Breastfeeding- When To Pump?

Breastfeeding Post #2

Breastfeeding Post #1 can be found here.

One of my friends asked me the other day when is the best time to pump? This was and still can be one of the most confusing parts of breastfeeding to me. In the very early days right after my milk came in I was super lucky and had tons of milk. I could pump after a feeding and still manage to get about 2 or 3 oz. I know that is almost unheard of. I managed to get a small stock pile in the freezer, but I would use it pretty regularly too. Stupid me, I thought I would have that kind of supply forever.

Noah with his Tommee Tippee Bottle

Unfortunately I was not consistent with the pumping and my supply dropped just to meet Noah’s demand. Now if I pump after a feeding I get a few drops maybe 1/2 an ounce if I’m lucky. So, what I have to do now is pump in the morning after Noah’s first feeding. Generally speaking, your supply is greatest in the morning, especially if your baby is sleeping through the night. Since Noah is now on a 4 hour morning schedule, I am able to take advantage of this extra time between feedings.  First, I make sure to pump immediately after feeding him to make sure that both sides are completely drained. Apparently they will produce more milk faster if they are drained. Then I wait about an hour and a half, which is generally when he goes down for his morning nap, and then I pump again. I can usually get about 2 ounces. This way I have 2 1/2 hours until his next feeding, which is plenty of time to produce more milk.

I try to be consistent with this, but life can get pretty crazy sometimes. If he has a rough night I end up napping in the morning and missing my pumping time. Also, if I happen to have a meeting in the morning then I also miss the opportunity. But, I’m slowly working on a stock pile again in the freezer, and now I am super protective of the frozen milk. That stuff only gets used if absolutely necessary!!

I have just started, this week, a new routine to try and help build my stock pile a little more. I can tell that my breastfeeding days are drawing to a close soon. My initial goal was to feed him for 6 months, but I would rather he continue to get breast milk for longer. I think I will probably switch to pumping more often instead of nursing all the time. So now I make sure that I pump every three hours. Sometimes he eats every three hours and sometimes he may go up to four and a half hours between feedings. If his feeding falls at the same time that I will be pumping then I nurse him, if not then he gets a bottle. This way I am trying to add an extra pumping session back  into my day to help my stockpile out. Also, I generally pump about an ounce more than he would normally eat, so I can store that too! It seems to be working out pretty well. Hopefully between the frozen milk and me pumping more we will be able to make it to our new goal of 9 months before we start him on formula.

Wish us luck!

-Tracy and Noah 🙂