Combining Nursing and Pumping: A Mothers Guide

combining nursing and pumping

As you embark on your breastfeeding journey, you may find that combining breastfeeding with pumping can offer a range of benefits, providing flexibility and convenience while ensuring your little one receives all the nourishment they need. Here are some essential tips and advice on how to effectively combine breastfeeding and pumping to make your experience smoother and more rewarding.

How Do You Combine Breastfeeding and Pumping?

To combine breastfeeding and pumping, pump after breastfeeding, choose the right pump, establish a routine, store milk properly, introduce bottles gradually, and seek support when needed. Be patient with yourself as you integrate a new aspect into your breastfeeding journey.

Understanding the Benefits of Combining Breastfeeding and Pumping

Combining breastfeeding and pumping can be really good for both you and your baby. There are some key benefits worth discussing such as increased milk supply, bonding time with your baby, as well as flexibility of utilizing both avenues to feed your little one.

Increased Milk Supply

Pumping in addition to breastfeeding can help stimulate milk production, ensuring a steady supply of breast milk. Since milk supply is based on supply and demand (the more your baby drinks, the more milk you will produce), pumping can assist with increasing your milk supply by giving your body the idea that your baby needs more milk.

Bonding Time

When pumping breast milk, the benefit of bonding time extends beyond breastfeeding. While direct breastfeeding fosters a strong emotional connection between mother and child, pumping allows other caregivers, such as the partner or family members, to actively participate in feeding and bonding moments. This involvement strengthens the baby's attachment to multiple caregivers and enhances their overall sense of security and well-being.


Pumped breast milk can be stored and used for later feedings, offering you the flexibility to leave your baby in capable hands while you attend to personal or work commitments. Not only does this offer you flexibility to be away from your baby for some time, it also allows flexibility in your schedule while you are home. Having pumped milk on hand allows someone else to feed your baby while you sleep, eat, shower, workout, etc. and then you can pump as soon as you’re done with your activity.

Choosing the Right Breast Pump

Investing in a high-quality breast pump is crucial for successful breastfeeding and pumping. There are two main types of breast pumps: electric and manual. Here are some considerations for each type of pump so you can determine what is best for your lifestyle and pumping needs before making a choice.

Electric Pumps

Electric breast pumps are highly efficient devices designed to extract milk from a mother's breasts using motorized suction. They offer several advantages over manual pumps, making them a popular choice for regular and frequent pumping:

  • Efficiency: Electric breast pumps are faster and more powerful, allowing you to express milk more quickly and with less effort compared to manual pumps.

  • Customizable Settings: Many electric pumps come with adjustable suction levels and pumping patterns, enabling you to find a setting that mimics your baby's nursing rhythm and maximizes milk flow.

  • Double Pumping: Most electric pumps offer the option for double pumping, allowing you to express milk from both breasts simultaneously. This saves time and can help increase milk production.

  • Hands-Free Options: Some electric pumps offer hands-free pumping with the help of special bras or attachments, allowing you to multitask while expressing milk.

  • Rechargeable or Plug-in: Electric pumps can be battery-operated or plugged into a power source, providing flexibility for on-the-go pumping or extended use without worrying about battery replacements.

  • Hospital-Grade Options: There are hospital-grade electric pumps available for mothers who need to establish or maintain a robust milk supply, especially for premature babies or babies with specific health needs.

  • Digital Controls: Many electric pumps have user-friendly digital controls, timers, and memory features, making pumping sessions more convenient and comfortable.

Keep in mind that electric breast pumps can be more expensive than manual pumps, but their efficiency and convenience often outweigh the cost for mothers who plan to pump regularly. Always choose a pump that suits your specific needs and consult with a lactation consultant if you need guidance in selecting the right pump for your breastfeeding journey.

Manual Pumps

Manual breast pumps are simple, hand-operated devices designed to extract breast milk by manual suction. They offer several advantages, making them a popular choice for mothers who need to pump occasionally or prefer a more portable and affordable option:

  • Portability: Manual breast pumps are lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry and use on the go, whether at work, while traveling, or during a short outing.

  • Silent Operation: Unlike electric pumps, manual pumps operate quietly, allowing you to express milk discreetly without drawing attention.

  • Control: With a manual pump, you have direct control over the suction level and speed of expression, enabling you to customize the pumping process according to your comfort and preferences.

  • Simple to Use: Manual pumps have fewer parts and are generally easier to assemble, clean, and maintain, making them convenient for quick and infrequent pumping sessions.

