Exclusively Pumping FAQ
Spectra Baby USA collaboration with The Lactation Network
By Caitlyn Parker, TLN IBCLC
What is exclusively pumping?
Exclusively Pumping, also known as EP’ing, is breastfeeding your baby by pumping and bottle feeding. Exclusively pumping might mean the baby receives all breastmilk or a combination of breastmilk and formula.
How often do I need to pump?
A typical newborn breastfeeds a minimum of 8-12 times every 24 hours. When establishing a breastmilk supply, it is important to pump every 3 hours (8 times every 24 hours) for 15-20 minutes with a high-quality, double-electric pump to ensure that your breasts have adequate stimulation and milk removal. Once your milk supply is established, you can fine-tune your pumping schedule with your lactation consultant.
How much milk is normal at each pumping session?
The volume of expressed milk will vary greatly depending on many factors. For example, how old the baby is, the time of day, the kind of pump being used, the duration of the pumping session, etc. Some studies show the average pumped amount after 15 minutes is 1.5 – 2 oz from both breasts. The volume may shift over time depending on your baby’s needs.
Will I make enough milk for my baby if I’m exclusively pumping?
Yes, many parents are able to exclusively feed their baby breastmilk while EP’ing. The amount of milk needed for a baby will be dependent on their age for the first few weeks of life. Babies between 1 month to 6 months typically need 19-30oz every 24 hours with an average of 25oz. Most exclusively pumping parents will make enough milk to feed their baby as long as they are following a plan which includes adequate milk removal and breast stimulation.
How can I bond with the baby if I’m exclusively pumping?
Some parents worry that by not feeding their baby at breast they will lose the benefit of bonding that accompanies breastfeeding. There are still many ways to bond with your baby if you are exclusively pumping. One of the best ways to bond with your baby is by doing skin-to-skin, also known as kangaroo care. You can also bond with your baby while bottle-feeding, making eye contact with them, playing with them, singing, talking to them, and reading them stories.
Can I still practice nursing at the breast if I’m exclusively pumping?
Yes, you can still practice nursing and latch your baby if you are exclusively pumping. Your baby may transfer milk, or they may latch for non-nutritive / comfort purposes only. It’s very important that you have a proper latch in order to avoid issues like sore nipples.
If you are concerned about your expressed volume or your breastmilk supply, work with an IBCLC. Reach out to The Lactation Network to be connected with local IBCLC for consultations covered under your insurance. Working with an IBCLC from the start will maximize your chances of reaching your feeding goals.
Holmes, A. V., McLeod, A. Y., & Bunik, M. (2013). ABM Clinical Protocol #5: Peripartum Breastfeeding Management for the Healthy Mother and Infant at Term, Revision 2013. Breastfeeding Medicine, 8(6), 469–473. https://doi.org/10.1089/bfm.2013.9979
Karimi, F. Z., Sadeghi, R., Maleki-Saghooni, N., & Khadivzadeh, T. (2019). The effect of mother-infant skin to skin contact on success and duration of First Breastfeeding: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Taiwanese Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 58(1), 1–9.