Starting Solids When to Pump

Updated on December 30, 2008
P.S. asks from Valley Village, CA
16 answers

Hi Ladies, OK so I need some 6mo old son is exclusively breastfed and I am getting ready to introduce solids next week. Up until now I haven't gotten into pumping. I would like to start to pump now to mix with cereal as well as to allow for a little more freedom for me, but I don't know when to pump. My son's feeding schedule is on demand. He is a great eater and sleeper. The few occasions that I have pumped he readily accepts the bottle, so i am looking forward to allowing him more opportunity to be fed by others (husband, grandparents, aunt)Any advice as to when to pump, maybe a schedule to follow would be greatly appreciated.

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So What Happened?

Thanks Ladies for all the advice and encouragement...I have been pumping every morning after nursing and one time in the afternoon when my son takes his nap so far only getting about 4-5 oz a day, will continue to pump and hopefully this will increase the amount. Introduced solids mixed with breast milk and my little man loves it. Thanks again and Happy Holidays to all.

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answers from Los Angeles on

What worked the best for me was to pump one breast while my baby suckled the other. That way, my milk was already flowing so I didn't have any discomfort at having the pump try to get my milk to let down.

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answers from San Diego on

When I began to store milk, I would pump after the first a.m. feeding when I had the most milk. I would either pump the breast that was fed on last or not at all, or double pump both breasts and retrieve the hind milk of the nursed on breast. Then later, I would pump after feedings to get the hind milk, cool in fridge then add to other milk stored on that day to have adequate ounces for full bottle feedings. When I returned to work or was bottle training, I would pump at my childs usual feedings times. I typically would bring home all my bottles cooled, shake them all a little to mix up the milkfat, then divide into bottles for the next day. If I didn't use all the milk, I would freeze it within 3 days for back up milk (4-6 ounce baggies, I highly recommend Lansinoh bags...they are sterile, double zippered, have accurate ounce lines, are very durable and pour out really well into bottles). I would also recommend using a permanent marker for the ounces, the date the milk was pumped, and for ease...add an expiration date for other caregivers. If your child ever goes to daycare, you may want to add his name to the bag too, and place all your little baggies in a large ziploc identifying his milk...this also adds extra protection to your liquid gold.

Happy pumping!! :-)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi P.,

When do you have the most milk? Usually, it's first thing in the morning. So I would pump AFTER you nurse him. Even if you only get one ounce - save it and add to it. You can pump after almost every feeding if you want. Good luck and good job!



answers from Los Angeles on

well u get the most milk in the mornings when u pump...the least amount at around mid get more if you pump both breasts at the same time..i would recommend getting the easy expression bra... u can also get one at the Pump Station. also u can get more from a hospital grade pump and wouldn't have to pump as often.
you can also pump right after you nurse and save what you get'll probably only get an ounce though if even that..but it will teach your body to make more milk. also when u pump u can pump for 10 minutes then rest 10 then pump 10 so u can get a second let down. i used to use the bra and sit at my computer pumping b/c it makes it so u can pump hands free if you are using an electric pump.



answers from Los Angeles on

You can store your milk MUCH LONGER than a week! AND you can store it in plastic bags! They just have to be make for that...You can freeze it for months! See below info from Dr. Sears, here is the link also

Plastic bags specially designed for freezing expressed human milk are available from many companies that specialize in products for breastfeeding mothers and babies. These bags are sturdier than those used in baby bottles and have self-closures that are easier to seal and label. They do a better job of protecting milk components than nurser bags. Some types can be attached directly to your pump. Plastic storage bags are available from The LLLI Catalog.

Where stored Storage temperature
(degrees Fahrenheit) Storage temperature
(degrees Centigrade) How long
At room temperature 60 degrees F 15 degrees C 24 hours
At room temperature 66-72 degrees F 19-22 degrees C 10 hours
At room temperature 79 degrees F 25 degrees C 4-6 hours
In a refrigerator 32-39 degrees F 0-4 degrees C 8 days
In a freezer compartment inside a refrigerator 2 weeks
In a self-contained freezer unit of a refrigerator 3-4 months
In a separate deep freeze with a constant temperature 0 degrees F -19 degrees C 6 months or longer

You can always go to La Leche Leagues website for all info on breastfeeding, good luck and great job !



