How I Pumped TWICE a Day and Still Got Full Output for My Baby

Medium-set-w-collars

 

So it’s been a few years since I’ve pumped breastmilk and most of the time, I don’t ever want to think about it. Let’s be honest, it’s the WORST part of the whole baby raising process. I’ve never heard a mom who has said they loved pumping and if you’re in that group of loving to pump, good for you but I think that’s psychotic. I hate… hate… hate…. pumping.

To minimize my angst towards pumping, my good friend let me in on her trick. Somehow she was able to pump only TWICE a day and still got about 800ml+ a day. I was in shock the first time I heard it but I knew I wanted to make it happen because pumping every 3-4 hours was ridiculous. How do people function and survive in this world with disturbed sleep at night? It’s not only the disturbed sleep but also moms who are with their babies during the day. Imagine pumping and then your baby cries… you stop the pump and care of the baby and your milk is left there in the bottle and then somehow you have to find the time to go back and pump some more later. I dreaded the sound of the pump, the word pump, the sight of the pump, and the physically act of pumping. Less times a day will be a blessing.

I used the medela pump. I’m not saying it’s the best but it does the job, it’s strong enough and the parts are easily found. It’s not the most expensive and it’s not the cheapest but I definitely found it sufficient and useful.

I found that their flanges were not as great as the other flange company called Pumpin’ Pal. I discovered these new flanges on my second pregnancy. Not cheap but much better milk extraction and saved me more time. I’d say you probably save about 20% of the work. They have a starter pack with a couple sizes that you can try and once you find your size, you can buy a few sets of that size if you like. I always liked to buy a few sets so I’m not washing it all the time throughout the day.

The Process

  1. When the baby was first born, I let the baby drink directly from the breast for the first two days because the first few drops of milk is “golden” and includes all the natural vaccines the baby could ever hope for! I didn’t want to waste any of it inside a flange or bottle and since the first 2 days you’re not getting more than a few drops of milk anyway, it’s better to let baby drink direct.
  2. Build Up Phase: Day 3 is when I started pumping. I would put the pump on my breast for at least 20 minutes per breast and while massaging my breast in a forward pushing motion gently gliding from the armpit to the tip of the nipple as much as you can from the outside without knocking the flange off. Then on the other hand from the middle of your chest to the nipple. With both hands massaging is when you’ll get maximum extraction. The start of pumping is painful because it’s what we call “dry pumping” where nothing much comes out. I think I may have gotten 10-20ml throughout the entire session. I do this every 2-3 hours until my breast is DRY (meaning nothing comes out when pumping). I take the flange off and hand express (to get the remaining milk out of the reservoir of your breast. This part is VERY important. You MUST squeeze your breast DRY of ANY milk for each pumping session. This alerts your body that you need to product more!!!! I did this every 3 hours (even during the night) for about a whole week until I reached about 950-1000ml a day.  This is the build up phase. It may take you longer but it’s important that you reach this point.
  3. Stabilization Phase: This is the phase where the work comes in like calculating a formula. After you’ve reached 950-1000ml a day in pumping. Maintain this for 5 days so that your volume is stable. Now comes the fun part. Instead of pumping every 2-3 hours, now start to pump every 4 hours. Volume per day should NOT drop. Now do this for another 3 days and make sure your volume doesn’t drop. If it drops, add another pump in during the day and make your your volume is stable. Once it is stable, now pump every 6 hours. At this point, your volume may drop 25-40ml a day. That’s NORMAL. This is why we started high at 950-1000ml a day so we can afford to lose some volume after each stabilization period. After your 6 hour period are stabilized for 3 days (make sure it’s stable), now stretch it to 8 hour pumps, and then 10 hour pumps, and then 12 hour pumps. Stop at pumping every 12 hours. So when you stretched it to 8 hour pumps, you’ll lose another 25ml a day and at 10 hour pump, you may lose 50 ml a day and then when you get to 12 hour pumps, you’ll lose another 50.
  4. Final Phase: When you’re pumping only twice a day (every 12 hours) you may get an output between 750-850ml a day (yes, that’s 335-425ml per pump – mooooooo ). It is possible. I did it and plenty of other women I taught did it. It works as long as you follow the rules. Stabilize the volume, make sure every drop from your breast is out after each pump, and you’ll be able to sustain these results.

