Extreme Pumping – Confessions of an Exclusive Pumper

The BEST article on how to pump for your baby written by a gal who pumped exclusively for her baby for 14 months!! This was really helpful and funny to read.My son, the Happy Baby, was born full-term, via C-section in April of 2012.

He was in respiratory distress and required oxygen support immediately.

One of his main health issues is a condition called hypotonia.  Hypotonia is a muscle weakness that effected everything from his breathing to his ability to suck.  His suck was particularly weak and uncoordinated and feeding became a big issue.  He even ended up needing a feeding tube for several months (you can read more about him and our journey HERE).

Because of that (and after several unsuccessful and emotional attempts to nurse), I decided to pump for my boy.

And I ended up pumping exclusively for him for 14 months!

You can read more about why I chose to do that HERE (as well as see some pretty funny photos of my family and me having a funeral for my pump once I finally stopped).

I got pretty good at pumping after all that time and thought I would share some things I learned along the way in case you ever find yourself hooked to a Medela!

Diet/Lifestyle

  • If you’re going to nurse or pump, you’ve got to drink a TON of water to keep up your supply.  Buy cute straws – it makes drinking water a lot more fun.  I kept a glass of water next to my pumping chair at all times.
  • Eat a healthy diet.  Take advantage of all that awesome food people are bringing you and your newborn.  Do not worry your pretty little head off about losing baby weight.  God made it so that your body burns a ton of calories when it is busy producing milk all day.  But you need to balance that burn with enough calories in your diet so that your body doesn’t start eating away at your own reserves – eek!
  • Eat oatmeal.  If my supply ever dipped, I went to Starbucks and got myself a cup of their Perfect Oatmeal – it is perfectly named, in my opinion. :-) Or, I simply made some of the old-fashioned kind (not instant) at home.  I also ate a lot of THIS KIND of granola.  I honestly don’t know the science behind this little bit, but it always seemed to help my supply get back on track.
  • SLEEP.  I know it’s hard to do this with a newborn in the house, but if you have an opportunity to sleep, do it.  Seriously, nobody cares if you haven’t vacuumed in 4 months.  You need your rest.  I read somewhere that your body actually needs at least 3-4 hours of sleep in order to produce milk.  And if you can’t get that much, ask your Happy Hubby to help.  And if you’re still struggling to find a few hours of shuteye, call a friend for help.  Your whole Happy Home’s sanity depends on it.
  • Stress effects your milk production.  This one is easier said than done.  I set up a nice, cozy chair in our living room as my pumping chair.  I tried to do most of my pumping there because it helped me to relax, but that was not always realistic, so on the times when I had to pump while at the dinner table (yes, I did that) trying to wrestle broccoli into my crazy 3-year-old, you can bet I didn’t produce as much milk.  But I produced awesome amounts if I sat with my computer open to Pinterest. :-)  Another good tip is to pump with a photo of your baby in front of you (or better yet – at crib side).  My precious mom framed a photo of the Happy Baby and brought it to me in the hospital the day after he was born.
  • Don’t wear tight-fitting bras, certain underwire bras, or super supportive sports bras.  I had this one tank top that was really fitted around the chest area.  It took me awhile, but one day I finally made the connection that whenever I wore that tank top, my milk supply went down.  The same thing happened if I spent an extended amount of time in a tight sports bra.  I really loved wearing THIS BRA at night.
  • Keep off your tummy!  If you thought just because your baby’s out of the way that you can go back to stomach sleeping – think again {so sorry!!!}.  This type of pressure on your breasts all night long can also effect/slow down milk production.
  • Check out THIS ARTICLE for other hidden hindrances to a healthy milk supply.

Pumping

  • If you are going to exclusively pump, you will need to buy an AWESOME pump.  They are expensive, but just think of the radical amounts of money you are saving in the long run by not having to buy formula (I have even heard of some health insurances that will actually cover a pump purchase, so check that out for sure!!!).  I have the sweetest, most generous friends who knew my pumping predicament and bought me THIS PUMP (1) while we were in the hospital.  I loved its size – perfect for on-the-go.  You can’t get away from the obnoxious woh-woh-woh-ing sound, but if you hide the mechanism under a pillow it helps.  My 3-year-old got pretty good at mimicking the sound and I would hear him doing it in his room at night while trying to fall asleep.  Ha!
  • After about 7 months of using that pump, the mechanism started to make funny sounds and occasionally would spontaneously shut off mid-pump session.  As soon as this started happening, I called Medela (you can get their info HERE) and they sent me shipping labels to send them my old pump and they overnighted me a new pump.  All free.  It was awesome.
  • If you want to establish a good supply, you will need to pump every 2-3 hours for the first 3 months – even through the night.  I know this sounds crazy, but it was a really important key to my success.  Plus, when you think about it, this is usually how a baby would be nursing during that time.  Once I got past the first 3 months, I was able to slack off a bit and let myself skip a pump or stretch some to 4 hours between pumps.  At night my routine eventually became pump at 9 pm, skip the midnight pump, then wake up at 3 am to pump.  I kept pumping at 3 am even after the Happy Baby was sleeping through the night because it is a really important pump.  Your body produces the most milk between the hours of 1-5 am, so try to pump in that window, if you can!  (I once fell asleep while pumping and woke up to a lap covered in milk.  Not kidding.)
  • The nurse I had in the hospital told me to pump for 30 minutes.  So that is what I did.  And it was LUDICROUS.  I literally spent 4 hours of my day pumping.  I later found out that 15-20 minutes is actually what is recommended/necessary for pumpers.  That is much more realistic with a busy mom’s schedule!
  • Pump for an extra 5 minutes after your milk stops flowing.  This will elicit a second let-down and tell your body to produce more milk.  Sometimes I would have 2 or even 3 let-downs in a pumping session.  At my peak, I was producing about 16+ oz of milk per session.  But once my supply evened out (after about 7 months) my average was about 7 oz per session (10-12 oz at 3 am since that was my longest stretch) – which was just what the Happy Baby needed.  If you are concerned about your milk supply, read THIS ARTICLE and if you want to understand what is normal when it comes to pumping output, please read THIS ARTICLE.  I also think that THIS ARTICLE has helpful tips for increasing your milk supply.
  • When you’re done, wait 1 minute after milk stops flowing so that it is good and empty.  You DO NOT want a clogged duct or mastitis – take it from me.  NOTE – If you’re reading this post and do happen to have the ‘m’ word (ouch, I am SO SORRY, sistah!), check out THIS ARTICLE.
  • Massage your tatas while pumping.  This really helped to stimulate let-down and milk production.  Sometimes even just shifting my position in my chair would help me produce more milk.  Squeeze those things like lemons, ladies!  Also, if I was really having a hard time getting another let-down, I would increase/decrease the suction setting for a few minutes to stimulate it before going back to the setting I was most comfortable with.  NOTE – Setting your pump to the highest suction does not always guarantee more milk (as one would think).  What it does guarantee, however, is a blood blister on your nipple.  I am not even kidding about that. #speakingfromexperience
  • You will get awesome at pumping in random places.  I pumped in public restrooms (ick), closets, on the floor while playing with my 3-year-old, in the car coming home from date nights, in the first aid station at Disney World, and I even got to be a pro at pumping while driving (you can buy one of those awesome hands-free pumping bras HERE to help with this.  I always got a giggle out of wondering what an officer might think if I ever got pulled over while I was hooked up to my pump.  I am also sure I made many a truckers’ day – or scarred them for life – when they drove past me).

pumping accessoriesCleaning/Storage

  • You will probably go a little nuts at the absurd amount of cleaning that happens for the exclusive pumper.  Just getting that out there now. :-)
  • If you can, invest in a few sets of pump parts so that you can alternate and not have to clean as often.
  • Here is a neat trick that another pumping friend shared with me that she was tipped from a gal in the La Leche League – place your pump parts in a Ziplock bag after rinsing with hot water and then put it in the fridge between pumps.  You only have to wash the parts once a day if you do this.
  • I had a system where I kept a big bowl by the sink that I filled with hot, soapy water and tossed my parts in it after pumping and rinsing them.  I also had a big bowl that I used for cleaning the bottles (I use Dr. Brown bottles).  NOTE – I noticed that if I used colored/scented dish soap, my pump parts started to smell like it (which I naturally assumed might alter the breast milk’s taste), so I began buying dish soap that was free and clear of fragrances/dyes.
  • You will want to buy a cute drying rack to help ease the pain of all the cleaning.  I used THIS ONE (2).  NOTE – Your pump parts need to be completely dry before you put them back together and use them again.  If they are still wet it messes with their performance.
  • You will also want to buy a cute bag for your pump whenever you need to go out with it (which will be always).  The cuter the better.  This will help you feel better about having to take it with you everywhere.  I had an adorable personalized bag from thirty-one (3) that worked great.
  • You will love these quick clean micro-steam bags from Medela HERE (4).  NOTE – If you are using the Medela Freestyle Pump, do NOT put the backs caps in these bags (these are the clear plastic parts that clip over the membranes to the breast shield bodies) as I found that it causes them to warp and disrupts good suction when connected to the pump.
  • You will also love these quick clean breast pump and accessory wipes found HERE (5).  I kept a thing of these in my traveling pump bag at all times.
  • DO NOT SHAKE BREAST MILK.  I read somewhere that it damages the breast milk’s composition.  If you are using a bottle of breast milk from the fridge where the fat has separated and is clinging to the side of the bottle, in order to remix the fat you will need to gently swirl the bottle around until the fat has come off.  I hope that makes sense!
  • Breast milk storage guidelines – go HERE.  For me, one of the most convenient things about breast milk is that it lasts for at least 4-6 hours at room temperature.  A nurse friend of mine said that she heard that it’s good up to 10 hours!!  I loved that I could pump, put the milk in a bottle and head out without having to put it on ice.  I also loved that I could pump at 9 pm and leave the bottle out until the Happy Baby woke up a few hours later and I didn’t have to spend time in the middle of the night trying to warm it up (the Happy Baby does NOT like cold bottles).  It was all ready!  NOTE – Even with these guidelines, I still took care to SMELL the breast milk if it had been sitting out for a few hours.  Breast milk does not have a smell, so if it didn’t smell like anything, I knew we were good to go.  You will know if it’s gone bad.  Trust me.
  • Call me crazy, but I never froze my breast milk.  I always tried to give the Happy Baby fresh, or something that I had pumped a day or two before and put in the fridge using one of these containers.  One major reason for this is because I literally cannot even remember to take meat out of the freezer in time to thaw and prepare.  I simply didn’t trust myself!  So if my milk ever went into the freezer, it never came back out.  This site and this site have some good storing and freezing tips.  **And this lady has some excellent advice on building up a breast milk freezer stash as well as a whole pumping series that I found INCREDIBLY helpful!**
  • I also created a whole Pinterest board for pumping information and articles HERE.
  • When you are ready to stop pumping, slowly start cutting back the amount of time you pump.  Then you can gradually start dropping pumps.  The first pump I dropped was that 3 am one.  Holy cow was I doing a happy dance when I got to sleep through the night for the first time in a year!  My body was so thankful it didn’t even make me get up to pee – practically a miracle!  Next to go are your mid-day pumps.  Your morning and night pumps will be the last to go.  I stopped pumping rather abruptly.  One night I just said, “That’s it!” and I put it away.  I was down to pumping twice a day before that point, so for the next 5 days I was walking around with the greatest breasts ever.  I was all like, “Move over, Dolly Parton.”  My girls finally started to settle after the 7th day of burying my pump.  And now I do not even know where my boobs went.

exclusive pumping tips and tricks at happyhomefairy.com

You will get in your own rhythm and groove if you stick with it!

If you have any questions for me, feel free to comment below.  Or if you want to toot your own horn about how much milk you are producing – join the convo! :-)  Also, if you simply want some encouragement to keep on pumping, I’d love to cheer you on!  But, as always, please make sure before you make a huge commitment like this that you consult God and your husband first (he needs to know and be okay with the fact that pumping is not exactly the sexiest thing in the world.  Although pumping in a negligee might help – ha!).  Make sure you are doing the right thing for your family.  And the second things start getting stressful and you want to throw your pump in a canal or you’re exhausted or you haven’t made dinner for your family in weeks or you find yourself saying no a lot to playing with your older children because you have to pump – re-evaluate.

In the end God’s not going to ask you how long you pumped (or even if you pumped) for your baby.

What matters is how you reflected His love and joy and peace and patience in your Happy Home. :-)

Happy Extreme Pump-ing!

*This is a GREAT post to PIN now and read later should you ever need it!  See the Pinterest button below*

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409 thoughts on “Extreme Pumping – Confessions of an Exclusive Pumper

  1. My son was born prematurely so against the advice of my doctors and lactation specialist and I too also exclusively pumped. Only for a year though. I’ve never met anyone else who has tried it. I became obsessed. Even once my son was sleeping through the night I was getting up every 3 hours to pump so afraid my supply would dip. Not so sure I’d do it again. I felt more like a Holstein than a mom his 1st year but congratulations on your success.

  2. Thank you for this post. My DD is 3.5 months. In the last week or so my milk seems to have decreased. Now I see it may be the new underwire bra I got to get my breasts off my belly button :)
    I have made lactation cookies which have flaxseed, oats and yeast. They super bumped up my milk. They were super yummy but also full of sugar so they are occasionally treats.

  3. I love this, because with DS just 17 months behind his brother, the thought of going another 11 months BF stresses me out! My question is who fed baby when you were doing all this pumping? Hubby? I would like to get my hubby more involved this time so I can sleep more this time around! Did you do formula while you built up a supply for Happy baby?

    • Alison,
      I excuslively pump has well. If my husband is home then he feeds our little girl. If he isn’t then I pump while I feed her. I put her on the couch on her bobby pillow and I do both. It’s great to pump and feed her at the same!! The hands free breast pump bra is the best!! I have been pumping for the past 6 months, so I had to come up with something to save some time.

      Thanks for this blog!! Love it!! Go you!

    • Alison, Rebecca has great advice! I realized that I didn’t state that our baby was in the hospital for the first 3 months, so I had amazing nurses feeding him throughout the night so that I could get up and pump. :-) Not a situation I would wish on anyone! But it helped with the pumping/feeding thing. This article here also had good thoughts about how to do it all – http://bellabama.blogspot.com/2012/08/pumping-breast-milk-and-breast-feeding.html?m=1

  4. I’m so glad I’m not alone! I exclusively pumped my last baby and plan to for my next, due next week! I got a new pump for this one and was wondering what type of bottles you used. I got the medela but I’ve always used avent bottles but was wondering if you used medela bottles and if you liked them or not. Thanks!

    • My first born wasn’t a very good nurser so I had to pump exclusively as well. My second born was an excellent nurser! I love Medela’s pumps. Also, used their bottles. I had the bottles to pump in & I figured the nipples for the bottles would be easier for them to take. Never had a problem with them.

    • I tried every bottle known to man kind and had the most luck with the playtex drop-ins. Although the drop ins aren’t exactly Eco friendly the way the collapse baby dosnt suck in air. Plus, on a selfish note- it’s really only the nipple and ring to wash. So yay for fewer parts! Playtex makes an adaptor thing so you can pump right into the bottles. I would pump into the 4oz drop ins- then cap them and stick them in the freezer. As soon as they were solid I would stick them in a gallon freezer bag. It worked really well for us.

  5. Another one… I think you’ve got this pumping thing down to a science and I am amazed at his diligent you are with it because I KNOW it is no easy task. I just love her raw honesty and humor she adds to her blog while always trying to seek God’s will for her and her family.

    Sent from my iPhone

  6. Congrats! Breastfeeding is a commitment and its definitely rewarded by the health and nutrients it gives your baby. They just came out with a study that showed babies who were breastfed had greater cognitive skills and better brain development than formula fed babies. I know not all moms are able to breastfeed but if you are it’s definitely best for your baby. Thanks for sharing! : )

  7. I have a 5 day old. My only question, when abouts will my tata’s start producing more than 2 ounces of milk?! My baby doesn’t care to breastfeed so I’ve decided to pump exclusively as well. Great blog, thank you! You’ve answered a lot of my questions!

  8. Thank you so much for posting this. I followed my sister’s pinterest pin here, and as I am in the 7th week of pumping for my son, I have been sitting here crying as I read all of your helpful advise. Thanks so much. Knowing you did this for so long is very encouraging to me. I’m having to re-evaluate at least once a week.
    Anna

    • Anna, sweet Anna! I am so happy that this post was helpful for you… Let me know if there is anything else you need. You are doing a great job. The first 3 months of pumping are the hardest, so you are practically through the toughest part! So proud of you. Email me any time! happyhomefairy@gmail.com xoxo

      • It’s 5am and I just finished pumping so I thought I’d stop by and tell you how it’s going. Man, these comments really took off! Congrats on that. Since reading your tip and tricks, pumping became less of a burden and more of “it’s just what I’ve decided to do.” I bought the hands-free bustier, and it was a lifesaver!! Now I can blog or hold baby, or direct traffic for my other three kids while pumping. I even pumped and drove once recently. Hilarious! I told you above that I was reevaluating weekly, and that’s no longer the case. I even have some blisters right now (I know–so gross) but haven’t considered quitting for a minute. Thank you for following what I believe was God’s leadership in posting this. You cannot have known the impact it would have on so many.
        Anna

  9. Thanks for this post! I loved reading it and will probably read it many more times! I had a horrible time breast feeding my first baby and couldn’t figure out the breast pump. I am determined to do better with this one who is due in aug. unfortunately, I’ll be heading back to work after 2 1/2 months and that scares me!!! I hope I can get the hang of it by then so I can pump and store and continue feeding my baby only breast milk while I’m at work.

      • I have been pumping for 14 months. I am supplementing my son with goats milk. I just can’t bring myself to stop pumping. Sometimes he won’t take anything but my milk. He gets 1-2 goats milk bottles a day if my supply is down.

  10. Great read! Our baby is due in November. Definitely PIN NOW & READ LATER (over & over) :) Thank you for sharing your experience!

  11. While establishing your supply (first 2-3 weeks) I would recommend looking into renting a hospital grade pump (Medela Symphony or Ameda Elite). They have adjustable and separate vacuum and speed settings, which makes it easier to find one that works for you. If you have a preemie or otherwise immuno-compromised little one, hospital grade pumps are also more hygienic. And, depending on your health insurance, it can even be cheaper than purchasing a new consumer pump. I also found that it helped to have baby, or a photo of baby, nearby to help with my letdown!

  12. Thanks for sharing! I too had great results pumping exclusively for my 3 babies. I did freeze my milk though, because at myos, I would pump up to 72 ounces a day, obviously more than my babies needed. I had it stored at my mom’s, grandma’s etc in deep freezers. I loved pumping because my husband or whomever could give the baby a bottle and my babies still got the nutritional advantages of it being my breast milk.
    Glad you posted this!

  13. This was an interesting read – thank you for sharing your tips and experiences.
    I live in Scandinavia, and here the focus is on breast feeding – a very high percentage of mums do it; including myself. However, I produce more milk than my little daughter needs, so I also have to pump. Am building up a freezer supply (can come in handy), and will probably start donating to the hospital newborn icu as well.
    A lot of the information you get here though, is about breast feeding, and a little bit about bottle feeding (formula). I have hardly found any information about exclusively pumping, something I find a bit odd, because if you can’t breast feed, pumping is the better option than using formula, as long as you can produce milk.
    My hubby is also very hands on, and loves to do most things with our daughter – including feeding her, so he is happy that I am pumping!

  14. I just had my daughter 5 days ago. She wasn’t latching right and my nipples became so raw that the thought of BF sent me int hysterics. I saw my dr today and have decided to pump for the time being. As of right now I am only getting 1 oz out of each breast at each pump. I have to supplement with formula until I can get more out. I am having a rough time, I know it’s typical in the beginning, but am so tired & emotional. I am crying all the time. Reason being: when we go to put her down she cried. She does not like to sleep off of one of us. She will a bit during the day but will not sleep in her crib. Any suggestions for all of my rambling would be super helpful.

      • Meagan,

        I had a C-section with my first, and I got mastitis about 5 days afterwards, so I can relate! You are giving your sweet baby the best you can give. Hang in there!!

        As far as her sleep, I highly recommend The Happiest Baby on The Block DVD. In a nutshell, it talks about 5 Ss for sleep: swaddling, side-lying or stomach (just in your arms), sucking, shushing (white noise…Our daughter loved the free I phone app.), swinging/swaying. Can you let her fall asleep in your arms, and move her after a few minutes? Could you buy a safe co-sleeper so that she feels your presence but you each have your own space?

        I tried formula with my little one, but it didn’t feel right. She ended up getting super constipated, so I had to make breast feeding work. My advice is to go with your gut. If you really want to nurse, get a good lactation consultant; she will help you fix the latching issues. I had two because the first didn’t help me. Most women produce more milk from a nursing infant than from pumping. Drink mother’s milk tea, and take Fenugreek to help your supply. Be close to your baby. Let the housework go. Just focus on feeding your child. My breast friend is like the boppy, but it’s great for those of us who’ve had c-sections if positioning is an issue. Use hot compresses on your boobs before you pump. Also, put breastmilk on your nipples to help with the soreness, and walk around shirtless if possible. I also tried cold cabbage leaves in my bra, and eating hot soups and teas. Avoid dairy! If you want to switch to formula, feel free to do that too. It took me 3 mos. to get down the pumping/nursing thing and to wean my child off formula. The only thing that truly worked was nursing constantly (once my latch was fixed) for 2 days. It built up my supply, so I didn’t have to supplement.

