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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

How to Pump Long-Term Successfully

Isn’t it funny how our plans can change once our little one(s) is here? I know mamas who had absolutely no desire to breastfeed, but decided to breastfeed once their baby was born. Or mothers who were adamant about breastfeeding but, because of a collision of circumstances, found joy in giving a bottle. Others plan to pump for “just a little while” but soon find themselves flying right past original goals and wanting to pump long-term.

If you’re a mama who’s chosen to pump long-term for whatever reason, you’ll find many helpful tips for getting started with pumping n my post, 20 Tips for Pumping Breast Milk. Once you’ve gotten your body used to pumping and are looking at a long-term plan, there are some ways to encourage success and anticipate hurdles.

How to Successfully Pump Long-term

  • Routine – Get into a good routine. While your body settles into adequate milk production for your little one(s), it’s helpful to stick as close to this routine as possible. This is for you as much as it is for your body.  Being in a routine will make it less likely for you to skip or forget a pumping session.
  • Relax – Don’t be run by recording ounces and how many frozen bags of breast milk are in your freezer. Try to fight the worry of whether or not to you’re producing “enough” and see these tips on increasing supply.
  • Pump where you want – In the early days, you may have been more comfortable in your bedroom getting everything hooked up, attached, balanced, and working properly. Eventually, you may want to be with your family and not in your bedroom 6-10 times a day. Pump where you feel comfortable. If modesty is a concern, nursing covers work for pumping too!
  • Be productive. Or not. – If you’re planning to pump long-term, you’ll be spending several hours every day hooked up. Take that time to accomplish something. You may feel more eager to spend time pumping if you know you’ll actually be productive. Or, take that time to rest. Take advantage of your forced breaks to do something relaxing. And, if possible, enjoy a little snuggle time with your little one.
  • Watch for growth spurts – When baby begins to want more milk, assume that this is a growth spurt and pump more frequently. Ideally, you want to mimic what your baby would do at the breast during a growth spurt. This means, pump every 1 1/2-2 hours for a few days until your supply increases. You can then, most likely, resume your normal pumping routine.
  • Set goals – If the thought of a far-off date to end your relationship with your pump is overwhelming, set smaller goals. Determine to pump till your baby starts solids, begins crawling, turns one or begins walking. Longer goals could even include pumping enough milk to be able to donate to a milk bank or as a private, paid donor. Whatever motivates you, work towards that.
  • Pump parts – Purchase extra sets of pump parts (like these).  Get as many as will make your pumping routine comfortable. Some women find that it works best if they have one set in use, one set in the cabinet and another set in the dishwasher. Other women don’t need that many pump parts. But if you’re not rushing to wash parts before sitting down to pump, you may be more likely to successfully pump long-term.
  • Maintenance – Every so often, be sure the seal along the pump parts is solid. If you find the suction of the pump isn’t as strong, examine the seal, the various pump parts and the pump itself. A poorly working pump will remove milk poorly and your supply may take a hit.
  • Diet and exercise – Or don’t! As you move further and further from giving birth, you may become more eager to get that baby weight off. While it is possible to diet and pump breast milk, be sure that you are not negatively affecting your supply. Don’t restrict good fats from your diet. Meats, dairy and other good fats are essential for the building blocks in your breast milk. They are also very necessary for Baby’s growth. Restricting these will affect the quality of your milk and may impact your supply.
  • Get sleep – Not so super easy when you’re a mom (especially as teeth start to come in!), but take others’ offers of help and get a nap in. Sleep when Baby sleeps. Adequate rest increases prolactin levels, which will help keep your supply up.
  • Work – If you’re going back to work, be assertive and know your pumping (on the job) rights.
  • Clothing – Wear comfy clothes with easy access (check out this nursing top). Few things are more frustrating than having to shed an entire outfit to get to your breasts to pump! And don’t forget to check out a hands-free pumping bra!

For more information on pumping, supply and feeding Baby, get the Breastfeeding Place’s book: The Breastfeeding Lifeline by signing up for email updates!

Recommended reading:

What tips could you share with someone who wants to pump long-term?


Jennifer Fountain is the founder of Growing Up Triplets and is a contributor to other blogs, including Breastfeeding Place. She writes about raising their three-year-old-triplets, taking the family back to living simply, and endeavoring to honor God in the midst of it all. She has been married to her hubby, David, for nearly five years and is madly in love with him! You can follow Jennifer and the three peas on Google+FacebookTwitterPinterest and the blog.


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