As a new mom it’s hard to know just when is the right time to pump. If you are exclusively breastfeeding they’re really isn’t a reason to pump. That’s what everyone has told me, but I’ve noticed that this isn’t true. If I never pumped I would never be able to be away for my son for more than an hour or two. He nurses too often. That is why I figured out a good schedule to pump do that I have a small supply of milk in the freezer for my son.
Why would you want a frozen supply?
Having a frozen supply is great in case you get ill and your supply dips for a few days. I got sick the first month off my son’s life and my milk supply dropped drastically got a couple of days because I was unable to eat or drink anything for a day. I wish that I had a stash so that I didn’t have to introduce formula, but that wasn’t the case.
I kept my son fed by giving him a couple of formula bottles when I was unable to produce enough milk. After this incident I began pumping once to twice a day.
When should I pump?
Deciding when to pump can vary for many people. If your child only eats off one side at a time then you might want to consider pumping the opposite side while your child feeds. My son eats off both sides so I don’t use this method. Instead I make sure I stay awake for a few hours after Raiden has gone to sleep and I pump then. The second time I pump is in the morning before he wakes.
If I pump twice like this I can usually get a good two to three bottles worth of milk labeled and frozen a day. If you only plan to be away from your child once a week for most of the day this supply should be more than enough, but if you plan to be away more you will need a different pumping schedule.
Are you exclusively breastfeeding and pump like me?
If you are exclusively breastfeeding and pump as well then I feel your pain. Choosing to pump when it isn’t a necessity is just as difficult as pumping exclusively because you need to create a schedule and not miss a beat. I personally have found it difficult because I am often home alone with a clingy baby and pumping just isn’t always a reality. I struggle with finding the perfect times to pump. In this last year I have learned that the best times to pump are during naps and sleep time. When he was small I was only able to pump twice through the night while he slept.
I could only pump during his night-time sleep because it was the only time that he slept for longer than 30 minutes. When my son was young (0-3 months) he ate every hour-hour and half during the day. This made pumping impossible because it felt like he was always on the boob. The benefit to this was the fact that he very quickly began sleeping for 3-4 hours at night. This gave me the opportunity to pump once or twice while he slept. Even as he has gotten bigger I still only pump during the night hours because that is when I am the fullest and rather uncomfortable.
Why would you pump while exclusively breastfeeding?
If you a first time mom who is wondering why I would pump when I am a stay at home mom and I nurse on demand then let me tell you a little something I learned very early. Your milk supply will fluctuate during your breastfeeding journey. When Raiden was 5 weeks old I got sick with the flu and was unable to keep any food or drink down for over 24 hours which caused my milk supply to become nearly non-existent. I cried so hard that day because I did not have any pumped milk for my son. I had to give him formula and that was not something I was quite ready for because it was not in my plan. I was thankful to have a very supportive family who provided us with samples of formula to fill my son’s belly.
Everyone knows that “fed is best”, but if you want to try to only give your child breast milk then I recommend you pump when you can because you never know if something will cause your milk supply to dip for any amount of time. Pumped milk in the freezer is also great if you want to get out for a date night with your partner.
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