        You love your child and are doing all you can! It gets easier! I’ll pray for you too!

      • I had c-sections for both of my daughters (4 1/2 years & 3 months). My oldest did not latch well at all, and I pumped exclusively for 9 months afterwards. It took awhile for milk to come in, and I remember feeling really stressed that she didn’t latch and I had this “mom guilt” for not being able to nurse. She also hated swaddling and had her hands at her face most of the time-especially at feeding time. It took awhile for both of us to figure out how to make it work-and we did.

        The first 3 months are horrendous-between your body coming off of hormones and the lack of sleep and everything else, it’s really easy to feel overwhelmed! I would tell you not to stress, but you’re a mom, so I know you will anyway ;) Crying is totally acceptable right now (even irrational crying when you somehow can’t figure out why the toaster isn’t working before you realize that you forgot to plug it in…)

        Take care of yourself and listen to the other ladies on here. Experienced moms with positive feedback are your greatest ally and resource. Good luck-I am praying for you!

    • Meagan, sweet Meagan! Take a deep breath… Is this your first baby? Holy cow are those first few days rough! And after a major abdominal surgery – good heavens there is no wonder the emotions and hormones are raging! I am so sorry for the trouble you’ve had so far. But please, PLEASE rest assured that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We have ALL been there. I had 2 C-sections (total ouch). And my firstborn was seriously colic. My second baby ended up in the hospital for 3 months, so we have definitely had our fair share of roller coaster. Let me encourage you… if breastfeeding is really important to you, contact a nurse from your local hospital who can put you in touch with a lactation consultant. Also consider renting a hospital grade pump. It’s quite possible that your milk has not come in yet, and if you do have an infection, your body is probably just in overdrive trying to take care of that. A hot shower, massaging your breasts might help. But, listen, pray about it. If breast feeding is too stressful right now, lay it down. Do formula. It’s OKAY. I wish I had done formula a lot sooner than I did because pumping exclusively was a bit cuckoo. I missed out on a lot. Give yourself a break, precious girl! But, if you still want to breast feed, take a deep breath, and remember this advice – JUST DO THE NEXT THING. Don’t worry too far in the future. The first 3 months of having a baby are the HARDEST. She will eventually sleep in her crib. Have you tried swaddling? They make great swaddling blanket things at places like Babies R Us. What you want to do is just create a nice, calming environment. Rock her, lights down, soft music. Repeat some comforting whispers in her ear over and over. Try to stay calm yourself, even if she is freaking out. She will eventually give in and sleep. She is just trying to figure things out in this new world and it will take time for you and your hubby to figure HER out. It’s truly a day-to-day guessing game when they are so new. Feel free to email me any time – happyhomefairy@gmail.com. Just please remember – you are not alone. And you are a great mom, doing a great job. :-) Praying for you!!!

      • I did indeed have an infection and am on medication until it is cleared. I am drinking the mother’s milk tea and trying my hardest but now my breasts aren’t filling up after a few hours and I don’t know what to do. I was getting almost an ounce a breast every few hours but now I’m lucky if I get 1.5 from both. It doesn’t help that she will not sleep anywhere but on one of us, which makes pumping every few hours difficult. Sometimes she will stay put after we put her down but not always. I have been sleeping downstairs because she likes her swing. I miss my bed and my fiance!! I am too traumatized from the initial breast feeding to even think of trying again. I have a great lactation consultant that visits me weekly but between feeding her, trying to sleep/rest and pumping I feel drained and defeated.

        My daughter also doesn’t like swaddling- she likes her hands at her face especially while eating. I haven’t been able to locate a good sleep postioner to see if that works in the crib or pack & play. She was sleeping them for a few days but now she just won’t. I cry almost daily and feel like a failure (though I know I’m not).

    • I had SUCH a hard time the first few weeks of BF’ing. My son was not good at latching, I was awkward at holding him while I fed him, ugh it was a mess and I did a LOT of crying. I can tell you that you’re doing the right thing by starting pumping early on. I didn’t start pumping for at least a month (just BF’d) so it took me even longer to get my supply up. When I very first started, I got an oz or less at a time. I was so discouraged but kept at it and eventually got 10 oz at a time at my peak. Definitely consider taking fenugreek. I never got to that point but it has helped many women. And I second the suggestion to talk to a lactation consultant, and to put warm compresses on your breasts right before you pump to get a good milk letdown. Good luck, you’ve got this!!

    • Meagan! You poor girl! Don’t worry, the most important thing for your baby is to be loved! I promise she will not be 15 and still sleeping on your chest! I love nursing, but I also feel that it can be so stressful! If you aren’t relaxed, you won’t produce enough milk and it is harder to bond with your baby. Do what you need to relax,even if that means sleeping next to the swing and formula feeding. A happy mom will make a happy baby- cut yourself some slack. You are exhibiting more love, care, and concern for your baby already than many poor babies get- she will be fine regardless of your decision. Just love her :)

    • My son had latching issues too, my nipples were so sore and cracked and bleeding it wasn’t worth feeding. I know that sounds horrible but I just couldn’t do it. So I supplemented with formula untill my supply bumped up. I pumped for 9 months. Definitely evaluate if pumping is best for your family situation. Hang in there, hope it worked out for you e

  15. Hi! I am so glad I found this information. I am an exclusive pumped as well! I do need a little help though… My daughter is almost 8 months old and my supply has decreased dramatically. I’m barely pumping 8 ounces a day and I drank mother’s milk tea but it didn’t seem to make a huge difference. I’m wondering if I should try fenugreek supplements?

    Good work to all the mom’s feeding their babies breastmilk:)

    • Hey Lauren! First, check out this article – http://pumpingtimes.com/2009/06/04/10-tips-to-increase-your-milk-supply/. Also, have you gotten your period back yet? I noticed that after about 7 months I would have about a week long period where my supply dropped quite a bit. Then after a week, it would go back to normal. Could be fluctuating hormones from your body trying to have a period/ovulate again?? I am not a doctor, but that is what I noticed was effecting my supply. I hope it gets back on track! And 8 months?! You GO GIRL!

      • Exclusive pumper here. Going 10 months strong. My first baby: I breast fed no problem, my second has a cleft palate. I decided that pumping would be the best option. I must concur on the hormone fluxuation and drop in supply. Same here. I noticed that taking fenugreek and blessed thistle helps me during this time.

  16. I’m surprised you didn’t mention kellymom’s website. Great info on there about pumping & storage. I’m slowly weaning from my pump right now. #2 is almost a year and I have a freezer full of milk (had to buy a special one just for the extra milk). I EP’d for both girls and it’s HARD! Definitely feel like a cow some days! :)

  17. I exclusively pumped for 9 months because my daughter had a cleft palate. Once my milk was established, I pumped only twice a day. It was so nice to be on my own schedule and although it was difficult, nursing my 2nd was much more difficult!

  18. I really enjoyed reading this. My baby is 2 mos old and I am only breastfeeding/pumping. It is work but worth it. I have 2 situations. About 3 weeks ago my milk went down for no reason. I’m now taking blessed thistle and fenugreek which brought my milk back. I don’t want to keep taking it. I’m trying to figure out how to stop taking it but keep my milk supply. Also I just got diagnosed with mastitis yesterday (going to get my topical antibiotics now). I was told to pump and dump and its makings sad. I’ve thrown out too many feedings. I had a fever of 101.3 but it broke last night. Is it safe to keep my milk or nurse still? Or dump it because of the antibiotics? Thanks for putting this article together!! I have to say, I have the same pump and it is awesome. Very worth the money. And dr browns bottles are great too. Too many parts tho, but still worth it!

    • When I had mastitis AND a UTI (at the same time) I had to pump and dump because of the antibiotics I was on. We were still in the hospital at that point, so they had a stockpile of my milk in their freezer there. It was painful though flushing all that liquid gold down the toilet, but my doc said it was safest. You need to check with your doctor about the medication you are taking. Some are okay for breastfeeding, some are not. Ask your doctor. Ask the pharmacist. But don’t google it. Seriously, never google. :-) I hope you find an answer! And I am so sorry about the mastitis. Ugh!!! If you keep up the pumping, no less than 7 times a day for at least 15-20 minutes, and you’re trying all the other things I wrote about at the beginning of the post, your supply should be okay. If you are still having trouble, I really suggest contacting a lactation consultant who might have some better tips! Hang in there, sistah! You are doing a great job!!!

    • I know this probably won’t help with Beth’s old post, but Kellymom.com (run by a respected lactation consultant, so pretty reliable) has a great list of medications that are safe for breastfeeding. http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/meds/aap-approved-meds/
      You can also call the Infant Risk Center hotline, it is run by a doctor who is THE expert in medications and mothers milk (and medications during pregnancy I think). Sometimes a doctor will tell you to “pump and dump” to be on the safe side when you don’t actually have to. The Infant Risk hotline takes into account the age of your baby too and how much they are drinking/nursing each day.

  19. I also found your blog via a pinterest post. I am 7 months pregnant now and will be starting an optometry residency July 1st (Baby due August 3rd). I’ll have very limited maternity leave, but would like to breastfeed/pump. Any suggestions on how to work around pumping in a hospital/on my feet all day setting? I’m gettting anxious! This is my first pregnancy. Am I crazy to think this will work?

    • Girl, it is TOTALLY doable!!! You just need to take quick 15-20 minute breaks every 2 1/2-3 hours. I have lots of friends who worked and slipped away to pump. You just need to let the powers that be at your employment know what’s going on. I don’t think legally they can refuse that??? But I am not an expert!! Check with your boss, but it should be fine. Then you need to scope out your workplace to find a pumping space. I have a friend who pumped in a closet at her job! Oh the things we do! But I think you will find it as a nice little break in your day. :-) Congrats on the baby!!! You will figure it out!! And when/if you start feeling overwhelmed, just do the next thing. I am proud of you!!

  20. I exclusively pumped with my last baby. Something about the combo of my breasts and my babies–they just didn’t get enough. But pumping—man, I was a cow!! I had to stop when my baby was 7 months old because my freezer was full of milk!! But I just pumped every two hours during the day and not at all at night. My morning session was easily 30 minutes and I got 20-30 ounces during that session. But my baby slept through the night (8 hours) when she was 4 days old, and I was going to take advantage of that sleep!!

    • ERIN! You are like some sort of a super human! 20-30 ounces in one pumping session?!?!?! Seriously, you need to tell us what you eat, what you do, what are your secrets?!! I am literally IN AWE.

  21. Thank you for this post! My second child is due next week 6/19. I had supply issues with my first, but we fought through it and I nursed him for 17 months but itwas tough. I did not have an electric pump, just a small cheap manual one that I could afford at the time. This time, I have an Ameda dual electric pump–THANK GOD!!! I want to avoid the supply issues I had the last time. I plan to nurse and pump because I need to stock up since I will be going back to work in September. So, how soon after birth should I start pumping? Am I supposed to take my pump with me to the hospital? Thanks!

    • Kelli, I took my pump to the hospital as a buffer and I’m glad I did. I couldn’t get my baby to latch and I credit my pump for me having such a high supply so soon.. the nurses were amazed.

  22. I, too, exclusively pumped for both of my boys due to latching issues. For my oldest son, I was only able to pump for 4 months and then had to supplement until 6 months old and then my supply was gone. For my second little guy, I buckled down and pumped through the night, drank lots of water and when i felt like i wasn’t getting enough ounces, I would increase my water and food intake…which worked like a charm. I was very determined to make it the whole year, which i did. With exclusively pumping I did feel the society pressure about not “truly” bonding with either baby because we weren’t skin to skin. However, this was not an option for us (believe me, I tried.) So for any new mommies out there that are struggling with the skin to skin bonding, remember you are doing the very best that you can and you are working VERY hard to get your baby the best food you can:)

  23. I loved your blog, and just wanted to leave a little encouragement for other people going through this.
    My baby girl will be 4 months old on Tuesday and I have been exclusively pumping for her since the start. She couldn’t latch no matter how much the lactation consultant tried to help us. At about 2 months she learned to latch but refused to actually eat a full meal. She was just content with it in her mouth and would go to sleep… so that minute of “Yay, maybe I can breastfeed!” was quickly shot down. Now she doesn’t even try.
    I wanted to quit for the first 2 months that I pumped. I was miserable and exhausted pumping every three hours. And my nipples hurt SO bad! Medelas nipple cream is a life saver! The lactation consultant actually told me she wished I would just keep trying to get Char to latch because women NEVER stick with pumping and they “neglect” their child.. it was the first time I felt like she was being mean to me.. but it was also my encouragement.
    Now I’m at a point where my nipples never hurt afterward (nor are they tough, I credit the cream for that) and I can sleep through the night without feeling like I’m going to burst. It’s finally not a hassle to pump.. it helps that my hubby is such a help.
    I will say this, my left breast nearly completely stopped producing milk, so I’ve had to supplement some formula because only my right is working. I’m going to try to eat a ton of oatmeal (I didn’t know that worked!) and work with leftie and see if I can revive her. :)
    And I’m also going to make myself wake up at about 3 to pump, too. I work full time, so that will be a challenge, but I just want the best for her.

    My point is, if you try to do this.. don’t give up! It does suck at first, but you’ll get through it and the results are totally worth it!

    • Try to use Mother’s Milk tea.. it helped me when my milk got low. I do not like the taste of it so i mix it with some real tea and honey and it was pretty good once i did that, Also taking postnatal vitamins helped a lot..

  24. Great Blog and very informative. Just curious, how long ago did you write it? I’m having problems with my
    Pump but glad to see you got a replacement for free. I’m Hoping that’s still their policy.

    • Jamie, it was around November 2012 that they sent me the new pump in exchange for the defective one. My assumption is that the ‘new’ one they sent me is actually a refurbished one, but I don’t care! It worked! And it was free! :-) Good luck with it!!! xoxo

      • When you returned your pump in Nov. 2012, how long ago before that did you buy your pump? was it beyond your 1 year warranty?

      • The pump was purchased in April of 2012. You should call them anyway. They were very kind. It doesn’t hurt! Just let them know how much you love their product and are disappointed that your old one is having a hard time! Let me know how it goes. xoxo

  25. I’m an exclusively pumping momma, and I came through this blog via a pin on pinterest about gift wrapping items in a lunch box. I can’t tell you what a blessing it was in my life this morning. My baby boy is almost 5 months old, and sometimes pumping feels like a job and I’ve been having REAL supply issues recently, but things have started to get better. Thank you for this post. I often feel like an alien. Formula moms don’t seem to understand the point, and breastfeeding moms seem to judge. I always feel the need to explain the whole long story of his birth and how I came to this decision. Just thank you! I needed this today.

    • Jonnelle, you just made my day. :-) Don’t feel like an alien! You are always welcome to email me! Don’t ever feel like you need to explain your decision. You are simply doing what you feel is best for your family. No one can argue with that! You are amazing!

  26. I greatly appreciated your blog. I was determined to breastfeed and was told at a nursing class that everyone can breastfeed if they try hard enough. Well that nearly ended up really harming my baby when after a few days home she completely stopped going to the bathroom. Well, it turned out that pcos (polycystic ovarian syndrome) can cause problems with not enough milk. We were forced to supplement and I felt like a total failure because of the terrible advice that every woman can do it if willing. Anyway, in order to make sure my baby was getting enough, I switched over to pumping most of the time. It turned out I got 10-12 ounces of milk per day. I took every possible herb, medicine, and diet to up that amount, but nothing worked. I went back to work as a full time teacher and continued to pump. I did this for 10 months. My daughter may not have been able to get all breast milk, but I can honestly say I couldn’t have tried any harder. It wasn’t until 6 months past her birth when I did research on my own and found out the true cause. I wish more women had your outlook on breast feeding.

    • Oh yeah, and I also found out after the entire 10 months that I was allergic to lanolin, which was what I had been putting on myself.

      • Lanolin is a wool by-product, so if you are allergic to wool, you should NEVER use lanolin or any cream with lanolin as an ingredient! #voiceofexperience You can however use vitamin e. The real stuff d-alpha (not dl-alpha–the l means leave it at the store). You just poke a hole in the capsule with a sterilized needle and apply directly to your nipples. Speeds healing time an incredible amount. It’s even better if you start applying it a week or so before baby is due.

  27. Thanks you so much! I’m pregnant with my second child who is due in 8 weeks. My doctor and I have discussed breastfeeding and he encouraged me to think about trying with this baby. (I had a horrible time trying to nurse my daughter. I would nurse, or pump, for 45 minutes once every 2 hours and only got 1 ounce, if that. I gave up after a week assuming that I couldn’t produce just like my mom. I cried my eyes out for an hour straight thinking I failed my daughter.) So, it’s something I’ve been struggling with and I will have to go back to work after 6 weeks so pumping is definitely something I’ll need to know about. All I’ve heard or read about nursing and pumping is just keep going and don’t give up and once you’re all done you’ll have hated the time spent nursing and pumping… nothing that makes a positive impression, but this blog has given great advice and help and makes me think that nursing and eventually pumping is something I can do. Thank you for taking the time to write this out!

  28. Do you have any tips on knowing if you have the right size pump for you breasts, I have had a hard time getting mine to fit correctly. I bought a smaller size and it seems to tight on my nipples. Also, my baby is 8 months and my supply has significantly decreased but im not ready to stop, tips? Thank you!

    • Hey Tiffany! You may just need to buy a few different sizes and kind of do trial and error. I found a blog article written about it – http://www.exclusivelypumping.com/2009/04/29/correctly-fitting-breast-shields/. I hope that helps!!! Also, check out several of the other comments here – many women try the tea and herbs to help their supply. And I gave all the tips for diet/lifestyle in this post. Also, if you want to really try to bump your supply, I’ve heard of people taking an entire weekend (2-3 days) to have a nursing/pumping weekend where you pump/nurse every 2 hours (and every 3 through the night). This might help. The more you pump, the more it will tell your body to produce milk. Good luck, girl! So proud of you!!!!

  29. I too ended up being an exclusive pumper.
    My daughter was born via C-section (after I wouldn’t dilate) on July 26, 2009. The next day, nurses discovered she was pooping vaginally because she had an imperforate anus. She was rushed across town to a children’s hospital for surgery and was there for the next 12 days.
    I started pumping while she was in the hospital. Then I worked with lactation consultants to try and get the whole nursing thing down. (We won’t even go into my lack of milk production at the time. Stress — and what is more stressful than your child needing surgery at 36 hours of age?!– is not good for milk production.) Nursing didn’t go well. My daughter wouldn’t latch without a nipple shield (probably because she was using a pacifier in the hospital) and when she did latch, she would spend 45 minutes to an hour nursing before wanting to start over again in an hour and half. So that was great for the whole sleeping business, which is important in milk production.Throw in reoccurring bouts of thrush, where she and I kept passing it to each other and it took up residence in my milk ducts, and you have a nursing nightmare.
    While suffering from the third or fourth bout of thrush, my OB/GYN finally prescribed 10 days of Diflucan to get the thrush out of my milk ducts and recommended I pump exclusively for five days just to get the yeast under control.
    It was so wonderful, I never went back to nursing. I could get enough milk for two feedings for my daughter in a third of the time it took to nurse her once. Since this was right as I was heading back to work (I had to save medical leave for my daughter’s next surgery), it was the time saver I desperately needed.
    I tended to pump every 4 hours or so at first and eventually stretched it to about every 6-8 hours, depending on my work schedule. A good pump would net about 10-12 ounces. I did freeze milk — ended up having it in my my freezer, one sister’s freezer and another sister’s deep freeze.
    I stopped pumping at about 10 months (we were traveling to Hawaii for a family wedding and I just couldn’t pump through all of that) and ended up having enough milk to carry my daughter through until she was 1. We did supplement with formula after I stopped pumping, but she was still getting the benefits of breast milk.
    If someone is looking to seriously pump, I definitely recommend investing in a good pump and purchasing a pumping bra, which will free up your hands. I started seeing pumping as my “me time” and would use it to blog or read magazines and books.

  30. I too ended up being an exclusive pumper.
    My daughter was born via C-section (after I wouldn’t dilate) on July 26, 2009. The next day, nurses discovered she was pooping vaginally because she had an imperforate anus. She was rushed across town to a children’s hospital for surgery and was there for the next 12 days.
    I started pumping while she was in the hospital. Then I worked with lactation consultants to try and get the whole nursing thing down. (We won’t even go into my lack of milk production at the time. Stress — and what is more stressful than your child needing surgery at 36 hours of age?!– is not good for milk production.) Nursing didn’t go well. My daughter wouldn’t latch without a nipple shield (probably because she was using a pacifier in the hospital) and when she did latch, she would spend 45 minutes to an hour nursing before wanting to start over again in an hour and half. So that was great for the whole sleeping business, which is important in milk production.Throw in reoccurring bouts of thrush, where she and I kept passing it to each other and it took up residence in my milk ducts, and you have a nursing nightmare.
    While suffering from the third or fourth bout of thrush, my OB/GYN finally prescribed 10 days of Diflucan to get the thrush out of my milk ducts and recommended I pump exclusively for five days just to get the yeast under control.
    It was so wonderful, I never went back to nursing. I could get enough milk for two feedings for my daughter in a third of the time it took to nurse her once. Since this was right as I was heading back to work (I had to save medical leave for my daughter’s next surgery), it was the time saver I desperately needed.
    I tended to pump every 4 hours or so at first and eventually stretched it to about every 6-8 hours, depending on my work schedule. A good pump would net about 10-12 ounces. I did freeze milk — ended up having it in my my freezer, one sister’s freezer and another sister’s deep freeze.
    I stopped pumping at about 10 months (we were traveling to Hawaii for a family wedding and I just couldn’t pump through all of that) and ended up having enough milk to carry my daughter through until she was 1. We did supplement with formula after I stopped pumping, but she was still getting the benefits of breast milk.
    If someone is looking to seriously pump, I definitely recommend investing in a good pump and purchasing a pumping bra, which will free up your hands. I started seeing pumping as my “me time” and would use it to blog or read magazines and books.