answers from Los Angeles on

When the baby's done feeding, pump out as much more as the breasts will give (try for 5 minutes, if nothing stop). Then try pumping again in an hour, unless the baby wants to nurse again. This will help increase your supply, since you're pumping more than what the baby needs, and hopefully will be enough for you to even slip away to do some much-needed retail therapy!
Good luck!



answers from Honolulu on

Since you have been breast feeding for a while now your body should produce milk on demand, which should make it a little easier for you to start pumping for freedom. You might try pumping during your sons naps or even right before or right after he feeds. You may experience some discomfort due to increased milk production when you first start, but then again you may not since you have been pumping for so long. Best of luck! I breast fed my son for 15 months and learned many of the ins and outs of the "human milk bar" trade. (That's what my mom nicknamed it since my son basically looked at me as a walking talking multi-purpose buffet for so long). Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions. I love being able to help people with this sort of stuff! Also, you might only produce a small amount of milk when you first start pumping in between feedings, but like I said, your body should adjust and readjust as it needs to whatever changes work best for you and your family. Best wishes!



answers from Los Angeles on

You've already received great advice. I just wanted to reiterate to pump after he's done nursing. And to add that if someone else feeds him from expressed milk when you might have nursed him otherwise, you can pump then. Of course, if the reason someone else was feeding him was so you could have a break, hooking up to the pump may defeat the point. Just try to keep in mind that it's all about supply and demand. If you demand more from your breasts than he's taking on his own, they should continue to produce. Good luck and kudos for continuing to breast-feed!



answers from Los Angeles on

I stayed at home with my little guy for the first 6 months and my husband was always saying just pump but I found it to be so hard to pump while at home with my baby. It was so much easier for me to just breastfeed him. For me it was difficult at first, so if you don't get the hang of it right away be patient and stick with it. I pump now while I'm at work and it just takes awhile to get started. I would recommend pumping first thing in the morning! Find what works best for you and then try and get on a routine. Good luck!!!



answers from Honolulu on

If your'e wanting to pump just to add to it to his cereal, you don't really "have to" pump...for me, I just added water to mix the cereal. Or, you could just self-express some breastmilk when you make his cereal.

I exclusively breastfed too, on demand, and to me, just that few tablespoons of breastmilk to add to the cereal wasn't much, and my kids were getting all of their nutrition already, from my breastfeeding. So for me, I didn't see the point of pumping, just for the purpose of adding it to the cereal.

If you want more freedom and having others feed him, they can feed him the solids, and you the breastfeeding.

Or, but if you still want to pump, then pump after your breastfeeding sessions. That is what is usually recommended.

Also, breastfeed BEFORE solids... not after, otherwise baby will be too full to nurse afterward. Breastfeeding AFTER solids is typically done to "wean" a child. So this is the difference.

No matter what routine you find works best for you.. .just keep in mind that if you "skip" nursing sessions in lieu of solids or pumping, then it will affect your breastmilk output... sometimes lessening it. Direct nursing is always the best in keeping up your milk supply and per baby's changing demands and growth spurts.

Keep in mind that for the first year of life, a baby's PRIMARY source of nutrition is from breastmilk/formula. NOT solids.

Good luck,



answers from Los Angeles on

Pump for 10 min. each breast following the baby's feeding.



answers from Los Angeles on

Your milk supply is greatest in the morning, so I would pick then.

Have fun!



answers from Los Angeles on

Dear P.,

I have been pumping from the early days of breastfeeding after eating sessions. I would always (and still at 6 months) get the most at my first morning feeding. I recommend that you get breastmilk freezer bags and freeze them. Breastmilk should only be kept in the fridge 3-5 days tops, but I only keep it 3 days. If you freeze it you don't have to think about when you need to use it by (although it should be withing 3-6 months depending on your freezer).

My girl Korinna and I started playing with solids about a month ago and I can tell you that I don't use more than a teaspoon to a tablespoon of milk per feeding. At this point food is still for play and not substituting nutrition. Make full batches of food (like sweet potatoes or whatever else you want to try) and freeze them in ice cube trays, about a tablespoon or so in each cube. When they freeze move them to a ziplock bag.

I thaw a cube and just squeeze milk right from my breast into the food after I've warmed it up. Just enough to thin it to the right consistency and to add a familiar taste. For rice cereal I get a teaspoon worth and then just lean over the dish and squeeze!!! This is in addition to pumping after feedings, but its such a small amount, usually an hour or two after feeding so it comes easily.

