Should you be getting up and pumping breastmilk for your newborn baby? Getting up in the middle of the night is not necessary. You should be sleeping if your baby is sleeping! Hang with me, I’m about the explain why. Watch the full video here.
The first thing to think about is why you are pumping in the middle of the night. The answer to this question is very important. I can only think of THREE reasons you might be pumping in the middle of the night.
- You want to build a breastmilk stash.
- Your breasts hurt if you don’t pump.
- You want to give your baby a bottle instead of breastfeeding.
Filling Your Breastmilk Stash
You want to fill your freezer with breastmilk. I totally get that! But, pumping in the middle of the night is not the best way to build your breastmilk supply! Why?
- You are missing out on sleep that you NEED!
- You’re more likely to cause an oversupply because Prolactin [hormone responsible for making milk] is higher in the middle of the night
- There is a MUCH easier way!
You don’t need to pump multiple times per day to build a stash. If you’ve got 8 weeks of maternity leave you’ve got 6 weeks to build your stash when you start at 2 weeks postpartum.
That’s approximately 42 days and we multiply that by 2 to 4 ounces per day. You’ll have between 84 and 168 ounces in your freezer by the time you return to work if you use this method. That will give you between 21 and 42, four-ounce bottles. And you’ll still be pumping when you’re away from your baby.
So, you will keep adding to the freezer stash.
Your Breasts Hurt If You Don’t Pump
If you aren’t pumping breastmilk at night, you wake up in pain or have to deal with clogged milk ducts. Not fun.
But, if you keep pumping in the middle of the night, your body is going to keep thinking you need that milk for your baby and it’s going to keep making it. At some point, you’ve got to tell your body your baby isn’t taking a feeding in the middle of the night. And that means, you’ve got to drop the pumping.
The BEST WAY to avoid this problem is prevention. When your baby starts to sleep through the night you might temporarily experience some engorgement or pain. This is your body’s way of telling your breasts that your baby doesn’t need milk at 2 A.M. Each time your baby extends their nighttime sleep, you will probably notice this happening to your breasts.
I can hear your thoughts… “Wait, but will that make me have a low supply?”
NO! If your baby is sleeping through the night unassisted (not being given a pacifier to extend sleep or using a bassinet that assists your baby back to sleep or other sleep training methods) your supply will be in tune with what your baby needs.
Now, the truth to this is that your baby is going to feed more frequently during the day when they are sleeping through the night. I cover this in detail in my Babies Made Simple course if you want more details on how to navigate this!
You Want To Give Your Baby A Bottle
And the finally, if you’re pumping in the middle of the night because you want to pump and give your baby a bottle… I FULLY SUPPORT THIS! And yes, you do need to pump. Anytime your baby is getting a feeding that’s not at the breast, you’ve got to send your body the message that your baby is eating.