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HomeArticlesBreastfeeding, Pumping, & Weaning

Breastfeeding, Pumping, & Weaning

Everything you need to know to help you have a smooth feeding journey

Congratulations! Your baby is here and you would like to start pumping! Here are some tips and things to know ahead of time to get your pumping journey off to a great start:

When to Pump:

Exclusively Pumping. If you are exclusively pumping, it is important to establish a good milk supply, so pumping round the clock every two to three hours is vital! Science tells us that frequently emptying the breasts, along with frequent skin-to-skin contact with your new baby, are the keys to a great supply.

Breastfeeding and Returning to Work. If you are exclusively breastfeeding but want to start pumping to prepare to go back to work, the best time to pump is in the early morning hours when your milk-making hormones are highest. Pump once a day for a few weeks before you return to work.

Paced Bottle Feeding is another important factor in balancing the breastfeeding and working relationship! Making sure your care provider is practicing Paced Bottle Feeding can be so important in protecting the breastfeeding relationship.

Did you know there are laws to protect you in your breastfeeding and pumping journey?
Breastfeeding and Pumping Laws:
  • Legally you can breastfeed or pump in any public place.
  • Breastfeeding employees are entitled to reasonable break times and a clean, private space (that is not a bathroom) to pump in.

Breast Milk Intake:

On average, babies take in 24-30 ounces of breast milk in a 24-hour period. An important thing to remember is that you only need 1-1.5 ounces of breast milk for every hour you are apart. An 8-hour workday should only need 8-12 ounces of milk! Save or freeze milk in 2-4 ounce increments to help prevent waste.

Pumping Tips:

Prep your body by doing some gentle lymphatic massage and compressions before you pump to wake up your hormones.

  • Put on some relaxing music or watch old videos or photos of your baby
  • Continue with some gentle massage or compressions as you are pumping to help maximize milk output
  • Pump 2-5 minutes past the last drops of milk
  • Change your pump parts regularly to optimize pumping

Weaning:

Weaning is a very personal decision. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends providing breast milk for the first two years of baby’s life. However, breastfeeding is a relationship between you and your baby, and only you two will know when it is time to stop. If feeding is going well and you are both enjoying it, then there is no reason to stop.

Many moms find after a year they no longer want to or need to pump at work. So how do you wean from pumping?

  • Gradually weaning is the key to prevent mastitis and clogs.
  • Cut back on your pumping times a little at a time. Instead of a 20-minute pump, cut back to 15 minutes for a week, etc.
  • Or you can cut out one pumping session, see how your body responds, and then slowly remove the rest.
  • Gradually your body will adjust and get used to not needing to make milk during those times.
  • If you’d like, you can continue to either breastfeed baby when you are together, or pump at home to continue the relationship longer without pumping at work.

Taking a prenatal breastfeeding class while pregnant can be really helpful in what to expect, what milk production looks like, and coming up with a good plan for pumping and going back to work!

Moonlight Milkies LLC offers virtual classes to meet all of those needs, as well as flange fittings and help with common breastfeeding concerns after the baby has arrived via in-home visits or virtual consults. Visit moonlightmilkies.com for more information.

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