As far as pumping tools go, I have a great Madella electric pump and an Avent hand pump. In the mornings my daughter usually takes a nap an hour after she got up which is usually 30 minutes after we are done feeding. I put her down and use the electric pump. At other times I use the hand pump because I have one hand free to manage her while she plays on the floor and can stop doing it easily if I need two hands. Its really hard to move around with an electric pump attached to me. Plus if she tugs at them then I have to clean up and reposition the pumps.

My schedule goes something like this:

5-6:30 am wake up and bf
7:30ish nap -PUMP
10:30 bf -hand pump any extra milk
12:00 play with food -banana, peas, etc.
12:30ish nap
1:30/2:00 bf -hand pump any extra milk
2:30ish nap
5:00ish bf
6:00 play with food (I let her really play with the food at this feeding as bath follows)
6:30 bath
7:00 pjs, gentle play, read a couple of books
7:45/8:00 bf/bottle feed breastmilk (if bottle then pump after she goes to sleep)
8:30ish bedtime
---no night feeds--

I hope this helps. :) Happy Holidays!




answers from Houston on

GREAT job breastfeeding, keep it up. Your body will adjust to any added feeding or pumping in about 48 hrs. Just eat & drink plenty. I find it best to pump before my son gets up in the a.m. However, you can pump whenever, just remember sometimes if you pump at a new time you won't get much until the next day that time. Don't worry about your son not getting enough, they can get out milk that a pump can't.... more on this if you have questions let me know. I actually donate milk to a milk bank for ICU babies... Milk production is all supply & demand. GREAT idea to use it for cereal, my son is 20m and I still do that. Better than cow or soy hormones... You can freeze breastmilk for several months and can keep in in the fridge for about a week. ENJOY!



answers from Los Angeles on

I used to have to record a show when my son was an infant and was pumping whenever my breasts became engorged. It seemed to be early morning and late afternoon that worked best. I would store the breast milk in the freezer and that way would have reserves on hand. There's a proper way of freezing your breast milk but sorry, I don't recall what I used. Don't freeze your milk in plastic but when you defrost and warm it then put it in the bottle. I think you can freeze it up to a week.



answers from Las Vegas on


If I were you, I'd pump first thing in the morning. Your milk supply and hormones are highest then so you can potentially be more successful doing that. Don't be surprised if you don't get much (or any) milk at first. Breastfeeding is very much supply and demand. You are making as much milk as your child is consuming at this point. You don't automatically start producing an extra 4 ounces one day just because you hooked up your pump! It will likely take a week or more of dedicated pumping (your body also needs some time to adjust to the pump) before you start seeing any milk flowing. I recommend that you double pump, preferably with a hands-free bra (you can get an Easy Expressions Halter off ebay for less than $20) and you pump for at least half an hour whether you see milk flowing or not. If you do this consistently every day at roughly the same time of day, your body will get the hint and you'll start producing milk for the pump.

Don't be surprised if your child refuses a bottle. I work full time and most of the mommies I know had to introduce bottles at 6-8 weeks to be successful in getting their baby to take them. The fact that he's had them before is encouraging but I don't recommend you wait until it is a crisis to try it out. At 6 months, you also have the option of trying sippy cups. As for cereal, in my opinion it develops a weird texture when you mix it with breastmilk. I always mixed mine with either water or juice (usually water). I always had to pump a bunch anyway and the idea of mixing any amount of breastmilk with cereal and then potentially throwing it away was not appealing to me. LOL Neither of my kids really liked cereal until they were older either. And it can be really constipating. I know lots of folks use it as a first food but lots don't. So don't feel you have to use cereal unless your babe just happens to like it and doesn't get constipated by it. I started my second child on sweet potatoes and he's perfectly fine and will eat just about anything (hates beans but eats pretty much everything else).

One of my favorite breastfeeding resources is It has tons of information on pumping and storing milk. I highly recommend that you take a look.

As for looking forward to having others feed your baby, I hope that works for you. Even though I pumped continuously and my kids always got lots of bottles anyway, seriously, 99.9% of the time they were either fed by me or by my babysitter. Everyone else made a big deal about wanting to feed the baby but when it came right down to it, rarely actually did. I think that whole thing is mainly a way grandparents guilt-trip moms about breastfeeding and "hogging" the baby.


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