Hope you guys all have success! I ended up pumping at 7am while my husband was still home in the morning and he can run to the baby if baby cries and then 7pm after he got home. It worked out perfect and finally I was free of distractions during the day. Not that I enjoyed pumping twice a day because each time is once too much for me but it made it more bearable…

 

46 responses to “How I Pumped TWICE a Day and Still Got Full Output for My Baby”

    • I pumped for about 40 min. Sometimes shorter if I’ve reached yield, and sometimes longer. Depends on your body that day but averaged to about 40 min daily.

      Like

    • After you get used to it, actually feels like any other pumping session. You do need time to adjust so doing it in steps is key like how I planned it. I thought it was very miraculous of how I got used to it! I didn’t feel bad at all…

      Like

  1. When you were in the stabilization phase how long were the pump sessions? I am pumping every 3 hours for 24 minutes. I’m hitting the 1000ml mark with no problems daily. I will be going back to work soon and want to get down to the twice a day. Suggestions on length of time for pumping sessions when I start decreasing the pumping sessions?

    Like

    • Try pumping til your dry when you start that…. if you read in my blog, you have to stretch out the hours… so if you’re pumping every 3 hours, try pumping every 5 hours til you’re bone dry and then hand express the last few bits and see if you can maintain 1000 ml. I think you can. Do that for a few days and then stretch it to 7 or 8 hours and so forth until you get to 12 hours for each pumping session. You may end up pumping for 40 minutes each session but at least you can pump once in the morning and once when you get home…

      Like

    • I was able to sustain it for as long as I wanted though I usually opt out of pumping before 12 months. My friend did it the same way and she was able to maintain it for over a year. Your body doesn’t stop producing if you ALWAYS express til DRY! Make sure you always hand express after the electronic pumps for the last few squeezes so that the last few bits in your reservoir is empty! This tells your body you always need more more more…

      Like

  2. Hello, thank you for the info you provided. You have done really well.

    I have a quick question. At which postpartum week you were able to reach the two pumps a day session and still got enough supply. Right now I am 6 weeks postpartum pumping 4 time a day and my supply is 950 to 1000 ml. Your reply would greatly help me.

    Thank u

    Like

    • Hi! I think it depends on when you started going from 4 to 2 pumps can take about 2 weeks at most 3? Just make sure you’re pumping always until dry dry dry dry. Hand express the last few squirts just to make sure reservoir is also dry and you’ll keep your same volume more or less . I’m guessing your output would still be in the 920-950 range … good luck! Once you’re at two pumps you’ll feel so much more free!

      Like

      • Thank you for your reply. I pumped three times yesterday at 6am, 2pm and 10pm. I was able to make 1000ml. Made 350ml in the morning, 330 at afternoon and 330 at night. I already felt so much freedom.

        If anyone would like to know, I tried first with missing the midnight pumping and worries that morning if my milk is going to be reduced. But I was so engorged in the morning and made double than normally I pump in the morning. So I thought I have a good storage capacity. And looked online for more details and found motherly notes. I found it really helpful.

        Like

    • I would recommend at least 3 pumps a day. I personally think 2 pumps a day would not work for most women. Your boobs would be too engorged or worse, you would lose your supply. But I think 3 pumps a day could work for a lot of ladies. And one way to really help is to use mother’s milk tea. I would drink a double dose once per day while I was building my supply and getting my boobs on their 3ppd schedule.

      Like

      • Hi Giselle! Everyone is different so do what feels right for you. The body is an amazing thing though as it adjusts. I didn’t feel engorged after I trained my body so it didn’t feel different from the 4, 6, or even 8 hour pumps in terms of engorgement …. I have had many friends who have also done it and felt the same. However, everyone should do what feels right for them so I think if 3 works well for you, that’s great!

        Like

  3. Hi there! So glad I found your blog. I am currently on 3ppd and making 800 to 860ml. I would like to move to 2 ppd but don’t think I can do them 12 hours apart. Do you think 8am and 11pm would work? It’d be 9 and 15 hours. Did any of your friends succeed without 12 hours apart? Thanks in advance!

