Exclusive Pumping from Birth

How to begin EXCLUSIVE PUMPING right from the start!

Congratulations on the birth of your new baby! Here’s how to get off on the right foot on your EP journey… right from the start!

  • Begin hand expressing or pumping with a manual pump within the first 2 hours of birth. (A great time to do this is while your partner is doing skin-to-skin!)
  • Colostrum, your first milk, is thick and yellow. It may be easier to extract through hand expressing or a manual pump, possibly even easier than using a hospital grade electric pump. Request one of those anyway! If your birth is planned, like a cesarean birth, request that one be brought into your recovery room! (Milk production can be a bit delayed after a c-section)
  • Feed any colostrum you get to baby, even if it is drops of that liquid gold. You may need to use a medicine syringe or small medicine cup.
  • Pump every 2-3 hours around the clock… yes, day and night. This is how often a newborn would nurse. This is incredibly important to bringing in your milk supply and must be a priority.
  • DOUBLE PUMP (both breasts at the same time) for 15-20min every 3 hours. (Unless you’re using a manual pump, then pump one breast at a time) Set alarms to remind you and DON’T SKIP a pumping session!
  • Bottle-feed baby small amounts of colostrum, then transitional milk, then mature milk. Refrigerate or freeze the rest, if you have extra.
  • If you supplement with formula or donor milk, remember to keep pumping 8-12 times in 24hrs, day AND night. (8 times a day is every 3 hours)
  • Practice paced bottle feeding. Hold the baby more upright and the bottle more horizontal. Give baby breaks and burp baby often. They need time to recognize they are getting full.
  • Look to the CDC for guidelines on safe storage of milk and cleaning guidelines for pump parts and bottles.

Using Hand Expression right after birth:

Hand expression is the most sanitary way to express milk! It’s also HANDY if your power goes out! During those first few hours and days after birth, exclusive pumpers have more luck with hand expression than electric pumps.
1️⃣ Wash your hands
2️⃣ Make a C shape and place pads off your fingers and thumb outside of your areola
3️⃣ Press in toward your chest
4️⃣ Gently squeeze your fingers together
5️⃣ Release and repeat!
(NOTE- Don’t dig your finger tips into your breast tissue and don’t tug on your nipples!)

Using a Manual Pump right after birth:

Your first milk, colostrum, may be easier to get out with a manual pump than an electric pump.
Many people get frustrated with manual pumps because they don’t know how to use them. Good news, it’s really easy! My favorite one is the Medela Harmony Hand pump. I have several tutorials in my “Manual Pump” highlight on my Instagram page!

♥ Start with quick, shallow squeezes of the handle to initiate your let-down. (The Medela Harmony has a shorter part of the handle for letdown mode!)
♥ Switch to deeper, slower squeezes of the handle for expression
♥ Don’t squeeze allll the way down, this can actually break suction
♥ Watch the milk stream out and use slooow squeezes, release and squeeze again when the stream of milk stops
♥ You may need to reposition the flange to target different areas of the beast, especially if you have a clogged duct. I reposition when milk stops freely flowing.
♥ Use your other hand to massage- Press in and toward the flange to move the milk toward the nipple
♥ GREAT for on-the-go and clogged ducts! It’s a MUST HAVE for exclusive pumpers. I honestly don’t know why every EP mom doesn’t have one! If only for a cheap backup!!!

Wanna buy it? Find it listed in my Amazon idea list!

When should I pump?

(ppd = pumps per day, with sample times of day)

Exclusive Pumping Sample Schedule

A successful EP journey begins AT BIRTH. Make sure to get baby OR a pump on the breast within the first hours after giving birth!

You might see a different schedule that begins at birth with 8 ppd (pumps per day) and ends at 12 months with 1 ppd. That schedule is great if you’d like to be weaned by 12 months. Use THIS schedule as a sample for building and maintaining your milk supply until you are ready to wean. Alter as needed, based on what’s best for your schedule and family priorities.

(The numbers on the right are suggested times of the day to pump.)

You want to aim for 120 minutes total in a 24-hr day. Usually around 15-20 minutes double pumping when you’re still pumping frequently (both breasts at once). You may need to use heat, and hands-on massage to empty efficiently.
*I consider anything under 4 pumps a day “weaning” and during weaning you want to create less and less milk. You would not pump as long because you would not be aiming to keep your supply up at that point.

❗️ This is a SAMPLE schedule based on typical/average output. Every mother is different! Every breast has a different storage capacity and every mother produces a different daily total. Some mothers need to pump more frequently, some can go longer between pumps because their breasts can store more milk!
‼️ If you see a drop in your supply after dropping a pump, you may need to remain at a higher number of pumps per day. Do what works for you and your baby. ❤️

I love this hashtag.
How many of you were thrown into the pump life due to NICU stays, lip ties, tongue ties, nursing issues… etc? How many of you were searching for anyone going through a similar experience? I’ve been there, momma.
There’s an astonishing amount of support and information out there about exclusive pumping once you search for it. So blessed to be part of a community of exclusive pumpers who work so hard for our babies!
REMEMBER, even if you didn’t choose the pump life at first, you did have control over how you fed your baby, and I want you to feel empowered by that choice. 💛

Exclusive Pumpers right from birth: STICK. WITH. IT.
Make pumping a priority.
Do not be discouraged.
Celebrate EVERY drop.

I thought I was SO prepared for exclusive pumping with this baby. I’m “PumpMommaPump” afterall, right? I did research. I brought every pump to the hospital. I even tried latching. Everything hurt and those post-partum cramps made it that much worse. I struggled SO MUCH and it took about a week for any real amount of milk to come out. I could have quit so many times in that first week!
Listen to me. Pumping is my passion and I WANTED TO QUIT so many times in that first week, it was so frustrating.
But I had faith. I had grace with myself, my body, and my baby. I remembered the NICU nurses who celebrated EVERY drop of colostrum I brought in for my first baby. I was encouraged by my husband. I made pumping a priority no matter how many visitors I had or how demanding having a newborn was. Pumping was as much of a priority as feeding. YES I took care of my own health/mental health, which is so important. I asked for help. I got help with the house and with the children so I could focus on pumping when I needed to.
And my colostrum came in. My transitional milk came in. My mature milk fiiiinalllly came in. 🙌
Have grace, faith, and perseverance, new momma. Trust the process.
Take care of yourself, your baby, and your milk supply.
Get help. Supplement if you want/need to, but continue pumping even through the supplementation! Don’t quit on a bad day, but instead Make decisions with a clear head the next day. Feed the baby.

So what do I bring to the hospital?

Get off to a GREAT start exclusive pumping! These items may REALLY help you begin that journey during your hospital stay!
(Hint: DON’T assume the hospital is going to give you any of this)

My favorite pumping essentials

Click HERE to see a full list!
Want more great ideas? Even more pumping favorites HERE!

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