There are a wide variety of affordable and efficient breast pumps available to nursing mothers today. This happily coincides with the large number of mothers that must return to work after the birth of their babies, usually between the 6 and 12 week post-partum time frame. One of the most common questions I am asked as a lactation consultant is “when can I start to pump?” If your baby is latching well- great! No need to pump.
In the process of teaching your baby how to breastfeed, we know that breastfeeding only- no bottles, no pacifiers especially in the first several week as they are learning is critical. After about 2 weeks of age, your supply should be well established and calibrated to provide for your baby’s caloric needs. Any time after this, you can start pumping to start stockpiling. Your milk supply is highest when you first wake up for the day, until about one o’clock in the afternoon, and lowest in the late afternoon /early evening. Whereas you can pump after any feeding in the day to start to stockpile, if you pump after a morning feeding, you will probably get the most volume for your effort. Pump right after you breastfeed, and pump for about 10-15 minutes. You might not get as much as you think you should the first several times you do this, but as your body relaxes with pumping and learns to release the milk to the pump, you will eventually get more.