Exclusive Pumping

Answers To The Common Questions

breast pump and bottles with a baby in the background
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What Is Exclusive Pumping?

If you believe that your breast milk is the best food choice for your child, but you are not able to or you do not want to breastfeed, what can you do? That's where exclusive pumping comes in. Exclusive pumping is a way to provide your baby with only your breast milk without putting your baby to the breast. When you pump exclusively, you pump at regular intervals and provide your expressed breast milk to your baby either by bottle, tube feeding, or through another alternative feeding method.

Exclusive pumping is also called “EPing” and “breast milk feeding.”

Why Would You Pump Exclusively?

There are many reasons you may choose to pump exclusively for your child. Here are a few of those reasons:

How Often Do You Have To Pump?

Breast milk is easy to digest, so your newborn will take a bottle of breast milk approximately every 2 to 3 hours around the clock. During the first few weeks, you should try your best to pump at least every 2 to 3 hours – about 8 to 12 times each day - to stimulate your body to produce a healthy milk supply for your baby.

As your baby gets older, he or she will take more at each feeding, and go longer between feedings.

As long as your milk supply is plentiful, you may be able to go longer between pumping sessions, as well.

How Long Should You Pump At Each Session?

At each session, you should pump for at least 15 minutes on each side. It can take a few minutes for your milk to begin to let-down, so give yourself enough time.

You also want to try to fully empty your breasts since this is an important part of stimulating the production of more breast milk. After you drain your breasts, and no more milk is flowing out into the collection container, continue to pump for one or two minutes longer.

How Much Breast Milk Do You Need To Pump For Your Baby?

  • During the first few days of pumping, you will only be able to collect a small amount of colostrum. Colostrum is the first breast milk. It is concentrated and very nutritious, so a small amount is all your baby needs.
  • After the first week, you should be able to pump 2 to 3 ounces every 2 to 3 hours, or about 24 ounces in a 24 hour period. You would need to double this amount for twins, triple it for triplets, etc.
  • After about one month, you will need approximately 3 to 4 ounces every 3 to 4 hours, or about 24 to 32 ounces a day.
  • By the time your baby is six months old, he or she will need about 6 to 8 ounces every 4 to 6 hours, approximately 36 to 48 ounces a day.

See Also: Tips For Exclusive Pumping


American Academy of Pediatrics. New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding. Bantam Books. New York. 2011.

Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Seventh Edition.  Mosby. 2011.

Riordan, J., Wambach, K. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Fourth Edition. Jones and Bartlett Learning. 2010.

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