Exclusive Pumping

March 20, 2012. Posted in: Mother-2-Mother.com,Pumping issues

(aka: everything you wanted to know about exclusive pumping but didn’t know who to ask!)

Reprinted from Mother-2-Mother.com (2000-2006), with permission from the author, Paula Y.

A note about exclusive pumping:

There are occasions that arise which may prevent a mom from being able to nurse her baby. A mother who has a baby who cannot or will not latch, for whatever reason, may assume there is no choice but for her to use infant formula. There is another option however, and one that doesn’t seem to get the support or acknowledgment it deserves – exclusively pumping, also known as “EPing“.

In most cases, a mother who has made the decision to exclusively pump has not done so “lightly”. She is aware of the irreplaceable benefits of her milk, and she wants her baby to have the best, so the most logical conclusion for her is to pump and provide her milk to baby by bottle.

Sadly, many (including health care providers) will tell mom that this is crazy idea, and “it’ll never work”; “you’ll run out of milk”; or will say “you simply will not be able to keep up”. Without the support and information she needs, a mom may simply give up.

Those who don’t give up often are faced with other issues to overcome. They often feel like they are in a class by themselves, excluded from the usual groups of moms who typically form into “support groups” either for breastfeeding mothers, or for formula feeding mothers.

They may feel they must explain “why” they are “bottle feeding” breastmilk – even to their health care providers who often ask.. “breast or bottle” assuming “bottle” is formula.

While everyone does agree that there are irreplaceable benefits to nursing baby directly from breast, everyone also must agree that breastmilk itself is irreplaceable. When faced with providing breastmilk, or not, then whenever possible it should be breastmilk regardless of the method of delivery.

There is no room or need for guilt here – the mother who has done all she can to bf “normally” isn’t a failure – she is just doing the best she can in the situation she is in. Mothers who choose to exclusively pump are very dedicated mothers – determined to do the best they can for their precious babies, and they deserve respect and support.

Kathy Kuhn, RN BSN IBCLC, lactation consultant for iVillage.com, has written a great article on Exclusive Pumping , which explains many of the benefits of “EPing” and also the drawbacks. In addition to Kathy’s article, here are some tips and information regarding exclusive pumping:


All About Exclusive Pumping and Tips for EPing Moms by EPing Moms:
The Best… Expressed!

(italicized info shared by Shanna)


First and foremost – one should have a good quality, double electric pump. Some mothers rent them, others buy pumps such as the Hygeia EnJoye. The quality of the pump can make all the difference in the world!

A normal newborn baby nurses on average 8 to 12 times in a 24 hour period. Most experts suggest it is best if mom can come close to matching what the normal nursing baby would do at the breast, and recommend she pump about every two hours, not going longer than three hours between sessions. Understanding how milk production works can help moms in their efforts to establish good milk supply. The more frequently the breasts are emptied, the more milk mother should have. Therefore, if she were to pump at least every 3 hours, for about 20 minutes, she should establish and maintain a good milk supply. In the first couple of weeks, she may also want to pump at least twice at night, but not all mothers do this.

“It’s insanely hard in the beginning but you need to pump every 2 to 3 hours around the clock. Prolactin levels (the hormone that tells your body to make milk) are highest in the early morning hours so mom would want to make sure she is pumping then as well. This is like the 1am to 5am stretch of time. If mom can at least get one pump in during this time, it will really help.

The main concern is to get enough pumps in per day – a minimum of 7 pumps per day. I will say from experience that when I pushed myself to get in 8 pumps per day, my supply REALLY increased. Most of the time, I just couldn’t push myself and ended up with 7 times. And to create a little bit of sanity, it is the number of pumps per day that you get in and not necessarily the amount of time you wait in between pumps that counts. So, if I needed to run an errand or just wanted to get out of the house without dragging my pump along, I would pump every 2 hours in the morning and then have a window of about 4 or 5 hours in the afternoon to do everything and would then pump again every 2 hours in the evening to get my total of 7 pumps in for the day.

That being said, I did NOT get up to pump in the middle of the night if my baby wasn’t awake. I thought that was cruel and couldn’t do it! Ha! The sleep was more important to me (especially after the c-section). A lot of pumping is trial and error and this is why keeping info in a spreadsheet (or journal) is helpful. If you start sleeping through the night or going longer stretches and see a huge decline in your volume, you can always set you alarm to add another pump back in. I never had to but this can vary from mom to mom. I did the early morning pump as long as I was up feeding the baby, but if she slept 5 hours through the night, so did I! ”


Most experts agree that whatever the reason for pumping, moms should pump for about 20 minutes. Most agree its best to pump at least 15 minutes, and to avoid going much longer than 20 minutes. Experts also encourage pumping about five minutes past when the milk stops flowing, often by doing so mom will elicit another letdown, and at the very least will maintain production as well as encouraging increase in supply if needed.

