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Help with a breastfeeding and pumping schedule from birth(26 Posts)
I'm 35 weeks and hoping to breastfeed. I've done 2 online courses so feeling fairly clued up but could use some advice from those who have been there.
I'd like to breastfeed but also introduce pumped bottles asap so that my DH can assist with feeds and I can build up a stash of milk so I dont need to be tied to baby 24/7.
I know that you are meant to offer each breast at each feed, and start on a different side each time. But how does this work with pumping?
I have a hakaa pump I want to use asap and will probably also get an electric pump when I've established my supply. How would this work as part of a feeding routine ie can I hakaa / pump on the other side if baby is feeding and still offer them the other breast?
And what sort of pumping schedule should I be working towards?
Hi when DD was little I had an abundance of milk and didn't need to swap sides (besides 'hind'milk is fattier so best not to swap if you don't need to) so once DD was latched on one side of pump the other side simultaneously. I found it very hard to just pump without baby being latched on. I had a double pump but turned out to be waste of time! For example without baby I'd be able to pump 20ml in 10mins, with her latched I could pump 150ml. I pumped twice a day and had a good stash she would only take about 60ml from a bottle for DH. Don't put too much pressure on yourself though, it may sound ridiculous now but finding the time to clean, dry and sterilise the pump was really hard on the first few weeks! I pumped til she was 9mo old and then just stopped being able to do it which i believe is common. Be aware a lot of BF babies need boob even when they're not feeding. They cluster feed a lot to establish your supply but 12 weeks is like a magic age where everything settles (not just me that noticed that but every BFoling mother j know). I would look at La Leche, lullaby trust and Kelly mom for advice on cosleeping and breastfeeding. Good luck x
Oh and I definitely have a dominant boob so I'd attach DD to non dominant boob while pumping, it definitely makes you feel like a dairy cow!
I heard a radio programme recently about a team of midwives who have been working to promote the fact that you can start pumping before birth. Getting the colostrum flowing before your baby arrives and having the colostrum (frozen) all ready to give when your baby is born can be very helpful. I expect you could find more info with a bit of googling.
My personal experience...
Stick to breast for the first 6 weeks. Don't intro any teats or dummies as those 6 weeks allows milk supply to become established and latch to become perfected.
Also... my opinion. If you really feel strongly about breastfeeding (maybe you don't but I did, I absolutely wanted to exclusively breastfeed) then I'd consider not pumping so rigidly. I pumped to enable me to have a few days supply in the freezer so I could have a long lunch with friends etc. But pumping and bottle feeding wasn't the norm for me. Personally I believe that allowed me to breastfeed for 2+ years. Anyone I knew that introduced pumping regularly / bottles didn't maintain breastfeeding past 4/5 months old.
Feeding baby directly from the breast is the best way to maintain the exact milk level needed and not disrupt supply.
By all means mixed feeding and pumping may be more important to you than long term breastfeeding so don't let me put you off
Oh and to add - pumping is a faff. It takes longer to collect a full bottles worth than if I'd have fed baby directly, not to mention sterilising and then making and prepping the bottle.
Once the baby was having the bottle of expressed milk I usually then felt engorged so had to pump to relieve myself!
Once again pumping for me to provide an expressed bottle worked on occasion to allow time away from baby, it wasn't something I factored in every single day as it would have proved too much work
My experience with 4.
I had to go back to work FT when they were 3 mos old. So I needed to establish my supply first. So for first 6wks I breastfed only. Then I started to add in the pump to freeze and build up a stash. I would feed the baby and then pump afterwards. I also added a pumping session in morning during their nap. Since birth, I’d feed the baby and then hand them off to DH who would do the nappy change/holding and at night, settle back to sleep. By week 8, baby was trained to the bottle with DH feeding them. I could never feed them with the bottle myself, they would refuse it because they knew I had the far superior boobs. So I’d leave the house or room and my DH did the bottle training. By my return to work, I had a good freezer stash to give to the nursery who would thaw, warm and feed the baby my expressed breast milk. At that time, I did all the night feeds still because the pump is not good for keeping your supply up like actual breastfeeding is. I nursed them all until they weaned between ages 2-3 although my eldest lost out because I got pregnant when he was only 18mos old and before his 2nd birthday my milk had dried up completely. That is something to consider if you plan to breastfeed and try for another baby. Sometimes our bodies cannot be both pregnant and breastfeeding!
Pumping is a pain. You might as well just feed the baby.
My advice would be not to worry about it yet. You’ll need a few weeks exclusively BF to establish, but you may want to pump a bit because your boobs will likely be engorged too. Pumping too much could create an oversupply. Establish BF and then worry about bottles a few weeks in. And by then it’ll all be clear when and what you need to do to make it work for your family.
Also... I barely ever offered DS both sides, he was little and often. And I also forgot to swap sides a fair bit (still do now a year in!)
Just a gentle caution that your boobs and baby, and your hormones, won’t have read your schedule or taken in the wisdom from your courses. I really hope your plan works, but please don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t stick to it. Dd1 I desperately tried to stick to schedule, get out etc etc. DD2 I cuddled on the sofa for the first 3 weeks and then took it really slowly after that - and the world and schedules were still there afterwards. I know which I preferred......
I loathed pumping! It took ages to get enough for a feed and I could feed my lo in a fraction of that time. I only did it for the very few occasions I'd be away from the baby and he'd miss a feed.
