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  • Writer's pictureMolly Peterson

Decoding the Pumping Puzzle: Tips from Wisco Lactation




To Pump or Not to Pump…That is the Question


Creating a pumping plan when you’re breastfeeding can feel like an incredibly daunting task. When do you pump? How long do you pump for? When do you give the bottle? Well, the advanced skill IBCLC Lactation Consultants at Wisco Lactation are here to help! Let’s break it down into two sections. Pumping when breastfeeding is going well, and when things are a little challenging.


When Breastfeeding is Going Well:


The ideal time to start pumping and offer a bottle for most families is somewhere between 3-6 weeks postpartum. However, you have to do what’s best for your family and your mental health and if starting to pump a little sooner feels right, that’s okay!


When you feel ready, the best time to pump is right after the baby's first morning feeding. Pumping as soon as that feeding ends is best, so we don’t create competition between the baby and the pump. Typically, pumping after the first-morning feeding will yield the most milk due to prolactin (the hormone required in making milk) is higher. Pumping for about 15-20 minutes is all that’s necessary, and most lactating parents get between 0.5-1.5oz combined when pumping after a feeding. Remember, your breasts were just drained by your baby! One big piece is to make sure that your flanges are the correct size. For most, the flanges that come with your pump are way too big! At Wisco Lactation, all of our IBCLCs have advanced training and can find the size that’s best for you.


You can then store this milk until you’re ready to give your baby a bottle, or start to offer bottles daily or a few times per week. Starting with 1-2oz is perfect and then working up to full feedings as you and your baby get comfortable with the new addition to your routine.


When breastfeeding is Challenging:


When breastfeeding isn’t going as planned, the first thing to do is find a skilled IBCLC in your area who can help determine what might be going on and how to help. The next most important thing to do is to start pumping to protect your milk supply.


Our breasts need frequent stimulation and drainage to send the right signals to our brain to make more and more milk. For most lactating parents, breasts should be stimulated and drained at least 8-12 times in a 24-hour period. This may mean pumping every few hours while you work on breastfeeding to ensure that you have an adequate supply of milk. Depending on your milk supply, one longer stretch of sleep of about 4-5 hours is often okay, but be sure to discuss this with your IBCLC first.


Flange fit here is crucial. If your flanges are not the right fit, it can drastically impact how comfortable pumping is, how much milk you’re able to pump, how fast you’re able to pump, and the prevention of plugged ducts and mastitis.


If you still have questions on pumping Wisco Lactation would be happy to help. Not only do our IBCLCs offer breastfeeding support, but we love working with pumping and bottle feeding as well! You can find more information on their website wiscolactation.com



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