If you are nursing, you will need to determine how many nursing feeding cycles you will miss so you can calculate how many times you will need to pump to stimulate your breasts.
Missed Nursing Feeding Cycles + Pump Sessions
= total daily stimulations
Your baby’s feeding cycles will stay around where they have been at home. Your pump sessions, however, can fall wherever they need to, ideally going no longer than 4-5 hours without pumping. This flexibility helps you to focus less on when or how often you need to pump and more on the total number of pumps you need to meet your needed total daily stimulations.
The volume you pump out will vary, the stimulation from pumping is more important than the volume you collect. You can control how often you pump. You cannot control the volume of milk that your breasts produce.
Potential pump sessions to consider:
- Pump after a nursing session.
- If the feeding cycle that follows is a bottle feeding, this pump session doesn’t need to be within 15 minutes of finishing nursing.
- Any interval of pumping after nursing can count as stimulation.
- A pump session is a stimulation regardless of the volume you collect.
- Hands-Free pumping while driving in route to or home from work.
- Pump after bedtime nursing session
If the feeding cycle that follows is often at a relatively predictable interval of 4-5 hours, this pump session doesn’t need to be within 15 minutes of finishing nursing. You’re more likely to collect more milk the longer you wait in order to give your breasts more refill time. You’ll just need to balance this with when the baby is likely to wake up and want to nurse.
A note on wearable pumps that allow you the freedom to “pump anywhere while doing anything.” As pumps become more discreet, pumping has become less of a protected time to rest and express. Perhaps you pump once or twice a day while multitasking, but I strongly encourage you to take at least one, if not all pump sessions to take the space, time, and break you need to allow your body and your mind to slow down and connect into where you are and what you are doing.
Just because you can pump while working doesn’t mean you must or should pump while working.