Pumping: Can You Start Too Early?

By Amanda Ibanez

February 12, 2021

My name is Amanda Ibanez and am the Mama Coach servicing the Toledo Ohio area. I am an RN, lactation counselor, sleep coach, exclusive pumping supporter. I can provide prenatal, postpartum, and newborn education and am ready to help.

Pumping: Can You Start Too Early? This question depends on several factors. The first is what are your feeding goals? Then we need to discuss your feeding preferences. Next, we need to talk about your supply: are you an oversupplier, just enougher, or undersupplier. And lastly, we need to talk about how old your little one is. 

Let’s start with your little one’s age. The only important factor here is are you pregnant or has your baby been born yet. If you are pregnant, the research is controversial about pumping while pregnant. My suggestion, once okayed by your OB or midwife, is to hand express milk while pregnant. There are several benefits to this and those can be found here. If your child is already born, pump away unless one of the other factors below is impacting that decision. 

Your goals: what are they? And what are your feeding preferences? These two go hand in hand. Do you prefer to pump or are planning to exclusively pump, then start pumping as soon as your baby is born and keep going for as long as you want. Tip: as often as your baby eats, pump. If you are planning to exclusively nurse, pump when needed: you are away from baby, at work, or building a freezer stash. Tip: if you are going back to work, try out your pump a few weeks before going back to ensure you have all of your parts, correct sizing, and that you are comfortable with it. If not, then you have time to reach out to a local Mama Coach for assistance!! And if you are planning to nurse and pump then you can not start pumping too early once babe is here. As long as your nipples are being stimulated, your milk is producing.

And lastly, are you an oversupplier looking to decrease your supply?  If so, pumping will only increase your supply and you would want to hold off on pumping until your supply is where you would like it to be. If you are an undersupplier and would like to increase your supply, pump away, can’t start too early. Tip: try some power pumps. Or are you just enough, then this goes back to your goals? 

Pumping is both an art and a science and it takes work to figure it out, so try pumping before you need to use it, that way you have a level of comfort with it. Pump away, mamas.

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