Tips For Exclusively Pumping Moms

March 12, 2013

For some moms, feeding their baby at breast isn’t an option. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t experience all the wonderful benefits of breast milk. Exclusively pumping moms have a unique breast milk feeding experience with a different set of challenges. So, here are some tips to make exclusive pumping a success.

Use the Right Pump for Your Needs
Exclusively pumping moms should pump frequently to maintain supply. Most Lactation Consultants recommend pumping 8 to 12 times or a total of 100 minutes in a 24-hour period. For that reason, it’s critical moms use a pump that’s fit for everyday use. A hospital-grade rental pump, such as the Medela Symphony is a great option for exclusively pumping moms. Other moms may prefer purchasing a double-electric personal use pump like the Pump In Style Advanced or Freestyle. To help determine which pump best fits your needs; you can use our interactive product selector to guide you in the right direction. We also suggest talking to an LC about your needs and what they’d recommend.

Take Care of Yourself
To an exclusively pumping mom, relaxation, comfort and a healthy lifestyle are some of the best ways to support your breastfeeding goals. First of all, make sure you take some mommy time to unwind and relax. Stress can actually affect your supply and make pumping more difficult. Also, be sure you’re prepared with products and accessories that keep you comfortable. First of all, make sure you have a properly-fitted breast shield. Remember, pumping should never be painful, so make sure your breast shield is sized so your nipple can glide through it without pulling. Also, consider items like lanolin or hydrogel pads to soothe sore nipples.

Be Prepared for Storage
As an exclusively pumping mom, be ready to allocate some of your refrigerator or freezer to breast milk storage. Depending on how much you have to store, some moms find it beneficial to have a deep freezer just for breast milk storage. Other moms can just keep a few bottles or storage bags in their refrigerator or freezer. Be sure you’re labeling your pumped breast milk with the date it was expressed. That way you can be sure you’re sticking to proper breast milk storage guidelines. Also, when freezing breast milk, don’t overfill your storage containers. Naturally, breast milk expands when frozen and can cause cracks or leaks if the container is filled too much. So, try to store breast milk in no larger than 2 to 5 ounce portions. They’ll be easier to defrost and use later, too.

Set Realistic Pumping Goals
Because you’ll always be pumping into bottles with measurements, it’s particularly easy for exclusively pumping moms to stress about their breast milk supply. But, the truth is, every mom and baby is different. Setting a pumping output goal can be helpful, but over time you’ll learn just how much your little one eats and can probably adjust your expectations. For reference, the average size meal for a baby between the age of one and six months is three to five ounces and, in a day, babies typically consume between 19 to 30 ounces.

If you ever have questions or concerns throughout your breast milk feeding journey, remember our Lactation Consultant is here to help. Also, don’t forget, you have the support of many moms in our Facebook community, too.

Are you an exclusively pumping mom? Share your tips in the comments below.

32 thoughts on “Tips For Exclusively Pumping Moms

  1. I’ve been EPing for 3 months now. It is the hardest but most rewarding thing as I see my little guy grow.
    My advice for new pumpers: get a hands free bra ASAP, get a double electric pump (I use the Freestyle and it rocks!!), coconut oil is a must for the nipples and flanges, drink lots of water….and then drink some more, relax relax relax, force yourself to get up for the middle of the night pump (very important).
    And be proud!! I am part of an amazing Facebook support group for EPers and it has helped me get this far.

      • Hi Ashley,

        Every mom is different – if you’re having trouble with supply, you might consider waking to pump in the middle of the night. However, many moms choose to get some sleep instead. Our Facebook community weighed in on this question just the other day, see what they have to say here:

        Hope this helps!

    • I’ve decided today to start exclusive pumping. My daughter was having difficulty staying latched on after preferring the bottle (she was in the nicu and got breastmilk via bottle) I tried to breastfeed as much as I could with her while she was in the hospital and when coming home, but I can see she does not eat enough. I have had a lot of stress and feel comfort in doing exclusive pumping and knowing my little girl is eating the right amount! My only question is, my milk supply was very high she she was in the hospital pumping every 3 hours and when she got home, I was trying to breastfeed and only pumped when I felt needed, so will I be able to get my supply back up? Thank you! 🙂

      • Hi Jessie,

        Congratulations on your new baby! It’s common for breastfeeding moms to feel anxiety over whether or not their little one is getting enough breast milk. You can learn more about infant stomach size and how to tell your baby is getting enough here: Pumping or nursing frequently will help to maintain your supply because your breasts produce milk on a supply and demand basis (so the more often you remove milk from your breasts, the more the signal is sent to make more milk!). Here are tips for increasing supply:

        Hope this helps! Keep up the amazing work!

  2. I’m an EP and have been for about a month. It was a very tough decision for me when my son was about 3 months old. Luckily, it’s been the best thing for us. I’m confused by the whole pumping 8-12 times/day! Is that for EP moms with newborns? I do my best to pump every 3-4 hours during the day and once during the middle of the night.

    • Hi Megan,

      Every mom and baby are different – so if what you’re doing now is working for you, there’s no reason to change your schedule. It’s best to try and pump about as often as baby eats. This way, your supply should match your baby’s needs because your breast milk is produced on a supply-and-demand basis.

      Hope this helps, but please let us know if you have any further questions. Keep up the great work!


  3. I should have bought a hands-free pumping bra and larger bottles for the pumped milk to go into. The 5 oz bottles can hold 6 oz, but I would have saved time from pouring milk to a different container to finish pumping if I had 8 oz bottles. I agree that waking up in the middle of the night to pump will help your supply. After i pumped for a few months, magically, my milk letdown wasn’t so dramatic and I feel that pumping be a me easier…until your baby starts crawling all over you and the pump. No advice for that.

  4. Hi I am exclusively pumping.. I jus want to know do I need to store milk even if I plan to be home fully for 6 months. Right now I just refrigerate extra milk and on second day I just take that milk away from fridge and give to my 5 years old son. I don’t feel like putting it in freezer. Will I be able to provide my baby’s milk requirement if I pump on regular basis for 6 months? Right now I am doing approx 7 to 8 times and on average I express 600 ml milk

    • Hi, Kahani. How much you need to pump and store is very individualized based on your supply, your goals, and your baby’s size and growth. Many moms choose to freeze a stash of breast milk in preparation for a schedule change that takes them out of the house, or for any time they cannot be with baby during a feeding. If you plan on being home, you can feed baby breast milk that’s been stored at room temperature for up to 4 hours, or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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