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The 240-Minute Rule: The First 12 Weeks (Nursing and Pumping Edition)

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

Trigger Warning: Nursing and Oversupply Mentioned

Pump with Purpose assists the pumping community to reach its pumping goals, whether that is exclusively pumping or pumping in addition to nursing. I do not offer latch assessments or assistance with nursing. If you have questions related to nursing or latch assessments, please see a certified lactation professional. I wanted to address how to establish supply if you are interested in introducing the pump earlier in your breastfeeding journey. I get so many questions on this as some lactation professionals do not want to assist in offering options to obtain an oversupply with nursing families. Although I understand this, but I am all about helping you to reach your pumping goals and not introducing any personal bias into your journey.

The goal of this blog post is not to make 90 ounce s a day, but to assist with building a manageable oversupply. Please note that oversupply can issues with nursing like overactive letdown, foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, and more. Some may have to pump before nursing to handle a significant oversupply and this is not recommended if it impacts your nursing relationship. If making this decision, proceed cautiously and book a session if warranted to limit these risks. I wanted to discuss ways to to create an oversupply so you can make an informed decision if you choose this. The more you pump, the more an oversupply is possible so please be careful and understand that there is a negative side to oversupply and it is not my goal to produce to much oversupply than you desire. I want to equip you with a recommendation on ways to add pumping to your journey sooner if that is your desire.

You should always feed your baby on demand and follow the direction of a lactation professional that specializes in nursing. This blog specifically addresses if you want to add pumping to your nursing journey. You can start pumping with an electric pump as soon as your mature milk comes in. Some people may choose to use a silicone milk collector or manual pump if they do not want to use an electric pump.

I still recommend the 240-minute rule by nursing/pumping for 30 minutes up to 8 times a day for the first 12 weeks then reassess. If you are nursing and pumping, you would just subtract your nursing time that 30 minute session. For example, nurse the baby first and if the baby nurses for 15 minutes then you can pump for 15 minutes after that nursing session as long as your baby is effectively removing milk. If your baby is not effectively removing milk then please see a lactation professional that specializes in nursing for a latch assessment to ensure baby is effectively removing milk.

You can use a silicone milk collector, manual pump, or electric pump in order to achieve an oversupply. Your choice will depend on how much oversupply you desire. The list below shows increasing likeliness to create an oversupply. The more you pump, the greater the chance of an oversupply so please be mindful to slow down pumping if you are creating more oversupply than you intended. Some ways to add pumping to your nursing journey include:

  1. Add in a pumping session up to 30 minutes once a day at a time that is more comfortable to you.

  2. Add in a power pumping session once a day at a time of your choosing.

  3. Nurse one side and pump the other. Please make sure you have established an oversupply before doing this to make sure your breasts are not fully drained and baby does not get enough if they nurse from both breasts.

  4. Pump at the end of a nursing session once or twice a day (or as many sessions as you desire

Any oversupply can be stored in the refrigerator and frozen once you get to your desired amount to use a storage bag to freeze milk. You can also freeze in smaller increments as well by using products offered by Junobie Milk Tray or Cereschill Milkstache (click here for affiliate and/or discount code link to save money on these products).

This list above is only a recommendation and a way to increase milk supply or potentially build an oversupply/freezer stash if this is what you desire. So many people tell me that lactation professionals do not want to give them information on pumping earlier in their journey. If you want an oversupply then pumping earlier in your journey is the best way to increase chances of an oversupply.

I have been told from too many people that did not introduce pumping much sooner within the first 12 weeks. In months four to twelve when they have supply dips then they resort to taking too many supplements or stressing over the dip in supply. If someone wishes to introduce pumping earlier then that allows for less stress if supply dips occur or the ability to leave baby and have milk readily available or start pumping sooner if that is a goal. There are risks and rewards to this so please be sure to seek support if this is your plan to ensure to preserve the nursing relationship that you desire.

If you do want an oversupply, this is an option to consider. An oversupply is not required to have a successful breastfeeding journey and there is nothing wrong with you if you do not want an oversupply. There is also nothing wrong with someone who would like to increase the likelihood of an oversupply as long as they are making an informed decision based on their goals, preferences, and lifestyle.

I do highly recommend doing this under the care of a qualifier lactation professional that can help you reach your pumping goals. I am more than happy to assist you with a personalized plan.

Note: If you are interested in booking a premier pumping consult with Pump with Purpose LLC, please click here.

Note: If you would like to learn more about choosing an electric breast pump, consider the Comprehensive Breast Pump Selection Guide.

Note: If you are interested in saving money on some electric breast pump through my affiliate and discount code links, please visit the Breast Pump section of my Linktree.

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