Q: How many times a day should I aim pump at work?
You should aim to pump as frequently as your baby nurses while you’re with them. This usually means pumping somewhere in the range of every two to three hours. How frequently your baby nurses (and how frequently you’ll have to pump pump) also depends on your breast storage capacity. Breastfeeding parents with a smaller storage capacity need to nurse and pump more frequently in order to maintain supply, and others with a larger storage capacity can nurse and pump less frequently. Breast storage capacity and breast size are not the same thing!
Your breasts are constantly producing milk, so you don’t need to wait hours and hours between pumping sessions to let them fill up. In fact, the emptier your breasts are, the more your body receives the signal to produce more milk.
Try your hardest not to skip pumping sessions at work! On average, women need eight to 12 milk removals per 24 hours to maintain a full supply of breast milk. Block out pump sessions on your work calendar if you need to keep the time open. Work with your supervisors and coworkers to help with coverage while you take pump breaks if needed.
“Don’t ever feel bad about taking breaks to pump,” said Lynn Gilbertsen, Breastfeed Chicago Member Engagement Manager. “It’s your right under the law, and it’s a way to maintain a connection with your baby by providing nourishment for them while you are at work.”
Going back to work and breastfeeding? This question is part of Breastfeed Chicago’s Ultimate Back-to-Work Breastfeeding Guide. Read the full guide to help the transition go smoothly!