ate, etc. I loved being able to look at my watch and say, "It's 1 p.m.! Time to pump!" My milk came in gang-buster style, so I never had any problems with pumping and not having enough milk to feed her. In fact, I had TOO MUCH milk, and loads of it got frozen and never used because when she was weaned at a year, we never had a need to go to our frozen supply.

Like another mom said: God bless you for doing this. Your little girl is blessed to have such a giving momma!


answers from Spokane on

Hi K.
I see you've gotten an overload of's one more. I'm not sure where your giving birth but the lactation specialist at Sacred Heart (Especially Gayle Peterson) are WONDERFUL. They will help you figure out what works for you! Not what people "Think" you should do.
Best of luck and contact Sacred Heart with any questions big or small!



answers from Seattle on

I don't really like breastfeeding either.. but it is the best! :) My daughter is almost 7 months old and I have exclusively breastfed her. I will say that it did not get "easy" until 2-3 months. Please contact the Evergreen Hospital Breastfeeding Center for help. They are WONDERFUL and will help you with anything. La Leche Leagues are also in most communities and offer help and advice. (Both of these will help with pumping issues/questions too, not just breastfeeding). Good luck!! Resources are out there for help and encouragement.



answers from Seattle on

I don't know what kind of pump you have but Madela are really the best in my opinion. Before deciding that you will pump exclusively I would say that you should not rule anything out before you really try. You may thinking pumping is easier than breastfeeding especially with another little one, but that may just be the reason that breastfeeding will be easier. Like another mom pointed out, having to pump and then feed will take a tremendous amount of time. The reason you may not have bonded with your first while breastfeeding could have been in part due to post partum depression. There is no real way to know what to expect from motherhood until it comes. I would try again with your daughter, you may be pleasantly surprised that things are not the same, and every child is very different. Good luck and do what works best for you are your child. Do not let anyone make you feel guilty for doing what feels right for you.




answers from Seattle on

When I had my twins, I had to get onto a pumping schedule so I could kickstart my milk production for the two of them. Almost immediately after they were born, my nurse got me a hospital breast pump and had me pumping about every two hours throughout the day. At night, I pumped about once every four hours. When I got home, I pumped every three to four hours throughout the day and night.

I delivered my boys at the Providence Hosp in Everett, and I heard that they actually rent breast pumps (the cost of which can be deducted as a medical expense if your doctor writes a prescription for it). If you decide to buy a breast pump rather than rent one, make sure you get a good quality one because this makes SUCH a difference in how quickly and efficiently you can pump.

Good luck!



answers from Seattle on

I wonder why you hated breast feeding? I LOVED the experience and felt myself bond stronger to my two girls (one I breast fed 1.5 years, and the other 3) than my son who only fed for 6 months.

Anyway, you have to pump MORE than you need, because I found with pumping alone, you don't get as much milk out as you do when the baby is feeding. I pumped because I had to work, and I did that AND breast fed both my girls. I did formula AND breastmilk for my son because I didn't have enough milk production.

As soon as the baby is born, you will have to start pumping or breast feeding. You need the colostrom in the breast milk that comes out right at the beginning. This helps protect baby's immune system. Even if you breast feed at first, oftentimes, the baby will switch over to bottle later. I don't know about you, but after delivery, I'm exhausted so I don't think I could stand the thought of pumping right away.

Once you start pumping the Medela breast pump that pumps out of both breasts at the same time, was my FAVOURITE by far. However, the baby sucking milk out is MUCH more efficient than any breast pump. But, it's still better to pump than not breast feed. Still, then it's twice the time to get that accomplished. I kept getting low on breast milk with my first daughter and the pump helped maintain my milk production.

The other problem with formula is it does not have the nutrition needed for proper brain development. NOW they are just starting to discover that, and putting DHA into breast milk. (see

I hope that you can overcome your revulsion of breastfeeding. It will save you OODLES of time.

God bless you for trying.

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