  31. With my first son he was in the NICU as well right after birth.. The nurses did the same thing to me.. they rolled in the Medela pump and I got to work. After my son was released my insurance issued me a Medela, and i pumped it like a queen, until i got extremely ill and lost my milk.
    With my second son he latched on right away after birth but he never “finished” he seemed to get frustrated and stop sucking. So I broke out the old Medela and pumped away again. He is now at nine weeks and I pump every 3-4 hours. I get at least 5oz in the freezer a day and ALWAYS have 20oz in the fringe at any given time. With this is lets me have the freedom of having a longer date night or letting him have grandparent sleep overs so Mommy and Daddy can have time and i would not have to worry.
    Pumping is hard! I did not know how I was going to survive the first weeks (with both my kids). hour 1: pump hour 2: feed hour 3: sleep repeat

    only 10 more months before I can store the Medela again..

  32. After pumping for a year, WHERE do your boobs go??!!
    I actually got a ticket once pumping while driving down the road for speeding (my first week back to work)… Clearly the most heartless cop EVER!!

  33. Thank you SO much for your advice and insight! My “starving” son started absolutely refusing my breast around 3.5 months old and only wanted a bottle. I couldn’t nurse my daughter, so this devastated me that my newborn son was turning me away. I’ve tried pumping for the past two months so that he is at least getting the nutrients I want him to gain from me, but I’m so tired and find that I have little time for playing, work, and my 4 year old daughter.
    I’m going to try your advice and see what happens. My production is way, way down and I’m at a loss (tried so many things!). I wanted to especially thank you for your final comments about God. I wanted so badly to have the closeness of nursing my children, but realize it just may not be in the cards. I have to remember that the most important thing I can do is my best, and make sure that I’m teaching, loving, and supporting my sweet babes.

  34. My son Ben was diagnosed at a year old with hypotonia as well as infantile spasms and now lennox gastaut syndrome. I would have never linked the hypotonia to his inability to latch and breast feed. I felt like it was my fault. I went out and bought a double medela electric pump (which is amazing compared to my single pump i had for the first week) and I exclusively pumped for a month. Then my supply started to dwindle. I was taking 12 fenugreek supplements a day and had to supplement with formula. Then after 2 months, my supply stopped completely. I was only getting .5 ounces out of both combined. I pumped every 3 hours to boost my supply and it still didn’t help. I am a single mom so i bet you can imagine how insane i was going taking care of a baby all alone, pumping, preparing formula, and keeping up with my well being and my sons needs. If I would have had your article 2 years ago I could have stuck to exclusively pumping. I will be keeping this so I can refer to it if I ever decide to have a second child. Thank you so much for the inspiring article and great advice :)

  35. Oh wow! As I read your post, I felt nostalgic! Haha. I stopped exclusively pumping last yr, after 12months of surviving with my medela freestyle pump. I used to call it my life-supporting machine!

    I had terrible infections due to engorgements countless times, and I do not know what gave me tge strength and persistency to continue till my girl turned 1! Its definitely one of the hardest thing I ever tried in life!

  36. Great article. I also pumped exclusively for 14 months for my daughter. She was born prematurely and by the time she had the strength and endurance to try nursing, it was time for me to go back to work. Knowing it was better for her, I was determined to provider her with breastmilk for at least a year. I used a lot of the tricks you mentioned and was able to pump for 14 months. Could have gone longer, but I was so DONE by that time. One thing I would do when my supply seemed to dip would be to add back in the middle of the night pumping session I dropped when she started sleeping through the night. I’d do that for a week or so and my supply would come back up.

  37. Thank you so much for the info. My daughter is 5 1/2 months and we have had to supplement with formula. I would really like to get back to more breast milk. I have learned to pump and drive which has been a lifesaver. Thanks for the tips!

  38. My twins were born at 34 weeks and struggled with reflux until they were at least 6 months old. They were in the NICU for almost a month and would actually stop breathing when they were eating so we had to add rice cereal to their milk to help it stay down in their stomachs. I was passionate about giving them breast milk and since I couldn’t add rice to my boobs I was forced to pump for them. I pumped for just over 13 months and I feel very fortunate that I was able to keep my supply up for that long with only pumping. I did not know anyone else who pumped more than the occasional “I want to go out to dinner and not take my baby” kind of pumping, so I really had no support system for the huge undertaking that it was. When I had my singleton two years later I was really worried about the possibility of having to pump for that long again, and if I could do it all over again. Fortunately he is a great breast feeder so that isn’t an issue. I still chose to pump two times a day extra (in case something happened to me or my milk supply) and over the last 15 months I have donated almost 70 gallons of milk to a milk bank. Thanks for being a voice for the women who are choosing this often more difficult path!

  39. I just wanted to say thank you for this article. I pump exclusively for my baby boy, because of the shape of his palette he was unable to latch. People look at me like I am crazy to pump and then put it in a bottle for him. I appreciate all of the tips and will be putting them to use. Especially the cleaning ones, because no it’s not fun to clean all those parts every single time. Thank you once again.

  40. This is BY FAR the best article I’ve ever read on pumping and increasing supply. I wished I would’ve known all of these things when I struggled to maintain my supply w both of my babies. I’m done having babies but I’m going to save this article for friends in the future. Thank you!

  41. Hi there! Love this article!! I do have an additional question. I have a few breast feeding friends who have decided to eat dairy free while breast feeding. Do you know what the benefits of this are because I am contemplating doing the same but of course after I research it and talk with my doctor.
    Thanks!!

    • Hey Dorenda! Thanks for stopping by! I ate dairy free for about 8 months of my pumping adventure. I also dropped gluten as well. My little one had THE WORST reflux EVER and when I cut these things from my diet, I saw almost immediate improvement (although it takes about 2 weeks for certain foods to get completely out of your system/breast milk). I did not notice a supply change at all when I changed my eating. I simply started drinking almond milk instead of regular milk. I really missed cheese. Wholefoods carries an amazing Coconut Milk yogurt that helped me not miss that favorite food of mine too much. It is totally doable and in fact many people are doing it these days. From what I have read, what you eat does not change the composition of your breast milk. The foods you eat are certainly in there (like I ate broccoli once while pumping and my baby went ballistic with gas), but it doesn’t effect fat/calorie content. God did this so that if there was a famine in the land, a baby could still get what he/she needed from his mama’s breast milk. Cool, huh?? I hope this answers your question!!! xoxo

  42. Hello! That is awesome you pumped for your son! I have a 1 month old son and have just got the lovely expirence of mastitis and am struggling with my milk production.. how did you eat the granola? By itself or with something? Have you tried fenugreek or any other supplements? Any other suggestions?

  43. So did you ever have to hold your cups that go on your boobs at certain angles or certain pressure to get your milk to even come out. I’m having the hardest time trying to pump for my 10 month old she has always been on my breast but she got teeth, then I found out I’m pregnant again an my milk flow has stopped.

  44. This was such a great post to read. My daughter was born with complex heart defects and required many hospitalizations and a feeding pump as well. I exclusively pumped for her for the first year. Instinctively, I think, I did all of these things to make my pumping successful. These tips really work! I just found out my next daughter will have heart problems and need immediate surgery as well. This was such a great reminder of what to do and prepare for. I pinned this to read later too!

  45. So, when you stopped pumping, how many ounces were you getting at each pump session? My daughter will be 1 in 2 weeks and I have been exclusively pumping since she was a few days old. She has a posterior tongue tie and couldn’t latch. My issue is, I’m down to pumping 2x per day, but I get about 24oz at each session. I’m just not sure i can cut back to one? I would really like to cut back to once a day until she’s 2, but I’m worried if I cut out a pumping session, not only will I be MISERABLE, I might lose my supply all together. And I don’t have a ton of milk sitting around because I’ve actually been giving it to my nephew (feeding him exclusively EBM for 6 months!). So, any pointers?!

      • Yeah, my mom is a lactation consultant and had told me how freakish it was. We are apparently major milk producers in my family, but I am the first to pump exclusively and realize the full potential of the production. I also (KNOCK ON WOOD) haven’t had the cursed mastitis either, which I am SO thankful for. I feel like cutting out a pumping would just be pushing my luck. Did you use cabbage or any other tricks to dry up your supply when you quit? (And I should have known I was a weirdo, too, when I bought protein shaker bottles at GNC to store milk in because I couldn’t fit it all in anything made by the pump companies… :/ )

    • What if rather than dropping the pump all together you cut the time that you pumped in half? It would (I think) get rid of some of the pressure, but still signal to your body “we don’t need this much”

  46. Thanks for the great summary of all the best milk supply and pumping tips.

    I had severe hemorrhoids that required me to be put under 2 days after birth for a procedure and then have removal surgery when DS was 3 weeks old. He had a hefty case of jaundice, so we were in the hospital 5 days. On day 2 the nurses said it was time to supplement and I looked at them like they were idiots. We chose that hospital because of their excellent lactation department and the first recommendation was to give formula? They brought me a pump and I pumped exclusively for 5 weeks. That was how long it took for me to be able to sit upright and hold DS after the C-section & hem surgery. It took another 3 weeks to develop his latch and get my supply in sync. I pumped as needed ever since.

    My only suggestion related to your advice is an upgrade in the hands-free bra. The Medela bras are sized, but they have no adjustments. The Simple Wishes bra is superior in every way. It holds the horns in place. There is a removable front panel and the back is completely adjustable. Medela makes great products, but for hands-free pumping go with Simple Wishes. http://www.amazon.com/baby/dp/B00295MQLU

  47. It seems that my breastmilk has gone down recently so I really appreciate all of these tips you have. My little one is 6 months old and has been on food for a little while but it seems that she doesn’t seem as interested in my milk sometimes, she would rather play with her milk. Do you have any tips?

  48. I exclusivly pumped for all 4 of mine.I got a lot of negativet comments about it also. People couldnt understand why I just didnt breast feed. Pumping is just what worked for me and my babies. It was a great expierence and if I had a fifth baby I would do it again. I was very lucky, I produced so much milk that I could of feed a small country. Your advise was great and right on.

  49. I am so glad I found this article! Since weaning my son, who breast fed for 13 months, I have started working full-time and am the breadwinner for our family. I will not have the opportunity to stay home with #2 whenever we decide to have another, so this article is gold, thank you! One thing I’d like to mention to potential full time pumpers is in regard to your fridge vs. freezer storing. For the 5 weeks I actually had a job with #1 (he was 3 months), I pumped every 3 hours while at work and I used bags to store rather than bottles. Not as environmentally friendly, but SO convenient… anyway, store expressed milk in bags, then place them in the freezer flat rather than upright. When you need a bag or two, place them in a dish of warm water and they will seriously be thawed in 2-3 minutes! Not instantaneous as room-temp, but certainly faster than a frozen bottle.

  50. My baby girl is 18 days old, she was born 2 weeks early but came in at a healthy 7 lbs 12 oz. she nursed great until jaundice levels went up and had to be placed under lights for two days, after that breast feeding has been a fight! So I have been pumping every 2 hours and giving her the bottle, but I’m only getting 1.5 ounces at a time.. And 2 ounces first thing in the morning. Any suggestions on what I can do to increase my supply?

  51. This is going to be so helpful! I’ve spent the past 2 nights almost crying myself to sleep. My supply has deminished to the point that I don’t think I could fight it back. My husband is in the military and rarely home. And with four little ones I just can’t find the time anymore to pump. I have somehow made it almost seven months only pumping 5 times a day. Any tips on setting a schedule? And how many times a day were absolutely neccesary for you?

    Also, my son was born prematurely and also has hypotonia. So I completely understand the struggle. With physical therapy and 2 surgeries I would really love to give my little miracle the best!

    • Violet, here was my schedule – My first pump was around 7 am. Next at 10, then 1, then 4, then 6 then 9. I went to bed after the 9 pm pump and got up at 3 am to pump. Then repeat. After about 9 months I started to slack a bit and stretched the pumps to longer so that I was pumping first thing in the morning at 7, then around 12, then 3 then I stretched until 8 or 9 pm, then got up at 3 am. I still had a great supply even though I dropped a few pumps. I think that part of my success was that I kept that middle of the night pump until almost the very end. That was really helpful! But, as always, you just have to do what is best for your family. If you are tired and your family is suffering, get to a comfortable pumping schedule and then supplement the rest with formula. It will be okay. :-) I am amazed that you have pumped so long with a hubby away!!!! I could not have done it without my husband! You are like a superhuman! Do what is best for you and your kiddos. I will say a prayer for you. You are an amazing mommy.

      • Thank you! I’ve prayed about the situation for a few days and have come to the point where a little formula may not be the end. You’re encouraging words and schedule will hopefully boost us back to where we used to be. My husband is a huge support, but I’d love extra hands here. Lol. Thank you so much for the advice and prayers!
        Violet.

  52. Hello! My baby is 4 weeks old, I try to pump every 2 hours during the day and 3 hrs through the night, I’m still only producing up to 4oz/ session and sometimes only 3oz. I’m taking Fenugreek twice a day and I eat oatmeal at least once a day. Any recommendations and will my milk continue to increase or is this going to be it? How far PP were you producing the most? Thanks so much!

  53. Thanks, that was alot of good info. I am too mainly pumping to feed my 4 month old for similar reasons. To add to that he started as a very lazy slow eater and it took a toll on my 2 year old since I was always on the couch nursing not able to devote time to him. I decided to pump and feed through the day and nurse at night. It has worked well and I already have about a 4 month supply in the freezer for when I decide to stop pumping. I did have a question that you may be able to help me with. Is there any reasoning or advice you have to help increase production in BOTH breasts. One side I have a great supply, approx 6 oz in a 10-15 min session, but the other side I will be lucky to get 2-3 oz. I have tried to pump longer focusing on the low production side but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. I have even started to take fenugreek. Any ideas?

    • Hey Wyn! I just read this article about what the lopsided thing – http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/lopsided/. I definitely can relate – my left boob was much nicer than the right one. :-) My only suggestion would be to try adding a pumping session somewhere in between your regular pumping sessions where you pump only the side you are trying to boost. Does that make sense?? Give it a try for a few days and see what happens!

    • I was lopsided when I was mainly pumping. As LO got better on the breast it got faster and more efficient to nurse than to pump. Increased nursing also evened out my production.

  54. What could i do with clogged milk ducts??? I tried sunlight rubbing it out n heatin pad but its still there n sometimes it hurts

  55. So…I exclusively pump (wish I could breastfeed) identical twin boys. I delivered at 31 weeks due to a ruptured placenta and was unable to breastfeed and still unable to because they got hooked on the bottle first. For a few days in the beginning, I was producing 8-10 oz per session…then I got engorged. The main LC went on vacation the day after I started pumping and her replacement didn’t really know what she was doing. I was in a lot of pain and this is my first pregnancy, so I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing! My supply went down to 4oz every session and with twins, that’s not near enough. It has dwindled down to about 3oz every session. :( Not enough to even feed one baby. I’ve tried the herbal supplements, I drink water religiously, and I get all the sleep I possibly can with twins. They are 8 weeks old tomorrow and have been home with us from the NICU for not even 2 weeks yet. Is there even a possibility for my supply to go up? Or am I doomed?

  56. I exclussively pumped for two boys for six months each! Best decision for my family. Glad to,see theremare others that strictly pump. People thought I was nuts, even the pediatrician. I am expecting our third in November and can’t wait to do it all over again!

  57. I am not exclusively pumping but I am having to pump to try to build up a supply for when I return to work full time in a couple of weeks. I’m very nervous at getting enough. I pump every 2-3 hours when I’m at home. At this point I’m only getting between 1&2 oz from each breast. I don’t know how to increase this bc I fear I will never get ahead pumping while in also nursing.

  58. Wow, amazing. Fourteen months?! I am on month five of exclusively pumping and I’m exhausted. Your article really makes it feel like longer is possible. I am so worn out right now due to raising my son on my own while my husband is away in the Navy. He comes back next month and I think having someone to help will make pumping easier. My goal for breast feeding was six months, so I am trying to make it to six months pumping. I really just want to do what is best for my own Happy Baby. He was born via emergency c-section and even though his beginning was traumatic, he’s such a little ray of sunshine. I really want to keep it up. Right now I have a Medela Symphony that I am borrowing from the military base, but we’ll be moving so I’ll have to go back to using the Ameda Purely Yours unless our next base has hospital grade. I really hope they do. It’s amazing what a difference it makes!
    Two things that help me pumping are:
    Distraction. Find something that makes you happy to do during pumping. I pump during naps usually if I can and my boy lets me, so I’ll turn on FRIENDS reruns or DVDs and that helps me keep my mind off of “How much did I make?!?!?!!” which I obsess about constantly!
    Lactation cookies with brewer’s yeast and oatmeal. My girlfriend made me oatmeal chocolate chip lactation cookies when my supply took a dip after a two week trip to see my family back west. Traveling is a major supply killer. These things worked! And they tasted fantastic. If anyone needs the recipe, let me know. They’re awesome and really did help!
    You’re an inspiration. I’m so glad my friend pinned your article. I’ll be clicking helpful links for the next few hours while I pump!
    Oh and a question, I was taking Fenugreek three pills twice a day but started seeing a bunch of bruising, like from baby pinches and things. I asked my doc and she said that fenugreek can cause bruising. Any experience? Any other ideas? I stopped taking it like she suggested and I went from 8-10 ounces a session to 6-7 ounces so it definitely made a difference. :(

  59. Hi! I’m a first time mom and have decided to breast fed and pump so that my husband can feed our baby and so that she can continue on breast milk after I go back to work. I’ve noticed I get the most milk when I pump while she nurses which can be anywhere from every 2-4 hours during the day and night. Even pumping that often, I only get anywhere from 1.5-3oz from one boob. Is this normal? Being a first time mom, I have nothing to compare it to. I’m not totally sure I understand what a let down is, but during my 15 min pumping sessions, I noticed a lot of milk in the first 5 min, nothing for 5 min, and then more milk for about 3 min, and then the last 2 min, nothing. Does this count as two let downs? Is there supposed to be a pause in the milk flow during pumping or should it be continuous? I want to pump 16oz like you! :)

    • Carla, you are too cute! You should check out this link about pumping output – http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/pumping/pumping_decrease/. A letdown is a tingly rushing feeling in your boob/nipple that you have right before your milk comes out. Yes, what you described sounds like 2 letdowns. And yes, sometimes I would sit there pumping with no milk coming out for even 5-6 minutes before having another letdown – so pauses do happen. You are nursing as well – that makes a big difference in pumping output. Check out that article!! You are doing great! Congrats on your precious lil’ one! xoxo

  60. Oh I wish I had seen this BEFORE I went on my crazy pumping learning whirlwind. If this can save just one woman some tears, then so worth it! Thank you for sharing your experience with humor!

  61. My first son was born two weeks early on June 16,2011, by cesarean weighing 9lbs 8 ounces. In the hospital, I tried nursing him and he just did not like it at all! That’s when I started pumping and did it exclusively for the first year of his life. My second son was born on April 15,2013, a week early by cesarean weighing 9lbs 10 ounces. He loves to nurse but after only pumping for my first son i just can’t NOT pump now lol. I now nurse and pump for my son and have stored about 800-900 ounces of extra milk in the freezer over last couple of months. I am thinking about looking into milk donation because I just can’t see my son ever needing a lot of this extra milk! Do you have any suggestions ? Also, I really loved your whole article! It is nice to know that I’m not the only woman to have been an exclusive pumper! My family made so much fun of me for doing it but I don’t regret it at all!

  62. My daughter was born 5 weeks early and was not a good nurser so I also exclusively pumped until she figured it out around 7-8 weeks. I continued to pump until around 6 months and now I’m down to nursing 1 time a day (just trying to make it to my mental goal of 1 year which will be July 4th!!) I read so many articles on exclusive pumping at the start and was amazed at how negative drs and others were. Many said you’d never have enough milk for long term, but its definitely not true!! Do your best, but don’t stress!! I hope my next will be a better nurser, but if not, I know I can still offer we breast milk.

  63. I’m pretty sure that legally your employer has to give you time and a space to pump.. I would hope that you employer will try to comply even if its not a legal thing.. My co workers and boss put wrapping paper over the windows in an unoccupied office in or building and put a “got milk”sign in the door!

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  66. My daughter never latched on. My LC said it was because of the shape of my nipples. I decided to pump but after being home a few days they found out I had a uterus, kidney, and bladder infection all associated with a long labor. I had to be in the hospital for 2 weeks and was too sick to take care of my daughter during this time. I tried to pump but I was too sick and my milk wasn’t going to come in with me in that condition. My LC had to convince me to stop and get some rest. She said a dead mommy can’t take care of her baby. Years later and I’m getting ready to have baby #2 and I’m terrified of breastfeeding. I cry every time I think about my experience. I don’t even know if I can try this time around. Is there anything I can do about the shape of my nipples before hand to make it easier for the baby to latch? I think if baby #2 doesn’t latch I’m just giving up this time.