“The standard advice is to pump for 15-20 minutes. Even if you don’t have milk flowing that entire time, you need to pump that long to get enough nipple stimulation. Also pumping at least 5 minutes after your milk stops flowing will tell your body that you need more milk; thus increasing your supply. 15 minutes should absolutely be the minimum pumping time. I’ve talked to women who only pumped for 10 minutes and eventually started losing their supply. They had to work really hard to rebuild it.”

Pump Settings

“More is not better” when it comes to the suction settings on the breast pump. Most experienced moms do not set the pump speed on high, but rather keep it on lower setting for comfort.

“This one was a BIGGIE for me and I want to definitely pass this one on! There should be a suction setting on your pump and a speed dial. This is very important, the higher the suction does NOT mean the more milk you make. Your pump will probably have a suction setting of minimum, medium, and maximum. I had mine set on medium when I developed a blister. Once it healed, I turned it down to minimum and have never had another blister or pain again. I keep the speed at 3 but if you feel like too much areola is being sucked into the horn, then turning down the speed will remedy that. If you are in a lot of pain and turn down the settings, you might actually get more milk because you are more relaxed!”


Moms may find it surprising that the breastfed baby often takes less milk in the bottle than formula babies take in. This is because breastmilk is so well utilized by the baby’s body that less is needed. Since breastmilk is so easily and completely digested, the breastfed baby needs to eat more often, but they don’t need as much per bottle.

When a baby is nursed from the breast, research shows us that baby will vary their intake of milk from feeding to feeding, and the length of time at the breast doesn’t always correlate with the amount of milk taken from the breast. Overall, the average bf baby takes in between 19 and 30 oz (or 570 – 900 mL) per day (24 hrs), but the amount taken per bottle may vary somewhat from feeding to feeding, just as it does at the breast, depending on baby’s need at the time.

” According to the most current breastfeeding research, exclusively breastfed babies take in an average of 25 oz (750 mL) per day between the ages of 1 month and 6 months. This may vary a little from baby to baby, but the average range of milk intake is 19-30 oz per day (570-900 mL per day).

To estimate the average amount of milk baby will need at a feeding:

  • Estimate the number of times that baby nurses per day (24 hours).
  • Then divide 25 oz by the number of nursings.

This gives you a “ballpark” figure for the amount of expressed milk your exclusively breastfed baby will need at one feeding.

Example: If baby usually nurses around 8 times per day, you can guess that baby might need around 3 ounces per feeding every 3 hours when mom is away. (25/8=3.1).

NOTE: Current breastfeeding research does not indicate that breastmilk intake changes with baby’s age or weight between one and six months.”

You can find a quick and easy expressed breastmilk calculator here.


It is important to remember that it is very easy to overfeed a baby using bottles. This is because the way a baby drinks from a bottle is very different than how a baby would nurse from the breast. A baby cannot control the flow of milk from a bottle thus experts recommend using slow flow or “newborn” type nipples, to reduce the risk of overfeeding.

The breastmilk should never be warmed in the microwave, since doing so not only creates hot spots that cannot fully be distributed evenly even when the milk is mixed (the heat adheres to the fats which “glob” together, and can result in scalding of a baby’s mouth and throat), but it actually alters the composition of the breastmilk, damaging some of the nutrients. Shaking breastmilk is also not recommended (gently swirl to mix, instead).

Ideally bottlefeeding the baby should mimic how a mother breastfeeds her baby. The baby should be fed on cue, or demand, and not according to a rigid schedule. Breastmilk digests in about 90 minutes, so one would expect the feedings to be anywhere from 1.5 hrs to 3 hours apart. (younger babies often need to eat more frequently than older babies).

The bottle should be offered gently, in a non-stressful manner, with the baby drawing the nipple into the mouth. The type of bottle or nipple is not as important as the manner in which the bottle is offered. A typical nursing session lasts about 15 to 20 min, and care should be taken to allow baby to take his/her time to drink the bottle, not “rushing” through a feeding as quickly as possible. Changing position mid-way through a feeding is often recommended, as is holding baby is a more upright position. Propping a bottle is also not recommended.


