How to Create a Perfect Pumping and Breastfeeding Schedule

Creating a pumping and breastfeeding schedule can feel overwhelming! 

For starters, there are often more questions than answers:

How to Create a Perfect Pumping and Breastfeeding Schedule“Do I need to pump if I exclusively breastfeed?”

“How often do I need to pump while at work?” 

“What are the best times to pump?”

No matter your situation, we’ve got you covered with answers to all your questions.

Pumping has benefits for working and stay at home moms. Read on to easily create a pumping and breastfeeding scheduled tailored specifically for you. 

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Breastfeeding and Pumping Schedule For Working Moms

When I was looking to create a pumping and breastfeeding schedule in anticipation of returning to work, I didn’t know where to start! 

Just when I FINALLY got the hang of breastfeeding, maternity leave was over so I had to change my whole routine. 

For moms who wish to continue breastfeeding after rejoining the workforce, learning to pump is an important skill to maintain the relationship and supply. Plus, it forces you to set aside a little time each work day to stop and think about your baby. 

The Reality of Working Mom Guilt

So How Much Breast Milk Does a Working Mom Need?

As much as you can get!

Seriously, you never know what’s going to happen so fill up that freezer with as much milk as possible. 

Starting at 4 months old, my son went from drinking 9 oz while I was at work to 25 oz! Boy was I happy to have that extra stash.

The other (painful!) truth is that more milk than you’d like will likely be wasted. Many daycares require you to thaw all bottles ahead of time and sometimes they’re not used in time. And of course, sometimes the bottles themselves go unfinished.

Be safe rather than sorry by having a decent stash, as much as you can manage without stressing yourself out. 

When you decide that your breastfeeding journey is over, you can decide how/when to wean off pumping and use up the remainder of your supply. 

And even if you have milk leftover after your baby is done drinking breast milk, you can still put it to good use! Try mixing it with solid food (like oatmeal), using it for milk baths, applying it on a child’s dry skin, or even donating if you have a large surplus. 

How to Make Your Working Mom Pumping and Breastfeeding Schedule

The general rule is that you want to pump at least once for every bottle your child will drink during the day.

That being said, there are benefits for adding additional sessions. Pumping more often will help increase your supply and teach your body to respond to the pump. 

Here are some important considerations to keep in mind when creating your schedule:

  • When will you have time to pump – Think about when you have natural breaks or slower times during the work day. How flexible is your schedule? 
  • Where you will be pumping – Is there a private office or space where you can get work done while simultaneously pumping? Do you have a long commute you will need to pump during?
  • Is your work close to home/daycare? If so, is it possible to go and breastfeed during the day?

**The frequency of pumping is generally considered to be more important than duration. Meaning if you have the option, it would be better to pump more frequently for shorter sessions compared to less frequent but longer sessions.** 


Examples of Breastfeeding and Pumping Schedule For Working Moms

Sample Working Mom Pumping and Breastfeeding Schedule

6:00am – Breakfast feeding
8:30am – Breastfeed at daycare drop off 
10:00am – Short pump (10 minutes) 
12:00am – Longer pump at lunch (25-30 minutes) 
2:30pm – Pump (20 minutes) 
5:00pm – Breastfeed 
7:30pm – Bedtime feeding
10:30pm – Night feeding as indicated

Night Session Pumping (to Build Supply)

6:00am – Breakfast feeding
8:00am – Breastfeed
10:30am – Pump (20-25 minutes) 
1:00pm – Longer pump at lunch (25-30 minutes) 
3:30pm – Pump (20 minutes) 
5:30pm – Breastfeed 
8:00pm – Bedtime feeding
10:00pm – Power pump (15 min pump, 10 min break, 15 min pump)

Pumping with a Lunch Visit

5:30am – Breakfast feeding
7:30am – Breastfeed
8:00am – Pump on way to work
10:30am – Short pump (10-15 minutes) 
12:30am – Breastfeed
3:00pm – Pump (20 minutes) 
5:30pm – Breastfeed 
8:00pm – Bedtime feeding
11:00pm – Night feeding as indicated

Leaving For Work Early (Before Baby Wakes)

5:00am – Pump (leave bottle on counter for when baby wakes)
7:30am – Pump (20-25 minutes)
10:00am – Short pump (15 minutes)
12:00pm – Long pump at lunch (30 minutes)
3:00pm – Pump in car on the way home
5:00pm – Breastfeed
7:30pm – Bedtime feeding
10:00pm – Night feeding as indicated

Whether you're a stay at home or working mom!

