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How to Create the Perfect Breastfeeding and Pumping Schedule

How to Create the Perfect Breastfeeding and Pumping Schedule

breastfeeding May 23, 2024

As a new mom, one of the biggest challenges can be figuring out how to balance breastfeeding and pumping, especially if you're returning to work. Creating a breastfeeding and pumping schedule can seem overwhelming, but it's crucial for maintaining your milk supply and ensuring your baby gets the nourishment they need. In this ultimate guide, I'll walk you through the steps to create the perfect breastfeeding and pumping schedule that works for you and your little one.

Understanding Your Baby's Feeding Patterns

Before you can create a breastfeeding and pumping schedule, it's essential to understand your baby's feeding patterns. Newborns typically need to be fed every 2-3 hours, but this can vary from baby to baby. Some babies may cluster feed, meaning they'll feed more frequently during certain times of the day or night. Pay attention to your baby's hunger cues, such as rooting, sucking motions, or fussiness, and feed them on demand.

Establishing a Breastfeeding Routine

Once you have a good understanding of your baby's feeding patterns, you can start establishing a breastfeeding routine. This routine will help ensure that your baby is getting enough milk and that your milk supply is being maintained. Here are some tips for establishing a breastfeeding routine:

  1. Feed your baby on demand: While a routine is helpful, it's essential to feed your baby whenever it shows signs of hunger. This will ensure that they're getting enough milk and that your milk supply is stimulated.
  2. Alternate breasts during feedings: By alternating breasts during each feeding, you'll ensure that both breasts are being stimulated, which can help maintain your milk supply.
  3. Keep track of feedings: Use a breastfeeding app or a notebook to keep track of when you breastfeed and for how long. This information can be helpful when creating your pumping schedule.

Incorporating Pumping into Your Schedule

Once you've established a breastfeeding routine, if you spend anytime away from your baby, you'll need to incorporate pumping into your schedule. Here are some tips for incorporating pumping into your schedule:

  1. Pump after breastfeeding: It's generally recommended to pump after breastfeeding, as this will help to remove any remaining milk and stimulate your milk supply.
  2. Pump on a schedule: When you're away from your baby, it's essential to pump on a schedule to maintain your milk supply. Most experts recommend pumping every 2-3 hours, or at least once during each typical feeding time.
  3. Use a high-quality breast pump: Investing in a high-quality breast pump can make a significant difference in your pumping experience. Look for a pump that mimics your baby's sucking patterns and is comfortable to use.
  4. Store breast milk properly: Once you've pumped, it's important to store your breast milk properly. Use airtight containers or breast milk storage bags and label them with the date and time.

Creating Your Breastfeeding and Pumping Schedule

Now that you understand the basics of breastfeeding and pumping, it's time to create your schedule. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Determine your baby's feeding schedule: Start by determining your baby's typical feeding schedule. Note the times when your baby typically feeds and how long each feeding lasts.
  2. Identify your pumping times: Based on your baby's feeding schedule, identify the times when you'll need to pump. If you're returning to work, you'll likely need to pump during the times when you would typically be breastfeeding your baby.
  3. Allow for flexibility: While a schedule is helpful, it's important to remain flexible. Your baby's feeding patterns may change, or you may need to adjust your pumping times based on your schedule.
  4. Share your schedule: Once you've created your schedule, share it with your partner, family members, or caregivers who may be helping with your baby. Also, share your usual pumping times with your workplace or boss, so that they know when they can expect you to be pumping. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and can support you in maintaining your schedule.

Tips for Maintaining Your Breastfeeding and Pumping Schedule

Creating a breastfeeding and pumping schedule is just the first step. Here are some tips to help you maintain your schedule and ensure a successful breastfeeding and pumping experience:

  1. Stay hydrated: Breastfeeding and pumping can cause you to be thirsty, so make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  2. Eat a balanced diet: Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help support your milk supply and provide you with the energy you need to keep up with your schedule.
  3. Get enough rest: While it may be challenging with a newborn, try to get on a consistent bedtime routine. This will help you feel more energized and better able to maintain your schedule.
  4. Be patient and flexible: Breastfeeding and pumping can be a journey, and it may take some time to find a schedule that works best for you and your baby. Be patient and flexible, and don't hesitate to adjust your schedule as needed.
  5. Seek support: Don't be afraid to ask for help or seek support from lactation consultants, breastfeeding support groups, or other moms who have been through the same experience.

By following these tips and creating a breastfeeding and pumping schedule that works for you and your baby, you'll be well on your way to a successful breastfeeding and pumping experience. Remember, every mom and baby is different, so don't be afraid to adjust your schedule as needed to find what works best for you.

You can get the entire Breastfeeding Blueprint program for FREE as a bonus when you join us inside of The Postpartum Shift.

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Hey mama,

I'm Brooke Miller,

Before becoming a mom, I chronically dieted & thought "eat less, move more" was the healthiest option. I dealt with exhaustion, mood swings, hormone imbalances (not getting a regular cycle), high cholesterol and weight cycling. I felt like something was wrong with me.

Before I got pregnant with my first son, I discovered the balanced nutrition approach I teach inside The Postpartum Shift. Once I implemented the framework, I was energized, gained strength, got my period back, lowered my cholesterol & maintained my healthiest weight. I continued this during my pregnancies & postpartum periods and recovered quickly after birth, made more than enough milk for my babies, had energy (even with the sleep deprivation) & stable mood. Postpartum was really enjoyable.

With a decade of experience as a Registered Dietitian and Certified Lactation Counselor, I created The Postpartum Shift to help moms boost energy, mood, metabolism & milk supply to have a stress-free & enjoyable postpartum experience.

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