There are wonderful tips on increasing milk supply below – those that work for nursing mothers also work for mothers who exclusively pump, the biggest “difference” is that nursing mothers are encouraged to put baby to breast often, and pumping mothers are encouraged to pump often. Probably THE most important thing to remember is to pump often and pump long enough to soften (or “empty”) the breast.

“Some little tips to help increase your supply if you really need it. It’s nice to have these on hand just in case:

First drink plenty of water. I don’t drink a ton but I make sure to stay hydrated. Check your pee when you go (I know, sounds funny!). If it is light yellow to clear, you are plenty hydrated.

Make sure you eat! While you are pumping, you will keep the weight off, I promise! It can make you hungry as a horse and it does that for a reason. You need the extra calories because you are burning so much off! When I didn’t eat enough, I would get really light headed and feel like I was going to drop my baby…not good! Eventually, your hunger should taper off (mine has).

Eat REAL oatmeal, not the instant. You can eat the quick oats (the ones that cook in 1 minute) or the old fashioned oats (that cook in 5 minutes). You can also make cookies that have oatmeal in them and get oatmeal that way (I prefer this way! Ha!). The way they process the instant oatmeal, it doesn’t give you the same results. No one is sure how the oatmeal works but it does!

Get some rest (yeah, I know easier said than done!) If you are exhausted and have the opportunity to take a nap (even if it pushes your pump back) do it! You will actually get more milk that way! Even if you’re not sleeping, rest by sitting down a lot. Conserving energy is important.

Don’t stress too much. This all depends on how you personally handle stress. I tend to be a thinker, so I think things out a lot. It has to be some MAJOR stressful situation for it to hurt my supply.

Some suggest drinking dark beer, with or without alcohol. Some say it’s the barley in it or something, that helps to increase supply. Plus some women just swear by the relaxation it gives them! You can have 1 or 2 beers without much crossing into your milk.  (Note: Most breastfeeding experts do not routinely recommend using alcohol to boost milk supply. More on alcohol and breastfeeding here.)

There is a tea called Mothers Milk Tea and it is supposed to increase your supply if you drink it.

There are herbs like Fenugreek and also prescription medications that will increase your supply if you really need it. I would use these as a last resort but they can be effective and are available!

Most importantly, good pumping habits will keep your supply up and increase it!”

PUMPING TRICKS & More Tips For EPing Moms by EPing Moms

(aka “Tricks of the Trade” shared by Shanna)

Go hands free! This was the best trick I learned!! I went hands free and set my pump up by my computer and read my pumping board while I pump. It keeps me from looking down into my bottles wondering how much I’m getting, being bored out of my mind, and makes time FLY by! You can use an old nursing bra and just cut slits in the flap. Then you just slide the horns through. I did this for a while but I didn’t want to wear the cut up bra all day long so that meant I had to literally change bras before each pump. At 7 times a day, that was a bit much!! So, I bought a pumping bra and LOVE it! It’s the Easy Expressions bustier.

The best thing about this bustier is that it can be worn over any nursing bra. So, when it’s time to pump, I put the flaps down on my nursing bra, wrap the bustier around, slide the horns through the holes, position them and zip it up. That’s all!”

The refrigerator trick. This is where you rinse your horns and/or collection bottles after each pumping session. You put them in a ziplock bag (or not, this is optional), and put them in the refrigerator. The idea is that since breast milk is good in the fridge for 5-8 days, any residue left on the horns won’t matter. Then you can wash the horns/bottles once at night. I throw mine into the dishwasher (all except the white membranes) and it’s easy, easy, easy!”

Storage bags. Many of us started out using the Gerber Seal-N-Go bag but they get very pricey quickly. They are like $5.50 for a box of 25 bags. After researching it online, I found many other women were using regular freezer bags for freezing the milk….MUCH cheaper! Everything I’ve read shows that they are safe to use. From what I have found, I only buy Glad and not Ziploc. Ziploc seems to have a much higher rate of leaks. I write the date and amount of ounces on the label with a sharpie and put the milk in and freeze flat. I then take several of them and put them into a gallon size freezer bag and write the dates that are enclosed on the gallon bag. This helps by double bagging and keeping them grouped. This way the corners on the bags won’t get poked and possibly cause the bag to leak. Also, whenever I want to get a bag, I can just dig through gallon size bags instead of tons of little bags floating around! : I usually put one or two days worth in a gallon bag.”

Lube Up! It is perfectly safe to put the lansinoh on before pumping and still use the milk. Putting it on before and after pumping really helps to keep you from getting too sore. Purelan100 is also good (and cheaper). I’ve used this from the beginning. You can also rub Olive Oil on the horns and inside the nipple chamber to reduce friction. Olive Oil is antibacterial so it is helpful. This is also safe to use and pump milk with. I’ve done both of these and hadn’t had a problem. There are times when I seem to get sorer than other times with no real explanation. But, it then goes away as quickly as it came! Who knows!”

