When to Start Pumping?

Breast milk is crucial for a baby's development, and understanding when to start pumping is essential for new mothers. Pumping at the right times can maximize milk production, maintain a steady milk supply, and avoid discomfort from engorgement. Additionally, a well-timed pumping schedule can provide flexibility, allowing both mother and baby to adapt to a routine that works best for them. In this article, we'll cover the key aspects of timing your pumping sessions and offer straightforward steps and tips to make pumping more effective and manageable.


When to Start Pumping After Birth?

Starting to pump after birth can vary depending on individual circumstances, but many lactation experts recommend initiating within the first few days postpartum to help establish milk supply, especially if direct breastfeeding isn't possible right away. For mothers with a healthy newborn who latch well, it might be beneficial to wait 4 to 6 weeks before introducing a pump to allow time for the mother-baby breastfeeding relationship to establish and to prevent nipple confusion. However, if separation from the baby occurs, such as a NICU stay, starting to pump as soon as possible after birth, typically within 6 hours, is crucial to stimulate milk production and build a milk supply for the baby.

Best Pumping Time in a Day

Research has shown that the frequency of pumping directly impacts milk production. Mothers who pump at least 6 times per day produce significantly more milk compared to those who pump less frequently. But if you ask “When should I start pumping in a day for the baby's breast milk needs,” this part will answer you. In this part, we will delve into three key times.

AM Hours

Starting early around 5-7 a.m. can be an ideal time to kickstart your pumping session. Research suggests that hormone levels are higher during these hours, which may increase milk production. On average, mothers can pump around 0.5 to 2 ounces (15 to 60 milliliters) from both breasts combined during a pumping session. By incorporating a pumping session during this period, you can take advantage of your body's natural rhythms and potentially yield more milk.

After Nursing

Except for the morning, when can I start pumping? Another opportune moment is after nursing your baby. Waiting approximately 30-60 minutes after nursing allows time for milk to replenish, making it easier to express more efficiently. For instance, if you breastfeed at noon, you can pump milk at 1 p.m. This method helps stimulate breasts further and boost milk supply, especially in the early weeks postpartum.

Between Feedings

Between feedings, typically mid-morning or mid-afternoon is an opportune time to pump. For instance, if your baby feeds every 3 hours, aim to pump about halfway between feedings. This timing allows breasts to promote ongoing milk production while ensuring they're not overly full, facilitating efficient milk expression without discomfort.

Steps to Start Pumping

Appropriate time is crucial to milk supply, but the right pumping manner is also vital. As a new mom embarking on your pumping journey, please follow specific steps to ensure a comfortable and effective pumping experience. Let's delve into the key actions you should take when to start pumping after birth.

Research and Select a Breast Pump

Before you start, research the types of breast pumps available (manual, electric, battery-operated). Manual pumps suit occasional use, while electric pumps cater to regular pumping. Look for adjustable settings to mimic your baby's nursing rhythm for comfort and efficiency. Prioritize ease of cleaning, portability, and noise level to fit your daily routine.

A portable breast pump like eufy Wearable Breast Pump S1 Pro can perfectly meet the needs of new mothers. With HeatFlow™ technology, experience revolutionary comfort akin to your baby's embrace, reducing clogged ducts and optimizing milk flow and output. eufy prioritizes your comfort and efficiency, ensuring a seamless breastfeeding journey. Choose eufy Breast Pump for unparalleled comfort and optimal milk expression.

eufy Wearable Breast Pump: Pump Warm for a Better Flow

  • The world’s first HeatFlow™ technology revolutionizes pumping for unparalleled comfort.
  • Offers up to 300 mmHg hospital-grade suction power for efficient milk extraction.
  • prioritizes pumping comfort with uniquely angled 105° flanges and soft silicone.
  • Simplifies your pumping routine with the eufy Baby app.

Find a Comfortable Place

Creating a cozy and relaxing environment for pumping can significantly impact your milk flow. Consider setting up a dedicated pumping station in your home where you can comfortably sit and focus on expressing milk. Moreover, you should ensure the area is quiet, private, and equipped with all your pumping essentials within reach.

Prep and Position

Prepare yourself physically in a relaxed state before starting to pump. Find a comfortable chair with good back support, position yourself upright, and place the breast shields correctly over your breasts. Maintaining proper posture during pumping can enhance milk flow and prevent discomfort.

Start to Pump

Begin with a low suction setting and gradually increase to a comfortable level. Pumps often have a stimulation phase to encourage milk flow, followed by an expression phase. Mimic your baby's natural nursing pattern for the best results.

Other Pumping Tips for New Moms

Any new mom may find it daunting to pump for the first time. The right knowledge and tips can help pump with confidence. Here are some essential tips to help you navigate pumping and ensure a successful breastfeeding experience for you and your baby.


Prioritize Self-Care

Amidst the demands of motherhood, new moms must prioritize self-care. You need to ensure that you are well-rested, hydrated, and nourished, which can positively impact your milk supply. Break, relaxation, and a healthy lifestyle contribute to overall well-being and support optimal milk production. Remember, caring for yourself is essential in nurturing you and your baby.

Learn the Best Time for Breastfeeding And Pumping

As a new mom, you'd better figure out when is it too early to pump breast milk. Starting too early may disrupt the milk supply or cause nipple confusion for the baby. Therefore, it's generally recommended to wait until breastfeeding is well-established, usually around 4-6 weeks postpartum, before pumping breast milk.

Set Realistic Expectations

You should set realistic expectations regarding pumping in the first few weeks postpartum. It is advised that pumping about 6 times every 24 hours can enhance your overall milk production journey.

Follow Storage Guidelines

After pumping, store breast milk properly with a label to prevent contamination. On the counter (less than 77°F), breast milk can sit for up to 4 hours. In the refrigerator (40°F), it's good for 4 days, or 1 day if thawed. In the freezer (0°F or colder), store for up to 12 months.

Seek Professional Support

Reach out to lactation consultants or breastfeeding support groups for advice and encouragement. Their expertise and guidance can provide invaluable insights tailored to your individual needs, helping you navigate the intricacies of pumping with confidence and success. Remember, you're not alone on this journey.


The timing of when to start pumping is crucial for establishing a healthy milk supply for your baby and nurturing the bond created through pumping. Embrace the guidance provided above, including the best pumping practices and helpful tips, with patience and perseverance. Your efforts as a new mom are invaluable, shaping your baby's health and fostering a deep, lasting connection.


Should you start pumping before baby is born?

It's not advisable to start pumping before the baby is born. Premature pumping can induce labor and typically yields minimal milk. It's best to wait until after delivery to begin pumping, focusing initially on establishing breastfeeding.

Is it OK to bottle feed during the day and breastfeed at night?

Yes, it's okay to bottle-feed during the day and breastfeed at night. This approach can provide flexibility for caregivers and ensure the baby receives breast milk while accommodating different schedules. Nighttime breastfeeding also promotes bonding and can help soothe the baby back to sleep.

Will pumping every 2 hours increase milk supply?

Frequent pumping every 2 hours can help increase milk supply by stimulating milk production. This approach mimics a baby's feeding pattern, signaling the body to produce more milk. However, individual results may vary, and factors like proper latch, hydration, and nutrition also influence milk supply. You can consult a lactation specialist who can provide personalized guidance.

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