    • Leslie, do not be afraid. Breastfeeding is hard. It is definitely not the most natural thing in the world! It takes time and learning for both parties. The unknown is so scary, though, I know! I would encourage you to find a new lactation consultant (Everyone has different opinions, maybe you need a fresh person’s perspective on those nipples! :-)) who can help prepare you or be there with you in the hospital. Check out this information about latching, educate yourself so you will know what to expect this time – http://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/bf-basics/latch-resources/. And girl, I am so sorry you had such a traumatic beginning with your first baby. I am praying this next go-around will be easier on you. You are a warrior!!!

  67. Do you ever find that one breast produces more than the other? My dominant produces sometimes 3 times the amount of the other side. I am in my 7 month of exclusive pumping, and have to occasionally supplement with formula (maybe 1 feeding a day at the most, but typically just 2-4 ounces though) so I am super blessed and grateful! But having both breasts produce the same would be awesome. I’m also fearful of how this will affect the way they look after all the feeding is done. Any thoughts?

  68. I am only pumping too. My son is 2 months old. My son would not latch and i hated the shield. I love pumping because it gives my husband a chance to feed our son and be able to bond-plus he takes a night feeding! I have over 400 ounces of breast milk in the freezer already!!
    Here is a helpful hint to lessen your cleaning… I have a medela pump and use the dr brown bottles too. I attach my dr brown bottles right to the pump so that I don’t have to transfer my milk from bottle to bottle. It has been a real time saver.

  69. I just want to “amen” your whole pumping post! You are awesome and I agree with everything you said, I was an exclusive pumper for 10 months and I can’t think of one thing I would have added or taken away from your post! Also I loved the part at the end about doing it for the right reasons and not putting so much pressure on ourselves. I will recommend this site to any pumper.

  70. Oh wow! this really brings back memories. I was too was an extreme pumper. I got clogged up all the time. Hot showers and heating pads worked best for me to get the milk flowing. My little girl was a month early. She was in the NICU for over a week and she got used to the bottle there. I tried to breastfeed it just didn’t work out. I pumped for 13 months. The last month I would pump two or three times a day and over flow the 8oz bottles. I was doing about 20oz a pump the last month. She will be 3yrs old at the end of Aug. Keep up the pumping girls its hard but worth all the hard work.

  71. This is such a great article! I have a 2 and 1/2 week old, who just can’t nurse, so I’ve decided to just pump exclusively. However, I also have a 16 month old that I’m constantly chasing around, and can’t find time to pump some times and have admittedly missed a few sessions. My milk was peaking at a point, and now it’s dipping. Is it still possible to salvage my supply, and also boost it? I was getting at the most, 4oz… Now I’m lucky to get 2.5oz. Also, any tips for being able to stick to a schedule with my 16 month old around?

    • Hey Syn! Here are my thoughts – try to have a ‘pumping weekend’ where you basically just focus on pumping around the clock every 2-3 hours. And I mean AROUND the clock! :-) If you do it for 2-3 days this should boost your supply a bit. Drink lots of water. As for the older sibling, I was able to pump while sitting on the floor ‘playing’ as best I could in his room (with the door closed so he couldn’t escape!!! Ha!). It wasn’t ideal, but I was there and engaged with him and that was truly all he needed. I also had one pumping session where my older buddy was allowed to watch a show (or use iPad or something special like that) while I pumped. We don’t watch a ton of tv around here so that was kind of a treat for him. Maybe that might help? You are amazing!!!

  72. OMG i wish i would have found this months ago. You gave out wonderful tips just reading it was making me excited. Unfortunately i stopped breast feeding my son at 6weeks he is currently 3months old. I stopped because I was having trouble keeping up with his feeding. So i started combo feeding and my son started to prefer the bottle. I regret stopping and Im also very surprised that my milk hasnt dried up. Ive been considering on switching from bottle back to breast now that i have a bit more knowledge and was wondering if you have any gret tips on that or if you could possibly direct to someone who has go through it. I would appreciate any help Thanks!

  73. First of all, God Bless your website! I breastfed my baby boy for 6 weeks with each time nearly crying because I just wasn’t handling it well. I would only let him eat for 10 minutes before I would break down and be done. But then I became an exclusive pumper and our lives have been so much happier! But I love your article and and truly appreciate it. My husband actually likes that I pump because he gets to see the boobies :)

  74. Oh my goodness, I love your post, informative and it made me smile. I’m almost 14 weeks along with my second child. I ended up giving up nursing with my son because his doctor wasn’t happy that I had a slim baby. This time around I am learning more since I will be working part time and having to pump here and there.

  75. I want to nurse and pump, that way I can use it when I travel or hes not with me instead of using formula. When is the best time to pump though? Im always scared that when I pump I wont have enough left to nurse when hes ready to be fed. I have pumped once and I just got under a ounce of milk.

  76. My niece just had a baby. And she does not want to nurse…she has tried, her boobs are massive and the baby is having a hard time latching which led to sore, cracking nipples. And it’s only been 6 days!! The pediatrician and breast feeding counselors are giving her CRAP about pumping. One told her just today that if she only wanted the baby to be on BM for the first 3 months, then what she was doing is fine. She is pumping every 3 hours, and is pumping 4 to 5 oz off each breast. Since the baby is only eating 1.5 to 2 oz, she is able to store the rest and build up a great supply. Do you have any encouraging words for her, since no one in the medical side of this is being supportive?? Thanks! PS…After reading this, I now want to pump while driving!! :) LOL

    • Tell her SHE CAN DO IT! Doctors are great (my kid wouldn’t be alive today without them), but in the end, she has to listen to her gut mommy instincts. If this is something she wants to do, then I say onward, soldier!!! :-) As mamas sometimes the hardest thing is choosing to do the thing that is in the best interest of our child, even when others roll their eyes. We can be confident because we know what is best for our little ones and that is that. God gave us mommy instincts for a reason!! As for the cracked nipples, tell her to squeeze out some breast milk and rub it on them. That always helped me. I would also encourage her to find a lactation consultant. There is still hope to breastfeed. It took my firstborn (who I nursed until he was 2) almost 5 months before we got into a rhythm. I had an oversupply of milk – sounds like she might too. Maybe she could pump for a few minutes BEFORE nursing so that they aren’t so full for baby to latch onto?? Just a thought. Hope this helps!

    • I had MAJOR issues nursing my second baby in the beginning! He nursed like a champ while in the hospital, but when we got home, it was like he’d never done it before! I am a cow when it comes to milk production and so after calling and talking to the hospital lactation consultant, she said that my milk had probably come in making latching on a whole new ball game! I did pump a little before each feeding so I wasn’t so full and that did help some. Many times, I had to pump some and get him started on a bottle first just so that he would want to latch on. I know many people say to never use a bottle within the first 4 weeks of nursing, but we did what we had to do!

      Our first 2 full months were HORRIBLE and I wanted to give up so many times! Every feeding was like a torture session for the both of us…many times my LO would scream bloody murder when I tried nursing him as if it was painful! All I wanted to do was feed my baby and he wanted nothing to do with it. :(

      Not only was he horrible at it, I suffered from several infections (my c-section incision and bladder infection) plus I suffer from Raynaud’s syndrome in my nipples (my blood vessels constrict when I nurse causing my nipples to turn white and feel like they’re being cut off). I was on several antibiotics and different medications so that was tough.

      But at the 2 month mark, something clicked in my LO’s head and he suddenly became a champ at nursing! I was so glad that things changed because I wasn’t sure that I could handle much more of what we were going through.

      Tell your niece that she needs to do what’s best for her and her baby! If that’s trying a bottle and pumping some, then great. If she is able to nurse, wonderful! But she shouldn’t feel bad about anything she tries…especially not from her dr!

      • Abi – good heavens, you have been through it! I have Raynaud’s in me hands – I can’t IMAGINE it in my nips! What a warrior for persevering in spite of so many road blocks!

  77. So informative! I loved this. I pumped exclusively for my son as well and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I can totally relate to pretty much everything you said (the cleaning…that was the worst!), I did do many of the things you mentioned (mostly by accident…I randomly really enjoyed oatmeal almost the entire year of pumping…who knew it was helping) and used pretty much all of the same products you used. I would say all of your recommendations are spot on. I even learned some tips I didn’t know, so I’m definitely saving this just in case I have to do the same with our next baby. Thanks so much!

  78. What a great post!! Thank you so much for this. I exclusively Breast fed and pumped for my 2 daughters. I HIGHLY recommend getting a pumping bra!! It was my savior! I did not have one when I pumped for my first daughter and I was so glad I had it the second time around!! I could read a book to my older daughter or play games on my phone while I pumped.

  79. 16 oz in one pumping?!?! I’m a little amazed. I nurse my son, but I tried pumping to build up a good store. My original plan was to stop nursing around 12-15 months, but continue to feed him expressed milk I had stored in the freezer and I was hoping it would last him until he was 2. I tried pumping after feeding him, pumping from one side and feeding him from the other, pumping if he was sleeping during his regular feeding time, after taking a hot shower, etc, but I was never able to get more than a few ounces, although he clearly gets plenty. 16 ounces has me a bit amazed. You go woman!

  80. Omg. This seems helpful. My daughter was born 12 weeks early at 1lb15oz. I pumped the whole time we were in the NICU… We’ve been home for 2 weeks and I’m having such a hard time just finding a chance to pump. I have an excellent Medela pump. But it’s just a matter of coming up with a schedule. It’s really discouraging. But I really enjoyed your article.

  81. I have been exclusively pumping for my daughter for the last 9 months. I agree with everything you had to share. My daughter was born on time, but she was very small and we found out later that she has a hole in her heart that affects her stamina, and she has never nursed, reguardless of practice. I am actually a registered nurse, and a CLC (certified lactation counselor) and am proof that it doesn’t matter how much you know about breastfeeding, if your child isn’t going to nurse, she isn’t going to nurse. I had terrible post-partum depression and can’t tell you how many times in the first two weeks that I almost called it quits. Then at least once a week during the first three months I had to remind myself why I was still pumping. After you have passed the three month point, I feel as though pumping has really become a part of your life and you don’t tend to dwell on it as much. I have been fortunate in my milk supply and in addition to your above recommendations for increasing/maintaining your milk supply, I also find it helpful to “power pump.” This is where you pump for 5 minutes, break for 1 minute, pump for 5 minutes, break for 1 minute, then pump to empty. This elevates your prolactin levels, which is the hormone related to milk production. It is a great idea to “power pump” in the early morning hours as your prolactin levels are the highest at this time.

    Good luck to all you exclusive pumpers out there; it is a huge committment to do this, but there are so many benefits for both you and your baby when it’s all said and done!

  82. I exclusively pump also. My baby is 3 months old and I only pump 4 times per day. I get over 60oz per day. I figure that if my supply dropped, I could just add more pumps throughout the day to increase supply. My baby presently eats right around 20oz per day, so I am looking into donating the excess.

  83. Another tip if you haven’t shared these elsewhere- I quit pumping at night when my baby started sleeping through the night and my milk supply remained the same until my period returned. Then it took a steep dip. I searched for days to find a fix, and finally discovered that calcium magnesium supplements will do the trick when your supply is low due to menstruation.

    And pumping in the car to and from work saved me so much time!!!!

  84. This is a great article! I’m not even pregnant but I am already reading up on breast feeding because when the time comes this is what I want to do. I work a 12 hour night shift & have always wondered how I could do it. I’m sure I still will have obstacles but this has given me some great ideas for the future!

  85. My daughter is now 3.5 mos old, and you are absolutely right when you say that the first three months of EP are hard! Hardest thing I have ever done, but don’t worry to all of you working on it – it gets better! Now I have a constant supply. Around 8 weeks my supply dipped so low, I had to supplement with formula but it upset her stomach so much. I found that oatmeal helped me boost my supply as well. (Definitely not instant oatmeal, but quick oats worked great), It’s awesome that you have all of this info here!!

  86. I am in month 6 of exclusively pumping and i think it was the greatest choice for my family. I currently have 2700 oz frozen in two freezers exclusively for milk and have cut down to 4 pumps a day, just enough to keep stores. One thing i would say to anyone who is building a stash, make sure you circulate your stash. You dont want your little one drinking milk you pumped when they were 3 weeks when they are 6 months.

  87. I had a cop pull me over one time while pumping during my drive back to work. He asked me if I was feeding my baby while driving. “Umm, no officer, I was pumping…” Needless to say he left quickly without saying another word. It was classic.

  88. I love love love this article! I pump during the day for my bambino while I am working, but nurse when we are together. This is my second time around. With #1, my milk supply fluctuated often and I would have to work hard to bring it back up. With #2, I have consistently been producing twice as much milk as I need. My little one is 7 months old and I have donated 1000 oz of frozen milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank already b/c breast milk was taking over our house…

    I think what has made the biggest difference in keeping my supply up this time around is keeping a good schedule. I work M-F and always pump at the same times on those days. I empty one side when I wake up in the mornings (b/c I am crazy full about to burst and shower everyone in the neighborhood with milk) and I nurse on the other side. I pump both sides at lunch and then again right before I get the babies from daycare. I nurse 2-3 more times in the evenings. Keeping my pumping schedule pretty consistent has been a lifesaver. And for working moms, its just 1 pump break while at work and can be done during a lunch break. The second time I pump is in the daycare parking lot. Hope this helps someone:)

  89. Hi ladies,
    I had my little miracle on April 6th, via emergency c-section. Two days later suffered a pulmonary embolism… We were on the hospital a total of 11 days, and I pumped the entire time. I had an amazing supply, and once we were home I continued to pump and fed my daughter exclusively on Breast milk until two weeks after I was home. I was staying extremely run-down and couldn’t even handle my baby… so. my doctors told me that i had to dry up my supply, bind my breast, and gave me antibiotics for the mastitis. :(
    I am currently on blood thinners,but have been assured that it is safe to take while nursing… and I would LOVE to try and nurse my girl again… Does anyone have any suggestions for this issue, or recommendations on producing milk again?

  90. I have benn breast feeding and pumping for 6 months while working as a nurse 3, 13s in a row. I notice my supply goes down when I am home just feeding the baby and pumping twice and I can only fit in two pumps at work. Thought about taking fenergeek do you think it would help or just try to pump more at work? Love your blog so helpful!

    Susan

    • Hey Susan! You are doing great! If you read through the comments, so many women said fenugreek worked for them! I say go for it – BUT CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST (See Becca’s comment below). Before that, however, increase your pumping sessions if you can. It’s supply and demand, so the more you pump, the more milk your body will make. :-)

    • Be sure to speak to your doctor before starting fenugreek. I have been taking it for months and noticed serious bruising. I spoke with my doctor thinking I had an iron issue but she did some research and advised me to stop taking it because it has anticoagulant properties that can cause bleeding and bruising issues in some. Just check to make sure your doc doesn’t think it will affect you adversely since you’re on blood thinners. There’s a lot you have to be aware of when taking them.
      For me now, I eat oatmeal daily, drink more water than I thought possible, occasionally drink Gatorade if it’s hot or I’m working outside, and pump a ton if I am dipping in supply. Stress can really mess your supply up, so don’t forget to ask for help, take naps if you can, and try to enjoy that pretty baby of yours.
      Good luck!

    • Fenugreek DEFFINITLY worked for me too!!! Plus the cookies!! Fenugreek made me smell like maple syrup lol weird I know.. But it worked so I didn’t care! ;)

  91. Congrats on 14 months of pumping. I became an exclusive pumper when my daughter was born prematurely at 30 weeks and never figured out how to latch correctly. I pumped for 14 months and it is still one of my proudest accomplishments as a Mommy. You should be so proud of yourself! It’s not the easiest thing to do, but with enough motivation, it can be done! I had doctors who thought I was crazy for continuing to pump. Love your list of recommendations!

  92. Hi, I am a first time mom :) I have a hard time figuring out when I should pump..while he’s feeding..after he feeds & if so how many hours after (as I always worry he’s going to be hungry again BEFORE I can build up my supply) etc so I was wondering what you recommend. As of right now I feed my son, who is 3 months, on demand which usually means every 2-3 hours.

  93. I’m a nursing/pumping momma (I work outside of the home full-time) and at my most extreme pumping times – I was pumping 18-22oz in an 8hr work day (oversupply?? maybe – but I had low supply issues with my first child, so I wasn’t taking any chances – I pumped like a mad-woman!!) and now that my baby – er, toddler? (she’ll be 14mos on Friday!!) is eating more solids I am less concerned about my supply, as we’re still nursing in the morning, as soon as we get home from work/daycare and a few times in the evening/night… I’ve dropped from pumping 3x daily at work to 1x/day most days – and am still getting 9-12oz in that one pumping session (and she only takes 9oz at daycare in addition to whatever is on the menu for breakfast, lunch and snacks) :) I think you EP’ers are amazing. I don’t know that I could have lasted this long if I was pumping only – I hate pumping! you provide fantastic tips though! some of which I’ve used and agree they are great :) thanks for sharing your journey!! (I did/do however freeze milk – and as I’ve such a crazy supply we’ve hardly used any of it, but instead I’ve donated around 700+ ounces to local mommas/babies in need of donor milk) :) I cannot wait until I get to pump wean and ditch that thing!! :)

  94. OK, i have a 7 month old and my supply is dropping bad so I have started pumping and nursing more…will it come back???

    • HEather, this is normal as your body is probably regulating the hormones and you are getting your period back… at least that is what happened to me and several others. Read through the comments – one gal said that taking a calcium magnesium supplement helped her with this issue. Sometimes I would have a bad week of low supply and then be fine the next, so don’t give up!

  95. I love this post! All the advise was wonderful! I do have a question though, I tried to exclusively pump with my last 2 kids because none of my kids have been able to latch right but I was only able to do it for like 3 months because my nipples would get so raw and bleed all the time. I tried all the creams and all and did it the right times but it was just so painful I always end up giving up. What do you all do to prevent the sore/ bleeding nipples? I am prego again and defiantly want to last way longer than 3 months this time!!!

    • Katie – I didn’t struggle with the nipple issue – you poor girl! That sounds terrible! I heard of a trick somewhere to squeeze some milk out of your nipples toward the end of your pregnancy (you will probably have some milk in there the closer you get to due date!) and then just smear it all over the nipple. I did this after my babies were born too – it was like a natural way to soothe them. I don’t know if that will help, but that’s all I know to share! That and sometimes going just a little past that 3 month mark might send you into a less traumatic zone. I honestly think there is something to be said for the fact that the first 3 months are REALLY hard (physically and emotionally) but after that it is all uphill. God bless you!!!

      • thanks so much for the advise. I hope this time I wont have as many problems with my pumping, I have high hopes!

  96. I found this via Pinterest and I just had to stop by. I pumped exclusively for 12 months. It’s not an easy task by any means, but it was so worth it. I used that same pump and while I loved it while pumping, I don’t miss it. :) also, those wipes were a life saver when I was pumping at work.

  97. This is the first helpful article I’ve found! I have 7 week old twins, a 3 year old and a 5 year old. I breastfed my older two for the first year and was hoping to do that with my twins. Nursing the twins has been more difficult and time consuming than I expected, so looks like I’m going to have to pump a ton. Thank you for the information – now I realize some changes that I need to make! Right now I pump about every 4 hours and am able to keep up with the babies feeding….I’m hoping that won’t change when they start eating more!

  98. awwwwwwww – the clouds have parted and the light has shone through! You are amazing! Thank you for sharing this! My baby also started her life in the NICU and never was able to transfer over to the breast from bottles so I have been exclusively pumping for 3 months now. I have been starting to feel really down on myself as a mom for not being able to do the “most natural” thing for her – feed her. I was getting to the point of giving up but the voices of other people pressuring me and guilting me to stay with breastmilk rang through my head. Your post gave me new hope to continue with pumping and it also released all those voices in my head. This line saved me – “It doesn’t matter what your baby eats (breast milk or formula) because God is in control of your baby’s life/health.” Thank you!

  99. Just wanted to say thanks for writing this I love it! I nurse and pump every feeding because I have so much milk that of I don’t I get clogged milk ducts. And am full all the time. I can feed my 4 month old and still pump off 14-20 ounces after he eats. Its nice to know I am not the only one with a pump glued to me. I do freeze my extra milk and it goes to a baby who’s mom can’t produce milk.

  100. This is so great. I went back to work after my c section at 2.5 weeks and pumped ever since then.. I nursed at home (had a lot of nursing strikes as he was used to the bottle) on weekends and night time, but he stopped nursing at 13 months. I am still pumping but down to once a day as of today (it’s so liberating!!!) and he is now 20 months old. Pumping is SUPER hard work but I’m so glad I did it. This is super helpful for women needing to pump because I felt like I was constantly googling about supply, pumping times and schedules, reducing stress, increasing let down, you name it- every time I sat down to pump!

  101. Thank you so much for this blog. I have a 8 week old. I started to supplement with formula because I can not keep up with my pumping. Reading your helpful tips made me reevaluate my pumping techniques. Thank you so much! :’)

  102. Oh my goodness don’t I wish I had been able to read this four years ago. You have some great tips here!! Saving your site to share with other moms

  103. Hi! Thank you for sharing your experience! I was wondering if you (or any other readers) had any insights or advice about starting to exclusively pump late in the game.

    My daughter is 10 mos old, and we have breastfed well until recently. She’s turning out to be quite the biter and just getting kind of rough. We’re working on teaching her not to bite and to be gentle, but it’s taking a toll on me. Besides dips in supply around my period, I haven’t had any supply issues, so I’m still able to produce for her and I would like to keep doing that, especially this close to the 1-yr mark! I’m thinking that exclusively pumping might be a way to go to round out the year.

    Thanks for any thoughts you might have!

