How to Get Started Pumping Breast Milk

Whether you're pumping breast milk because you're headed back to work or want to add bottles into the mix, your breast pump will be your new best friend.

Learn all the tips and techniques you'll need to master breast pumping. We'll tell you what kind of pump you should get, when and how long you should pump, and how to store the breast milk.

Alexandra Grablewski

1. Shop Around

Check to see if your health-insurance plan will cover the cost of buying or renting a pump. If you'll be pumping daily, go for a double electric model, which will better stimulate the breasts and allow you to get the job done faster.

Alexandra Grablewski

2. Time It Right

Since your body tends to make the most milk in the morning, try to pump after that first feeding when you're likely to have some left over. Any time Baby does not fully empty both breasts, you can also pump the breast that still has milk.

Alexandra Grablewski

3. Get Pumping

Attach the breast shields to the bottles, then fit the shields to your breasts. Turn on the pump and gradually turn up the vacuum's power so that your breasts are stimulated enough to let down (release milk) without causing you pain.

Alexandra Grablewski

4. Finish Strong

Pump for a minute after the flow stops so your breasts are drained. Turn the pump off and use a clean finger to press on your breast above the rim to break the suction. Then roll the rim down so the top of the shield lifts off your breast first.

Alexandra Grablewski

5. Keep It Fresh

Breast milk will keep for about four hours at room temperature, five days in the refrigerator, and six months in the freezer. (Date it!) Once you thaw frozen breast milk, you'll need to keep it in the refrigerator and use it within 24 hours.

Office Memo

  • Schedule pump breaks every two to three hours during your work day, and block out 15 to 20 minutes for each session. When your baby gets older, you can drop a session.
  • Your supply may dip those first days at work. Nurse more at night and on weekends. The more milk you move, the more you'll make!
  • Take your phone to the lactation room. Use it to get the milk flowing by scrolling through fave newborn photos or watching videos of Baby cooing.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

American Baby

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