  • Affordable: Manual breast pumps are generally more budget-friendly compared to electric pumps, making them a cost-effective option for mothers on a tight budget.

  • Backup Option: Manual pumps can serve as a reliable backup in case of power outages or when electric pumps are not available or malfunction.

While manual breast pumps are suitable for occasional use or short-term needs, they may not be the best choice for mothers who plan to pump regularly or need to express a larger volume of milk. For those situations, an electric pump with its efficiency and double pumping capabilities would be more suitable. As with any breast pump, choosing one that aligns with your specific needs and preferences is essential to ensure a positive breastfeeding and pumping experience.

Finding the Right Time to Pump

Pump when it's most convenient for you, but keep in mind that pumping in the morning often yields better results due to higher milk production levels. Try to pump at the same time each day to establish a consistent routine.

Consistency helps regulate your body's milk production and makes it easier for you to anticipate when you might need to pump. It is recommended to pump after nursing your baby, and you may find you get the best results if you wait about 30-60 minutes after your nursing session with your baby.

Storing and Handling Pumped Milk

Follow proper guidelines for storing and handling pumped breast milk. Use sterilized containers and label them with the date to ensure you use the oldest milk first. Freshly pumped milk can be stored at room temperature for up to four hours, in the refrigerator for three to five days, and in the freezer for up to six months.

Combining Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding

Combining breastfeeding and bottle feeding can sometimes lead to nipple confusion for your baby. Introduce the bottle when your breastfeeding routine is well-established, usually around 4-6 weeks. Use slow-flow nipples and paced feeding techniques to mimic the natural flow of breastfeeding.

Seeking Support

Breastfeeding and pumping can be challenging, especially in the early days. Don't hesitate to seek support from lactation consultants, breastfeeding support groups, or fellow breastfeeding moms who have experience in combining breastfeeding and pumping.

My Experience with Breastfeeding and Pumping

After establishing a solid breastfeeding routine, I was ready to try out pumping so that my husband or mom could help with baby girls' feedings. However, it never really worked out for me.

I love breastfeeding my baby girl and she was doing really well with latching and getting all the milk she needed. I decided not to continue trying to make pumping work when it didn’t fit into our family’s lifestyle.

What Others Have to Say

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to combining breastfeeding with pumping and bottles. Many women have different methods for what works best for their families. Hopefully, the tips in this article and some of the experiences from others below will help you determine what will work best for your family!

When To Pump

A Reddit user asked about how to make things work with pumping so that her husband could give baby a bottle during the night, while still maintaining her milk supply. This led to an interesting conversation on the thread about when to pump. When your baby is feeding every couple hours, it can be difficult to find the time to pump in between frequent feedings.

One suggestion was to pump in between feedings that have a longer stretch between them (three or more hours between breastfeeding). Another suggestion was to pump after putting your baby to bed. This might mean staying up a little later, but it could be more convenient than trying to find time midday during breastfeeding sessions.

experience pumping and breastfeeding

Using A Milk Collector

Another Reddit thread addressed one of my biggest concerns when trying to incorporate pumping: if I have to pump while someone else gives her a bottle of previously pumped milk, doesn’t that defeat the purpose? A few women jumped in with suggestions, but I found these two the most helpful.

They recommend using Haakaa milk collectors during breastfeeding to store up some milk during the day and pump for a few minutes after each feeding.

I like this suggestion because it doesn’t require you to find too much time in the day for pumping, but would give you a milk stash others can use, while still allowing you to “miss” the feeding where someone else is giving baby a bottle.

Additionally, someone posted advice they received from a Lactation Consultant. They are suggesting that if someone else gives baby a bottle, you should aim to pump that same amount within the next 24 hours in order to keep your milk supply where it needs to be. Again, the idea here is that you don’t need to be pumping at the same time someone is giving baby a bottle, but you just need your body to recognize the amount of milk baby is demanding within a 24 hour period.

experience pumping and breastfeeding


Combining breastfeeding and pumping can be a wonderful way to provide your baby with all the benefits of breast milk while gaining some much-needed flexibility. Remember to be patient with yourself as you find a routine that works best for you and your little one.

With the right support and knowledge, you'll be able to navigate this journey successfully and enjoy the beautiful bonding moments that breastfeeding and pumping can offer.

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Author, Founder @ Latch Luxe

Stefanie Statler

Stefanie Statler is an author and the founder of Latch Luxe, with a loving husband and daughter. She is a dedicated advocate for breastfeeding mothers and understands the challenges and joys of motherhood firsthand. Email me at

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