Congratulations if you’ve just delivered your baby! We’re sure your baby’s feeding, sleeping, and diaper duties are already keeping you busy 24/7. Let’s add pumping breast milk to the list if you are breastfeeding. When it comes to when and how much you need to pump, there can be a lot of confusion, much like everything else. Quite understandable since a newborn’s appetite and the supply of breast milk can be very unpredictable. For my second baby, I had a very good flow right at the onset, but my baby would feed less. Soon, as her appetite grew, my supply started to taper. This is when all the frozen milk I’d pumped in the beginning came to my rescue. And all this I owe to the schedule I made for myself. So, what’s a breast milk pumping schedule? Here, I’m sharing my exclusive pumping schedule with the rest of the moms.
Newborn To 3 Months – 8 Pumps Per Day
In the very beginning, I didn’t know how much I needed to pump. I’d feed my baby and then toss the rest of the milk. But after a week, I got a hang of my baby’s feeding schedule. My daughter often used to feed 8 to 10 times throughout the day and night. So, I found a hack where I’d keep my pumping device ready during each feeding session. As soon as she’d fall asleep, I’d start pumping. But doing it for 2 hours each time was a bit too much for me. Instead, I stretched it to every 3 hours, 8 times a day. This way the stress was less and supply was comparatively more.
3 Months To 6 Months – 6 Pumps Per Day
By now, I had a considerable amount of frozen stock, but I continued with the 8-pumps-a-day schedule well into the 3rd month. As my daughter fed well and slept better, I dropped it to 6 pumps a day. Thereafter, I focused on stashing the supply. You’ll never know when your body decides to dry it up. Even if that doesn’t happen, you’ll at least have a good backup for days when you don’t feel like pumping much.
6 Months To 9 Months – 4 Pumps Per Day
Things began to look up from here on as my daughter started on solids. She was still on breast milk for a good part of the 6th month. However, she required fewer feeds from the 7th month onward as the solids kept her full for a slightly longer time. So, I was easily able to transition from 8 – 6 pumps a day to 5 – 4 pumps until, by the end of the 9th month, I was doing a 4 – 3.
9 Months To 11 Months – 2 Pumps Per Day
At the time my daughter was 9 months old, she was already getting a taste of pureed fruits and veggies. She would often feed on milk only at night or when we were out. She had active days which ensured she got a good sleep at night. This gave me enough time to pump at least twice a day until I experienced “that day of the month” during the 11th month.
12 Months And Beyond – 1 Pump Per Day
By the time the baby turns one, most new mothers would like to wean them off the breast milk. It wasn’t a choice I made. My body did. Soon after my first period, I couldn’t get back my supply to its days of glory. The stash of liquid gold in my freezer ensured I got enough time to wean off my daughter. However, if you are having a good supply even after 12 months and wish to continue feeding breast milk, one pump a day should be more than sufficient.
Having said this, let me add that the breast milk supply is unique to each woman. And results may vary depending on it. In that case, do you think you really need an exclusive pumping schedule? In my opinion, yes! With all your new-mother duties keeping you busy, a breast milk pumping schedule comes in handy to help organize your tasks better. If the given schedule doesn’t suit you, use it as a sample to make one that fits your needs. Trust me, you’ll be grateful later that you did this!