Parents are some of the most creative multi-taskers I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Many parents simply don’t have the luxury of time to pump outside of feeding time, or they don’t have a great space to do it at work or school, leaving many to wonder can I pump and breastfeed at the same time?
The answer is a resounding yes! You can absolutely pump while you breastfeed, and there are great reasons to incorporate it into your routine.
So, let’s talk about them!
I’ve put together a quick and easy resource to help you learn more about the benefits of pumping while you also breastfeed, how pumping can contribute to a bigger milk supply, and even how to schedule your pumping and breastfeeding sessions like a pro.
Four Benefits of Pumping While You Breastfeed at the Same Time
There are many reasons parents are looking into pumping while they breastfeed! Here are just a few of the benefits to breaking out the pump while your baby is nursing:
Save Time and Zzzz’s
Waking up in the middle of the night for anything just hurts. So, why not do future-you a favor and pump and breastfeed at the same time?
Not only is baby fed now, but now your bottles are prepped for that late-night feeding. Talk to your partner about them taking on the late shift so you can get some well-deserved rest.
Heavy Milk Supply
Having an ample milk supply is such a blessing! With that blessing can also come pretty significant discomfort and leakage.
But, if you can master pumping while you’re breastfeeding, it can help drain your supply at double the pace, which means you get more time to feel like your best self and say goodbye to mid-day shirt changes in the office bathroom.
Are you preparing to begin bottle training, or maybe starting to think about starting daycare? Perhaps you’re starting to think about your eventual return to school or work.
Regardless of your situation, it is reassuring to know that you can have plenty of breastmilk bagged and ready to go! If you can break out the pump while you’re nursing, you can have a nice stockpile built for yourself in no time at all.
Wherever your relationship with pumping may be, whether pumping be a way to work toward bottle training goals, or an easy way to help you get through your workday without leaking through another shirt, pumping while breastfeeding is an excellent way to go!
Increase Your Milk Supply
Did you know that you can simulate cluster feeding by using your breast pump using a technique called power pumping?
Cluster feeding, if you aren’t aware, is different from your baby’s typical eating behaviors and is when your baby all of a sudden begins to eat more frequently in clusters for periods of time.
This can look like having a full normal feeding and then having your baby need to be fed again in 30 minutes to an hour, usually consuming about as much as they would normally.
Power pumping while you breastfeed simultaneously sends that same message to your body that cluster feeding is happening, and it needs to up its milk supply. How does it all work, though?
The answer is quite simple actually. Your lactation, our breastmilk, responds to supply and demand, and by telling your body: “Hey! My baby needs to eat more!” through power-pumping, it’ll help stimulate that milk supply.
Read on to learn more about the science of Power Pumping!
The Power of Pumping While Nursing
Not everyone’s journey with lactation is the same, and if it’s difficult, it’s typically most difficult in those first 6-8 weeks. But even if you’re struggling with breastfeeding, power pumping is one of the things you can do to help stimulate your milk supply.
Let’s talk about power pumping while you breastfeed simultaneously and how it can actually be really beneficial.
It only takes an hour
When it comes to power-pumping, lactation consultants recommend starting by pumping for 20-minutes, resting for 10-minutes, pumping for another 10-minutes, resting for 10-minutes, and then pumping for a final 10 minutes.
This interval pumping/feeding simulates cluster feeding and signals to our bodies that we need to make more milk. Keep in mind that you can choose your on-and-off timing for whatever suits you best, and the timing does not have to be exact.
If you have a little one that already likes to take their time nursing, why not double up with your pump?
Pumping and breastfeeding at the same time can be pretty tricky! It’s a lot to juggle between, and you want to be careful not to spill that hard-earned milk accidentally.
Take your time and do what you can to make it enjoyable for yourself. Put on a show or a podcast you’ve been looking forward to before you begin and let yourself just kickback.
Not to mention, having both hands full is a pretty good excuse to hand off cooking dinner to someone else… but you didn’t hear that from me.
Who you gonna call?
Sometimes we need a little help, so if you find that pumping and breastfeeding aren’t getting you the results you want, there are resources available.
Did you know that there’s a lactation specialist at your local hospital that can give you breastfeeding advice for free?
OASH (Office on Women’s Health) also has a resource called the National Women’s Health and Breastfeeding Helpline. You can call them at 1-800-994-9662 to get direct professional guidance on lactation and pumping.
When is the Best Time to Breastfeed and Pump?
Chances are, you may have already found your own schedule of pumping and breastfeeding. Lots of parents will pump during the day and breastfeed at night, and others will breastfeed during the day and pump at night, just depending on their and their family’s schedule.
The most important thing to know about building your feeding and pumping schedule is that it’s all relative to your personal preference and supply.
Articles and other parents may try to tell you that it has to be done a particular way at particular times. Still, only you, with the guidance of your licensed medical practitioner, are going to know what is truly best.
The best way to help you decide on the right nursing schedule for you and your little one is to sit down, think about, and understand your own perspective and goals with pumping and breastfeeding.
Some things to consider:
Maybe you want to move to a bottle eventually. That extra pumping time during breastfeeding time can help you stock up to prepare for that change in routine.
What does your family’s schedule look like? If you work graveyard shifts or have a job that can call you away for a day or two at a time, breastfeeding and pumping at the same time gives you that valuable together time while also ensuring your baby will be fed while you’re away.
Not Enough Hours
For many parents, evenings are the only time they get to themselves or with their partner. If you can pump while breastfeeding simultaneously, you get some of that time back to enjoy however you like. If you are a master of multitasking like me, you may even eat your dinner while breastfeeding at the same time!
You and your co-parent may decide that your schedules work best if you can pump during the day so they can take on feedings at night.
By pumping as you nurse, it not only frees up your night to get some beauty sleep, but it can also help your growing family navigate these new routines together.
Many businesses and educational centers are still struggling to get up to speed on having set private areas for breastfeeding.
Not having this resource available can mean having to choose to pump exclusively from home or in the privacy of a broom closet or bathroom stall. What is your access like outside of home?
Breastfeeding while you pump before you leave for the day can not only save you the trouble of lugging around your pump, but it can also spare you the annoyance of having to pump in a less than ideal space.
Fed Baby, Meal Prepped, and a Happy Mom
Pumping while you breastfeed is indeed a master class in multitasking, but it can also be the thing that makes your week—and even your future you that much easier!
Set aside some designated time to practice and see how you do. Coordinate with your partner so they can help make the experience as relaxing and successful as it can be.
When all is said and done, and you’ve got breastfeeding and pumping together all figured out, you’ll be able to get your baby fed in the moment, have their meal ready for later, and you’ll have bought yourself a little more time later on.