  104. I’m exclusively pumping. My son is 11 weeks and he would nurse all day and never get satisfied! I’ve had to supplement with 1 bottle of formula a day bc I’m not producing enough. I’ve tried to pump 5 min after my milk stop but it never does. I’m talking 45 minutes pumping and milks still squirting out. This seems strange to me! Have you ever experienced that?

    • Brittany, you are pumping for 45 minutes and your milk is not stopping for that entire time and you are not producing enough??? IT sounds like, if you pump for that long and your milk is flowing out that entire time, that you would be filling buckets. I am not sure I understand your situation… I would encourage you to speak with a lactation consultant. You are doing a great job sticking with the pumping, though!

  105. I have a 5 month old and I’ve been back to work since she was 10 weeks old – I used I be able to get 3-4oz, each side … Now I am lucky if I get 3-4oz TOTAL. Pumping every 3 hours (except at night). If I start waking up to pump, can I expect my supply to increase?

    I hear that once your supply decreases, there is no real way to stop from “drying up” – please tell me this isn’t true!!

    It’s such hard work to pump, and it’s not very satisfying when you can’t get as much as you used to!!

    • Girl, that is not true! My doula had a client who literally STOPPED nursing for 2 WHOLE weeks and then wanted to nurse again and she pumped every 2 hours for several days and her supply came back. Do NOT worry. Please make sure you are doing everything that this post suggests (eating, sleeping, not stressing, etc.) and then yes, try adding back in an extra pump somehow. You want to aim for at least 7 pumps per day. Best if 8. Let me know how it goes! P.S. your output is totally normal. Check out the article – http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/pumping/pumping_decrease/

  106. Love this blog!
    I too am an exclusive pumper. No medical issues just latching issues and it progressed from there. I am almost 11 months into exclusive pumping. I did a lot of research on my own, wish I had found this blog earlier. I was very disappointed that I wasn’t “breastfeeding” like all the lactation consultants had pushed. It was very hard on me in the beginning and being a first time mom sometimes it’s overwhelming. I work full time so having exclusively pumped helped when I returned to work. I had run into some of my own health issues currently so having a huge frozen supply has helped. No need for formula!
    Glad you have this blog! Breastfeeding mammas need encouragement! Don’t give up!! It’s all worth it!!

  107. I had been exclusively pumping for probably the last month or so. The reason I started was because baby E couldn’t go more than and hour and half without being hungry again so I figured she probably wasn’t getting enough from nursing and I was exhausted trying to nurse her that frequently. This went on during the night too. Nothing else was wrong- no latch problems, no tongue tie. She would nurse for only about 15 min from one breast and then be done. So my husband and I decided to try pumping and feeding her with a bottle to see how much she was drinking. She starting taking 3-4oz and was lasting approx 3-4 hours between feedings. It was heaven! I was happier (even though it’s a lot more work to EP), baby was happier, and daddy was happiest because both his girls were finally happy. Everything was going great…until I told people that I was EPing….

    They acting like I was doing something wrong–I got questions and comments like
    -Why wouldn’t you just breast feed?
    -Why not try and weigh her before and after nursing to see how much she is getting?
    -If she’s making wet diapers and gaining weight, she is getting enough
    -She really needs that bond that babies get when nursing
    -You should try nursing her and then offering her a bottle

    And it just went on and on and on…made me feel like I was a monster of a mom, HOW COULD I BOTTLE FEED HER BREAST MILK?!?! It has me second guessing everything. I know that I am doing what is best for baby E so why do I feel so bad?? Anyone else going through this??

    Carla

    • You are definitely not the only one. *HUG* I still get the side eye from certain family members. If I could BF I would. I really would. This just works better and my son is in the 90th percentile every well visit. Trust your mommy gut. Our Mother’s Intuition is there for a reason.

    • No you aren’t the only one. It sounds like you really knew what your baby needed. It sounds like her latch might not have been efficient and she was just very tired after trying for 15 minutes. I have noticed that I feel strong and confident about the sacrifice of exclusively pumping, until one of my nursing mom friends starts with the advice. I know they don’t mean to hurt, but it is just plain discouraging. Since this is what you have chosen to do, be careful not to let in the comments of those who don’t support it. Because it’s hard enough without all that. (I tell my friends that pumping is the worst of both worlds: none of the bonding that comes with nursing, with none of the convenience of formula! But the health benefit and sweet breath are worth it!) So stay strong, and keep close to those who understand and support you.
      Anna

  108. Thank you so much for posting this! I am currently EPing for my 7 week old son. I also EPed for my first son, but stopped producing (I made less than an ounce total a day when I decided to stop) at 6 weeks with my first, so I’m getting into uncharted territory now! I had a breast reduction, so I will likely never have a full supply; right now I make about two ounces total per session while taking fennugreek, alfalfa, blessed thistle and marshmallow root.

    One thing I have tried this time to help combat my drop in supply (I’ve seen a little increase, but I would mostly say doing this has help me keep my supply and not loose it like I did last time) was power pump. I take one pump session a day and pump for ten minutes, then rest for ten minutes, pump for ten, rest for ten, pump for ten, rest for ten, and pump one more time and I’m done! It sounds like it would be terrible, but it is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

    I do have one question – I cannot for the life of me figure out how to pump in a dress! Right now I would only wear one to church, and we have a nursing mother’s room, so I suppose I could bring a pair of shorts to slip on and pull my dress up and pump, but I feel like there has to be a better way. Any dresses I’ve found that cross over in the front don’t pull back far enough to allow me to pump. If you have any tips on dressing for pumping, I would love to hear them!

    • Hmmmm… What a great question! A dress… I don’t think I wore one until I was done pumping! It is pretty awkward! I wore a lot of button down shirts and not tight sports bras to help with easy access. The nursing tanks at Target were also a blessing! Thanks for stopping by and for your tips about power pumping!

  109. I love this article! I am wondering why you are supposed to only pump for 15-20 min??? i do it until no more milk comes out. (which is about 30-40 min each boob) I am able to feed my LO and have about 3500oz in the freezer.

    • You know, Jessica, I am not really sure! I read somewhere that you should pump for at least 15, but no more than 20. In the hospital I was told to pump for 30, and like you, more in the beginning than later, though, my milk just kept coming for that 30 minutes. I guess it is different for everyone??? When my supply evened out I HAD To pump that long so that I would make enough for my baby.

  110. Thank you for all of the information on pumping exclusively! I happily BF my first four children with no problems. However, my fifth child was born with a cleft lip and palate. I am in uncharted waters. #5 was born a month ago and we have settled into a somewhat routine. However, I have not been able to get any more than 3 hr of sleep per day (thats with lots of help from my husband and older children, I have a 16 month old) and I am only able to get about 15 min of housework done per day. I am pumping every two hours and twice at night in order to feed him. I am able to stay on top of feedings, but nothing extra. My question is…does the amount of pumping I have to do lighten up in the next couple of months or is this something I will have to maintain the whole time? I will happily continue, dirty house and all, but I need some sleep and I don’t think I can continue being a happy sleep-deprived mom for very much longer.
    Thanks

    • Oh BAri! Holy smokes you must be operating on fumes alone! You certainly have a full plate! I am amazed at your perseverance to keep moving with the pumping. YES, the first 3 months are the hardest while you establish the supply. After you feel like your supply has evened out, you can start backing off a bit on your schedule. For example, after my supply was established I sometimes went 4 hours between pumps. Or I made it work for me and did a pump in the morning then another one 2 hours later then a big break of 4 hours, etc. You can make it work for you. Hang in there, girl!!!! You are AMAZING!

  111. Rock on 14 months!!! My 1st child a girl, we had a bad time getting her to connect and I was all for breastfeeding so I decided to stop trying to make the breastfeeding work and started pumping everything and then some frozen for her for 1 full year (the frozen milk I guess provided her almost the last 2-3 weeks)! It was lots of work but I was able to look back and feel content because I did what I felt she needed. Now my son 4 months has been great at breastfeeding, hes my chunker (I feed him about 6-7oz breastmilk and then sometimes add 2-3 oz formula)

  112. I pumped the first month while my premature child gathered strength an learned to nurse. I felt like a cow. Seriously. The stress of feeding, pumping, cleaning, feeding, pumping etc. about ran me over a cliff. I felt like there were always bottles, pump supplies and everything else every where. One of the positives to nursing is that it is supposed to be easier eventually. I wouldn’t give up on trying to teach your child to nurse. Apparently it can take up to six weeks, and maybe after the milk supply comes in and they aren’t starving (feed them a bit) try nursing again.

    Nursing isn’t easy and it is so stressful. I have said if all the nursing activist spent as much time actually helping new moms learn to nurse as they do telling new moms they are evil for not nursing a whole lot more people would do it.

    I found pumping painful, less productive and stressful. I had no down time. At least nursing I had the down time when she was on the boob to sit.

    There is no right answer for everyone, but I didn’t realize that the first few days aren’t your only window as long as you have kept your milk supply going.

    Good luck. It gets easier.

    • You are right. After finding this article (thank you again and again!) I pumped for 14 weeks, trying to nurse occasionally. And finally at 14 weeks, he latched on and nursed efficiently for the first time. I was prepared to pump for a whole year, so this was a welcome surprise. Two weeks of initial soreness are behind us, and we are full-time breastfeeding now. I never could have kept up my supply without finding this article though. Many thanks.
      Anna

      • Anna, I am so happy for your breastfeeding victory! What an amazing testimony!!! That just put a smile on my face!!! :-) And thank you for all of your encouraging words… I have so appreciated it!

  113. I laughed out loud as I read your post. I have been exclusively pumping for 5 months; the 1st month I nursed. It was so nice to relate to….your chair (I have a chair), the crazy places you’ve pumped (had to in a professor’s office), the crazy sounds the pump makes….what does it say? I make up songs to it, the feeling that you want to toss it out into the canal….think I want the window. And the cleaning…..oh my goodness, the cleaning!! Although I know we can laugh, I am beginning to wean, and to my surprise am finding this much more emotionally difficult than I imagined. Believe me, I still want to celebrate putting that pump away to greener pastures, yet I’m feeling to my surprise… sad. Any advice from your experience?

    • Sweet Mandy, and thus the reason why I pumped for 14 months! I felt the Lord nudging me to give it up when he was 11 months but I stubbornly held on for 3 more months because I had the hardest time letting go!!! You should read this post I wrote about it – http://happyhomefairy.com/2013/03/11/11-months-why-i-dont-want-to-be-a-pillar-of-salt/. Any kind of change is hard. But I promise, once you make it to the other side, you are going to feel like a NEW WOMAN. :-) So proud of you for your hard work and dedication! Your baby is so blessed by you!

      • I read your reply and wept. No one can really understand other than a mother, like you, whose felt both similar great successes and great struggles. Your article referencing the salt has left me thinking of its message each day since I have read it. What a gift you have given me! Change is hard, yet as you state, letting go of what once was or is now leaves awesome opportunity for the future. I enjoy playing the parable through my mind each day. It’s taken me a while to reply because it has been such a difficult decision to stop pumping after 7 months. Yet, I find strength and comfort each day in your presence. I don’t know you, but please realize what a true gift you are to me! Thank you for your strength. Fondly, Mandy

  114. I have been nursing and pumping for 3-1/2 months now and my baby girl is up to eating 5 oz per feeding. She is nice and rolly so I’m satisfied that she’s getting enough, but when I pump I am good to get that same 5 oz per pumping session. I always pump after I feed her first thing in the morning (when I look like I could get a job at Hooters without even applying) and get plenty, but the rest of the pumping sessions are low. What’s your best piece of advice for getting the volume up? I read that some of you get 12-14 oz per session and I’m drooling about how much supply you have! That would be incredible to be able to stash that much away. I have returned to work but only part time and they’re really flexible about my pumping during the day. I keep to every 3 hours even while at work but I still can’t get past the 4-5 oz per session.

    On a side note, I really appreciate your crediting God for His blessings in your pumping experience. Very encouraging and a good reminder to keep in mind Who is behind it all and that it’s all under control! =)

    • Hey Abby! Pumping output is different for everyone, but it is especially different for exclusive pumpers vs. pumpers/nursers. You are actually producing a great amount!!!! You could try pumping every 2 hours at work for a season and that might help. Thanks for your sweet words!!!

  115. I’m a first time mom due in a week or so and have been very excited about breast feeding but have a million concerns. My boyfriend wants to be very involved in the feeding and has even agreed to take over the night time feelings so I can sleep. We have both decided to try and stay away from formula for our baby’s health.

    Can I breast feed and bottle feed at the same time? I’ve heard that once I introduce a bottle baby won’t want the breast anymore :(

    If that’s the case and I continue to pump and refrigerate, how do I warm baby’s milk? I’ve heard I shouldn’t microwave or use stove top.

    Please help!

    • Evelyn! Love your name… My cousin has the same name! Anywho… No no no. You can totally do breast and bottle. I would just establish a really awesome nursing relationship before you intro the bottle. Like maybe 6 weeks? But yes, the bottle is easier, so you just have to be firm about how often you give it. So many mamas pump at work while their babies take bottles then nurse them at home. It works. For warming the milk… I just poured the milk into the bottle then stuck the bottle into a small bucket or tall cup filled with warm-medium hot water. Give it about 15 minutes and you are good to go. They also have bottle warmers out there which I hear are pretty rad, but we just don’t have the counter space. I hope this helps!

    • Hey! I just want to add that my son tales a bottle (of MY milk) not formula and I still nurse him perfect during the daytime! It is so doable!! He never got “nipple confusion” like some people may say and I only nursed him exclusively for about a week and then tried a slow flow bottle and a week later (with bottles at nighttime) he stills nurses PERFECTLY!! Good luck and you will be fine!

  116. Awesome job! I exclusively pumped for 11 months with baby #1 and 13 months with baby #2. I know how attached you get to your pump. With baby #2 I was able to freeze an additional 40 oz. per day and donate it to the milk bank and someone I found on milkshare. Now with baby #3 I was determined to make breast feeding work so I could ditch the pump. The first ) weeks were awfu, because i was so full but i wanted to make it work. Thankfully everything worked out and I just pump twice a day to donate. Honestly I love the extra calorie burning so I don’t mind doing it at all.
    You tips are great and I am glad you wrote your article, when I had my first in 2008 their was hardly any information available to those who exclusively pump.

  117. I exclusively pumped for both my boys (3 years apart) for 14 months. I have extremely inverted nipples on both sides and holding and trying to feed was so awkward but I wanted them to have the best so I pumped, hated it really but don’t regret it.

  118. I came across this page via Pinterest, and like everyone else loved it very much. I learned so much. For example, I didn’t realize that you’re not supposed to shake BM. I read most of the comments but not all, so I apologize if I ask you something that has been addressed. My question is can you re-establish milk supply. I had my third baby In April and decided to breastfeeding. Like my other two babies I started to feel like I wasn’t producing enough milk… Because of the nonstop crying and pressures from those around me, I started to supplement. I have read many article on increasing milk supply, but nothing has really helped. At this point, I am pumping a few times in order to make one feeding :(. Can I still increase my supply? I hear its supply and demand however, is it possinble that I just don’t make enough or did I ruin it bc I supplemented so early?

    • Andrea yes you can reestablish your supply. I would read through some of the comments. I suggest power pumping or pumping every 2 hours. ANd i mean EVERy. hang in there – you can do it! xoxo

  119. My baby is 5 days old today. My breasts are engorged but still nothing when I pump with my medela swing pump. I was contemplating buying one of medelas double pumps hoping they were somehow more effective, but the cost is holding me back if fir whatever reason I am not able to pump. I wasn’t able to with my first child either. I have been drinking tons of water. My baby does not want to latch since engorgement. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • I have always started leaking when I take a hot shower. Even if I’ve just nursed or pumped. Have you tried something like that along with massage to get it started? I have been pumping for about 2 months and haven’t had issues for a majority of the time but I can tell a huge difference in the amount I pump if I’m stressed while pumping or just trying to hurry through it to get on to something else. As soon as I relax and not think about exactly how much I’m getting out, it goes a lot faster and more easily. Just a though. Hope it helps! Good luck!

  120. Im exclusively pumping for my 3rd child. I pump 3 times a day. Right when I wake up, around 3pm, and right before I go to bed. I get 10-13 oz each time I pump. Finn is 4 months old now and I am usually putting one feeding a day in the freezer. I get so many odd looks from bf mamas. “WHY do you pump?!”

  121. I am so glad my friend mentioned this article!!! I exclusively pumped for my son and now I am pumping and somewhat nursing my daughter. I have a question,you said that you didn’t save any of your milk in the freezer, did you not have too much in the fridge? I pump every two hours during the day and at night I try to every three hours. My daughter is 2 weeks I pump about five oz in two hours and she is only eating 2-2 1/2 oz so I feel like if I keep it only in he fridge I will waste some since I produce more then she eats. Did you ever have to throw milk away?

  122. Haha! My baby it’s turning 1 next Saturday (08-10-13) and it’s so weird not to pump anymore. I (only) pump for 12 months and I feel so BAD but after reading this article I know that GOD is in control. Thank you!!!!

  123. this is really helpful info all in one place! one thing is that i think some insurances will pay for a pump! if you happen to want to update the article you could look into that since i just came to your site from a fresh pinterest pin. i have a couple of sisters who are pregnant w/ their 1sts :) i’ll share. thanks!

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  125. Great article. Couple of things, the insurance coverage is due to the affordable healthcare act. All insurance is supposed to pay for rental but many will just buy one because it is cheaper. Some require you to have a prescription. Also, there is a great breast milk calculator at kellymom.com It helps figure out how much your baby should get from a bottle. My son never went over 5oz. And I nursed/pumped to 13 months. Some moms get discouraged when they can’t get more than an oz or two and for tiny babies that do nurse that may be all they really eat. Good tips for milk production. Glad it has so much following.

  126. My lil one is 4 months I have only breast fed part time and used formula part time. I was wondering If it is possible to rebuild the milk supply to full time or if once it goes down it is down to that level for good?

    • Yes, Candace. It is possible. But you must be ready to commit yourself to some serious work. Try power pumping every 2 hours. Or, if she is nursing, get her on your breast as much as possible. Read through some of the other comments here for more great tips. You are awesome! You can do it!

    • Babies are better at “getting milk out” than even the best pump. A lot of the moms here have babies that couldn’t latch so if your baby will latch and nurse I would go that direction. :) when I had a similar problem spending the weekend on the couch with baby, food, water and Netflix worked 1000x better than just trying to pump more.

      I think if rather than giving her formula start every feeding by nursing. To start your supply is going to be low; but your body should start producing more as you nurse more. Once you’ve nursed top her off with formula. Try to cut the formula to just enough that she isn’t starving; but not so much that she’ll be happy for six hours. You want her to nurse every two or three hours to get your supply back up. I would be seriously tempted to give formula at night so she sleeps better; but my understanding is that night time nursing is one of the best things for supply. :( maybe you could give her a formula bottle in the early evening late afternoon to start and grap a quick nap then. Building supply back takes calories and sleep. So be ready to let some other things go for a few weeks. And eat lots of healthy snacks.

      We didn’t use formula, but I went for about a month where my supply dipped insanely low because of stress at work. Since I had a freezer stash we were able to use that while I got my body back on track; so its not the same exactly, but its similar. It was a lot of work but he went from having four of six feedings coming from the freezer back to nursing and “fresh” pumped in about six weeks.

  127. I love that I found this blog post via pinterest. I had a sweet boy with medical issues (stroke at 2 weeks old) and I pumped exclusively for him for the first 7-8 months as he learned to eat with a bottle. I thought I was the only one who did that! It’s so neat to see so many other moms who did the same thing. This was so encouraging and you did such a great job!!

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  131. My lo had cleft lip and palate. I am still pumping at 18 months. I want my lo to have all the benefits of breast milk. I pump every 7-8 hours now and I get 8-9oz each time. I am glad that I am not the only one out there that does this, but if I was it wouldn’t matter. I just want what is best for my baby.

  132. Hi it’s great to see so many others have pumped as I did, I felt I was the only one in the world who did it, I wish I had read this long ago. I look back very fondly at what I did, only the need to feed your child could make you put yourself through such a regime. I was also told by the midwife that it would be impossible to pump exclusively long term, well I showed her and she was most grateful for the many ounces of milk I donated to the hospital, that was a bonus.

    I have a question for those who have now stopped pumping. Have you had any side effects/changes since stopping? I have been having 2-3 migraines every month since I stopped pumping 3 and a half years ago I can’t help but think its related because that’s when they began, I mention it to doctors but they always ignore me! I’ve been trying out different types of medication all this time and nothing prevents them. I can’t have more children so I will never find out if producing milk will cure me.

  133. This is a great post. I exclusovely nursed for 14 months and at least pumped 3x per day while working. The tips you list here are the same I used and they worked! I particularly loved the nighttime nursing bras. Motherhood Maternity has a nice version of them too. Thanks for sharing!

  134. It’s so nice to hear of others that did the same. My son is now 13, but as my first I had tremendous guilt that I was unable to nurse. I can relate to all you’ve talked about here. I would get up, feed my son (had an incredible bottle warmer), change him, put him down and then pump. By the time I was done, I had about an hour and a half before I had to do it all again. I was able to nurse my girls but I was a dedicated pumper for them as well. People thought I was nuts for spending that much time expressing milk but it helped me feel more connected. Thanks for the validation!

  135. I love this! I have pumped exclusively for both of my babies and am still pumping for my 16 month old little lady! IT CAN BE DONE!!!

  136. Here is a GREAT recipe for lactation cookies.. I had my DS about three weeks ago and noticed already my milk dropping and I kid you not I ate these cookies and my breast were FULL the next morning. Also it’s better if you just eat the dough and not actually bake the cookie dough into cookies. Here is the recipe, don’t substitute Anything.