Taking Care of Baby When Pumping. Once I went hands free and had to do those early morning feedings by myself, I would sit on the floor and prop my baby up in her boppy pillow on the floor. I would get hooked up to the pump and start it and pump while I fed her. About the time she was done eating, I was done pumping and I would put her back in bed and go to sleep myself. This will cut down on your time tremendously! It also helps to do this if your pumping time happens to correspond to your baby’s feeding time during the day. The bouncy seat is my best friend! I would put her in the bouncy seat and bounce it with my foot while surfing the net and pumping. It made time fly by and she was content. You may find other solutions if you have older children, or extra help.”

Taking Care of Older Children, and Pumping. You may not need a lot of tricks for this one depending on the age of the child, or children. They will probably understand if you just explain that while you are pumping, they can’t get up and get things without help. Some tricks other moms had mentioned to keep their other child entertained and kind of reward them would be to go shopping and let your child pick out a special toy or video that she really wants. Then when ever it comes time for you to pump, she can play with it. But, she ONLY gets to play with it when you pump. This helps to make pumping time special for her as well and can help prevent any resentment she might begin to feel.”


Excessive caffeine may cause problems (like keeping the baby wired!). I avoid caffeine completely (except chocolate) but even if you have 1 drink a day, it won’t hurt. Just don’t go over board. (More on caffeine here.)

that have Sudafed (pseudoephedrine HCl) in them can affect milk supply! Be careful!

Regular birth control pills will impact milk supply, and some women even have a problem with the mini pill. Breastfeeding (and yes that’s what you are doing even if it’s not from “the tap”) is a good deterrent for ovulation but not 100% so be careful! However, you may find you get hot flashes and things like that. It is normal because your body is acting like it’s going through menopause. This suppresses ovulation and allows you to make milk. I thought I was going crazy until I learned this! Ha! Sometimes if you get your period back while pumping, it can decrease your supply. This can be fixed by taking a calcium/magnesium supplement. (I don’t have mine back yet and loving it!).


Around 3 months your supply will probably be established. This is when you can begin to drop the number of times per day that you pump and not see too much of a decrease in total output (this is again, where the spreadsheet comes in handy). That’s why if you do the hard work in the beginning, I promise it will pay off when this time comes! If you don’t keep up the number of pumps per day in the beginning, you may continue to have to pump a high number of times per day just to maintain a small supply. Of course, this is all dependent on how each woman produces milk. So, you may have such a great supply and so much frozen that you can drop pumps earlier. I began dropping pumps at 10 weeks and by 3 months I was down to 4 pumps per day! I lost a little with each drop but am currently at 50 ounces per day. There’s no way my baby will ever eat that much so I see no reason to pump more. You will have to decide for yourself. Once you start dropping pumps, you will need to pump longer at each session (because you’ve gone longer in between pumps and need longer to empty your breasts). This is also dependent on the woman. I pump about 35-40 minutes per pump now on 4 times because I get another let down at about 36 minutes into it!”


I firmly believe that pumping is 10% physical and 90% psychological. If you try to view this as positively as possible, I think you will have a better outcome. That’s why going hands free and doing everything to minimize your stress about pumping is important.

A lot of people don’t understand pumping. I still get stupid questions like, “Why don’t you just nurse?” Well, DUH! She won’t nurse! Ha! You should do whatever makes you comfortable. Sometimes strangers ask me if I’m breastfeeding and if I don’t feel like dealing with anything, I just say yes. I am after all! She’s just getting it “to go” instead of from “the tap”! Ha!

Mostly though, I do all I can to educate. I know many women who didn’t know this option was even possible and wished they had when breastfeeding didn’t work out. Don’t listen to doctors or nurses who tell you this isn’t possible. There just isn’t enough wide spread info out there and unfortunately most health care professionals give really bad advice (like only pump for 10 minutes). So, when they hear back from their patients on how they had supply problems or dried up, they just assume it’s not possible to pump long term. On my online group, there are women who have been pumping for a year or longer! It is DEFINITELY possible!

Most importantly, if for any reason you just don’t want to do it anymore, it is perfectly fine! Remember, a happy mommy = a happy baby. You have to do whatever is right for your entire family. Pumping is hard and can take its toll on you. There is no right or wrong when it comes to how you feed your baby! Remember that! We all have days when we want to wean. That’s why support is SOOO important!

