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. I’ve been EPing since day one for my new little guy after seeing two LC’s while in the hospital (and countless trips after we were home) and never getting a good latch. EPing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done but at the same time the most rewarding. Some people in our lives don’t understand why I do it and their criticism makes it rough at times but deep down I know it’s what’s best for him.
    My biggest tips for new mommas starting their EP journey are:
    1. Coconut oil or lanolin (I’m allergic so no lanolin in my case) are your new best friends, never pump without them!
    2. Relax!!!!!! It’s overly stressful but the more you relax the easier it is (easier said than done I know!)
    3. Find a good EP only support group. I found one on Facebook and those wonderful ladies have gotten me through the rougest days!
    4. Invest in a good hands free bra (LOVE my Medela bra!) and a way to make your pump portable (either one with a battery pack or built in battery). Being mobile has made pumping so much easier for me by not having to be stuck in one spot for 20-30 minutes at a time.
    Good luck and happy pumping! ❤️

    • Hi Bethany,

      These are wonderful tips for exclusively pumping moms! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. We’re so happy to hear that you’ve had a good experience with Medela.

      Keep up the great work!

  2. I was exclusively pumping, my daughter is 4 months and I just started nursing again. It’s so much easier now than when I 1st tried. The only downfall is my supply has went down tremendously since she is sleeping through the night & I work full time. I’m hoping with me nursing her helps build my supply back up. Thanks for recognizing us.

    • Hi Terrin,

      That’s wonderful to hear – congratulations on exclusively pumping for 4 months! Skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding more frequently are both great ways to boost your supply. Here are some more tips on increasing your supply:

      Hope this helps – and again, way to go!

  3. I exclusively pumped with my first son for 9 months until my milk decreased and then supplemented with formula until he turned 1. With my second son I am pumping every 3 hours for 20 minutes and go a bit longer at night. I have a ton of milk. I am feeding both my two year old and 7 month old and even have a lot of frozen milk. I would say to keep to a schedule and pump a little longer. The first time I went 10 minutes and went longer between pumping because I listened to advice from moms who never pumped. This time I’m fixing all my mistakes and have been much more successful. I try and watch a show on my iPad while I pump to keep myself occupied and have a hands free bra made by simple wishes because they carry large sizes that medela does not currently offer. Good luck! People an be negative to exclusively pumping moms but you are in fact breastfeeding!

    • Hi Kelley,

      That’s so wonderful to hear – great job! We appreciate you taking the time to share your experience and tips with fellow moms. You should be so proud of yourself for providing your little ones with breast milk. No matter what the container, it’s a beautiful thing!


  4. Annelyse Inskeep says:

    I was not able to get either of my children to properly latch. I pumped exclusively for 11 months for each of them. I used a Medela Pump In Style the entire time. When it comes to pumps, you get what you pay for! Spend the money and you won’t regret your decision! The amount you will save in not purchasing formula will more than make up for your investment! The biggest tip I give to my friends who are thinking about pumping is to always be pumping a bottle ahead. I would pump a bottle and since breastmilk can sit out for awhile without spoiling, I would pump right after feeding the baby, that way I was always a bottle ahead and I wasn’t listening to a crying hungry baby while trying to let down my milk. This is especially helpful at night to ensure you and baby get the maximum amount of sleep possible. The second time around was particularly hard to stick with it but as I look back at my life, it’s something I am very proud to have accomplished.

    • Hi Annelyse,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and your tips with fellow breastfeeding moms. Fantastic job!


  5. My daughter is 15 months and I have been exclusively pumping since she was 3 months old! She stills drinks breast milk even though milk supply has gone down. Im happy that i made the decision to EP when she had trouble latching on. I still shared the bond when i feed her with a bottle with skin to skin contact. My medela pump made it easy for me to pump literally anywhere i needed to!! Love all the products!

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