10 Tips For Exclusive Pumping Success (A Mom's Guide)

10 Tips For Exclusive Pumping Success (A Mom’s Guide)

When you’re expecting, you get asked some pretty invasive questions.

One question that I was often asked (by friends, family, and complete strangers) is if I would be breastfeeding or formula feeding

People were often surprised when I told them neither.

I wasn’t comfortable putting my baby exclusively on my breast: I didn’t want to expose myself in public and I was afraid it would hurt.

I was planning on returning back to work fairly early (eight weeks) so I didn’t think starting to nurse would be fair to my son.

I also knew that nursing directly can be frustrating and frankly, tough.

On the flip side, I also wasn’t comfortable putting my baby strictly on formula

While there are some awesome blends on the market, loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients that my baby would need to grow, I just wasn’t 100% on board when I had perfectly good breast milk to give.

My answer to everyone?

Pumping it was!  

It wasn’t always easy, glamorous, or effective, but for me, it worked and it made me and my baby happy in the long run.

If you believe you wish to exclusively pump, read on to learn a bit more about it, as well as gain 10 helpful tips to ensure your success!

What Is Exclusive Pumping?

Exclusive pumping means that you only provide your baby with your breastmilk, which you pump, rather than serve directly from your breasts. 

The pumped milk is put in a bottle and delivered to your baby when they’re hungry.

What Are The Benefits Of Exclusive Pumping?

Exclusive pumping has many benefits. Among them include:

  • Shared feedings. Anyone can bottle feed your baby your breastmilk. This takes a lot of pressure off a mom, allows her to rest up, and it also allows for dads to bond with their baby during feeding times.
  • Cost-effective. A canister of formula costs anywhere from $15-$40 a week, depending on what your baby needs. That really adds up throughout a month and across a year.
  • Specially made. Your breastmilk is specially made for your baby and their specific needs. Formula is great, but there’s nothing that can truly compare to the real thing. Breast milk helps keep babies healthier, containing antibodies that cut down on viruses and other common illnesses. It also has been linked to a lower SIDS risk throughout the first year.
  • Gives you more privacy. Many women aren’t comfortable with exposing their bare breasts, even if covered up in public. You can pump peacefully in your car, bathroom, or a designated space so you can feed your baby something fresh without baring it all.

10 Tips For Success

Here are 10 tips to ensure your success with pumping:

#1. Get Organized

Pumping requires lots equipment, which consists of many parts.

These parts need to get assembled, unassembled, cleaned, dried, packed, and stored.

Whew! What work!

It’s best to establish a system for doing all of this, as well as a designated spot for storing everything so it’s all able to be accessed quickly. 

#2. Purchase Accessories

Pumping hurts just as much as nursing sometimes.

Being hooked up to a machine isn’t always a joyful task: you could experience nipple bleeding, cracking, and just overall irritation.

So be sure to stock up on nipple cream and ice packs to soothe pain, which will make pumping 8-10 times a day do-able and less painful.

You’ll also need nursing pads because you’re sure to leak in between pumping.

#3. Set Up Pumping Stations

Some moms find it’s just easier to keep pumps and equipment at various places rather than packing up their pump each time they need to use it.

Some moms keep one in their car, one at work, at one at home, as it saves them time and it helps them always remain prepared. 

#4. Stockpile Your Supply

Pump away and start saving up your supply: the more you pump, the more milk your body will make.

Freeze it, thaw it, pack it, and anyone can serve it!

#5. Have A Back Up Pump

It’s always wise to have a back up pump on hand in case something goes awry with your main one.

If you don’t want to spend the extra bucks on an extra electric pump, you can totally get by with a manual one until you get a new pump, or get it fixed.

#6. Get A Free Breast Pump

Many insurance companies give free pumps to policyholders. 

Sometimes pumps are issued out brand new, while others are lent out and meant to be borrowed for a certain amount of time.

This is great to have on hand as a backup, or to use if you only plan on pumping for a short amount of time.

#7. Establish A Connection

Many moms who choose to pump and bottle feed fear that they won’t establish that bond and make a connection while feeding because the entire act will be less personal.

Quite the contrary: you can do something personal each time you offer a bottle.

Stroke your baby’s arm while you gaze at them as they are eating.

Rub your baby’s cheek, or wrap your pinky finger around theirs.

It’s the little things that make a big impact. 

#8. Get On A Schedule

Just like nursing, pumping is most successful when you’re on a schedule.

It may take some time to figure things out, but you can bet that your newborn will be ready to eat every two hours.

Over time, you’ll be able to stock up a supply and will not have to necessarily pump on demand.

Be patient, because things will get easier and run systematically.

#9. Supplement If Needed

Women who pump don’t have as high of a supply as women who directly nurse. 

It’s a hormonal thing!

When you’re first starting off, there’s not shame in supplementing with formula if you cannot produce enough milk for your starving newborn.

While it may be your goal to pump exclusively, your baby’s needs and health take first priority and you can satisfy their hunger until you get the hang of things. 

Don’t put any added pressure on yourself.

#10. Don't Quit

It’s easy to stop and make a bottle.

Keep your eye on the prize and think about why you wanted to exclusively pump when you start to get tired, frustrated, or experience pain. 

All moms get frustrated with feedings, regardless of how they are feeding their baby in the beginning.

Know that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. But, whatever you do, don’t give up!

When Should You Stop Pumping?

Simply, you should stop pumping when you’re ready.

For some moms, pumping comes to an end after three months. For others, their baby’s first birthday signals it’s time to quit. Some other moms will pump well into their child’s first year. 

You may notice that your supply starts to diminish at one point or another: this may be a signal to start supplementing.

Your doctor will help you through the process and may offer suggestions in regard to ways to try and increase your supply or make formula recommendations.

Wrapping Up

Exclusive pumping is a relatively new concept.

It’s great for moms who want to nourish their little ones with their specially made formula, but who don’t want the inconvenience of putting them on their breast.

Consider some of the 10 tips above to help you remain successful through the process, regardless of how long you do it!


Hi there, I'm Kate! I started Maternity Glow to be a place for new and expecting moms to come to for practical pregnancy advice, parenting tips, and baby care tricks.

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