How Soon After Birth Should You Pump or Breastfeed?

Maintaining a breast pumping schedule can be challenging, especially on top of all the other responsibilities new motherhood entails. However, like most things in life, breast pumping is easier when you have a plan, which typically begins with knowing when and how to get started. So, whether you plan to pump occasionally or full-time, let us help you kickstart your breastfeeding journey!

At Pumps for Mom, our goal is to make your transition into motherhood as smooth and stress-free as possible. That’s why we offer exclusive insight into the breast-pumping process! With a team of industry experts and an extensive catalog of top-rated breast pumps and maternity recovery garments, we have all the tools you need to seamlessly start your new chapter as a mom.

In this blog, our experts share their insight on breast pumping and feeding timelines after birth by answering the following questions :

  • When Should I Start Breast Pumping after Birth?
  • How Often Should I Pump, and For How Long?
  • How Can I Maintain Milk Supply?

When Should I Start Breast Pumping after Birth? 

Every mom’s timeline is different when it comes to breastfeeding after birth. Ultimately, your decision to start pumping depends entirely on you and your infant’s unique situation. Most moms start pumping directly after birth if their baby has a serious medical condition like low birth weight or blood sugar levels or if they’ve been separated from their baby, which can often happen if your baby is born prematurely. In these scenarios, moms can begin pumping in the first two hours after birth, either hand-expressing or using a hospital-grade breast pump as provided by their respective medical professional. 

If your newborn is healthy and you don’t anticipate separation after birth, then there’s no need to rush the pumping process. Often, moms like to establish a natural breastfeeding routine before introducing a breast pump. The sweet spot to implement breast pumping is typically around 4-6 weeks after your breastfeeding is well-established, and you have time between feeding sessions to pump extra milk. 

How Often Should I Pump, and For How Long?

Once you’re in the groove of pumping, keeping a consistent schedule is important. Many moms choose to pump in between nursing sessions to generate a foundation of milk supply. If you’re using a double electric breast pump, these in-between pumping sessions should only take 10-15 minutes. However, if you’re pumping to replace a missed feeding session, extend your session by 5-10 minutes. Do this every 3-4 hours to ensure proper milk supply for your infant. 

How Can I Maintain Milk Supply?

A common concern among new moms is that they won’t be able to maintain a sufficient milk supply for their little ones. However, you’d be happy to know that it’s pretty simple, mama! As you embark on your pumping journey, just remember that more pumping = more milk supply. To get your body and mind in the right space to maintain your schedule, try some of the following techniques:

Use Your Hands

Using your hands while pumping will help milk expression. Compress and massage both breasts during your pumping session until the milk flow slows. When the milk comes to a trickle, and no more milk is expressed through the pump, massage your breasts some more to ensure you’ve drained them completely.

Re-evaluate Medications 

When you catch a cold, it’s normal to reach for go-to, over-the-counter capsules. However, many common decongestants can decrease milk supply for some moms. If you’re congested, try non-medicinal solutions to relieve your symptoms, like saline nasal sprays or sinus rinses so that your milk supply isn’t affected. 


At the end of the day, relaxing is the best thing you can do to maintain your milk supply and keep your little one happy. Feeling calm helps your body produce oxytocin, which signals your breast to release milk. Do whatever you need to feel at peace before you pump, whether reading a book or listening to relaxing music. You’ll see a big difference!

Want to Get a Free Breast Pump Through Insurance? 

Is your due date right around the corner? It’s time to get yourself a breast pump free through insurance! At Pumps for Mom, we serve as the liaison between you and your insurance provider to ensure you get a breast pump that starts your breastfeeding journey on the right foot. Shop our comprehensive catalog of top-rated breast pumps, and head to our form or contact us today to get one through insurance.