Whatever you decide to do though, I do agree with previous posters about exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 weeks. It helps establish your supply and it's also a time for learning. It took a good few weeks for me and my son to get the hang of it and like most things, it takes practice, practice, practice to get good at it so I personally wouldn't interfere with that by pumping during that time.
I would also suggest feeding for about 6-8 weeks to get a good supply feedback loop established. I wouldn’t introduce teats until the baby was an enthusiastic breast feeder as the teat is a more powerful stimulus and can inhibit feeding from breast.
You might realise that it’s really nice snuggling up and feeding rather than handing baby over to your husband.
I don't want to sound overly negative, but I found I couldnt express much at all, certainly not enough to make the effort of pumping worth it. I did have a lot of issues with supply to begin with though. We did introduce a bottle in the first few days (of formula) and no issues with nipple confusion. I'd have a plan, but like with all things baby related, that plan can often go out the window. Hope everything works out for you.
Agree with the others, particularly 1940. Pumping and breastfeeding is hard work. In the early days your baby may want to feed 1-2 hrly so pumping too will be exhausting and you may be engorged due to over stimulation. I breast fed two babies for over a year and but was unable to express a drop.
Thank you everyone for your thoughts and experiences. I'm very much the sort of person who wants to plan and have a schedule for things and letting go of this has been a big part of accepting I'm going to give birth lol and wanting to keep an open mind regarding my birth plan etc! I just find I feel much less anxious when I have lots of information and it helps to imagine the various scenarios so thanks for all your expertise
I would echo previous posters and say try to stay in an open and flexible frame of mind at this point rather than over planning.
In theory pumping sounds like a very logical and practical thing to do but in reality it can be very tiring and time consuming. Perhaps focus on establishing breast feeding first before adding pumping and bottles into the mix.
Hi OP. I have just had my 2nd and BF / pumped from week 1. I initially fed from one boob and pumped from the other as my LO didn't finish the entire boob. Don't express too much at first incase of engorgement. Just work your way up to be able to express the right amount for a bottle.
I froze my milk from the start so I now have about 10 bottles worth in my freezer. When I give my LO a bottle I always pump another one so I never deplete my stash! There are times it feels a faff but the other side of it means I can always pass my baby over to someone else to give a bottle, which takes the pressure off me.
I always knew I wanted to express and have other people help.
I also had no issues with bottle/nipple confusion (with both my LO).
Bear in mind that not everyone can pump a lot - I could barely get 3oz in a whole day, even though my ds was ebf and did very well on it.
Just to say what I did if that’s helpful. DD only 12 weeks so all could change!
So I do agree with protecting your supply and latch by feeding from the breast as often as possible.
In the early days I used breast shells to collect the opposite let down while feeding at night. Sometimes a haakaa pump too. That was so baby could get a bottle from dad while I had a sleep in the evening. It worked well, I’d get about 2 ozs and would give me an extra hour or so sleeping.
1. She started rejecting the bottle at 6 weeks
2. Sterilising was an added faff before going to bed
3. It never gave me that long extra, even if it was a 4oz bottle she would still want boob again soon
I don’t bother expressing now but breastfeeding is so much easier than it was. I plan to reintroduce a bottle soon so I can go out, but in lockdown it’s not been an issue!
Anyway the breast shells are a good halfway house option I think!
I’m on baby no4 here (10wks old)
I’ve done bottles and pumped from day1 with all of mine and breastfed for about a year with each. It is very much a myth that you can’t alter your supply if it diminishes. I dried up entirely after a long hospital stint with no2 but then continued to exclusively breastfeed until a year.
Pump one side before first feed and pump the other side before second feed.
I’m like routine also. If I’d have demand fed there’s no way I’d have fed for as long, feeding is tiring and painful for the first couple of weeks, but then much easier than bottles from there. I believe the push to demand feed is what kills it for most as they’re just exhausted.
Demand feeding may be for you, but if not don’t be worried about supply if you put baby into a routine. I’d suggest doing 3 hourly initially.
My 10wk old now feeds 7, 10:30, 2, 5, 6:30, 7, 10 and once in the night. The one waking suits me but I’m gradually pushing that feed closer to morning now so I’ll hopefully get rid of it. I’ve also found he only needs about 3hrs sleep during the day or he’ll be wide awake in the middle of the night.
This is obviously only based on my own experience with my four.
@rosehip345 how did you establish a schedule. I exclusively pumped for DC1 for a year and he settled into a routine quite quickly. DC2 is 4 weeks old now and demand feeding alongside a non napping 2 year old is killing me. I'm keen to ebf and have about 60oz in the freezer already from simply collecting let down while feeding.
I pumped and brrast fed from day 2. Currently still doing this 6 months on. This is my second child and this also worked well for my first i put baby on one side and pump the other at the same time.
Note down what baby’s doing already and just try and stretch it little by little each day.
My LO now does;
5pm Feed (one side)
This last week he’s slept longer in the night so that’s why I’ve made a note of it today to see if I can get him into that habit more regularly. Usually he wakes about 3am for a feed but has managed to go until closer to 5.
@Rosehip345 thanks. Getting there with a "bedtime" feed when we get her ready for bed alongside DS and starting the day at a consistent time but everything else is still all over the place!
@cazinge it’ll get there. We’ve had jabs this week and it seems to have messed it all up 🤦♀️
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