When to Start Pumping Breast Milk (The New Mom’s Guide)

The very first time when parents hold their babies, they see all the parts of their child. You see their chest rising along with their normal breath.

This is pure bliss for sure. 

This experience will continue until the time mothers realize that they are completely responsible to keep their babies’ lives safe and alive. It requires love, attention and especially milk from a mother for a few months. This is not an easy task for a new mommy. 

New mommies have often heard that to breastfeed their baby is on-demand these days. It sounds very simple but in the start months, you need to fill your babies’ stomach now and then, both day and night. 

Mothers need to know how to either breastfeed or look for the right supplement or how to pump their babies, they must know the complete process that will make them feel overwhelming beside lack of sleep that the mothers must be experiencing.

Here we have made new mommies’ lives easy; we have guidelines to help you determine when to start pumping, plus additional advice on how to use breast pump each day. 

When to start pumping?

You should consult your doctor or the lactation consultant before you plan to start pumping.

You need to discuss your goals and objectives for pumping or breastfeeding that will help you find the right method that will suit your newborn.

New mommies can start pumping as soon as they give birth to their babies. Mothers can pump exclusively from the start. Or pumping can be done once or a few times every day. 

You may come across certain reasons due to which you need to pump from birth, like:

  • The medical condition of your baby
  • Your medical history
  • Latch issues faced
  • We need to share responsibilities of feeding with a non-breastfeeding partner.

It goes on. It’s up to you what you decide; do not let anyone else decide anything for your baby. You know it better what is good for you and of course for your baby too. 

Some considerations:

If the reason that you are using the pump because you want to keep milk for bottles or you are thinking to increase the milk supply, you need to pump after regular nursing sessions a few times in a day.

It just depends on the amount of milk you want to keep for your baby. 

Also, if your little newborn is having difficulty in latching or you wish to pump, you will need to pump in place of all the nursing sessions.

This means you need to pump throughout the day so that you can easily feed your baby when needed. 

If you want to pump until you go for work or school, you have to keep in mind to begin at least two weeks before pumping.

This will help you to make a stash but along with this, you need to know more about the pumping and storage process. Give some time to your baby to get used to bottles. 

Pumping for your newborn:

If you need to supplement your baby with nursing sessions along with bottles, you need to just pump a few times a day.

It will be convenient for you to pump in the morning when you are the fullest. Also, keep in mind to try pumping when the normal breastfeeding sessions are done. 

Your newborn can often be demanding, well, breastfeeding is all about to demand and for mothers to supply.

The concept of pumping is almost the same. If your baby is eating 8 to 10 times a day, so you need to at least pump the same time that will keep your supply as per your baby’s demand. 

There is no such rule; it just depends on the needs of your newborn. You may often find it useful to pump every two or three hours around the clock when your baby is for a few months. 

For night time, you must pump at least two times that may help to establish a good supply for your newborn. 

At night, when you are pumping this will depends on how your supple will handle for longer breaks. If you think your supply is dipping after skipping night time sessions of pumping, you need to add them back in. 

Pumping for low milk supply:

You do not need to fret when you see you are not producing much milk. The timings of milk production may differ for day and night.

On the other hand, it may be possible that you produce more milk one week and less milk at some point. There are certain factors like stress level, diet or some others that may also affect the production of your milk. 

You may see some women filling a whole bottle in just one pumping session while other people may pump two or more times to completely fill the same size bottle. It’s not at all any competition, and it’s normal for the mothers.

You need to consult your consultant if your milk supply is low and you are not getting the proper one for your newborn. 

Furthermore, you can also try eating certain food items that will help to increase your milk supply. 

Pumping for working moms:

It can be often irritating, but when you are at work you need to pump after every three to four hours for around 20 minutes a session.

For a mother, pumping for around 20 minutes sound like a lot, but this is the only way you can save your milk supply and fulfill your baby’s demand and can empty yourself. Pumping after hours can help to feed your baby on time without difficulty. 

Mothers are recommended to try pumping milk with both breasts at the same time, this may reduce your time for sure and you can feel relaxed too.

You can search for a private place at work where you can comfortably pump milk for your baby. 

Reverse cycling:

If you are providing breast milk along with pumped milk, so you will notice that your baby will be doing reverse cycling.

This is that he will take less milk from the bottles at night while more from breastfeeding at night.

How much to pump?

As your baby grows, the amount of milk consumption will change per your babies need. You may notice it changing by the day as well, especially if you see them hitting growth spurts.