Here’s the website to my online support group. I have been all over the net and these women are the most knowledgeable, friendly, and nonjudgmental group of women I have ever met!”


Special thanks to the mothers on the Exclusive Pumping board at Parentsplace (now iVillage), and in particular to Shanna and Margaret for sharing their information, and their invaluable help in creating this page.




Anon April 3, 2012 at 7:12 am

do you have any information on pumping before birth? I intend on pumping and freezing if I have enough colostrum because I am expecting a c-section and I want baby to have breast-milk ready if there is a problem and they have to be tube fed, or I am unable to fee for a while.

Eufreeka April 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm

 I am no expert, but while I was in the hospital after my c section and my baby wasn’t latching, I started pumping almost immediately. The first time I got a great amount of ‘liquid gold’, about 30 mls, but after that it was very little. The lactation consultant told me it was because that was all that had built up previously and the body just doesn’t make that much constantly. So, my point is I am not sure that you would get very much pre-baby..but good luck, in the end, your baby will be well no matter how or what they eat the first day or 2!

Anon May 29, 2012 at 8:17 am

I began pumping prior to having my daughter to induce labor. I ended up saving my colostrum in the fridge, and when my brother came to visit me, he brought it with him (I labored quick and couldn’t grab it on the way out). I had about 1oz total from many times pumping. BE CAREFUL, pumping while still pregnant will cause your uterus to contract and could cause labor.
 The nurses were really surprised that I had a supply already built up, and they were happy to know I already knew my pump and how to use it, especially since I have flat nipples and DD refuses to latch. Good luck!!

Eufreeka April 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm

We had a very hard time latching in the beginning, so I was expressly pumping and felt horribly that my boy couldn’t get it from the breast. Suddenly, one night, he latched, miraculously! After about a week of it, I couldn’t handle it anymore, he was nursing for at least an hour a shot, with no more than an hour downtime between feedings and rarely sleeping during that time, so we began to reintroduce the bottle so that hubby could help out some evenings. We are now back to expressly pumping and I feel so much better, less stressed, and my baby sleeps between feedings now! I felt some guilt at first about switching back to the bottle when I CAN physically nurse, but it seemed that he was using me as a human pacifier more than as sustenance and I just make a conscious effort to get skin on skin time otherwise. I just hope I can keep up my production because it did seem as if almost immediately my production went down from what it was before he started latching…

Anniehasmail April 17, 2012 at 9:48 am

After having a C Section my son was also having difficulty latching, so the lactation nurse recommended that we temporarily use a nipple shield.  With the nipple shield he latched on wonderfully, but would take an hour to feed and even then not be completely satisfied.  Due to using the nipple shield I had to immediately pump after feeding him (to protect my supply), so not only was it exhausting as once I fed, diapered, got the pump set up, pumped, and then washed I had maybe 20-30 minutes before starting the cycle all over again! Often times while I would be pumping my husband would have to feed him the expressed milk from the last pumping as he was still hungry or should I say starving.  The first few days we even had to supplement with formula as my milk didn’t come in till day 5 (they said that its often late with C section).
After 2 1/2 weeks of this fun, we left him with my parents for the evening with the expressed milk ,and he was a perfect little angel for them after being crabby for us for a week.  At this point we came to terms with the fact that he was simply wearing himself out eating and never getting satisfied so the next day I pumped and had my husband bottle fed him the milk.  He was a perfect angel and happy.  The next morning I again tried to put him to breast, but still struggled with both trying to wean him from the “temporary” nipple shield which he wanted NO part of (instant arching back, turning bright red, and screaming at the top of his lungs) and keeping him awake.  I then let him use the nipple shield, but it was still taking him forever to eat and still tiring out before getting full.  I wasn’t feeling the bonding while nursing because I was trying so hard to take away the shield and keep him awake!  But the hardest part was that as soon as I finished I had to put him down so I could pump and wasn’t able to enjoy snuggling with him.   Yesterday, I finally broke down and fed him a bottle of expressed milk after pumping and found it much more rewarding as I was actally able to cuddle with him and enjoy him.  Afterall it wont be long before he will want to get down and play instead of cuddling. 
Now just hoping and praying I will be able to keep my milk supply (he eats everything I pump) and gain a surplus and be able to continue this for the next year!
Thanks Ladies for the support that this is actually possible and CAN happen!

