Information on Pumping

Pumping is necessary in situations where mom is not able to physically feed her baby, such as if baby or mom is hospitalized. It is crucial to pump and remove the milk otherwise the mother’s milk supply will decrease or stop completely.  Removing the milk is the key to increasing your milk supply.  It is best not to give the baby a bottle or pacifier until the baby is 3-4 weeks old although in some circumstances this may not be possible so a pump is needed. You can remove breastmilk by hand expressing, manual pump or electric breast pump. You can obtain a pump through your health insurance, hospital, or health department.   The Clark County Combined Health District has double pumps available for rent or purchase. 

Sometimes pumping after breastfeeding is used as a strategy to increase the milk supply. Mothers who must go back to work can continue to give their babies breastmilk by pumping at work. Important tips in regards to pumping are: 

  • Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Be sure to follow the directions provided with your pump.
  • Make sure the pump parts and bottles are clean.
  • Breast and nipples do not need to be washed before pumping.
  • Label and date whatever you are storing the breastmilk in. Breastmilk can be kept at room temp (up to 77 degrees F) for 3-4 hours.
  • Put your child’s name on the bottle if you are giving it to a childcare facility.
  • Refrigerate or chill milk right after it is expressed. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Frozen breastmilk can be kept frozen for 3-6 months or 6 months in a deep freezer. Once the breastmilk is thawed it should be used within 1-2 hours and never refreeze.  

  • Breastmilk does not need to be warmed. Do not microwave to warm formula or breastmilk because it can create hot spots and might destroy nutrients.
  • Swirl the breastmilk rather than shaking the container which might destroy valuable nutrients.



Last Review: 08052016RH