Are you working on developing a plan for after your baby is born? Many women are unaware of the option of exclusive pumping. It’s important to educate yourself on all of the options to nourish your baby.
Finding the best option to feed your baby is completely up to you. We want to offer you some realistic pumping schedules if you choose to pump exclusively. We also want to remind you that these are all general guidelines and to remember that your breastfeeding journey is completely unique.
Deciding on Exclusive Pumping
As a mom, you might choose to pump exclusively for many reasons.
- Your newborn is preterm and possibly still in the hospital
- Unable to get baby to latch properly
- You have twins or multiples
- You are experiencing breastfeeding issues such as pain, high stress, or other difficulties
- Your career requires you to be away from your baby for extended time periods
It doesn’t matter why you choose exclusive pumping for your breastfeeding journey. Once your decision has been made, it becomes about how to set you and your baby up for success.
One great way to pump exclusively is to find yourself a great in-bra pump to go with your standard double electric pump. This allows you to move around while pumping and keeps your hands free since exclusive pumping requires more time.
If you are experiencing any issues, such as pain or difficulty with baby latching, it is important to reach out to a Certified IBCLC. They can help you in your breastfeeding journey, no matter what turns and treks it might take.
Realistic Pumping Schedules Based on Baby’s Age
Your baby’s needs will change depending on its age. When they are newborns, you will need to pump more often. Most women can express about 2 ounces of milk with each pumping session and will need to pump every 2-3 hours when first establishing their milk supply.
Our friends over at Willow have some great sample schedules based on your baby's age. It’s important to keep in mind that you might not fall exactly into one of these schedules. Find what works best for you and your baby.
On your pumping journey, you will find that the amount of time you spend during each pumping session will be around 15-20 minutes. This will also vary depending on what type of breast pump you are using.
It’s also important to remember that these are all ranges and samples. You can assess your specific situation by observing your baby, their diaper output, and weight gain to ensure they are getting enough milk and that you are able to maintain your milk supply.
Importance of Sticking to a Schedule
Once you establish an exclusive pumping schedule, it is important to stick with it as close as you can. While having a newborn and developing baby can often bring a lot of chaos, sticking to a schedule will help your breast milk supply stay consistent. It can also help prevent unwanted leaks and other uncomfortable situations like clogged milk ducts.
Instead of trying to follow someone else’s schedule down to the minute, consider the factors in your life that need to be met in order for your schedule to stay consistent.
- Where are you in your postpartum journey?
- How is your body handling the changes?
- How much milk are you able to pump during each session?
- What are your pumping goals? Will you be doing any supplementing with formula?
- How much time will you have for each pumping session?
Set yourself up for success with your pumping schedule by looking at all of these factors and any others that might play a part in your breastfeeding journey.
If you are looking for some more tips on breastfeeding and your options, we encourage you to take a look at our Ultimate Pumping Guide. We love seeing moms and babies succeed in their journeys and take advantage of the liquid gold in breast milk.