There are so many ways and opinions when is best to pump, how much, how frequently, it all can be confusing.
Really, when pumping, what ever makes you feel less stress and anxious then do. If you become anxious or stressed about it, your milk production tends to decrease, so not worth pumping if you are stressed about it. What ever way creates a more relaxing situation to pump, then do so.
Here are some questions I get all the time about pumping:
It is always best to pump an hour after the 1st morning feed. If 1st morning feed is at 7am, best to pump at about 8am/815am, once baby is down for 1st nap. You don’t ever want to pump too close to the next feed, otherwise you won’t have enough milk for next feed. Another good time to pump is right after the bedtime feed (say bedtime feed is 7pm) and you put your little one to bed, you can go pump for extra supply right after.
I want to do one bottle a day, so when I go back to work, my baby is used to bottles OR I want the freedom for grandma or babysitter to come over during the day, so I can have a break, do work, or go on a date with my husband, when is best time to pump for this?
Best time to pump is after the 1st morning feed. Say first morning feed is at 7am, once baby is down for nap around 8am, pump right after 8am (810/815am) and store milk away. Or if going on a date with your husband or out for the night, and someone else is giving the bottle, pump at 615/630 and give that milk to the person giving the bottle at 7pm. Or can always nurse early at 615/630 pm and put to bed, and when you come home, pump before you go to bed for storage. Another good time to pump if you haven’t found a time to pump is right before you go to bed, pump and store. What ever time you choose to pump, to keep up storage, stick consistently to that pump time, so your body learns to produce more consistently. Say you choose after the morning feed, every morning, pump at 815am, otherwise, your body will be confused when sometimes you pump and sometimes you don’t. Unless its for a random night out, then you are just pumping for that particular feed.
I am leaving my baby for the first time and am worried about my milk production going down, what should I do?
At the same times you normally feed your baby during the day and night, pump at those same times when you are away and your milk production will be fine, because your body will be used to those feed times.
My milk seems low at night while breastfeeding and he is taking over an hour to feed at bedtime, what should I do?
Newborns tend to nurse for 30-45 min on average, sometimes more towards the 50-60 min mark. If a baby is sucking way over the 60 min mark, then the baby is sucking just to suck and pull the baby off. What you can do, is pump an hour after the first morning feed (where milk production is greatest in the am) and save that milk. After the bedtime feed, you can offer a bottle of 1-2 oz and see if baby takes it. If baby takes the bottle after nursing for 45-60 min, then milk production may be low at the end of the day, and ok to top off to get a full feed. And start to pump after bedtime feed to increase milk production at the end of the day.
I want my spouse to participate in feeds, when is best time for my spouse to give a bottle to my baby?
I always encourage spouse’s helping with a bottle, if it works out. This way, the baby gets used to someone else then mom feeding them. I tell my clients have your spouse do the bedtime feed (say 7pm) or the dreamfeed (10 or 11pm feed) in a bottle. That way, you can get dinner going if its the 7pm feed, or if you choose the 10 or 11pm feed to be a bottle, mom can go to bed around 8 or 9pm and get a chuck of sleep, and then have your spouse to the 10 or 11pm feed, so mom could get a good few hour stretch of solid sleep. If this is something you choose to be part of your daily feeds, pump in the am consistently for this feed, or pump before you go to bed for the night consistently so there is storage for this feed.