How Long After Nursing Should You Pump (And Why)?

Exact Answer: After about 4-6 weeks

In today’s hustle-bustle world, it is very hard for mothers to find time for feeding their children. Although breastfeeding provides the most essential nutrients to the baby for its wholesome development, mothers prefer packed milk over breastfeeding. However, mothers should not compensate for the child’s need for breast milk, and for this reason, science has advanced to find out a way by which mothers would not have the hassle of waiting long for breastfeeding their babies. This newly developed method is known as pumping of the breast.

Some pump machines are available for this purpose. By using those pump machines, the mother can collect the milk from her breasts in a painless manner and can store it for feeding her baby later. The quality of the milk is even not hampered due to the machine.

How Long After Nursing Should You Pump

How Long After Nursing Should You Pump?

Age Of The ChildTime
0-6 months4 hrs.
Above 6 months1 hr

However, the hectic schedule is not the only reason which prevents the baby from getting the benefits of the milk from the mother’s breasts. There are situations of surrogate mothers in which the baby is separated from the mother who gave birth. There are even situations when the baby is unable to suck milk out of the mother’s breasts. Pumping has been a boon for such babies as it provides them with the milk from their mother’s breasts without hampering the quality or the nutrient level.

However, mothers who are new to this technology may find it difficult to follow the correct instructions and hence it is essential to know all the details about the process before going for it. Before going for pumping of breasts, the baby should be taught to drink milk from the baby bottles available in the market. The baby should even be adapted to a proper routine of breastfeeding which would make it easier for him to accept this change.

However, mothers can even start earlier than this time span. This is mainly recommended in cases where the baby has a comparatively low sugar level, low weight at the time of birth. The mother needs to consult a lactation consultant before going for pumping. The consultant would go through the baby’s health condition and the mother’s reasons for going through pumping and would then talk to the mother if it is safe for the baby to be fed through the pumping of breasts.

Pumping breasts feels like the natural process of breastfeeding. Working women who have the urgency to return to their workplace can start pumping breasts within 4-5 weeks of birth. However, mothers should start pumping only after 3-4 weeks of the birth of the child. Pumping should be strictly avoided during gestation as this would lead to the lack of hormones in the body thereby leading to complications in pregnancy and delivery.

Why Should You Wait So Long To Pump After Nursing?

The best part of the day when mothers should pump milk out of their breasts is the morning time. This is because the body would have produced an abundant amount of hormones throughout the night thereby leading to the maximum production of milk during the early hours of the day. The milk should be properly labeled and stored for later use. Mothers can even start pumping after 4-5 hours of their normal nursing sessions. Pumping just after breastfeeding can increase the production and collection of milk.

Mostly, mothers are asked to use an electric pump which would pump both the breasts at the same time. Pumping both the breasts in this way for about 20-25 minutes of normal nursing sessions can boost up the production of milk. However, in cases where the mothers want to replace their regular nursing sessions by pumping, the duration of pumping should be increased to about 30 minutes for the collection of an adequate amount of milk.

However, it completely depends on the mother to decide whether she wishes to go for pumping via hand expressions or via an electrical pumping machine. As every individual is unique, some mothers get the best results by the natural manual way of pumping too. On the other hand, others need the use of a pump to suffice their baby’s hunger. The mother should stick to a proper schedule of pumping, feeding, and breastfeeding. However, the mother should try to breastfeed at least once a day.

For instance, if the mother works for 8 hours a day, then the mother should breastfeed the child before going to work. She should go for one session of pumping before going to work. The milk should be fed to the baby during the afternoon hours during which the mother won’t be able to breastfeed. Multiple pumping sessions may be conducted if needed.


Proper hygiene should be maintained while pumping and feeding the child. After every session, all the instruments of the pump should be cleaned properly. The details provided by the manufacturer for the process of cleaning should be kept in mind while cleaning. Warm water should be used for cleaning the pump. After collection, the milk should be stored for no more than 4 hours at room temperature. When stored in the refrigerator, then it can be stored for about 5 days.

Pumping is the easiest and most beneficial process for mothers. It has been proven absolutely safe for both the mother and the baby. At the same time, it provides the essential nutrients to the baby and even teaches it to use a bottle. However, proper sanitation and hygiene should be maintained so that the quality of milk isn’t degraded.


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