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When Should I Start Pumping?

Those first few weeks of parenthood are hectic, to say the least. So do you really need to add pumping to your to-do list? We asked our friends at Tinyhood about when and how to start pumping (after all, they do offer the top-rated & FREE online course Breastfeeding 101: From Prenatal Prep to Pumping). They said the answer varies from mom to mom, but you will know what is the right answer for you if you answer this simple question:

Is baby nursing early, often & well? 

Meaning, are they latching properly, eating every 2-3 hours & producing the recommended number of wet and dirty diapers per day?

If the answer is yes…

Feel free to ignore your pump for the first few weeks and focus on establishing your breastfeeding routine, practicing latching, and experimenting with different nursing positions. 

Around the 2-3 week mark, you can start to pump to build a freezer stash and introduce your baby to the bottle. At this point, 1-2 sessions a day is all you need, and many moms find the most success when they pump immediately after the first nursing session of the day. This “bonus milk” can be kept in the fridge or freezer and used later. Just remember that if your baby does take a bottle at any point, you should pump in place of that nursing session to maintain supply.

If the answer is no…

You will want to start pumping right away to help jumpstart milk production. If your baby is struggling to latch and especially if you and baby are separated for any reason right after birth, you will want to pump as soon as possible. Pump every three hours for 15 - 20 minutes, and follow each session with some hand expression. This is going to help your milk come in until you and baby are in a regular nursing routine.

Quick note from us: We recommend finding and ordering your pump through Pumping Essentials beforehand, so you’ll be ready for anything. Whether you are nursing or pumping or both, we highly recommend finding bras that help take the weight off of your shoulders (literally). Our sister-company, Simple Wishes, is the best around. You can shop their collection here.

Breastfeeding isn’t always easy, particularly in the beginning when everything is so new. Tinyhood’s Breastfeeding 101: From Prenatal Prep to Pumping can help. This 100% FREE course takes you step-by-step through the first 30 days of life, covering how to get a good latch, how to know if your baby is getting enough milk, how to troubleshoot some common challenges and, of course, how to effectively pump and store breastmilk.