Sweetneicy05 April 12, 2012 at 1:41 am

I am going back to work exactly 6 wks after birth. I am bf exclusively and would like to continue. When I pump, I am only getting out about 6 oz at a time. So I mainly nurse. What can I do to increase my supply so that my son will be feed without using formula

Llwod86 May 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I am really happy to see this info on here my niece is EP right now for her 2week old. Now I can give her some supporting advice!! I love this webstie :)

Justcallmemommy1224 July 14, 2012 at 11:04 am

I just want to say “Thank You”! This page was very informative and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge! So far, I’m 5 days over due with my 3rd baby and will likely be induced within a few days. I breast fed my daughter for a couple days and then pumped for a short time and gave up because I got so sore! I didn’t even try with my son. He was born with clubbed feet and we had no idea until he came out. I was heartbroken that there was something wrong with my baby and breast feeding was the least of my worries! They are now 7 and 5 and I still regret not trying harder with them. I intend on giving it my all this time around and I hope to be successful! Thanks for your information on this page, I’m sure I will reference it often! 

Cathyberner5 July 25, 2012 at 8:31 pm

i just had to get iud put in after three months after having baby. i wanted to fully breast feed and was told that it would not have any affect. well needless to say im not petting much milk. bout one ounce between both of them. its killing me that im not able to give him my all. what can i do if there is any help please e mail me at cathyberner5@gmail.com. Thank you for your time. 

Morgan July 25, 2012 at 9:12 pm

I have been exclusively pumping.  I make about 35 ounces a day.   About two weeks ago I stopped pumping 9 times a day and now only pump 5 but still get 35 ounces.  I am a little worried because yesterday I noticed that the top was yellow and read that meant weaning.  I don’t want to wean because my baby is only 3 months old and I want to keep feeding her breastmilk till a year.  Should I worry?  Should I just go back to pumping 9 times a day?  Or is 5 ok as long as I am getting the same output? 

Anon July 26, 2012 at 5:15 am

 Yellow is just the fat separating, like cream on cows milk. Nothing to worry about at all! You can keep feeding her breastmilk for as long as you wish, be it a year or 4 years+. It doesn’t matter how often you pump as long as your breasts are comfortable and she is getting as much milk as she wants :)

Morgan July 25, 2012 at 9:12 pm

I have been exclusively pumping.  I make about 35 ounces a day.   About two weeks ago I stopped pumping 9 times a day and now only pump 5 but still get 35 ounces.  I am a little worried because yesterday I noticed that the top was yellow and read that meant weaning.  I don’t want to wean because my baby is only 3 months old and I want to keep feeding her breastmilk till a year.  Should I worry?  Should I just go back to pumping 9 times a day?  Or is 5 ok as long as I am getting the same output? 

Destiny August 31, 2012 at 10:51 pm

I am due in 8 weeks and want to exclusively pump. I know everything basically except one thing. How do you get the breast milk room temperature? If you do the storage bags in the fridge or freezer? Or does the baby just drink it cold?

Morgan August 31, 2012 at 11:16 pm

 You can do two things.  You can buy a bottle warmer that will warm the bottle up.  or you can just simply warm up a cup of water and then place the bag/bottle in the warm water.  You never want to put the milk in the microwave as it can have “hot spots” and burn baby’s mouth.  You never want to give baby cold milk because it can cause upset stomach and gas for the baby and then you’ll have a baby with colic symptoms.  That won’t be fun for you.  You will want the milk to be body temperature.  So always test a drop on the inside of your wrist to make sure it isn’t too cold or too hot.  If the milk is frozen, it will take about 30 minutes to become the correct temperature. 

C_starry79 September 6, 2012 at 12:52 am

I find your website about breast feeding is very informative. My son is about 3 plus months old. I’ve latched him for the 1st 3 months. When I went back to work, my caregiver gave him the EBM which I’ve pumped out 2 months back. He doesn’t want to drink. Even I tried giving him the EBM which I pumped out on the same day, he refused to drink. I have no choice but to get my caregiver to buy milk powder and he drank all of them. I do not know what’s happening to the EBM and should I continue BM?

Kit Tunstall October 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm

You might have excess lipase. Try tasting the milk, either fresh or frozen. If it’s metallic or soapy, you make too much lipase. The level varies from each pumping/feeding session, and there’s not much you can do to fix it, per my research. It’s safe to give him if he’ll drink it. If he won’t, you can donate it, I’ve heard. I’ve read you can gently scald the milk after pumping to inhibit lipase production. It will kill some of the good stuff, but is still healthier than formula. I have an occasional bag of milk w/ so much lipase DS won’t eat it, but that’s always my frozen supply. It was very puzzling to me the first few times he rejected it though.

Good luck!

