Nursing mothers pump their breasts to stimulate and remove milk. You can do this by hand, with a hand-operated pump, or an electric pump.
By the third day after delivery, if baby is not latching or breastfeeding well for a period of at least 10 to 15 minutes at each breast, you should pump your breasts. This will help start or increase your milk supply and keep it going.
You should also continue breastfeeding every two to three hours during the day and evening, and every three to four hours at night. If you think baby may not be getting enough milk, see How to Tell If Baby Is Getting Enough Milk.
If you pump during the first three to four days after the baby is born, you may get nothing or only a few drops of colostrum from the first few sessions. This is normal. In the early days, you should feed any pumped colostrum or milk to baby unless your medical care provider tells you not to.
Your goal is to stimulate your breasts with breastfeeding and/or pumping eight times in every 24-hour period. As long as you are breastfeeding, if baby still needs a bottle, you should also pump your breasts. If you breastfeed and baby takes a bottle afterwards, pump for 10 minutes. If you pump at a time when you are not breastfeeding baby, pump for 15 minutes.
When all is going well, baby is the best pump. If you need additional pumping during your baby’s first month, we recommend a hospital-grade electric pump with a double pump kit. You should use this at least until your milk supply is well established. Pump names include Ameda, Lact-E, Medela Classic and Symphony. This type of pump is available at The Maternal Connection.
After your milk supply is well established, you may switch to a lighter-weight pump. Continue to pump both breasts if pumping only. If a drop in your milk supply is noticed, then you will need to return to a hospital-grade pump to maintain your milk supply.
Remember, your goal is to stimulate your breasts with breastfeeding and/or pumping eight times in every 24-hour period. If you’re having any problems with milk removal, or if you have other concerns, consult a lactation consultant.