Your Guide to Pumping & Storing While Breastfeeding | Baptist Health (2023)

At Baptist Health, we know that breastfeeding offers many benefits for both you and your baby. We also recognize that there is a learning curve for both mom and baby when it comes to breastfeeding, and want to ensure you have all of the information you need to make breastfeeding as easy as possible.

In most cases, you will begin breastfeeding immediately after birth. Physicians recommend that mothers who are able to breastfeed should continue with six months of exclusive breastfeeding, then gradually introduce solid foods through 12 months, and wean whenever mom and baby are ready after 12 months.

Why Pump Breast Milk?

If you’re breastfeeding, we understand that you can’t always be there to feed your baby twenty-four hours a day. Whether you decide to pump because you’re returning to work or because it is a better fit for your lifestyle, Baptist Health has advice and resources to help you.

(Video) OBGYN + Breastfeeding Mom Shares Guidelines for Breastmilk Storage and Use

Moms can choose to pump for several reasons, including:

  • Having milk available when away from the baby. Through pumping, husbands, partners, family, friends and other caregivers can feed the baby. This can be very helpful when mom is working or not available
  • Baby is experiencing difficulty latching or feeding from the breast
  • To give breast milk without feeding from the breast. Some moms choose to exclusively pump to provide their baby with their breast milk

Returning to Work

We recommend that women who plan to breastfeed take as much leave from work as possible. If you’re planning to pump because you’re returning to work, we recommend that you begin pumping a few weeks in advance to create a freezer stash of milk to be used when you return to work. Once returning to work, a gradual return, possibly part-time, for a few weeks will give you more time to adjust.

It’s important to find private areas at your workplace where you feel comfortable and can safely pump milk. Moms who return to work full time will need to pump 2-3 times during their workday to maintain a full milk supply.

How to Choose a Breast Pump

To help stimulate milk production, it is important to use a hospital-grade, double-electric pump and empty both breasts at the same time. Our lactation consultants recommend the Medela Symphony or Medela Pump In Style Advanced breast pumps. If you have a battery-operated or manual breast pump, these can be used after you have reached a full milk supply.

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A rental program is available for your needs through Baptist Health Expressly For You. You can also fill out our convenient form to order a Medela breast pump that may be covered by your insurance. We recommend first checking with your insurance provider to ensure that they will cover the cost of your breast pump. They may also provide you with a pump.

When You First Start to Pump

In the beginning, you may not be able to pump a lot of milk. As you begin to pump regularly, the amount that you pump will increase because milk supply is driven by frequent, effective removal of milk. The more you pump, the more milk your breasts will produce. It is also important to stay hydrated.

A pumping session will take 15-20 minutes ideally pumping both breasts at the same time. Full milk production is about 25-35 oz. per 24 hours.

Tips for Pumping Breast Milk:

  • Pump in the morning. The majority of new mothers get the most milk early in the day
  • Plan to pump at least 8-10 times in a 24-hour period (if exclusively pumping)
  • You can pump in-between, or immediately after, breastfeeding
  • Make sure the pump flanges are the right size. You can get fitted by appointment at Baptist Health Expressly For You

How Long Should I Pump?

In the beginning, when you are producing small amounts at each pump session, the session lasts for 10-15 minutes. Later, after your milk has “come in” abundantly, you should continue pumping past when the milk stops to flow for one to two minutes. The last droplets of milk contain the highest levels of fat, which provides the greatest calories.

(Video) MY BREASTFEEDING AND PUMPING SCHEDULE + tips and tricks to increase your milk supply

Also, by emptying the breast more completely, the body will receive an important message to make more milk for the next pump session. If the breasts do not get emptied completely or often enough, the body begins to produce less milk.

Some mothers say the milk never stops flowing while they pump. Typically, you should not pump longer than 30 minutes, even if the milk is still flowing.

What Amount of Milk Should I Expect?

It is a common concern of mothers to wonder if they are producing “enough” milk. There are many factors that can affect the amount of milk produced, particularly in the first few days after delivery.

A slower onset of milk production does not mean that a mother will not make enough milk for her baby. The target is to be pumping 750-1,000 ml of milk each day by the end of two weeks. This is generally the amount your baby will need each day following discharge from the hospital.

(Video) Pumping and Returning to Work

How Should I Store My Milk?

Beginning with your hospital stay for delivery, you will pump milk either into bottles or bags provided by Baptist Health. It is important to label your milk with your baby’s name, date and time it was pumped. You can store all the milk from a single pump session into one container but do not add new milk to a previous collection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer clear guidelines on milk storage for optimum safety, including storage location and temperature depending upon whether the milk is fresh, thawed from freezing, or leftover.