Megan Gem Tarleton October 10, 2012 at 8:24 pm

wow this makes me feel so much better!

onrock_rockon October 29, 2012 at 12:36 am

I tried BFing my baby despite having reconstructive surgery on both breasts and she stayed on for ~2 months. I then developed an external infection which stopped me from BF and I exclusively pumped while healing. After I healed, my baby refused to latch and I have been EPing for ~8 weeks now. I pump about 27 ozs a day and have had to supplement with formula once or twice when I make less than she eats. I pump 8 times a day (I usually have 1 pump btw 1-5 am). I need to increase the amount I pump and was thinking about renting a hospital grade pump. I believe my only option in the area is the Medela Symphony – how does this pump rate? I already drink more than 140 ozs of water daily and I do not drink caffeine to excess. Also will my milk change as women who BF do at the 6 month mark?

jenniferHess November 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm

The Medela Symphony is amazing! I used that while in the hospital (I had an emergency c-section so I really had to start getting my milk going)…..my baby is in the NICU…but they have those pumps there in a room for when you’re visiting and I love using it everytime! I have a Medela pump at home…but not the symphony and boy do i notice a difference! I get more milk out of the Symphony! Good luck!

cagMOM November 14, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Thanks! This helped me a lot!! I just recently found out I won’t be able to nurse my son because of a swallowing issue. I’ve only been pumping for a couple days but am worried about failing. I’d like to be able to continue for a few more months just don’t sure I’ll make it. I especially found comfort in the comments about getting more in the morning.

DeNiro November 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm

My son is now four months old and I am pumping more than nursing. He is eating about 30oz a day and I am only producing about 25oz. Since I have passed the 3 months am I ever going to produce more?

anon March 26, 2013 at 8:14 pm

I am with you. At six months I pump 8-9 times a day for 20-40 minutes and still only make 27 oz. It’s so discouraging to do so much work and still have to supplement. Every woman is different. I could CRY that the author made 50 oz a day with only 4 pumps.

Jasmine January 9, 2013 at 12:50 am

I have been pumping since my son is 6 weeks old. Right now he is 7 months old and my milk supply is still going strong. In the beginning, the lactation nurses told me over and over that exclusive pumping will dry out my milk. I did not listen to them. I am a full time nursing student too. I leave for school/hospital at 5 am in the mornings and come home at 4-5pm, but I have still found ways to pump. I got myself a Medela pump and a car adapter, so I pump when I drive to school and back home. I also got my self a pumping bra for handsfree pumping of 2 breasts at the same time. I pump when we drive for shopping, between my lunch breaks etc. Do not let any lactation nurse, article or doctor tell you what you can or cannot do. Pumping works and I am planning to continue for another 5 months to complete a year of feeding my son of my own breast milk.

Jen Josselyn February 2, 2013 at 9:05 pm

I was not great about pumping more than 5-6 times a day for the first few weeks… is it possible to get my supply up now?

malcheat February 27, 2013 at 10:17 am

I delivered 4 weeks early by emergency C-section. It has been nearly three weeks and my milk has still not come in. I am doing everything I can think of to stimulate my supply (eating oatmeal, taking fenugreek and mother’s milk, pumping non-stop, etc…), but nothing seems to help. Help!!!

Cassie March 29, 2013 at 3:32 pm

I have been EPing since my daughter was 3 weeks old – she’s now 20 weeks. We’ve had spurts of breastfeeding, and she was just unable to extract enough milk and ended up losing some weight, so we went to the pump. It’s been working well for us, and she usually takes in 22-26 oz. per day. I’m usually really close to that; sometimes I end up with an ounce or two less, other times an ounce or two more. I do try to nurse her once a day or every couple of days, because I like the time together, but she usually needs a bottle after that.

I’m struggling to find out information about the appropriate serving size per bottle. She has been taking 2-3 oz. per serving from the get-go, and has seemed fine with that. Yesterday, the daycare gave her 5 oz, then 4 oz, then 4 oz. It ended up being about the same amount that she normally eats throughout the day, maybe an ounce or two more. Several weeks ago, the LC that we are working with advised that the serving size should still be 2-3 oz, but I know a friends baby that is 10 weeks older has started taking larger, less frequent bottles (of breastmilk, when my friend is working). The calculators don’t really work for me, because I can’t input “how frequently she nurses” and most of the age-based information out there seems to be for formula. Should she stay at 2-3 oz, or should we be increasing the volume of the bottles?