Pumping and Breastfeeding Schedule for Stay At Home Moms

Even if you are exclusively breastfeeding as a stay at home mom, you may still find that you want to occasionally pump.

You may not need it often, but having some extra breast milk in the freezer comes in handy. You have the ability to take a spur of the moment day out or let dad handle a night feed without you having to plan and prepare. 

It’s a good idea to have some back up milk, in case of emergencies too. Though you didn’t plan to be away from your baby, sometimes these things just happen. 

So How Much Breast Milk Does a Stay at Home Mom Need?

That’s really a personal choice. 

Do you have a trip or other occasion that will keep you separated from your baby that you need to be prepared for? Or maybe you just want to have a little back up stash. 

Do you want to have enough that you can wean from nursing but continue to give breast milk? You might even be interested in donating. 

I’d suggest at least enough milk in your freezer for a few feedings in case of an emergency. I only keep about 1 day worth now. This would cover most small emergencies and give a caregiver a little time to find a longer term solution if necessary.

How to Make Your SAHM Pumping and Breastfeeding Schedule

Figure out how much breast milk you want to stash to help you determine how much and how often you should pump. 

Once a day may be enough if you only need a little, but to save up a larger stash or increase supply you may want to pump 2 or 3 times each day. How long you run the pump also matters.

**By pumping more than your baby is eating, you will be creating an oversupply. Keep in mind that the more “extra” milk you pump, the more severe this oversupply can become.**

You’ll need to figure out when during your day you can squeeze in some time to pump. It’s important to note that most people produce more milk in the morning so take that into consideration when making your schedule.

You pretty much have 3 options for when to pump as a Stay at Home Mom and they each have their own pros/cons:

  • After feedings – Pump immediately after feeding your baby. Since we’re often most full in the morning, the first feeding of the day usually works best for this. You may be surprised how much milk is still there after your little one has finished. However, if you don’t get anything or very little keep trying the pump for a few days to see if it stimulates more milk. 
  • Between feedings – Waiting to pump 30 minutes to an hour after a feeding allows time for more milk to be produced and can yield more. For me, this works best if I can time it so that I pump while the baby is napping in between feedings. This doesn’t work as well with babies that nurse very frequently as you will feel like you are always feeding or pumping with no break. Also, if you don’t time the interval quite right, some babies will get frustrated if they want to nurse right after you’ve just pumped.
  • During feedings – You can actually pump one side while your baby is nursing on the other side. A haakaa makes this pretty simple. When nursing, simply attach the pump to the opposite breast with gentle suction and it collects milk with zero extra effort. Sounds amazing, right??? You can do the same thing with an electric pump, but it can be a bit more tricky to position and hold with your baby. 

Examples Stay At Home Mom Breastfeeding and Pumping Schedule

Breastfeeding Every 3 Hours With 1 Pump Session

7:00 – Breastfeed then pump (15 minutes)
10:00 – Breastfeed
1:00 – Breastfeed
4:00 – Breastfeed
7:00 – Breastfeed
+1 to 3 night feedings

Breastfeeding Every 3 Hours With 2 Pump Sessions

7:00 – Breastfeed
8:30 – Pump (15 minutes)
10:00 – Breastfeed
1:00 – Breastfeed
2:30 – Pump (15 minutes)
4:00 – Breastfeed
7:00 – Breastfeed
+1 to 3 night feedings

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How to Create a Perfect Pumping and Breastfeeding Schedule



About Author

Jo & Rachel

Jo and Rachel first had the idea for 'The Moms At Odds' in 2016 when our babies were turning 2 and we realized that we were very different parents.

As a mom, Rachel immediately felt this strong connection to her son and instantly decided she wanted to become a stay-at-home mom. Though Jo obviously loved her son as well, she counted the days until she could go back to work and interact with other adults.

They both struggled over getting their babies to sleep and while Jo believed in sleep training, Rachel looked for alternatives like dream feeding and no cry methods. As time passed and their children grew older the differences started to really add up – pacifier use, drinking during breastfeeding, organic foods, screen time, diaper brands, and on and on.

During this day and age, it’s so easy to look at our parenting differences as a bad thing. After all, we’ve all seen jokes and articles about “Mommy Wars” over one subject or another. Instead, we choose to embrace our differences and show you that in many areas there is no wrong answer. What works for one family may not work for another, and that’s perfectly fine. We can still all get along and raise perfectly healthy, beautiful children.

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