    Lactation Cookies

    Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 10 mins Total time: 20 mins

    Ingredients
    Lactation Cookies
    Ingredients:
    1 C butter
    1 C sugar
    1 C brown sugar
    4 T water
    2 T flaxseed meal (DO NOT substitute)
    2 Lg eggs
    1 t vanilla
    2 C flour
    1 t baking soda
    1 t salt
    3 C Thick cut oats
    1 C Chocolate chips
    2 T Brewers Yeast (DO NOT substitute)
    Instructions
    Preheat oven to 375.
    Mix 2 T of flaxseed meal and water, set aside 3-5 minutes.
    Cream butter and sugar.
    Add eggs.
    Stir flaxseed mix into butter mix and add vanilla.
    Beat until well blended.
    Sift: dry ingredients, except oats and choc chips.
    Add butter mix to dry ingredients.
    Stir in the oats and then the choc chips.
    Drop on parchmant paper on baking sheet.
    Bake 8-12 minutes.

  137. wow love this article. I was breastfeeding my little girl but now she is 5 months old and LOVES to stiffin out and is being more difficult to feed ( don’t think she is getting it fast enough) so now I am going to just pump and feed her. THis helped out a lot on things I was wondering about!

  138. Wow! There have been so many women commenting on this post since I was here last! I knew this was a god-send for me, as well as so many others. I just wanted to stop in and tell you that my pumping journey is over, but with a happy surprise ending. I could not have done it without these insights into the strange world of exclusively pumping. Thanks so much. I wrote the whole thing out on my blog, in case you are interested. http://lassothemoon.typepad.com/lasso_the_moon/2013/08/all-about-eli.html Thank you again for sharing your story, your heart, and all of your excellent tips!
    Anna

  139. I appreciate this article, but especially your comment at the end about consulting God and husband and realizing that you aren’t a failure of a mom if you don’t breast feed or pump. Great info! Thanks for sharing.

    • Agreed! I had the hardest time with breast feeding, to the point I was having an anxiety attack when it as time to feed my sweet baby and I really appreciate this reminder:

      In the end God’s not going to ask you how long you pumped (or even if you pumped) for your baby.

      What matters is how you reflected His love and joy and peace and patience in your Happy Home.

      It’s obvious this post was Spirit-led and I’m so thankful for your obedience which is blessing so many, ncluding myself. God bless you!

  140. Hi my name is lily,
    First time being a mom and reding your article was amazing but yet sounded stressful only the because if the fact that I work 40 hrs a week and go to school twice a week. I really want to breastfeed but to me sounds impossible!! Please help!

  141. Thank you for this wonderful article.
    I was hoping you would have some tips to get a greater yield. Baby Boy is 3 1/2 months old and I have returned to work. I’m able to take breaks to pump every 3-4 hours. Im pumping 5-6 oz between both sides at a time. I’m struggling to produce enough to take care of Baby Boy for the next day. Any advice you would have would be greatly appreciated.

  142. I exclusively pumped for 12 months with my daughter and your article was spot on! I am a working mom so had to pump 2/3x a day and after about 7 months, I noticed my supply slowly starting to decrease. Fortunately, I kept pumping and had enough stored in the freezer that it carried us the next 5 months. Definitely not for everyone but I found it rewarding that I was able to do that for her!

  143. What a wonderfully positive vibe from this article and the comments! I pumped- for SO many reasons- with both of my boys and got SO MUCH negative feedback! Lactivists telling me it wasn’t as good as nursing, formula proponents pressuring me to be less weird, both sides making fun of feeding a baby with a bottle WHILE pumping. If I had this as a resource then I would not have given up @ 8 months feeling ashamed and like a failure. In fact, it makes me feel a little better even now- 4 years later! Thank you all!

  144. Great info! So much detail!! I thought I was going to have to pump exclusively and I was so worried about how I could manage it. Luckily, I was able to get my supply up enough and fix our latching problems. I would have needed a Happy Home Fairy to be able to pump… how do you pump when you are a homeschooling mom of two other girls, plus needing to take care of a newborn who has reflux and just got over heart surgery? That was our situation. You’re a supermom for doing it for 14 months!
    I wrote about ways to increase milk supply here, if you want to check it out!http://www.savvy-spending.com/2013/07/for-new-mommies-like-me-ways-to.html

  145. This is a GREAT article! Thanks for writing it!!! I am exclusively pumping for my daughter, an it is great! One tip that someone gave to me…drink a can of root beer every day! Weird, but it works and I can tell in my supply if I do not drink it!! I also do not pump during the night… I make it about 9-10 ( my daughter sleeps 11-12 hours a night) hours and then I pump in the morning! It has worked just fine for me!

  146. I was so happy to read about someone else who exclusively pumped! I thought I was the only weirdo out there. I believed that breast milk was best and committed myself to 6 months of pumping with my first. It was rough and I went through mastitis and low supply but I was able to store enough that after 6 months of pumping I had another 2 months frozen. I had my alarm set every three hours for the first few months. I caught up on all the sports new watching reruns of ESPN at 3 am. Even when the baby started sleeping through the night, there I was diligently pumping away while husband and baby slept. I had four dogs to keep me company. I panicked every time my supply came in a little low. I would sometimes sleep through my alarm and my husband would have to wake me up. I pumped three times a day at work, giving up my lunch hour in return. Ironically baby number one got sick for the first time two weeks after the milk supply ran out. Since I gave the first baby 6 months I was committed to giving baby number two 6 months. I almost cried when I had to bring the pump back out. The first few weeks were more successful breastfeeding than with baby number one so I was hopeful I wouldn’t need the pump until I returned to work. Alas, week three my mother in law became convinced I was producing enough and that baby was hungry and my husband became convinced so I broke out the pump. I then set up 8 alarm times a day. I had DVR this time around and would watch old episodes of Chopped or Iron Chef while pumping in the wee hours. This time I allowed for a little more flexibility. I was diligent but not obsessively crazed about pumping exactly when the alarm went off. It was rough, especially with a newborn and 18 month old but I survived. I pumped again at work. I am fortunate enough to have my own office. I actually ended up with a better supply than baby number one. Your article was very inspiring and made me so happy to know someone else out there did what I did. It is nice to know other mothers out there at 3 am doing good and making sacrifices. I remember timing out trips and church and travel and errands around pump times. But it worked and I survived. To all those who may struggle, don’t give up. Keep trying. Hang in there and you can do it. It sucks, but you can do it.

  147. I am an exclusive pumper and my have been for the last 5 months. Almost 6. But I can’t seem to get my supply past 4oz. I pump ever 3 hours, eat oatmeal, fenugreek, lactation cookies, 20 min pumping session. Everything. What else can I do to make my supply go up? I’m so afraid I won’t make enough when she gets hungrier.

  148. So, I’m NOT the only drive-n-pump mama! *High five!* I always wondered about getting pulled over too, “One moment, please Officer, I have to unhook ‘the girls.’” This is a great summary. I pumped exclusively for 15 months–my daughter is a micro-preemie (was 1 lb, 7 oz at birth), and just never ended up a direct breastfeeder. My favorite: hands-free pumping, giving a bottle to my gal, and the apnea monitor falsely alarmed…all at 2am! Thanks for the article.

  149. My first daughter was born 3 months premature, so I pumped for 7 months so that she could get breast milk. I couldn’t get myself to wake up in the middle of the night, so I would just pump first thing in the morning. Would get 15 ounces out of each side, and the rest of the day would get about 8 ounces from each side. It was crazy!

  150. I was wondering If you can help me out! I was breast feeding my daughter until she was 5 months and then I started working. I would feed her when ever she wanted I was never on a schedule with her. Now I try to pump at work but sometime I miss a pumping session. And I only get 1 to 2 oz per boob per session is there any way I can increase my milk supple or is it to late? I don’t want to dry up!

    • Maggie, if you want to increase your supply you simply must be diligent to pump and nurse as much as you possibly can without going long stretches between sessions. There are also other tips I included in this article as well as this comment section. Good luck!!!!

  151. Thank you so much for this beautiful article packed with so much information! It is such an incredible resource for those starting a pumping routine. (…and like you, I logged many hours on Pinterest during my pumping adventure!)

  152. My first pregnancy resulted in twin boys. Despite my lack of knowledge, I started off breastfeeding by day and formula feeding by night. This was advice from my nurse, so I followed it. When I got home with my bundles of joy, I was completely overwhelmed. I was told to try pumping to see if I was even producing enough milk, which stressed me out more because the same mommy who told me to pump was constantly telling me I wasn’t doing enough, and to give up on breastfeeding. I was so incredibly stressed out it was absurd. After 3 months, I gave it up and formula feed them. 5 years later, and another baby on the way, I did a ton of research, despite that mommy being in disbelief that I was going to attempt breastfeeding again. Nursing at home wasn’t going well again, and the pediatrician told me baby was completely tongue-tied and not latching properly. I started pumping with my new knowledge in hand, and baby did wonderfully, despite the constant criticism I endured for all my pumping. I managed to block it all out and just pump. I added oatmeal and mothers milk tea to my diet and produced copious amounts of milk. We danced this dance for exactly 12 months successfully. Now 2 years later, another newborn who is slightly tongue-tied and shows some latching issues, I am nursing again. I honestly feel that pumping was easier, and less time consuming. I’m considering exclusively pumping again. We’ll see what happens!

    • I’d say don’t decide to just pump until after baby’s three month growth spurt. Honestly those first few months are the worst. After that its soooo much eaiser. No bottles to remember (unless your dropping baby off), nothing to clean, no packing coolers and all of that nonsense.
      Plus, some research suggests that the benifits of breastfeeding are highest when you actually nurse- obviously pumping is NOT a bad thing and still an amazing thing to do for your baby, but it’s just some food for thought.
      I’m sure you’ll make the best decision for you and baby; and obviously I’m just some random stranger on the Internet. But I promise if you can make it through the hard part at first it will get so much eaiser. During the week I pump almost exclusively- he only nurses in the morning. The weekends are 1000x eaiser when he just nurses.

    • I just wanted to post an update. After a few months of round the clock nursing, (I got half hour breaks at most) I decided to pump and bottle feed. The pediatrician agreed with me that it should not take him so long to feed. He started going 2 and 3 hours between feedings, and I spend an hour total every single day pumping. He is only 6 months, but I only have to pump 4 times a day for 15 minutes each time and I am still putting bags of milk in the freezer almost everyday.
      I find pumping so incredibly much easier, faster and less stressful. I already have to take a cooler of food for a son with food allergies so I’ve no problem putting in a few bottles and carrying my pump everywhere. I’d rather carry that extra load sometimes than carry baby while he nurses, literally everywhere non-stop. He is a thriving almost 19 lb, 7 month old butterball whom I love with all my heart, and my family is much happier now!

  153. Great read! With my first I had the hardest time breastfeeding. I remember most of the first couple of months in tears. I know now that the pump I had was not adequate.
    I’m expecting my 2nd in December and will probably be pumping alot since I’ll have to go back to work after 2 months. Thank you for the tips! I will pin this and keep referring to it!

  154. So cool to find someone else who exclusively pumped as long as I did! I actually went for 18 months, but those last few months were only pumping four times a day, and then quit pretty quickly. I remember the day my milk came in…yikes!!! I was a big milk producer; I also fell asleep once, and woke to my 8oz. bottle on my left side completely full and slopping onto my lap, with the other side right behind it! I learned to pump for ten minutes and switch the bottles so that they were kind of equalized. All this advice is wonderful! I can’t praise the hands-free pumping bras enough; I actually purposely fell asleep with them on frequently. I used a TV tray to put a pillow on and go to sleep while my pump did it’s job.

  155. Thank you so much for posting this. I am trying to nurse and pump for our second baby boy. I have been having a hard time with milk supply. He is almost a month old and when I first started pumping I would have to pump for over an hour every 2-3 hours to even get much at all. He wasn’t really nursing at this time so I was worried about having milk in the fridge at all times for him. I have started pumping for 15 to 20 minutes each session but I have not been pumping when I need to. I am going to try your method and praying it works. He is gassy and when I put him down he cries. My husband works from 8 am until 8 pm so pumping while trying to calm our son is hard. Your post makes me feel like there is hope and I can do this. Thank you :)

  156. I LOVE this article! First time pumper! My oldest was exclusively BF and had no reason to pump. My LO is now 3 months and I’ve gone back to work which means I’ve started pumping. But I’m not getting enough milk out durning my pumping sessions at work to give him what he needs, luckily I have a freezer stash of BM but its running thin. Do you have any suggestions to up my volume of milk? Will my body start to respond with time?

  157. I’m pregnant with my first and needless to say, EVERYTHING is new to me.
    I was wondering what your advice would be on breast feeding and pumping side by side?
    I would like to do half and half if that makes sense. This way I am able to go back to work, she can be left with her daddy and she gets the best form of nutrients, but I would also have that bonding time with her.
    Opinions? Help?

  158. Pingback: Dear Mommy Bloggers: We’re not all Ward and June. | Ruby Stilettos

  159. With Both of my boys I pumped everyday while driving to pick them up from daycare (30 minutes from my work). I thank God I was never pulled over!!!

  160. Thanks for all the great info! My baby is three weeks old and i have ben pumping for her on a pretty close schedule tha is reccomended. My right breast produces at least twice the amount of breast milk that my left, is that normal? After i read you were able to produce 16 oz i was amazed! Typically i prodce 4 oz each session. I know that as long as i continue to pump my body will know to produce more milk but how were you able to produce ao much in a short amount of time?!?! Thanks again for all the insight!

  161. Im in the process of trying to pump for my 5 week old and with little success. I appreciate your tips but was wondering if you pumped both breasts every couple of hours for 15-20 min each or one breast for half that time etc? I want to keep going but it’s getting tough! Any advice would be helpful and welcomed! Thanks again for being so candid :)

  162. First off, Great artical!!
    Second off, I have question for any ladies here, I just had my first baby about 2 and a half months ago and right now I’m soley just breast feeding her and Ive just barely started going back to work, any tips on trying to have your baby take a bottle if she won’t suck on one? So it’s easier on the babysitters. (I am pumping too) I’ve tried but she just naws/or kinda chews on it.. Thanks!!

  163. After reading your article it brought back so many memories from when I pumped. I did it for a year and it is a big commitment. Your article is very helpful and informative to new moms who are unable to breast feed. I am currently breast feeding our second child and its much easier. I do pump on occasion but I don’t miss pumping around the clock.

  164. Wow thanks so much for the info I’m expecting my first baby and I’m planing on pumping but I’m so scared and overwelemed with pumpin keeping supply having a good diet and all that has to be done to keep my baby happy .

  165. I exclusively pumped as well because I wasn’t able to have more than two weeks with my son as I was finishing my degree. I love this article! So much helpful stuff that I used and will use in the future if needed!

  166. i dont plan on exclusively pumping but i have got some good tips from this article. i am so glad you posted it i had horible supply with my son and no matter what i did i dried up at 2 months so im hoping to get a good supply this time thans for sharing

  167. I cannot thank you enough for this article. I am blessed to be able to nurse my daughter, but I have to pump for the 5 hours a day she is at daycare. Your tips about cleaning the pumps, the diet, drinking water, how long to pump, the MAGIC 3am feeding… I will forever be greatful for your help in me feeding my baby girl. The hospital helped teach me a proper latch, but no one ever showed me how to properly pump! I have gone from stressing to the point of tears about pumping and supply to actually having a freezer stash and an easy pump routine. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

  168. Hi! I just had my first baby 3 weeks ago via c section. She’s nursing just fine and my milk production is pretty good, but I do want to start pumping so I have a milk supply for when I’m out and about with her, when I leave her with grandma, etc. my question is, when do I pump?? She’s eating every 3 hours and I feel like she empties me out every time she eats. So when can I start pumping?? I have a Medela pump, have storage containers ready to use… I’m ready to go… I just need to know how to get started. Also, where can I get those lactation cookies? Or is there a recipe I could get so I can make my own? I’m eating oatmeal and drinking more water than normal. I’m doing everything I can to keep my milk production.

    Thank u in advance for your help :)

    • Becky, even if you feel emptied out, if she is really nursing every 3 hours, then I would pump right after a few of your nursing sessions. But, as always, you should check with a lactation consultant! Call the hospital where you delivered and ask what they think, too. And I know it’s a pain, but for the other information, I would encourage you to browse through the comments on this post – all of your questions are answered there. Even the lactation cookie recipe! Congratulations and blessings on this new adventure!

  169. My daughter is 2 weeks old and I am exclusively pumping but having a really difficult time with production. I average only about 1/2ounce to 1 ounce each session. I am doing everything that I’ve been reading including warm packs, pumping every 2 hours, increasing pumping time, massage, just started taking fenugreek and milk thistle. It’s incredibly frustrating to spend so much time and effort on this for barely any results. Could it be that I just won’t ever produce enough?

  170. Great tips! Thank you. I’m getting ready to have our twins in 2 days. When you mentioned you would wash the pump parts in hot water and then place them in the freezer, did you have to wait and dry them before you did that?

  171. I am having to pump for my daughter and recently got put onto an antibiotic that has one slowed down my supply dramatically and two has made me pump and dump everything which in turn has hurt my supply by making me depressed. Do you have any tips to get my supply back up and can I get it back? The thought of getting more than 4 ozs every 5 hours seems impossible to me right now.

    • Hey Emily! I am sorry about the meds hurting your supply! When I was pumping I got slammed with a UTI AND mastitis at the SAME TIME. It was NUTS. I had to pump and dump for 10 days. I had a good supply stashed in the freezer, so it was all right, but it still hurts to spend all that time and see it go down the drain. Be encouraged! Just keep being faithful. I would make sure that you boost your pumping schedule to every 2-3 hours (even through the night) if you aren’t doing that already. Drink lots of water and keep reminding yourself that everything will be okay. I hope you feel better soon. xoxo

  172. I Love this article/story!!! I exclusively pumped with my daughter for a year, with an emergency c-section, her sugar was low so they automatically offered her a bottle…she wanted nothing to do with the real thing after that. I am now currently doing so again with my son…not for the same reasons though. My son latched for the first 2 months, then he got sick and started cutting teeth… so he wasn’t eating a lot…never breastfeeding before I got nervous about my supply. First thing I think is pump…a lot..it’ll bring your supply back up. Ooppss…. once he started eating normal again, our schedules were off… so after he’d eat he’d still be hungry…so I’d have to offer him my expressed milk…now he too Preffered the bottle :(…. why did no one tell me!! I think people are nuts when they tell me, they WANT to pump instead of breastfeed!! All I think is…. “you have NO IDEA” Unfortunately, most the women I know that try to do that by choice, stop after the first month. I would never CHOOSE to do this if I didn’t have to, it is NOT an easy ‘feat, this time my goal is 6 months… he’s currently 3.. half way there!!

  173. What form of birth control did you use while pumping? I have heard that birth control pills affect your ability to produce milk. I am working on my supply right now bc I’m having difficulty making enough to keep my Lo full. We are having to supplement with formula and so i don’t want to dk anything that will harm my supply.

    • Hey Beth, for both of my kids, whether I was nursing or pumping, I just simply did not/could not get pregnant. With my first, literally THE DAY I stopped nursing we got pregnant with our second! Lol! This is not the case for many, so I am sorry that I am not more helpful!

  174. i loved this article it was very helpful, the pump is the most important thing and they can be expensive, so i was really interested when you mentioned that the insurance may pay for it. i did some research and i found a great company that checked my insurance for me and it turned out my breast pump was covered 100%. i was so excited my husband was looking at me like i was crazy, but he didn’t understand i was getting a medela advanced double electric breast pump, those things are like $400. anyways i now have my baby and the pump is working awesome and i even made those lactation cookies to keep the milk flowing. i just wanted to let other mothers know of this experience and if anyone wants to check it out the companies name is Aeroflow.

  175. I hope this helps someone my baby girl is almost 2 months ever since I knew I was pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed. She was born we did skin to skin for to bond and so that my milk could come in only it didn’t.The nurse tried to help me hand express while I massaged my breast, but only tiny bits of drops would fall and it was excruciating pain my poor nipples. I had it all planned out that I would breastfeed and my boobs were failing me and I my baby. My baby had trouble latching on due to my small flat nipples so they provided me with a Madela electric dual breast pump and a nipple shield to latch her. But still tiny drops of colostrum would come out I kept crying helplessly because my mom also has flat small nipples but she breastfeed us all and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t do something my body was supposed to do naturally. I had to get a small medicine syringe and scoop the drops and feed them to my baby it was heartbreaking, and this went on and on the baby kept crying of hunger and I with her she went two days like this until I demanded formula to feed her I begged them for it. Her little self drank it super fast but I was still determined to breastfeed. I would ask for juices, water, and eating, and day by day it kept increasing by small amounts 4 day I got one oz from both breasts I fed it to her I was ecstatic and proud I know is ridiculous ;) I was finally released I still gave her my milk and formula 8 days only and I still tried to latch her on to my breast using a nipple shied it helped me soo much she sucked and sucked I don’t know if anything came out but I needed her next to me so the hormones could come out and I could produce milk. So I finally was getting an one oz from -each breast every session I pumped every 3 hrs my nipples were cracked, bleeding and my breast were sore it was in pain but I seriously didn’t care.. I went for a lactation class were they taught me positions to breastfeed and how to correctly latch her on to me, they told me to apply breast milk in my nipple and allow it to air dry so it could heal or to apply lanolin I did both my nipples healed I can latch her onto my right boob with no shield yay!. Now I’m producing more milk..I eat all the time and I drink hot oatmeal like 4 times a day, juices of all kinds, lots of water even when I’m pumping I have a bottle with me, I snack on carrots with ranch I heard carrots are good help, I eat salmon, chicken, lean meat, asparagus, dark leafy greens, hummus,walnuts,almonds, apricots, I eat just about everything and often because I noticed that helped me . I pump every day still every 3 hrs and I latch her to keep the bond and we do skin to skin too.I use the tommee tippee breast pump and bottles I think that’s why she still latches on it mimics the breast. and I’m happy to say that as of now I’m producing 12 oz every session it took a lot of hard work, persistence, and determination to get to where I am now but I now it’s worth it .. I’d do anything for my little baby. <3

  176. So I just had a baby a week ago. She is my first! She will only eat off of one breast. Do I still pump both breasts or just the breast that she won’t eat on? I don’t want to be lopsided I just don’t know the right way to go about it.

