How soon can I start pumping?

 

Question:

My daughter just had a baby and she was told not tho start breast pumping until the baby was 8 wks old. I told her that was wrong. Please send me some info so I can show it to her.

Answer:

Thanks for "Asking the Nutritionist" at Breastmilk.com and congratulations on the new bundle of joy in your family.

The answer to your question does depend on a couple of things.  It is certainly OK for your daughter to begin pumping now.  If she is having trouble building up or sustaining her milk supply, pumping between feedings can actually help stimulate her milk production.  And, as long as the baby is breastfeeding successfully, it will be fine to feed the baby the expressed breast milk from a bottle.  This would allow another caregiver to feed the baby once in while, which can give your daughter some rest (which is much needed, I am sure!)

However, if the baby is having any trouble latching on to the breast or is inconsistent about his/her breastfeeding, I would not recommend giving the baby a bottle at this point.   This can lead to what we call "nipple confusion", which can make it even more difficult to establish breastfeeding. In this case, if your daughter does decide to pump some milk (either to help stimulate milk production or for some other reason), go ahead and freeze that milk until nursing is well established.  That milk can be thawed and fed to the baby in a bottle at some later date.

I hope this helps and please write again if you have questions.  Very best wishes to you and your family!