Pumping can be a very important tool during your breastfeeding journey and I am often asked when is the best time to pump. Generally the advice is to avoid using other methods of feeding (particularly the bottle) for the first 4 weeks until breastfeeding is established. This is to avoid nipple confusion.
But, what happens when there is a concern with breastfeeding or milk supply?
In cases like this, the benefit of pumping and giving expressed breastmilk far out weighs the risk. For example, there could be multiple reasons why pumping could benefit you and your baby including:
⭐️Your baby is in Special Care
⭐️Your milk supply which was once established has fallen
⭐️Your baby has caused significant nipple damage and there is tissue trauma.
⭐️Your baby has tongue tie and is unable to empty the breast thus compromising the milk supply.
⭐️You want to give a bottle of expressed milk at your convenience.
⭐️Your baby has lost more than 10% of their birth weight by day 5 and therefore you have been advised to top up.
With each of these reasons for expressing the plans of how and/or when to express can differ. Therefore I will simply explain the most important points for pumping.
If your baby is breastfeeding always allow them to breastfeed first before pumping and avoid pumping too close to your baby’s next breastfeed as this may compromise their next feed. Pump during the night at least once to avoid engorgement and a reduction in milk production.
If you are not breastfeeding, pump at least 8-10x per day to help maintain your milk supply. Pump for at least 10-15 after breastfeeding mins if using a double pump and increasing milk supply. Avoid going at least 5-6 hours without breastfeeding or pumping.
I hope this helps, for more tailored advice to your breastfeeding needs why not reach out to me on Instagram Feeding Rosebuds.
-Asahela Rose IBCLC