  177. Thank you SO SO much for this post!! About to be first time Mom and I was stressing over all the how to’s when it comes to pumping – A lot less stressed now!!

  178. This is soso encouraging! I have been exclusively breastfeeding my 2 month old since the day he was born… But now I have to go back to work and will need to pump! Thank you for all these tips!

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  180. Hello! I had a really good supply until I started the mini pill, then my supply decreased. I started eating oatmeal daily and after about a week I noticed my baby had very runny poop. Is there anything else I can eat? I tried the fenugreek but it did the same.

  181. My little girl is 6 1/2 weeks old, and I am so happy that I stumbled across this post on pinterest! This couldn’t have come at a better time. Yesterday I was ready to quit and move from breastfeeding and topping up with formula, to formula only. My milk supply is very little and I think it has to do with stress and the fact that I am working from home for my boss whilst on maternity leave, so there is no real leave as such, and I can’t switch my phone off and sleep when I want to. But your post has great tips, and I felt so encouraged, just when I was ready to quit. I have had my oatmeal this morning and already had 750mls of water to drink, so lets see, hopefully I can get through this and manage to provide breastmilk for my little girl. Thank you for such a detailed and holistic post on the “ins and outs” of breastfeeding/expressing. My biggest encouragement was from your statement that you can increase supply after it drops, and the quote: “In the end God’s not going to ask you how long you pumped (or even if you pumped) for your baby. What matters is how you reflected His love and joy and peace and patience in your Happy Home.” I really really needed this post! THANK YOU.

  182. I just want to thank you for this! I’ve been exclusively pumping for a month & a half now, & was just starting to become discouraged about how much TIME it takes- setting up the pump, actually pumping, WASHING pump parts, & then feeding baby… Not to mention the fact that it’s probably the single most unsexy thing I’ve ever done! (Is there any faster way to feel like a dairy cow??) And of course, getting discouraged is not helping my supply…
    But your article is completely comprehensive, informative, & encouraging! (There are so many things here I wish I’d known when I started!) Thank you so much for this; I can’t wait to share it with friends! :)

  183. Hello!! I exclusively pumped for my first, now 4. It was the best decision I could have made! I love all of your tips now, because I am getting ready to have my second any day now and I plan to pump exclusively for this little guy too! After 4 years I feel a little rusty, so reading this post was great!! I had great success and was able to give my son breast milk for his first year! I did freeze my milk and that helped me to be able to stop pumping around 7 or 8 months! My system worked very well for me and I look forward to doing it again!! Thanks for this post!! I will be back to read some more!!

  184. I am SO glad I found this. But you might not be happy because I will probably be asking you a ton of questions. =] Just don’t respond and I’ll get the picture… LOL! I am due with my first little one in January and I have high hopes to breastfeed. Unfortunately I have to return to a full time job and I think exclusive pumping might be the route for me. I’ve read that some babies have a hard time going from bottle to boob all the time, and if Peanut only wants one – I’d rather it be a bottle then a boob considering I will be at work and can’t physically nurse him. My nephew’s mom gave me her Medela pump that she didn’t use because she had another one that she did use. I am so excited because I know I personally couldn’t afford one. She didn’t give me the manual though so I’m going to have to Google it or something. Any advice?? I’m pretty sure it’s the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump. The one she gave me is a back pack version and that’s the only one I can tell that has a back pack and not a tote bag.

    • Hey Runt – congratulations on your pregnancy! First, I just want to say, make the decision that is best for you and your family, but I know PLENTY of moms that had/have healthy nursing/bottle relationships with their kids while they work. It is very possible and I would encourage you to consider it before jumping into anything. I would say do nothing but nurse for the first 6 weeks – then slowly add the bottle. As for your question about the pump, I am only an expert on my own pump, so I can’t really help you there! I think google is a good option. Thanks for stopping by!

      • Sorry, for some reason I didn’t get a message that said you responded to my comment. =[ I just happened to look back here and was glad I did, considering you did respond. I do still have mixed feelings about actually breastfeeding vs. pumping, the only decision I am sure of is that I want to feed him breast milk (in any way) and avoid formula if I can. I may only get six weeks of maternity leave so I would probably have to start pumping before that if I wanted to have a “supply” for the MIL who will be babysitting. I just hope it all goes well!

  185. Great website, really helpful. I’m just gearing up to all of this as my baby is due any day. I just have one question – you say to pump for 15-20 minutes and then carry on pumping for 5 minutes after you’re empty, but what about if you’re not empty after 20 minutes?

  186. Hi!! I landed on this page through Isagenix and was wondering if you could give me some advice. My daughter is 7 months and I have breastfed since day one. I have been trying to increase my supply so I can have a freezer stash but I think I have N extremely low supply. Anytime I pump I only get about 2 oz!! What can I do?!?

  187. Hi!
    I am a first time mom, and after my son was born, I wanted to breast feed, at the hospital he had a week latch, and he would spit out my nipple instead of sucking on it, at home I fed him for 1-2 hours and very often he would still cry after a feeding because he did not suck properly (was a weak sucker) so I would need to still feed him from a bottle after breastfeeding (I fed him my pumped milk) after a few weeks of this I decided to pump and just give him bottle ( at night I still breast feed him and supplement with bottle). I have been doing that successfully for 2 weeks and started to build up my supply. Few days ago I started feeling tenderness on the side of my breast and I thought I was starting to get mastitis or a plugged duct, I could not feel a lump though and didnt know what to do, kept pumping, applying heat, messaging, but its been 5 days and its still there! I saw my OB (who I really dont like and trying to find another one) he said that its no problem and should go away, but also said that I am probably not emptying out my breasts completely. It seemed impossible to me, since recently I have been pumping at least 20 min every 2-3 hours! when I pumped after my appointment I could still get some milk hand expressed after pumping for 25 min! I dont understand why my pump is not expressing everything! I have medela pump in style it was brand new, and i have used it for only about 5 weeks now! Do you know any solution to my problem? also do you know how to get rid of this tenderness in my breast? could it be a plugged duct? please help, its been so stressful! I want to be able to pump for at least 6 months for my son, but with all these problems I am so discouraged!!!!

  188. Love this!! So much great information. One question! I’m pumping and breastfeeding but don’t really want to get into freezing milk for the day reasons you discussed. Did you feel like you produced more than your baby could eat? I’m storing more and more milk and she’s not eating it all so I guess I’ll be tossing some of it out. I only do one or the other (nurse or pump) not both at the same time..

  189. Loved this article!!! I pumped exclusively for the first 2 months then nursed baby is now 5 months and due to teething and pure fussiness she barely feeds so it’s affecting my supply. I decided to pump exclusively again is it to late to establish a good routine and produce more milk?

  190. Not sure when you originally wrote this, but I saw it on Pinterest and just had to read it. I exclusively pumped for my son, my third child, and I was told by several people that it was impossible. I was successful – pumping and giving only breast milk to my son for 13 months. I just wanted to applaud you – I feel like we are far away pumping sisters! Congrats, I’m looking forward to following your blog!

  191. This post has been wonderful for me to read as I am an exclusive pumper, and I’ve had my share of questions/issues during this process. I do have a question for you…right now my baby is 7 weeks old, and I started out trying to nurse, but it became a very frustrating/emotionally draining experience for me and him, so I’ve been exclusively pumping for almost 2-3 weeks. At first I was lucky to get 2.5oz total after pumping both sides for 15 min. My LC told me to start taking more milk plus, and either that or just the more consistent pumping has helped a little and I now can pump 3.5-4.5oz total after 15-20 min. My question is this…as my baby starts needing more than this at a feeding how can I increase the amount I’m pumping At each session? I’ve tried pumping in between but unfortunately all that seems to do is give me the same total amount just spread out over two sessions. I want to be able to pump enough for him, but I’ve already had to supplement with formula several times when my milk output is too low. Any help you can over would be greatly appreciated!!

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  193. did you still breast feed during this time? My sister-in-law said that i shouldn’t bottle feed for the first month. Is that totally correct? I want to bottle feed my breast milk more than breast feed is that such a horrible thing? The women in my family make me feel like I am not allowed.

  194. my baby is 3 weeks old. I have a thyroid problem and in the past it affected my milk supply when trying to breastfeed my first two kids. This baby is such a great breastfeeder and I’d hate to have to stop!! All day he gets breast only. At night he send to be much hungrier and I feel like I’m not making enough because he’s still hungry after I’m empty. I pumped and the most I’ve gotten is 1.5 oz. I have an Ameda purely yours pump. My best friend is making me lactation cookies, so housing that’ll help. I’ve had to start using some formula at night when he’s still hungry and I’m empty and it makes me feel horrible! He’s my last baby and I want to breastfeed so bad. I do find that I’m not getting any sleep at night as he wakes every 2-3 hours to feed. It is impacting my daily interactions with my husband and kids. I feel mean.. I feel like I snap at them too easily. Due to my husband’s work schedule, he really is no help to me. I feel bad waking him up anyway because all he can do is change a diaper and I can do that myself.. I’m up anyway. He doesn’t understand why he feeds so often and is constantly trying to talk me out of breastfeeding. our other babies would wake, eat formula, go back to sleep for 4 hours or more and we’re way less cranky. this baby acts to be held or close to be all day and feeds every 2-3 hours all night. during the day I have to make him feed.. he wants to sleep all day long from feeding so much at night. I feel discouraged without my husband’s support and with the guilt I feel from being mean to everyone, it really makes me consider quitting. but I remind myself of the cost of formula, the constipation it caused my other kids, the ugly stains on baby clothes, all those dirty bottles, and all the benefits of breastmilk in general, and the closeness I’m experiencing with my baby and it keeps me motivated to just do it. I’m worried about my supply though.. and I have to go back to work in a month and I’ll have to pump. I will only be working 2 days a week, but I have to produce more while pumping if this is going to work. I just so happen to work on a post partum unit and I’ll be allowed to pump as often as I need to. I feel like I question everything way too much and I always feel like I’m doing the wrong thing. I wish someone could help me!!

  195. This article is so amazing! I wish I could hug you! I do have a question that hopefully you can answer. I’ve been breastfeeding and pumping exclusively every 3 hours for the last 72 hours. Most of the time pumping for 40/45 min to even get half an oz. I’m lucky if I get a full oz and sometimes I’ll only get a drop or two for three pump sessions. Usually once I hit the 30/40 mark I notice I’m finally having a let down. And by that time I’m so sick of pumping and need to give my breasts a break bc in an hour I have to breastfeed (plus I try and sleep in that hour) that I just stop the pump. Am I doing this right? Do you have any suggestions? I read the article you referenced about how much you get when pumping so by that it would seem right. But if I only pumped for 15 min I wouldn’t get any milk! Help! Lol :)

  196. This article is so amazing! I wish I could hug you! I do have a question that hopefully you can answer. I’ve been breastfeeding and pumping exclusively every 3 hours for the last 72 hours. Most of the time pumping for 40/45 min to even get half an oz. I’m lucky if I get a full oz and sometimes I’ll only get a drop or two for three pump sessions. Usually once I hit the 30/40 mark I notice I’m finally having a let down. And by that time I’m so sick of pumping and need to give my breasts a break bc in an hour I have to breastfeed (plus I try and sleep in that hour) that I just stop the pump. Am I doing this right? Do you have any suggestions? I read the article you referenced about how much you get when pumping so by that it would seem right. But if I only pumped for 15 min I wouldn’t get any milk! Help! Lol

  197. Hello! I really enjoyed your post! I’m a stay at home mom and so I do all of my feedings at the breast. But I am really trying to build up a supply of pumped milk so that I can have some on hand for times when I need to leave my little man with someone. I’m having a hard time finding the time to pump, we’ll not really the time, just the milk. Any time I actually have any amount to be pumped my little one is eating it. The only time I have found is in the morning after we wake up and my breasts are engorged (he refuses to eat when they are that way so I can usually get about 3-4 oz). Any tips on how to build up a supply while still doing regular feedings? Thanks!

    Sherry

  198. My son is 5 weeks old and when I pump I am lucky if I get 3 oz. Is this normal and my supply will increase? If not, any advice on how I can increase my pump output. Thank you.

  199. LOVE LOVE LOVE this article! Wonderful-helpful info since I solely breastfeed our 5 month old baby girl. Quick question. .any suggestions on pumping-storing while traveling? We’re flying on Christmas Eve and returning on Saturday. I just have no clue on how to handle the particulars of packing bottles…detergent ( I do have the quick steam bags but do I need soap/bottle brush too???) pumped milk etc….I have the Models Freestyle as well and it is awesome!! I’ve only packed it up once but it came with a great bag and accessories. Any help you can provide would be appreciated. Thank you and be blessed this Christmas Season!

  200. I’ve been exclusively pumping for two months now. I was never able to stash some stock for my son because it was never enough even though I was pumping every 2-3 hours and for 20 minutes (and even more). I power pumped, drank fenugreek and my supply did increase but still not enough. But I’ve reached this point where he drinks about 80% breastmilk and 20% formula. My question is, after 3 months, does the supply increase when your supply stabilizes?

  201. My 2nd baby is due in 9 weeks. I tried breastfeeding with my son 5 years ago, but it didn’t work and man oh man, the guilt! I really want my daughter to benefit from breastmilk, but I don’t know if breastfeeding is right for me and I’m considering pumping exclusively. Do you have any advice on what to do when she’s born? Should I start pumping immediately? Try to breastfeed for a few days to get it flowing? My mom didn’t breastfeed, and nobody even mentioned pumping to me with my boy, and I hate that because I really think it might’ve worked for us.
    I know this was posted a while ago, I don’t know if you’ll see this or not…I’ve just been really freakin about all this and don’t know who to ask.

  202. This is great, I exclusively pumped for the 1st month of my baby’s life ( couldn’t get her to latch) now I’m pumping and putting her to my breast. I’m making so much milk that I feel like pumping is still a full time job and I am getting little sleep because I am having to pump every 1-2 hours at most just to manage the extreme pain I am experiencing due to raynauds. I am considering quitting all together withing the next few weeks unless I can get my pain under control. How much pain did you feel as you were tapering off breastfeeding/ pumping? My doc says it should take about 2 days of not pumping in order for my supply to diminish but I’m already experiencing terrible pain when I go more than 2 hours so I’m deffinetely nervous..

  203. I loved this article. I exclusively pumped for 6 months before I dried up despite all my efforts. We went from pumping so much we considered sending it to Haiti, to absolutely nothing in less than a week, even with the regular pumping and my favorite oatmeal cookies. However, It was truly a blessing to be able to pump and give my daughter the milk I was making, and still be able to have her daddy or who ever get to feed her. We are planning on a new member of the family soon, and I absolutely plan on pumping as long as possible.

  204. Hi I loved reading this I have a four yr old I had to use formula with cus my milk didnt come in an I went back to work three weeks later. Im now due n 12 weeks an I want to pump starting then moment I have him but im overwhelmed an dont know where to even start the process when he gets here. Please help. Thanks ciara

    • Hi!

      It’s usually not recommended to start pumping right away- unless you have a medical issue that you can’t nurse. Typically what you would want to do is nurse baby as much as he/she wants the first few weeks (I’ve heard anywhere from 2-4) and then start pumping in between feeds. Most babies are a lot better at getting the milk out then even the best pump- so to build a supply with just pumping takes a LOT of work. By 2-4 weeks your body should be starting to adjust so pumping is easier.

      My personal experience nursing my first was awful- she never latched right and I didn’t know enough to correct it. Four months of pain and frustration and I quit and went to formula. Baby number two was night and day different- he nursed like a champ from day one (although I never had the feeling of my milk coming in or feeling full- but I guess it did because he didn’t starve :D). About three weeks in I started to pump during his longest day time nap- I just froze what ever I was able to (ice cube trays work really well for this)- and nursed him as soon as he woke up. By about four weeks I was getting about four ounces at the nap time pump (moving up to the breastmilk storage bags). When I went back to work at 8 weeks I had a fair amount frozen. I would wake up before he did and pump first thing in the morning then we would nurse before and after work and the babysitter would text me when he had a bottle so I would know to pump (if you don’t have that flexible of a workplace kellymom has a calculator of about how much baby should need per day). Initially he nursed more at night- it’s called reverse cycling; but that stopped after a few weeks. I’ve never exclusively pumped- but I can say 150%, when breastfeeding is going well it’s 1000000x more comfortable, and also quicker, to just nurse. I give the moms who have exclusively pumped a lot of respect, it’s a huge commitment of time and energy. In some ways it’s the worst of both options- it’s the personal responsibility and restrictions of breastfeeding, with the dishes of formula feeding. :D

      I guess what I’m really trying to say is that unless you know of a reason to only pump, give nursing a try- having a newborn is stressful enough with out the pump. Having had some issues in the past is not a promise that you will this time. If you do, WIC usually has someone you can talk to if your concerned about producing enough or latch or anything. There are hotlines you can call. Give it a try, you really might be surprised at how much better it goes the second time around- I was!

      And to pumping and nursing- it is totally possible to do both, I pumped at work and nursed at home. Two or three times a week, even if I was home, Daddy gave baby a bottle so I could have a break. Baby is a year old now and even though I’m not pumping or nursing anymore we still have maybe three weeks to a month worth in the freezer. I also know people who didn’t respond well to the pump and nursed at home; but gave formula while they were at work.

      Good luck with whatever you choose to do!!

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  207. Curious on more information on how you stopped pumping? I’m currently in my 10th month of exclusively pumping. Normally pump 3-4 hours. I have a great deal of over supply so I donate about 500 oz a month. When should I start cutting down the time? Then when would I start to cut out sessions? Also wondering how long you ladies waited to buy nice bras? I know breasts will change quite a bit when breast feeding. TIA!

  208. Love this article, love your spirit! Wish I would have had it, 8 years ago with my first baby!!! Haven’t made it past 5 months nursing my babies , hoping I will with my last. She’s 3 months, and doing very well, great weight gain, but just like my first two she only feeds one side and is full. I feed on demand, and during the day it’s every 2-3 hours, & 4ish at night. Almost always one breast per feeding. I have pumped and only get 3-4oz. At a time. Is this amount normal or ok? She has big chunky thighs, and I think we’re probably around 16# (she was 14# @ 2 months), so do I shrug it off and think this is my normal or try to increase my supply?

  209. Thanks for the info! I’m due 2/16 and will be returning to work after 6 weeks. This helps a TON as I seriously don’t know the first thing about pumping! But, I do now! Thanks!!

  210. I too loved reading this! My daughter turns seven on St. Patrick’s Day and I exclusively pumped for her too. She was born three and a half weeks early because I had preeclampsia. She had a weak suck reflex and we were never able to get on track with nursing so I decided to pump. I was lucky enough to have won a Medela Freestyle backpack from a local nursing store. It was like God was preparing me for what he knew I would ultimately end up doing ALL the time. I too became obsessed. I pumped every 4 hours for the first six months. I was producing enough milk to feed three babies but was so afraid of my supply going down that we bought a freezer exclusively for all my milk. Oh how I wish they had the bras that hold your pumps on for you seven years ago. Falling asleep and waking up covered in milk was oh so fun :) At six months I decided I couldn’t do it anymore and tried giving my daughter half a bottle of formula mixed with breast milk only to have her go into anaphylactic shock. Talk about scary! My husband literally had to pull a mucus plug out of her throat so she could breath. Then she threw up everything she drank, her lips swelled up and she got hives everywhere. We called an ambulance and were taken to the hospital where she was treated and monitored till they were sure she was ok. Needless to say I had already skipped a few pump session by this time and my supply took a big hit. No worries though, I have a freezer full of milk. Little did I know that I produce an enzyme in my milk that causes it to go bad when frozen. Don’t remember what it is called now cause it’s been seven years. I did get back on track with pumping and worked overtime to get my supply back up but not back to what it was before because it was seriously stressful and well stress in not good for milk production. I made it to 11 months. Then came the task of figuring out what to give my daughter in substitute because she was deathly allergic to cows milk, goats milk and was intolerant to soy as some people are intolerant to cows milk. She ended up having to drink rice milk with added protein and calcium substitutes. She is still allergic to dairy but not to the extent she used to be. In the past if I touched dairy and then touched her she would break out in hives where ever I made contact. She is also allergic to eggs and nuts, both of which she still has an epi pen for. It is amazing to read the stories of other exclusive pumpers.

  211. OMG your entry is hilarious. I pumped for 11 months with my son. He was born almost 4 weeks early and had a difficult time latching because he was 4lbs 6oz when he was born. I can totally relate to what you wrote. I was just overjoyed that I had milk for him. I knew it was the best thing for him. I’m so happy I was able to do it for that long. Thanks for sharing your tips. I’ve learned a few new things. We’ll see what happens with my next baby.