    Like

    • Hi Helen! Wow, that’s a long time… 15 hours. I think you may lose a bit of output but if your body gets used to it, and that’s what is convenient, then I would say go for it. Sometimes it’s ok to supplement just a bottle a day too for the baby if you’re eventually weaning off. We are so hard at work daily, we should learn to be not so hard on ourselves. I used to say my baby needed 100 percent of nutrients from me only but that was stressful. Many babies start eating solids at 6 months or earlier anyway so if you think about it, even if your output goes down by a little, and if you have to supplement with a little of formula, it’s all ok! All love to you! Hope your pumps work out!

      Like

      • Thanks for your reply! I am actually on day 6 of my 3 ppd but yesterday I only managed a 780ml output. I know some will say it’s not a lot of difference to 800-860ml but every ml counts as I am hoping to stop early and have enough freezer stash to last until 6 months. I have been able to do full breast milk until now and with some extra to freeze, bub is turning 3 months in 2 weeks. I don’t mind supplementing with formula if not enough but you know how it’s all in our heads. So if I can get more EBM stashed I’d feel better. LOL, I feel silly typing that. I’d have to monitor and it does not drop below 700ml at this 3 ppd schedule now.

        Like

      • Squeeze til DRY. Hand express after pumping to make your your reservoir is dry will allow you to lose less per drop in pump. I always hand express after pump for those last few squirts.

        Like

    • Hi Helen, when I was pumping for three times in the beginning at 12 weeks postpartum I was making around 850 to 900 ml. And then I tried to go to 2 pumps a day. I followed 8 am and 9 pm schedule. My milk production decreased down to 750 ml a day. But what was worrying was my milk became very thin. The fuller the breasts, the less fattier the milk. And then I went back to 3 pumps a day which is working for me with 800 to 850 ml a day. I am now 6 and half months postpartum.

      Like

      • Hi Vasanthi, thanks for sharing. Yea I kinda noticed my milk was “fattier” when I was at 8ppd in the early days. But now at 3 ppd it feels a lot thinner. Good job pumping until now, 6months over is not easy!!!

        Like

  4. Hi,

    I’m currently on 3ppd and managing between 900-1000. I’m pumping till dry but haven’t hand expressed after. Is this necessary for maintaining supply? Do you mean literally hand expressing or using the manual pump?

    Like

  5. Definitely have to hand express! Manual pumps can’t get the last drops from the reservoir. Try it and let me know. The last squirts are quite strong too when you hand express. 😂

    Like

    • Hi. I personally didn’t hand express. I sometimes power pump if I feel like there is some milk left to get it out. I also pump three times a day. But everybody is different. If you can maintain your supply without hand express, you may be able to skip that step like me.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haven’t had any strong squirts… think I’m doing it right! I get more out when had expressing after it’s stopped coming from the pulps (I pump for 5 minutes after they stop as well).

      Is it possible to go from 8 hours apart straight to the 12? Not sure how the 10 hour gap would work without me getting up at ridiculous hours again. I’ve just got out of that!

      Like

      • Yes, you can try going straight. I’ve had friends do that. Some were fine and some were engorged a bit but all of them adjusted after a few days. Good 🤞 luck!

        Like

  6. Very good to know! I recently went from 4ppd and 1 nighttime nursing to 3ppd and weaning off the nighttime nursing. My supply is down to about 500ml per day. I’m 9 months postpartum. I’ve slowly gone down in number of pumps and with it goes down my supply. I’ve always hand expressed at the end. Any recommendations to keep my supply from dropping further or better yet, to increase it? I’m fine with 3ppd for now. Thank you!

    Like

  7. Hello,
    I have followed your plan & got down to 3 pumps per day with the earliest pump being at 5:30 am. My output remained stable until
    A few days ago when my refrigerator broke & I was so stressed about my milk stash! My milk production has now reduced each day and is over 100ml less than my first few days at 100ml.
    Any advice on how to get back up? Should I go back to doing a night pump? When I first started my middle of the night pump would always yield the most, but over the last 2 months my pump around 6am did instead.
    Thank you!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: