How Long After Breastfeeding Can I Pump (And Why)?

Exact Answer: After an hour

Breastfeeding is a preferred mode of feeding a newborn child. Medical professionals have deemed breastfeeding as one of the most optimum ways of providing nutrition to the infant. However, breastfeeding schedules for each baby may be quite divergent.

Nonetheless, it is not imperative that new mothers breastfeed their babies all day long. This is where breast pumps become lifesavers for the community of mothers. As a mechanical device, the breast pump helps extract the breast milk from the mother and store it for the baby. This milk can then be used to feed the infant when the mother is away or when breastfeeding is not possible.

How Long After Breastfeeding Can I Pump?

Each child has a different feeding routine and schedule. This is hinged on the appetite and the age of the child in question. Thus, breastfeeding and pumping schedules for each individual mom will also vary significantly. However, it is possible to ideate a schema on the basis of the overall average time frame of reference.

Most medical professionals stress the importance of pumping breast milk after about 30 minutes of a breastfeeding session. This is applicable to a newborn child. The time gap can also be increased to an hour after a breastfeeding session.

However, since each child has a different feeding schedule, moms may need to work around this ground rule. In case a child needs to be fed every 4 hours, then the 2-hour mark after a breastfeeding session will be more appropriate for pumping.

Some lactating moms also prefer pumping right after a breastfeeding session. In such a case, they may not follow the one-hour rule that is prescribed by doctors. Again, the correct or most appropriate pumping schedule for an individual can only be identified through the process of trial and error and may take some time to be established for both the mom and the child.

The objective is to reach a total of 8 to 10 pumpings during the day. Pumping can be started around the 6-week mark for a healthy and weight-appropriate child. Mothers should not spend more than 5 hours in between pumping sessions, especially during the first few weeks of the newborn’s life. As the child gets older, pumping sessions after breastfeeding may be reduced.

In Summary:

Schedule LimitWaiting Period Between Breastfeeding and Pumping
Lower Limit30 minutes
Upper Limit1 hour

Why Do I Have To Wait After Breastfeeding To Pump?

Most lactation consultants suggest that new moms wait for a while after they breastfeed the child for a very important reason. It takes some time for the milk to be produced by the body. If moms pump right after a breastfeeding session, the chances of insufficient milk supply may be quite high.

RECOMMENDED
How Long Can a Person Use FMLA (And Why)?

It is important to give one’s body time to replenish the supply of milk that has been used by the child during the recent breastfeeding session. Some moms prefer pumping immediately because they believe that doing so would increase milk supply. However, there is no stated evidence to support this claim.

Most doctors would suggest that the mothers should pump in the morning as prolactin- the hormone needed for milk production- is at its peak in the morning. Moms can also pump an hour before breastfeeding the infant. As the age of the baby increases, these sessions of pumping can be reduced.

It is important to first establish a regular nursing and feeding routine for the child. This is more or less stabilized within the first 2 weeks of the child’s birth. Moreover, it is advisable that mothers first satiate their child’s needs through natural nursing and then pump. Thus, the stated timeline of breastfeeding and pumping.

It is always better when a new mom first consults a lactation consultant to create a well-suited time frame of feeding and pumping. When fixed by an expert, this takes into account several factors like the milk supply of the mom, the latching capabilities of the child, the weight and needs of the baby, etc.

Conclusion

New mothers are often apprehensive about breastfeeding their newborn babies. There may also be several contingencies associated with breastfeeding a newborn infant. Thus, the existence of breast pumps helps alleviate a lot of this apprehension.

Working moms or mothers who have to remain away from their infants for some time can do so while using a breast pump device to pump and store breast milk. After breastfeeding the child, the mother can pump her milk within about 30 minutes to an hour. Sometimes this timeline may change according to the feeding schedule of the child in question and the milk supply of the mother.

References

  1.  https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/122/Supplement_2/S56.short
  2. https://fn.bmj.com/content/97/1/F18.short
x
How Long After Protein Shake To Eat Meal video