  212. Wo. This is such a great article and hats off to u to continue pumping exclysivelt for so long…titally inspured right niw.
    My baby is 3 months and since my supply was poor and she was growth restricted, I started her on supplemental formula. Due to that guess I got lazy since I only pump 3-4 times a day. I want to try and increase my milk supply now. If I strt pumping every 3 hours now, will my supply limprove or is it too late??

  213. Hi! I also just pump for my 7 month old so . He was 2 weeks early & only weighted a little over 5 lbs & I couldn’t ever get him to latch on since he was so tiny. I am just wondering how far in advance should I stop pumping mid day? Right now I pump at 7am, 1pm, if I have time to pump at 5 or 7pm which rarely happens & then 9pm before I got to bed. I’m able to pump 25-32oz of milk a day so I’m able to put 1-3 bags of milk in the freezer so I can hopefully stop pumping before summer gets here. I have a daycare, & I’m wanting to just make it till my son turns 1, since I’ll have the school kids once summer gets here. My son will turn 1 In June,When should I start cutting back on pumping?

    • I forgot to add I’m having to pump 45-60mins to empty my breast, if I don’t I get mastitis. Which I’ve had a handful of times already. :(

  214. I think I’m a little confused. I’ve been pumping for 20 minutes but I don’t have milk coming out the entire time. So when does the “pump for 5 minutes after your milk stops” come into play? Will I eventually have milk coming out the full 20?

  215. I have a little guy who is 3 wks old. I decided to start pumping because I am going back to work in 3 wks and I want to build a supply & I wasn’t sure if he was getting enough milk when I was breast feeding. It seemed like he would get hungry every hour, if I didn’t measure it out and feed him from the bottle. Than I figured out he was taking more than my body was producing so I now give him 1/2 formula and 1/2 breast milk. My milk is now comming in stronger and I am trying to pump every 4 hrs. I am getting between 4-5 oz a session. I am feeding him a total of 3oz. Every 2-3 hrs. He is spitting up now , where he didn’t before and than gets the hiccups. Should I be giving him less ? He was 6lb 14oz when born and now he is 8.5 oz.

  216. As an EMT, I feel you should add a disclaimer to your, “pumping while driving” tip.
    1.) doing ANYTHING (no matter if it is hands free or not), while driving, is distracted driving, and dangerous.
    2.) Last year, I responded to a car accident. The person who caused the accident was a woman who was pumping (she looked away to turn her pump off). She rear ended a car in front of her that was stopped at a light, and was going about 45mph. Her airbags deployed. Remember, she had her pump still attached. It was horrific. We transported her to the hospital with her pump parts partially inside of her body.
    Please, find a safe place to park if you need to pump.

  217. I am so happy I found this article. I’m an exclusive pumper 2x over because nursing caused too much stress on me and my overly sensitive nippies. One thing that I found that is an AWESOME food on the go is Belvita breakfast biscuits (brown sugar and cinnamon). Thanks again for the article!

  218. Hi…
    From the very moment my daughter was born she was in the boob and from the start we had issues latching on… well I have a 22 month old at home too n I’m a stay at home mommy… the specialist had me pumoing every two hours for the first two weeks and sodid her dDr because she got jondice…. so my supply was up and good so I was told to slow or stop pumping cause I was making more then what she was making but because she has issues latching on we were on the boob for two hours st a time n she wasn’t getting what she needed n I couldn’t fight with her for that long n I was told u couldn’t exclusively pump so we had to go to formula… but I want her to have all breast milk not just breast n formula… so I found this on pint rest n it gave me hope… that I CAN exclusively pump but I’m scared I won’t be able to get my supply up I’m following your guideline for the last 24 hours but just need hope n advice that I will get my supply up?

  219. Thanks for the tips. I’m curious to know how hard it was to also bottle feed your baby. I’m sure you had help, but it sounds like pumping took up a lot of your time. When did you feed? Before or after pumping, and wasn’t it a pain to have to warm up milk?

    • Hi I pumped for 21 months I’m glad to see others doing the same my lo never had any formula all breastmilk I would pump and then feed but if she started her feeding cues before I finished my husband would get some and warm it in hot water. A tip you can refrigerate your flanges so you don’t have to keep washing them I washed everyother pumping session also my husband would feed baby if I started to pass out. Keep at it any breastmilk is better than none.

  220. So I am pumping exclusively! I have been for about 3.5 weeks. I am pretty sure I have a bluster on my nipple I read that this happened to you! Ouch!!What did you do to help or to help it go away?? Also right now I am producing the right amount plus some for my baby but I am just wonder what will happen when she starts to needing more then I’m producing each session? Will I just start making more milk or how did that work our for you? I love your post and would love your advice thank you so much !! :)

  221. So I was wondering if anyone has had this happen. I have one breast (the left) that produces SO much more than my right! In the AM when I pump before I go off to work it will produce 8-10 while my right will produce 3-4. So as you can imagine i look quite lopsided ;( any tips?

    • Haha Laci I am reading your post while hooked to the pump for my before-work-session with 4 oz in my left bottle and 6 oz on the right. Its ALWAYS been like that for me. I think its normal and not much you can do about it.

  222. Hello,

    I loved your artical! I found it very helpful, and funny! I have the Medela on the go tote. I’ve been pumping for 2 months now and about a week ago I noticed the tubings had liquid/moisture in them & it was effecting the intensity of the pump, really wasn’t pumping at all. So I quickly ordered two more sets of tubing from amazon. I replaced them & after the first pump I noticed the same thing! I don’t know what’s causing it. I just relaced the white membranes too. Still not helping.

    I’m still after 2 months only averaging 3 oz. I drink about 80 oz of water per day and eat healthy. I’m going to start eating more homemade oatmeal & definitely try to sleep more, hopefully this will help. I’m pumping every three hours, sometimes even every two.

    Would love some tips!

    Thank you!

  223. Let me just say to begin that I just read your entire article word for word and cried. This was the best info on pumping I have come across (and I’ve been reading a TON). Thank you so much for this.
    My baby is two months old today and I’ve been struggling with pumping. I had a tumor removed from my breast a week ago and have had to give my baby formula and hated it. The stress, surgery, and the fact that I had to pump and dump with some medications really decreased my supply and dampened my spirits to say the least.
    I go back to work in two weeks and want to give his sitter bottles so it was important to me to increase my supply for him. I’m going to try some of the things you talks about and am really feeling better thanks to your suggestions. Thank you so much!!!

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  225. I wish I would have found this when iwas pregnantwith my second. I breastfed for 3 weeks before I gave up! And pumping was a nightmare! I will be reading this again if I have another baby.

  226. Love this article. My daughter is 14 months and I have been EPing since she was 4 months old. I too give truckers something to look at on my way to/from work! Lol I have noticed when you tell people you pump while you drive, theres only two reactions: judgmental shock and admiration shock. I am pumping probably 8 times a day still and it is killing me. I never was a big producer (40 oz a day at my peak) and now I am producing about 26 oz a day. I think I can start cutting back but im scared to. I dont want to stop until 18 months and I also dont want to make less than 16. Any thoughts? My kid just laughs if i try to get her to feed from my breast and the way she chews her bottlw nipple, im not exactly pushing it. How much do you think youd have produced pumping 4x a day?

  227. Thanks for this! It is a great read, I have also been EP’ing and I was really getting sick of the commitment but after reading last night, I’m going to aim for my short term goal of getting my baby to 9 months and then go from there. A couple things that I am doing that you didn’t mention but that might be helpful to others.
    I don’t take my breast shields off my bottles if I’m at home. I just pop the whole thing in the fridge until my next pumping session and throw them in the dishwasher at night. When I’m at work, I rinse them in hot water and let them dry on the counter. I’ve never had any problems with this method and it’s much less time consuming.
    I also use the pump ease hands free bra. It is similar to others but less expensive at $18.00 and small. I keep it around my waist like a belt but other people have worn it under their nursing bras. I
    also wear regular camisoles and pull them up to pump. I’ve found this works just as well for me and I don’t have to spend money on special nursing bras and shirts.
    When I get blisters, I’ve been using lanolin and then pumping but I’ve heard other people use olive oil with sucess.
    This blog is great because when I first looked into EPing there were many sites that said it can’t be done without a hospital grade pump and that is just not true. My LO is 8 months and I have a medela pump in style advanced. Just wanted to say thanks and let other mamas know it is possible! Good luck everyone!

  228. This is a great article. I had a few concerns
    My baby is 12 days old and my milk hasn’t really ‘let down’. I’ve never become engorged with milk and when I do pump, I only pump about 1 once of milk between both breasts. I am desperate to breast feed but was forced to give my baby formula because my supply is so low. I pump every 4 hours because it’s super hard to find the time to pump with a newborn. I’m not sure why my body won’t produce enough milk and that I’ve never had that ‘let down’ of milk.
    Also, do you recommend
    Pumping before or after baby feeds?

    • Diane, please get in touch with a Lactation Consultant! Your local hospital should have one! Also, at 12 days old, if you are seriously committed to pumping exclusively you will need to pump every 2-3 hours instead of 4. Blessings!

  229. I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your post! My son wouldn’t latch when he was born so I began my journey of exclusively pumping, it has been a long process, but with your help I did it and I am so glad that I did. After I gave birth my lc did not give me helpful ideas and she made me feel really bad about the fact that I was just pumping. She told me that I was going to lose my milk if I kept just pumping in two to three weeks, here it is 7 months later and I am still going strong!

  230. Is it ok if I’m only pumping 30mL every 3 hours and my baby is 1 month old? I know she needs about 60mL per feed, but I also know she is more effective at getting milk out… I really wish I could look down at the bottles and see milk flowing, but it isn’t happening yet… :(

  231. I came across your post on Pinterest. I pumped once in a while but mainly just bf. Then I decided to stop for many reasons. I was only producing 3-4 oz per pumping session when I did pump. I stopped last week and had to pump a little here and there when I couldn’t take the engorgement pain any longer. I can tell my lovely boobs are getting smaller but they’re still full and hard and sore and certain places are still engorged. I’m done pumping for good so how long until I get back to normal and they don’t kill me and I can sleep on my side instead of propped up?! :)

  232. When you stopped completely did you become super engorged and just let your body re absorb the engorgement? How long for they engorgent pain to go away and be able to move your arms and not feel like Dolly Parton? :)

  233. I am VERY interested in doing this with baby #3. I am curious, when did you start pumping? Did your baby do formula for the first day? Also, how did you deal with the condescension or disapproval from your OB/Midwife/Ped?

  234. Omg! Love your article! So true!!! I have an 11 month old I am currently still pumping, down to once a day trying to put mine away but of course it’s hard, a very addicting habit, at my highest point I was pumping 60-80 ounces a day! Freezing about 40-50 oz now I’m down to about 6-8 oz a day, I’m ready to stop mentally…. I just need to, great read! ( while pumping) Lol

  235. thank you so much for this article. My daughter never had formula because I breast fed and pumped for my family. I think society has pushed breastfeeding aside for modern conveniences. A lot of women don’t have the resources they need to breastfeed or pump for their child. The hospital pushed and pushed formula and I aggressively told them no because that’s not what I wanted for my daughter. Thank you again and I agree Medela is the only way to go.

  236. Pingback: Pumping Breast Milk for a Preemie - Designing Delicious Adventures

  237. Great to hear that you managed to exclusively pump for so long! My son was born prem at 26 weeks, so I was exclusively pumping as I desperately wanted to give him the best start I could considering the circumstances and to keep my milk going until I could start trying to breast feed. He is now a happy healthy 6 month old (11 weeks corrected) but alas not so good with his suck. I was devastated when my lactation consultant told me if I didn’t bf and stuck with pumping my milk would dry up. I now have hope that I will be able to feed him breast milk until he is 1 year corrected. 15 months of pumping but I know it’s worth it, I just need to get better at doing it when I’m out and about :). Thanks so much!! X

  238. I couldn’t make exclusive pumping work, but I did breastfeed and pump for my twins for 7 months, returning to week 11 weeks after their birth. I wish I had thought to seek out more help on pumping. It never occurred to me that there was anything I could do to improve pumping until I switched to a wider flange after weeks and weeks of agony.

  239. My daughter is now 4 months old and I’m still not producing a whole lot, I get about 3 oz when I pump every 3 hours. Did I totally screw up my milk production, is it possible to start producing more???

    • Absolutely! I like to drink Mother’s Milk Tea by Traditional Medicinals (I order online). I’ve also found that Good n Plenty candy does the trick for me. Another trick I’ve used is to power pump. Every 45 minutes I pump for 5 minutes (more if expressing at the 5 minute mark) for a day. Or when you are pumping make use of your pumps let down button, this has also worked for me. This post has helped wonders when I’ve needed a “you can do it” boost!

    • Yes, Chelsea! It is possible to produce more! One way is to simply pump more frequently. I usually suggest moms try to pump every 1-1/2 to 2 hrs. This can seem like it’s all you’re doing is pumping, but it is a great way to increase your milk production. Remember “Supply and Demand”. To increase the supply you have to demand more. In this case, that would mean remove the milk your body has produced more often, which signals your body that you want more milk. Don’t be discouraged by quantity at EACH pumping. You might pump less milk at each pumping, but your total amount over the day will be greater if you’re pumping more frequently! Don’t be discouraged! You’re doing great giving her any amount, but if you want to make more, just remove your milk more often and your body will get the message that you want more milk. :)

  240. Pingback: Dear Mom Who Has a Baby in the NICU on Mother’s Day | Happy Home Fairy

  241. As a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor for our local health department, I was so pleased to read your article on how you exclusively pumped your milk for your little one! I haven’t checked out all your links you included in your article, but I find you give sound advice and your article will be a great benefit to many moms who want to give their babies their breastmilk but want to/have to pump instead of bringing their babies to the breasts. Pumping is not easy and it is a commitment. You definitely were committed and I’m so proud of you! I hope to pass your article on to my supervisor to ask if I might share your article with our breastfeeding moms who pump. I know it will be a great encourager to them to hear how one mom did it and to read all your tips. Thank you for posting your experience!

  242. You mentioned: “If you can, invest in a few sets of pump parts so that you can alternate and not have to clean as often.”

    My question is, which parts would you recommend purchasing more of? I am pregnant with our first baby and would like to have as much information as possible. Thanks!

    • Definitely extra membranes (little white disks for Medela and white nozzles for Ameda) and keep extra storage bottles/bags on hand. I pump three times a day at work and just toss my flange and bottles in a cooler in the fridge between sessions.

      • You can put your pump parts in the fridge for the day. Less washing. I am a lactation consultant who also exclusively pumped for 23 months.

  243. I am so glad I stumbled across this article! At my 20 weeks ultrasound we were told that our little girl had a cleft lip and possible palate and that because of this she won’t be able to breast feed! I really struggled with this at first and right away I knew I wanted to pump for her. She is due at the end of June and nd I was starting to feel overwhelmed with this baby being my first. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it but this has helped me already! Thanks so much!!! :)

  244. Love the tips! I exclusively pumped with my oldest (a premie who would never latch) and am now half pumping/half feeding my newborn. A question for you. Did your 3 year old ever mess with your pump while you were pumping? My nearly 3 year old boy is overly curious about it and I have a hard time getting him to leave it alone while I pump (which then stresses me out!). Any advice or words of wisdom?

    • Hi Kelly! You go girl with all that pumping! As for your curious little 3 year old… Do you have anything that you can distract him with while you are pumping? For example, maybe pumping time can be ‘watch a show’ or ‘play with mommy’s iPhone’ or ‘enjoy a special toy/book’. Maybe that could help! Also, I think it’s perfectly fine for you to be the parent here and just tell him that your pump is off limits and that he is not allowed to touch it. It’s good for kids to have boundaries and learn to respect your expensive and important items. :-) You’re awesome, mama!

  245. Pingback: Friday Favorites: Pumping | Much.Most.Darling.

  246. Great advice, thank you for this article. I am the mother of 4 month old twins. My son had to have surgery at 3 days old and never really got the hang of nursing. He was in the NICU for 5 weeks and eating through a tube for much of that time. I have been nursing my daughter and pumping for my son, but I am falling short about 5oz per day. This is way better than I expecting to do, but I would love to increase my supply if possible. I am currently pumping 6-7 times per day. I always pump right after feeding my daughter and once during the night, generally sometime between 3 and 5. I’ve been doing this since the day they were born. I try to eat a lot of protein because I was told that would help. I drink a ton of water. I massage while pumping, although I can’t always do this because I’m often rocking or feeding a baby at the same time. I’m not sure if there is anything more I can do. Maybe I need to eat more oatmeal and granola. Can you think of anything else that might help?

    • Girl – you sound like a SUPERHERO. First let me say that you are doing an INCREDIBLE job. The journey you are on is no joke!!! And all the sacrifices you are making bc of your precious mama’s heart is heard and seen from this fairy! My only suggestion would be to add another pump during the night around 11 or 12… But you do so much already I seriously feel like you should just focus on getting rest. You’re awesome, mama.

  247. Pingback: Breastfeeding: A true story | Pumping While Typing

  248. Thank you so much for this blog post. I’ve had a very rough time nursing my son from the time he was born 5 weeks ago. I gradually transitioned to exclusive pumping when I realized breastfeeding just wasn’t working and giving my son bottled expressed milk made everyone happier. Blog entries like this have really helped to anticipate what I am getting myself into and being prepared for what’s to come. Thank you!!

  249. I liked your article. I too exclusively pumped. A couple things that I wanted to add. Besides teas and herbal pills you can take when your flow gets low, I found Gatorade to be extremely helpful. I wouldn’t normally drink Gatorade because of the salt/sugar etc, but it worked wonders! Also, I had a lot of trouble with chafing and raw nipples. My lactation consultant had me put Lanolin on my nipples before I pumped each time. This made it even harder to properly clean the parts, but it saved my nipples. Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts and tricks. We, super-pumpers have to stick together!

  250. So I have been exclusively pumping for the last 3 months. Baby is almost 6 months old. Two weeks ago I was very busy at work and and was pumping about every 4 hours (only twice a day while at work) well last week I had a HUGE decrease in my supply. I started last week pumping my normal every 2 to 3 hours. I’m still noticing a huge decrease. Am I totally screwed?? I’m only pumping about 1.5 to 2 ounces now every 2 to 3 hours. I’ve tried fenugreek and blessed thistle they helped me a little. Should I power pump or what should I do??

    Thanks!!

    • I don’t pump as much as I should, but when I pump every 4 or 5 hours, I sometimes only get 3 or 4 oz. Are you drinking enough? I try to drink lots, but sometimes I just am not thirsty. When I know I am going to work outside and get hot, I always drink a ton. And of course, I end up worth way more than I usually get. Also, I have noticed that my production decreases near that time of the month. I always freak out, but a few days go by and is again. Hope this helps. Hang in there.

  251. I’m exclusively pumping for the second time…the first time out of necessity with a NICU baby and the second time I sort of chose it because it was familiar and works for my busy lifestyle as a full-time working mom. Just wanted to say I have been pulled over for speeding while pumping and driving and the cop graciously ignored it!! I’ve also been using Go Lacta with baby #2 and my output is 35-40 oz a day (7 pumps a day), which is well above what i got with baby #1 (9 pumps per day). I tried fenugreek, goat’s rue, blessed thistle, etc and did not have similar results. To Kate, you should see a slow increase as long as you continue to pump frequently during the day. I recently dropped from 7 to 5 pumps for a few days due to a busy schedule, saw a huge dip, and am now regaining my supply. Power pumping would probably help too, if you can stand it!

  252. MiaBear is going to be 6 months next week and I’ve been exclusively pumping practically since day one, she was in the NICU for a few days because of dehydration (I was producing enough, she just wasn’t getting enough) and they feed her with a bottle after that she refused to latch. We spent the first 2 weeks trying to get her to latch but it was horrible fir the 2 of us (we would both be crying) so I decided that even if I couldn’t get her to latch I could still give her what she need. I felt so bad, like a failure really. Until one if my co-workers told me this: you have nothing in your nipple that will benefit her she is still getting what she needs from you! This fit me trough! Well, like I said baby girl will be 6 months next week and I’m ready to stop, it has been a hard decision to make but I just can’t do it anymore. I went back to work 5 weeks after MiaBear was born and I’ve been pumping before work (5am) and several times during work, also when I get home (around 6-7 pm) and before bed. The truth is I’m tired! I have a hour long drive (each way) everyday to drop her off at the sitters and head to work. I’m tried of waking up so early. I don’t mean to sound selfish but I’ve tried everything! Taking a shower at night, getting baby’s stuff ready the night before, pump while driving and somehow I always manage to be late to work! Every other mommy that I’ve told this to looks at me like if I’m doing the worse thing ever and names me feel so guilty! The upside to this us I do have a good stash. A whole freezer full (not refrigerator freezer but a separate garage freezer) I hope is enough.. Thanks for listening!

  253. This is amazing information! Wow!
    I just had my second child, little girl, and I breastfeed and pump. It’s a lot of work! These are great tips to stay motivated. :)

  254. I’ve made it to ten and a half months. I was not prepared for the commitment this takes. My daughter was 6 weeks early and the lactation consultants at the hospital we not helpful at all. I’ve pretty much learned by my own research. I was in the hospital 2 weeks and my daughter was there 1 week. I am very blessed to say that I’ve made it this far. I WILL make it a year , and then hopefully I can at least give her 2 bottles a day for while. So glad to see that in not alone in this struggle and exhaustion.

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