At Baptist Health, we want to provide you with all the resources you need to ensure that you feel ready to breastfeed. Baptist Health Expressly For You is a Medela Certified Nursing Center staffed by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) and Registered Nurses, and is our number one recommendation for breastfeeding advice and products needed to achieve successful breastfeeding.


How do you pump and stash while breastfeeding? ›

Stick to a schedule
  1. Exclusively pumping. Pump for 10-15 minutes at 2-3 hour intervals.
  2. Pumping for work/nursing at home. Pump three times daily AFTER you've nursed your baby. Once back at work, pumping at 2-3 hour intervals. Nurse on demand at home.
  3. Increasing your supply. Pump once a day AFTER you've nursed your baby.

How much breastmilk should I pump and store? ›

Plan to pump 8-10 times in a 24 hour period. Full milk production is typically 25-35 oz. (750-1,035 mL) per 24 hours. Once you have reached full milk production, maintain a schedule that continues producing about 25-35oz of breastmilk in a 24 hour period.

Should breast milk be stored immediately after pumping? ›

Freshly expressed breast milk can be kept at room temperature for up to six hours. However, it's optimal to use or properly store the breast milk within four hours, especially if the room is warm. Insulated cooler. Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in an insulated cooler with ice packs for up to one day.

When should I start storing and pumping? ›

When should you start pumping for storage? Once you get in the nursing groove and your supply regulates—typically about six to 12 weeks after giving birth—it's a great time to dive into the world of pumping.

How many times a day should I pump while breastfeeding? ›

Tips for Pumping Breast Milk:

The majority of new mothers get the most milk early in the day. Plan to pump at least 8-10 times in a 24-hour period (if exclusively pumping) You can pump in-between, or immediately after, breastfeeding. Make sure the pump flanges are the right size.

How do you combine breastfeed and pump without creating oversupply? ›

If you baby nurses on both sides, then you nurse normally on breast #1, then latch baby breast #2 and attach the silicone pump to breast #1 to catch any leftover milk. If you only nurse on one side per feeding simply attach the silicone pump to the second breast for the feeding.

Is only pumping 1 oz every 3 hours exclusively pumping? ›

pumping 1 oz. every 3 hours is an absolutely NORMAL amount to pump for exclusively breastfeeding moms. The normal amount is anywhere between .

Who is the super producer breast milk? ›

Elisabeth Anderson Sierra is an Oregon-based mother also known as "the milk goddess". She has hyperlactation syndrome. Due to this syndrome she produces around 6.65 L (225 US fl oz; 1.76 US gal), of breast milk a day which is almost 8 to 10 times the average mother.

How many ounces of breastmilk in 20 minutes? ›

In an average fifteen to twenty minute breast milk pumping session, most moms express between . 5 ounces and four ounces of breast milk total. Some moms called “superproducers” are able to express four to eight ounces of breast milk per pumping session, but that is definitely not standard.

Can babies drink cold breast milk? ›

Yes, it's safe to feed your baby cold milk. In fact, frozen breast milk can be used as a form of pain relief for teething babies!

Can I put breast milk back in fridge after baby drinks from it? ›

The same goes for breast milk. If after feeding your baby, you're left with half or a quarter of a bottle, put it in the fridge and offer it again at the next feeding, but that's it.

How do I store my breast milk after I pump? ›

If you're not going to use refrigerated breastmilk within 4 days of pumping, freeze it right after pumping. Use cooler packs. You can put breastmilk in a cooler or insulated cooler pack with frozen ice packs for up to 24 hours after pumping. After 24 hours in a cooler the breastmilk should be refrigerated or frozen.

When should I start building my milk stash? ›

Tips to Create Your Stockpile

If you start pumping during this period, you may end up with oversupply. Wait 3-4 weeks if you can. If you must return to work within 3-4 weeks, start pumping sooner. If you know you'll eventually be returning to work, start pumping then to build up your freezer stash.

Does pumped milk have antibodies? ›

Breast milk contains antibodies that can fight infection. Those antibodies are present in high amounts in colostrum, the first milk that comes out of the breasts after birth. However, there are antibodies in breastmilk the entire time a mother continues to nurse.

What is considered an oversupply of breast milk? ›

An oversupply of breast milk generally refers to a mother who is able to nurse her infant, or multiples, and is still able to produce a significant amount of breast milk (more than 4-5 oz) in a pump session after a feeding.

Is pumping every 1 hour too much? ›

Generally, moms should be pumping every 3 hours. Pumping more often can help stimulate breasts to produce more milk. Moms can try pumping both breasts for 15 minutes every two hours for 48-72 hours. Then moms can return to their normal pumping routine. Pumping for longer than 30 minutes may not be beneficial.

