How to Start Pumping While Still Breastfeeding

  • We list 5 things you should know about first time pumping
  •  Read the various reasons why moms choose to pump while nursing
  •  Watch: Breastfeeding and pumping tips and tricks
  •  Bonus video: Pumping after breastfeeding by CloudMom

Are you breastfeeding your little one?

Has something come up that has caused you to need to start pumping your breastmilk too?

Are you wondering how to start pumping while breastfeeding?

If you’re breastfeeding your baby but also need to pump, you’re not alone. There are plenty of moms who are in the same situation, and although there are a lot of different reasons that might bring you to this point, you’re probably feeling the same level of confusion as your fellow moms.

But don’t worry! You’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll explain the situations in which you might need to start pumping while still breastfeeding, and we’ll also walk you through the five most important things to know when you’re pumping for the first time.

By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have a solid foundation of information on how to start pumping while still breastfeeding. So let’s get started!

Why pump while breastfeeding?

There are a lot of different reasons why you might choose to start pumping while breastfeeding. If you feel like this is the right decision for you and your little one, remember that you know best. Other well-meaning moms may try to talk you out of it and may even tell you that you’re doing something wrong, but remember that you and your child are individuals with needs that may differ from those of other people you know. Remember, too, that you should always discuss these types of changes with your doctor and your baby’s pediatrician.

With that said, however, it’s a good idea to understand the different reasons that may lead you to try pumping while breastfeeding. Here are just some of them.

pumping while breastfeeding
  • You are going back to work. This is the most common reason why breastfeeding moms may decide to start pumping while still nursing. Going back to work means you   can’t have your baby around all day, but he or she will still need to be able to be fed by the babysitter or another family member.
  • You need to start being more active around the house again. If you’ve been taking it easy with your new baby, you may find that it’s about time to get started running errands or taking care of chores again. And if this is the case, you’ll need to entrust feeding times to a babysitter, your partner, Grandma, or someone else now and then.
  • You have too much sensitivity to breastfeed but still want your baby to have breastmilk. It may still hurt to pump, but it will likely hurt less and be finished more quickly than your baby would.
  • Your milk supply is low. Pumping between feedings can help encourage your milk supply to stay at higher levels.
  • You are starting to wean your baby, but your milk supply hasn’t lessened yet. If this is the case, you may have pressure and pain when not nursing frequently, so pumping can help you ease this problem.
  • You are donating milk. If you’re planning to donate milk to a milk bank or milk donor program, you’ll need to know how to properly and safely pump and store the milk for use by another mom.
  • Your baby cannot latch on. Sometimes, your baby may not be able to latch on well or stay latched on for feeding times. Whether this is a new problem or one you’ve been facing for a while, you’ll need to deal with it by making sure your child is able to eat successfully.

5 Things to Know for First-Time Pumping

1. Materials needed: 

You’ll need a pump, and electric is the way to go. A double pump can help you save time, but it may be more complicated to use and more expensive than a single pump. Make sure to stock up on spare parts in case something breaks at an inconvenient time, and always choose a pump that can be easily sterilized. Also pick up bottles to use for storing your milk (see #3 for more on storage). Finally, you’ll need some wipes for keeping pump parts clean until you can sterilize them at home. Make sure you have sterilizing cleaning pads and/or supplies to boil your pump parts for sterilization, too.

2. Develop a schedule: 

schedule before you have to go back

Your body has likely already gotten used to feeding your baby at certain times of the day. If this is the case, you need to stick to that schedule or slowly transition your body to a different, more doable schedule over time. If you try to change things suddenly, you’re going to run into problems from day one and will probably not be able to get enough milk when you pump. If you’re going back to work soon, try to get started working on this schedule before you have to go back. This way, you won’t confuse your body when you suddenly need to start pumping on your lunch break.

3. Store breastmilk safely: 

You can keep breastmilk at room temperature for up to 6 hours or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you store it in the fridge, make sure you keep it away from uncooked or undercooked food like raw eggs or fish. You can also freeze it for up to two weeks. No matter which way you choose to store your milk, make sure you keep it in a sterilized container such as a plastic bottle or breastmilk bag. You can keep it in glass bottles at room temperature or in the fridge, but don’t keep glass bottles in the freezer or you may risk them cracking or fracturing.

4. Encourage milk flow: 

Did youknow that you can encourage milk flow just by thinking about your baby? Pictures of your baby, sounds of your baby’s voice crying or cooing, or checking in on your baby with a webcam while you’re not around can all help encourage your milk flow to pick up when you need to pump. Some women have also reported seeing results when eating a lot of oatmeal, but there aren’t any scientific studies to back up this word-of-mouth recommendation as of yet.

help encourage your milk flow

5. Relax while you pump: 

Make sure you’re very relaxed while you’re working on pumping. If you’re tense from a busy morning at work or nervous from watching something scary on TV, you’re probably going to notice less beneficial results. Stay relaxed and give yourself enough time to finish pumping before you need to get back to work or whatever else you may be doing at the time.

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For the most part, there’s no reason not to pump while you’re breastfeeding. In fact, in certain situations, you may find that it actually helps with your milk production or with other issues you may be experiencing during your breastfeeding time. Just remember that it’s always important to speak to your child’s pediatrician as well as to your own doctor before making this type of decision. Understanding all the possible risks and benefits is a crucial step toward making the right decision about anything you may change in your child’s diet or lifestyle.