Ldailey May 21, 2013 at 10:33 am

I am 31 weeks and breastfeeding absolutely mortifies me (I know…horrible mom). But it is wonderful to think there is another option. How do you start? In the hospital? Do I pump as soon as the baby is born?

Tara August 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm

I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels this way I just had my second child and I exclusively pumped with my first one for 9 months and that’s when I found out I was already 3 months pregnant with my second one surprise :) She is now almost 2 weeks old and even though everyone except my husband thinks I’m crazy I have been exclusively pumping with her also and its going great I am horrible about pumping as often as they say to but I’m lucky to be able to keep up and ahead of both of my kiddos. I started pumping while in the hospital and this time around I rented a hospital grade pump because my daughter ended up in the NICU and they recommended using it to get started but I’m planning on just using it for the first month and hopefully I dont see a big change when going to my pump

Miller0511 February 17, 2014 at 1:53 pm

THIS! I’m 21 weeks and the thought of breastfeeding just creeps me out. I really want to exclusively pump but the lactaction consultatant its totally against that. This article and feedback has definitely made me feel better. I’ve been feeling really really weird with my decision because of all the women who have told me its a ‘TERRIBLE IDEA TO EXCLUSIVELY PUMP.’

Antonina Tust May 22, 2013 at 12:04 am

My lo is almost 3 months and for the past month I have been only able to pump an oz or less per day. I am drinking mothers milk tea as well as taking fenugreek vitamins. Also on birth control. Any advice?

Annette Ravelo June 5, 2013 at 4:14 am

Amazing good advice thanks ladies! Just when I though I’d go to formula for ease I found these tricks.

Lindsey July 1, 2013 at 11:49 am

Can you start pumpin again after being dried up for 6 months? Will I get any milk after doing it for awhile? How long if I will? Or is this a lost cause for this momma? I really miss breast feeding/ pumping. Never thought I would say this.

Kait September 3, 2013 at 10:43 pm

KellyMom and all Exclusively Pumping moms:
- Around what age should our babies stop using a bottle?
- How do we transition from bottle to other type of cup?
- When/how should we replace breast milk with cows milk if we are having trouble pumping after 1 year of age?

Emily September 11, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Thank you SO much for this post! I really needed some encouragement and tips, we just hit the 3 month mark of exclusively pumping!

Emily September 11, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Thank you SO much for this post! I really needed some encouragement and tips, we just hit the 3 month mark of exclusively pumping!

newmom13 October 9, 2013 at 8:04 pm

I pump and breastfeed, but I think i am having issues with overproduction. When I pump for 20 minutes I get anywhere between 12 and 14 oz in a 20 minute session and I am only 3 weeks postpartum. Is this normal? I dont feel emptied after breadtfeeding and often need to pump after feeding my daughter, I am having to sleep on a stack of towels every night, any advice would be helpful

Brandi Labonte December 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Within 2-3 days of giving birth to my daughter this July, I was excruciatingly engorged. I tried ice packs, pumping just to comfort (which worked against me b/c it just stimulated MORE production), sleeping on my stomach at night, cold cabbage leaves, everything I could to get my production down to a reasonable level so I could feed her and store a tiny bit for future use without being in agony 24-7. I was making well over a gallon of milk per day those first 3-4 weeks and it wasn’t fun, but I was so glad I could feed my daughter breastmilk and was looking forward to doing so for much longer than I had with my son (supply dropped due to pregnancy w/ DD). All the mistakes I made while breastfeeding my son that sabotaged my production, I swore I’d never make while feeding my daughter. Now, less than 6 months into life, she’s drinking formula while I struggle to relactate through exclusive pumping. Needless to say, the reality of two kids under age 2 put my resolve to breastfeed properly to the test (which I failed miserably). So, long story short, initial breastmilk production isn’t necessarily an indicator of future production. There are so many factors (hormones, hydration, nutrition, sleep, stress, etc.) that affect breastmilk production that there’s no way to know how much you’ll produce down the road – only how to maximize your chances of long-term success. I hope your breastfeeding relationship is going strong and wish you all the best!

Randi December 30, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Thank you for this.. <3 very truly greatful. Glad to know I'm not alone.

KLmommy May 13, 2014 at 5:26 pm

I’m trying to decide if I should go to EPing. My 10 week old has been exclusively BF and latches well, but she only nurses on one side at a time and for 4-6 minutes total. She is still gaining weight, and has a good number of wet/poopy diapers a day. But I’ve noticed she seems to “eat more” if I pump and give her a bottle. I can say this because she’ll finish a bottle of pumped milk from both breasts, but if she had nursed, she would have eaten from only one, thus likely half the amount. Should I try EPing?