Is pumping every 2 hours too much? ›

Ideally, you would pump as often as your baby would nurse. This may not be possible with your work/ school schedule. Most mothers find that pumping every 2-3 hours maintains their milk supply and does not cause them to become uncomfortably full.

How many calories do you burn pumping? ›

Pumping milk burns the same amount of calories that nursing burns. Pumping milk burns anywhere from 200 to 600 calories per day. This will also vary from mother to mother, pumping session to pumping session, and the number of pumping sessions per day.

How long can I go without pumping at night? ›

Avoid going longer than 5-6 hours without pumping during the first few months. When pumping during the night, milk yield tends to be better if you pump when you naturally wake (to go to the bathroom or because your breasts are uncomfortably full) than if you set an alarm to wake for pumping.

When can I stop pumping every 3 hours? ›

You can stop pumping every three hours when your baby is around 3 months old. As they grow, they will take more at each feeding, but go longer between feedings. As long as your milk supply is plentiful, you may be able to go longer between pumping sessions, as well.

Should I pump every time I breastfeed? ›

If your baby has only fed from one breast and you are comfortable at the end of a feeding, you don't need to pump. But if either breast is still full and uncomfortable, pump or hand express to comfort.

What is the 120 minute pumping rule? ›

The 120 minute rule is that, generally speaking, when you are exclusively pumping, you want to spend at least 120 minutes (2 hours) per day pumping. How many sessions you would spread that 120 minutes across depends on how old your baby is. With a newborn baby, you might want to do eight 15 minute sessions.

How many ounces of breastmilk should I be pumping every 3 hours? ›

every 3 hours is an absolutely NORMAL amount to pump for exclusively breastfeeding moms. It's actually on the absolute HIGH end of the spectrum of normal! The normal amount is anywhere between . 5 to 2 ounces (for both breasts) per pumping session.

How many ounces of breastmilk should come out when I pump? ›

It is typical for a mother who is breastfeeding full-time to be able to pump around 1/2 to 2 ounces total (for both breasts) per pumping session.

When should I use breast milk stash? ›

Stash three to four days worth of milk before your start date. You don't need more than this because you'll continue to build your breast milk stash at work. As Kaznelson explains, the fresher the milk, the more preferable it is. That's because breast milk is filled with disease-fighting antibodies.

Can you pump and dump while breastfeeding? ›

However, if your breasts become uncomfortable before that time is up or you want to maintain your expression schedule, you can pump and dump to avoid feeding that milk to your baby.

How quickly can a baby drain a breast? ›

It may only take your baby about 5 to 10 minutes to empty each breast and get all the milk they need; however, this is different for everyone.

Does a baby get more milk than a pump? ›

It's important to remember that your baby is much more effective at getting milk from your breasts than a pump will ever be. A healthy, thriving baby will get more milk than you a capable of pumping.

Why is my breast full but no milk when pumping? ›

If your breasts feel like they're full but you're not able to get the milk flowing out when you pump, it could be that you're not achieving let down. The let down reflex releases your milk from the milk ducts. This only occurs when you're either breastfeeding or pumping.

What is rule of 4 breast milk? ›

If all of this information (see chart below) is hard for you to remember on the fly, think “rule of fours”: For freshly pumped breast milk, you can safely give it to baby for up to four hours at room temperature and up to four days in the refrigerator.

What are the rules for storing breast milk? ›

Freshly expressed or pumped milk can be stored:
  • At room temperature (77°F or colder) for up to 4 hours.
  • In the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • In the freezer for about 6 months is best; up to 12 months is acceptable.

How do you start pumping to build a stash? ›

Start ahead of time.

I've found the best way to build a stash of breast milk without causing your body to permanently over-produce is to create a pumping schedule and accumulate the stored milk gradually over several weeks. Pumping just a few ounces extra a day over a few weeks is enough to build your stored milk.

What is the 555 rule postpartum? ›

In our childbirth education classes at Blooma we encourage students to abide by the 5-5-5 rule the best they can. New mothers should plan to spend at least 5 days in the bed, 5 days on the bed, and 5 days near the bed. Do you remember birthing your placenta? There is a wound that size that needs to heal.

Is waiting to breastfeed the same as pumping and dumping? ›

Is pumping and dumping after you've been drinking always necessary before breastfeeding your baby? No. If you have one alcoholic drink and wait two hours to feed your baby, you don't need to pump and dump. And if engorgement and milk supply are not an issue, you can just wait for the liquor to metabolize naturally.

Can I breastfeed after 2 glasses of wine? ›

Not drinking alcohol is the safest option for breastfeeding mothers. Generally, moderate alcohol consumption by a breastfeeding mother (up to 1 standard drink per day) is not known to be harmful to the infant, especially if the mother waits at least 2 hours after a single drink before nursing.


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