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.

30 thoughts on “Tips For Exclusively Pumping Moms

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. Many times I think us “EPers” go forgotten. We are somewhere in the middle. According to some we don’t “breastfeed” but we certainly do provide the best for our babies. I have been EPing for seven months after seeing my LC countless times (in fact we are now very good friends). This is a wonderful article for moms who can’t or chose not to breastfeed but still want to provide the best possible option for feeding their child. This article made me proud to EP. Thank you medela for also including this option to expecting and current mothers.

    • Hi Angela,

      We’re so happy to hear that you enjoyed this post. It’s our goal to be inclusive of all moms + babies and sensitive to the various situations that impact each and every breastfeeding journey. Whether you feed at the breast or pump and bottle feed, your baby is still getting your liquid gold – and that’s a wonderful thing! You should be extremely proud of yourself.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us, and keep up the great work!


  2. This is encouraging! I have struggled with bfing, our little one was in step down nicu for 4 days and we have latching and having to work for the milk problems since he got a bottle there but I have pumped from day 1! We still try bfing but like you said as long as he’s getting it…that’s all that matters! 🙂

    • Hi Suzanne, I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this post. Keep up the great work pumping breast milk for your little one! Thanks for sharing with us – Kathy

  3. Thanks so much for this article!! My little girl was born 15 weeks early and just came home from the NICU after 93 days! I started pumping a few hours after she was born and now that we’re home she’s doing a combination of breast and bottle feeding! I feel great knowing she’s getting the best stuff for her no matter how it’s delivered!

    • Hi Erin,

      Congratulations on your new little one (and bringing her home – how exciting)! Keep up the great work, you’re doing a wonderful thing for her. Thank you for taking the time to share.


  4. This was a wonderful article! I EP because of latching difficulties, I even tried your nipple shields which caused me more pain unfortunately. It’s true that a lot of us EPers get overlooked and I definitely stress over my output 🙂 I use my pump in style advanced and love it! My only problem is trying to find a properly fitting breast shield 🙁

    • Hi Katelyn,

      We’re happy to hear that you enjoyed this blog post and that you’re having a good experience with your Medela pump. Here is more information on finding the best breast shield fit:

      Keep up the great work!

  5. I mainly pump due to full time working, but enjoy bf when I’m not at work. My biggest recommendation is to buy a few sets of bottles, valves and shields, so that you don’t feel you’re washing up every couple of hours. Also your baby’s daddy can be a huge help in cleaning and prepping the bottles as its such a time consuming and boring task.

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