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Your Exclusive Pumping Guide: Tips, Tricks & Schedules

last year6 min read
Last updated: Jan 20 2023

Curious about exclusive pumping? We’ve got exclusive pumping tips from real moms, schedules, and all you need to know about how to exclusively pump.

Exclusive Pumping

Want to give your baby breast milk but aren’t able to nurse directly, for whatever reason?

Feeling trapped by the choice between breast milk and formula?

Well, thanks to the marvelous invention known as the breast pump, many mamas are choosing exclusive pumping (also called EP or exclusively pumping).

This makes it possible to feed your baby breast milk even if you can’t or don’t want to nurse directly from your breast.

Let’s explore exclusive pumping so you can make the right choice for you and your baby.

In this article: 📝

  • What is exclusive pumping?
  • Is it OK to exclusively pump breast milk?
  • How long should you pump for if exclusively pumping?
  • How long can you exclusively pump breast milk?
  • How do you survive exclusive pumping?
  • Is exclusively pumping harder than breastfeeding?
  • Is exclusively pumping worth it?

What is exclusive pumping?

Exclusive pumping is where you still feed baby breast milk, but they don’t drink it directly from your breast.

It’s often used by moms whose little ones have trouble latching, or by those who would prefer not to breastfeed, but still want baby to get their nutrients from breast milk.

Is it OK to exclusively pump breast milk?

Yes!

Exclusive pumping is a great choice for many moms ‒ any breast milk you’re producing still gets used, baby still gets their nutrients from your breast milk, and other people can help feed baby.











And there are so many reasons why pumping exclusively might be the best option for you.

Here are some of them:

Exclusive pumping can be a great choice, so it’s a shame many mamas don’t even know that pumping exclusively is an option available to them.

Can you get mastitis if you exclusively pumping?

Yes, you can still get mastitis even if you are exclusively pumping.

Mastitis is an infection that can occur when you have clogged milk ducts, which can happen at any point in your breastfeeding or pumping journey.

However, with exclusive pumping, it typically tends to happen if the breast is not emptied after a pumping session.

Can you go back to nursing after exclusively pumping?

Yes, you can.

It might take baby a few tries to get a decent latch, but if you’re exclusively pumping and you want to try our breastfeeding, you can usually give it a go.

If you’re ever unsure about feeding your baby, it’s also a good idea to have a chat with your pediatrician.

How long should you pump for if exclusively pumping?

Every mama will find their own exclusive pumping groove—and it usually won’t come right away.

Here’s a very rough guide to how frequently you might want to get your pump on:

Newborn exclusive pumping schedule

It’s a good idea to pump as often as your newborn baby would be nursing.

Newborns usually feed somewhere between eight and 12 times a day, so try to get in that many pumping sessions every 24 hrs, ideally two or three hours apart.

The aim is to produce somewhere in the vicinity of 24 ounces in a 24-hour period.

Exclusive pumping schedule for babies over 3 months old

From three months, pumping about four to five times a day should do the trick.

Older babies eat more, but less frequently.

How long can you exclusively pump breast milk?

Each session should last somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes.

Anything beyond that can be exhausting and might not yield much milk.

Be patient with yourself.

Reach out for support when you need it.

And try not to compare yourself with others.

This is your journey and yours alone.

How do you survive exclusive pumping?

Now for some exclusive pumping tips and tricks from our Peanut mamas who have been there.

Take what works, leave what doesn’t ‒ we’re all different, and every motherhood journey is different.

  • Physical bonding is important—both for stimulating milk supply and for your relationship with your baby. So, if possible, find time for that skin-on-skin contact.
  • Hold your baby close when feeding them.
  • Pumping frequently is a good idea, since this tells your body to keep the milk coming.
  • Pump until you’ve fully emptied your breasts. This helps to increase milk supply and prevent engorgement, which can lead to a painful infection called mastitis.
  • Double pumping might work for you (especially if you have twins) as it can help produce more milk quickly. Consider buying an electric double pump.
  • Know your rights when it comes to pumping at work. In the United States, until your baby is a year old, your workplace has to provide a private space for you (that is not a bathroom) and give you pumping breaks. (Go here if you need evidence to show your boss.)
  • A hands-free pumping bra is a great way to multitask while pumping.
  • Get several sets of pumping parts and put them all in the dishwasher at the end of the day, rather than washing one set of parts after every single pumping session.

Is exclusively pumping harder than breastfeeding?

In some ways, pumping exclusively can be challenging.

For one, it requires a whole lot more gear—and with that gear comes the need to keep it clean.

Also, the actual act of pumping takes time.

You have to pump, you have to feed, you have to clean.

It’s a lot!

So if anyone tries to judge you or get you into some silly “exclusive pumping vs breastfeeding” argument, you have complete license to school/ignore them.

Is exclusively pumping worth it?

Yes, if you’re keen to try exclusive pumping ‒ whether that’s because it fits into your schedule, it makes you feel more comfortable, or simply because you want to, that’s all valid.

Exclusively pumping can work for so many mothers, so if you want to try it, go for it!

Good luck, mama.

You got this.

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