Sample breastfeeding and pumping schedule for newborns
Mama, if you are wondering on how to juggle both breastfeeding and pumping, I've shared a sample breastfeeding and pumping schedule to help you find your rhythm that works best for you and your baby.
Pumping to give a ‘top-up’ breastfeed and to increase/protect milk supply
Nurse your newborn on demand (8-12 times a day), but if your breasts still feel full after nursing, try pumping immediately after. Otherwise, pump about half an hour after nursing to give your body some time to recover. You may not produce much milk from pumping especially after nursing. This is normal.
Emptying your breasts effectively will send the message to your body to produce more milk. Plus, you have milk to store if you need to do a 'top-up' breastfeed or for extra feedings during growth spurts.
6.00 am: Nurse, then pump until breasts no longer feel full.
Your hormones (prolactin) that drive milk production are at their highest levels in the morning hours, and this will be the ideal time to pump.
Typically, newborns would nurse for 20 to 30 minutes at each breast. Try not to nurse for longer than an hour each time, as your baby uses a lot of energy in sucking and nursing for too long might burn more energy than what baby is consuming.
8:00 am: Nurse.
10:00 am: Nurse.
12:00 pm: Nurse, then pump.
2:00 pm: Nurse.
4:00 pm: Nurse, then pump.
Squeezing in a pumping session here works for some mums (myself included) because we know we won't have the time to pump later on when baby becomes unsettled in the evenings.
Newborns may be sleeping during the day and not wake up for feeds every 2 hours. This is okay. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends waking your baby if he sleeps more than four hours for the first two weeks.
6:00 pm - 10.00 pm: Nurse (cluster feeding for some).
Some babies are unsettled at around this time from early evening to night time. The only thing that seems to work is to cuddle them, feed or even cluster feed and wait for it to pass.
10.00 pm: Nurse.
1:00 am: Nurse, then pump right after. Your milk production is at its highest between 1 am and 6 am, and this will be the best time to pump.
4:00 am: Nurse.
Also, you can try these tips below if you would like to increase your milk supply:
- Pump the opposite breast while your baby is feeding to take advantage of the let down from your baby’s stimulation
- Pump for 5 or 10 minutes beyond the last drops you produce
- Finish off with a few minutes of hand expression on both breasts.
I'm not going to sugarcoat it. Nursing a newborn on demand and fitting in pumping sessions into your day is tough work.
With cluster feeding and newborn day/night confusion, you end up having no sleep, no rest, no time to do anything but having a baby or a machine attached to your breasts all day and night. So please be kind to yourself.
You are doing your best, and that's enough. You're a great mum and you deserve to feel that way. If you know someone who needs to read this, please share this link with them. Or if you think this post has helped you, we love for you to join our newsletter or follow us on Instagram for more real motherhood posts.