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Thread: timing pumping sessions when baby might want to nurse soon

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default timing pumping sessions when baby might want to nurse soon

    I'm a little confused about when to pump sometimes. I work outside the home ~8 hours a day and I pump every 2-3 hours while away from baby. I've been pumping almost exactly what my baby takes from a bottle so I also want to try to fit in a pumping session here or there while I'm home for the freezer.

    There are times when the baby has had a bottle an hour before I get home and doesn't want to nurse, or is napping when I get home, but I arrive home 3 hours after I last pumped so I really need to nurse. In those cases, I will usually pump at home. But then I worry that she'll be awake/hungry again in another 1/2 hour and my breasts will be pretty empty.

    Or, like tonight, she went to sleep at 7 pm (she usually goes to bed with us around 9 and falls asleep anywhere between 10 and 11) and now it is after 9 and my breasts are starting to ache and I'd love to pump a few ounces for the freezer but I have no idea if she's going to sleep another 3 hours or wake up in the next 5 minutes.

    I have read that it's best to pump after baby eats, and there have definitely been times when I have pumped and then she has unexpectedly wanted to nurse and I feel like she doesn't get ANYTHING. But I've also read that it's OK, that there will still be milk there for her.

    Can anyone offer some guidance about what to do in these situations? What works for you? In general, should my LO be on a more consistent nap/bedtime schedule by now? It seems to be all over the place, which I'm fine with, but I am never sure when to pump and when to wait for her to nurse. My baby is just shy of 4 months old. Thanks!
    Last edited by @llli*sprocket; September 17th, 2012 at 07:40 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: timing pumping sessions when baby might want to nurse so

    I'm sorry, remind me how old your LO is? My kids have had erratic nap/bedtime schedules for the first year or so, so I'm sure it's totally normal.

    When my breasts are full but I'm expecting my baby to want to nurse any minute, I usually pump less time than I would at work. There is always milk in your breasts even when they feel empty, but I've also had the situation where I had just COMPLETELY emptied my breasts and then my baby is annoyed at having to work so hard to get anything. So in those circumstances, I usually just pump a few ounces for the stash, but don't sit there for a half hour doing compressions or whatever.

    As far as pumping for the stash, I find my supply is highest in the morning. At that time of day, I can pump a ton and STILL have plenty for my baby if she wants it. So that's when I do my daily pumping for the stash. If you pump at about the same time every day, your supply will increase at that time. Some women do pump before work, or on their morning commute, for a little extra. Others pump after their baby goes to bed - but that usually works best if your baby sleeps well (I wouldn't know about that ).

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Re: timing pumping sessions when baby might want to nurse so

    Thanks. She'll be 4 months next week. I will try doing a shorter pumping session when I want to pump while at home but baby might want to nurse. That is a great idea. I haven't tried that because by the time I get the pump out and set up, I want to make it count, you know? But it's better to get a couple of ounces than to not do it at all because I'm not sure when she'll want to nurse next, for sure.
    I do pump on my way to work. I often don't get much if baby has just nursed. If baby goes to bed early, I will sometimes pump right before I go to bed, so if she goes to bed at 7 (it's rare but it happens!) I will pump at 10-ish. So that is a good time to pump for the stash. But again, I'm not sure if she's going to wake up and want to nurse when I get into bed. But in that situation, she would usually just want a snack anyway.

    Thanks for all your help!

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