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Thread: length of pumping sessions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    291

    Default length of pumping sessions

    When I was working with lactation consultants to build up my supply when my baby was only a couple of weeks old, they all told me to pump for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. I had a nurse once tell me to pump until I wasn't getting any more milk, as long as it takes, and when I mentioned that to my LC, she said "no no no, only 15 minutes and then stop!!". I never asked why. Does anyone know?

    Now that I'm pumping to feed my baby while I work, I totally ignore that advice and usually just let my breasts tell me when to stop pumping (when I stop getting milk), usually after about 20 minutes. I have started pumping on my commute, which is 30minutes long. My inclination is to just let the pump run the whole time. I kind of feel like the extra stimulation is good for my supply. It doesn't hurt to pump that long (although sometimes I will turn down the suction if I feel like my nipples are getting a little tired). I have struggled with low supply so I want to do what I can in that department. But I keep thinking about how the LCs always made a big deal out of timing sessions and never pumping longer than 15 minutes. Does anyone know why they tell you to limit the time on the pump? Is there any reason I need to be doing this now?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    418

    Default Re: length of pumping sessions

    I have no idea why you'd need to limit the length of pumping sessions, unless possibly to reduce nipple soreness. If that's not an issue I think you can pump as long as you like. I pump twice a day at work for 30-40 minutes at a time because I find I can get multiple let-downs by pumping for longer. For me it's more efficient than pumping more often for less time. What works best varies from woman to woman and most women do better with more frequent, shorter pumping sessions, but you can certainly experiment to find what works for you.
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: length of pumping sessions

    I agree that there's no need to limit the pumping sessions (unless someone is dealing with a huge oversupply). I think pumping on your commute is a great idea, even if it's 30 minutes. I pump while driving and find I get the most milk that way - probably because I'm 1) pumping for a longer period of time and because 2) I'm not sitting there staring at the milk coming out, feeling impatient.
    Blessed with DS - born 9/2/09 - nursed/pumped for 12 months
    Blessed with DD - born 3/27/12 my dreamfeeder

    903 ounces donated.
    http://www.wakemed.org/landing.cfm?id=135

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,467

    Default Re: length of pumping sessions

    I'm guessing that initially the sessions were limited because there were strictly to build supply rather then to pump for a missed feeding, etc. Also new moms tend to pump forever...who knows. The way you are pumping now; to make up for missed feeds is great. It's what I did for years and always ensured my supply kept up with demand.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

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