You need to know the exact amount of milk your baby requires that will help you to feed accordingly.

From ages 6 weeks to 6 months, your baby needs to drink about an ounce per hour. It indicates that if you want to pump milk for your baby so you need to keep 10 to 12 ounce of breast milk.

May be your baby needs less milk often while on the other hand, they may require more milk at some point too.

You may not know why this is happening, but as times goes by, you will understand what is best and how much milk your baby needs.

You need to keep pumping around the time when you baby’s session for the next bottle.

If you think you can’t keep all for now so you can go for the next pumping session that can help to increase the amount of milk your body is making.

If you want to replace nursing sessions with bottles occasionally, you can do a trick here with your baby.

For example, if your baby requires 24 ounces in 24 hours, you can divide that number by the number of feeding sessions that have.

How long to pump?

Again this question that how long you should pump if you are a new mom is something important for mommies. You need to pump for longer time that will help to empty your breast.

This varies from one woman to the other. But you may find pumping milk for 15 minutes on each breast — This is the standard time even if there is no milk coming.

 What pumping methods are best?

There are many different ways to pump, for example, hand expression needs using your hand or fingers that will help to milk your breast into a bottle or some storage or any device for feeding for example spoon.

Pumps for breast: There are manual ones and also those that work through electricity or battery, it uses suction to remove milk from the breast. It may sound that it will give pain but in actual it is relaxing. 

When might you use these methods?

You may go for hand expression in the early days that is used if you have already fed your baby but wants to give additional milk through the spoon.

It may also increase the supply of your milk. It is free but it needs a lot of energy to pump. 

You may also find manual pumps that are handy if you do not have electricity near you or you don’t require a large supply of milk on hand. It is not much expensive and very easy to use. 

If you are thinking to get a large supply of milk at work or at school, you may use powered pumps.

This may also come under your health insurance. But you must keep something as a backup for your baby so that you can always give him milk on time. 

How to pump: Step by step

Here’s how to pump:

  • You need to wash your hands thoroughly before starting and check all the pump parts that they are working or not. 
  • Keep yourself in an easy and comfortable place. It is observed by some women that by thinking about their baby, their milk flows well. You can keep any photo or anything of your little one that may help you to increase your milk flow. 
  • You need to apply your pump to your breast around your areola keeping your nipples in the center. You need to check the flange that must be comfortable. Get another size if it’s not comfortable for you. 
  • While using an electric pump, you need to keep it slow first. Speed can be increased as the session goes on. 
  • You need to pump each breast for about 15 to 20 minutes. It’s up to you how to pump, either one at a time or both together to save time. 
  • Store your milk and follow the instructions on the manual to clean your pump for the next use. 

Tips for optimizing milk supply

  • You need to keep yourself hydrated. Drink plenty of milk, juices, and water. On the other hand, avoid caffeinated products like coffee that may cause irritation to your baby. 
  • You need to at least drink 13 cups of water a day if you are either pumping or breastfeeding. You need to keep an eye on your urination. It should be of light color or clear. If you see its bright yellow; you need to fill your glass again with water. 

Eat a healthy diet:

Lactation burns a few calories, instead, you need to take more calories while breastfeeding. You need to increase your intake of a balanced diet that will keep you fine. 

It is essential for mothers to take a healthy diet that includes whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and lean protein as well as healthy fats. 

If you are on a diet, you can ask your healthcare provider for some supplements. For example, you should take multivitamins that will help to support your milk supply and also it will keep you healthy. 


It is often difficult, but you need to try to get rest whenever you get time, this will definitely help to increase your milk production.

It is good to sleep when your baby is sleeping. You can save your energy and just relax for some time.

Avoid smoking:

Smoking often reduces the supply of milk in new mommies and it can also affect the taste of milk that you are giving to your baby.

Other than that it can also mess with the sleeping habits right when you are thinking to give them a comfortable sleep. 

Other tricks:

You may use some other tried and tested tricks that will help you to increase the flow of your milk.

You may eat rolled oats, drinking dark beer, drinking mother’s milk tea and also if you consume fenugreek, there is a chance that the production of milk can be increased. 


For the new mommies, they will find many pieces of advice online but keep in mind what suits you and your baby you need to follow that only. Consult your doctor before loading up on many different supplements.

You must also clean the pump parts that can be a hurdle in pumping milk.

The right time of pumping milk is in the morning when you are fresh and free from all worries and after comfortable sleep, you can easily pump more milk as well for your baby.