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Thread: How long to pump per session?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    New York State

    Default How long to pump per session?

    My little girl was born at the end of September and I'm headed back to work at the end of November. I've started pumping both before or after leaving the house without her (SAHDaddy feeds her my milk while I'm gone) and once a day when I'm home the whole time to build up a little freezer stash. What I want to know is, how do you decide how long to pump? Currently I get 2-3 oz in 5-10 minutes of pumping both sides at once. I've read that babies generally need an oz per hour of separation, so if I'm pumping every 2 or 3 hours at work then I would need 2 or 3 oz each time. Basically, I'm wondering if I should pump until I get enough milk and feel comfortable, or if the 15 minute pumping sessions are a necessity even if you get more than enough milk before then?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Southern NM

    Default Re: How long to pump per session?

    Every woman is different, but I can tell you what I have done with all three of mine. I have a fairly fast letdown. I pump until I don't get anymore out. That usually takes about 10 minutes. With my first two I would do this three times a day and get about 4 oz total each time. With my latest I only pump twice a day due to my current school schedule but I actually end up with more, usually between 14 and 16 oz a day. If you produce enough in 5-10 minutes I would stick with what works. If you are not producing, that's when I would look into increasing time, doing compressions, etc.
    I am Erin--happily married to the nerd of my dreams for 15 years
    High School Science Teacher
    Mother to: Thing 1 9/23/01, bf 15 mo, diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma 1/29/02, officially cancer free for ten years in August 2012
    Thing 2 6/6/05, bf 12 mo, obsessed with dynamite
    Glowworm 2/18/11, bf 15 months and counting

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: How long to pump per session?

    It depends....some moms let down really quickly and thus can empty their breasts rapidly, but there is a little bit more to it than that. A mom like that who has a OS would probably not want to keep pumping for longer, as that would provide stimulation to the breasts and exacerbate her OS. A mom of low to normal milk supply might want to pump for a few more minutes after getting to the dry point, as a pump is less effective than a baby at removing milk anyway, and that could lead to a slow decrease in supply over time.

    But...there is also this thing of time spent at the pump. A mom who is subbing a pump for a baby for some feedings might also want to think about total time spent stimulating her breasts to ensure a good milk supply for the long-term, even if she starts with an OS; as times goes on, she might find that she does need to pump longer to maintain her supply. Does that make sense?

    Most moms at work find that 10-15 minutes is adequate. I would say, try it and see what works for you. Everybody responds to a pump so differently. If you start seeing a decrease in supply, then increase the amount of time spent pumping.
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Default Re: How long to pump per session?

    I also pump until the flow stops, I can uasually be back to work in 15 min or so with setting up and washing parts (sometimes 20 min). When I was trying to up my supply I would keep the pump on for 2-5 min longer to help that along (although I did a little to much and now have a bit of an OS issue.) It took me a few weeks being back to work before I had it all figured out. Good Luck
    I am Klisti, I married my best friend Kris two years ago.

    The love of my life, Wyatt 8-28-11 AKA the little dude

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