Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural way to nourish your baby, but it can also be demanding, especially during the nighttime hours. Many breastfeeding moms find themselves grappling with the challenge of pumping breast milk during the night to ensure a steady supply or to accommodate their work and life schedules. The good news is that there are numerous hacks and strategies that can make nighttime pumping easier and more effective. In this article, we’ll explore several tried and true pumping at night hacks.
How Can I Make Pumping at Night Easier?
To make nighttime pumping easier, establish a consistent schedule that aligns with your baby’s feeding times, create a cozy and relaxing environment, invest in a quality electric breast pump with double-pumping capabilities, use a hands-free pumping bra for convenience, and stay hydrated and well-nourished. These strategies will help streamline the process, ensuring a smoother and more efficient nighttime pumping experience. We go further into depth on these pumping at night hacks below.
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1. Create a Cozy Pumping Station – Most Important Pumping at Night Hack
One of our first pumping at night hacks is to create a comfortable and inviting pumping station. Your surroundings play a significant role in relaxation and milk letdown. Set up a cozy chair or corner in your bedroom or nursery where you can comfortably pump in peace. Add soft lighting so you don’t have to turn on the overhead light. I have a salt lamp like this one in my room.
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Have a small table or nightstand where you can set a pump station. This includes room for your pump, some late night healthy snacks, and a bottle of water. Breast milk can sit out at room temperature for up to 4 hours. If you are pumping late at night and will be up before the 4 hour window, you can leave your breast milk on the table in your room. If your breast milk will wait for longer than 4 hours and your bedroom is upstairs and/or far from your kitchen, you might consider getting a small refrigerator like this one to store your breast milk. You can place the refrigerator right in your room so that you don’t have to make the trek to the kitchen in the middle of the night. Every second of sleep counts with an infant!
Related article: Pumping Fridge Hack: Storing Pump Parts in Fridge
2. Invest in a Quality Breast Pump
Investing in a high-quality breast pump can make a world of difference in your nighttime pumping experience. Electric breast pumps with double-pumping capabilities are generally more efficient, allowing you to express milk from both breasts simultaneously, which can save valuable time during the night. If you have been using a manual breast pump, consider switching to an electric pump. It will likely get the job done quicker and be your favorite pumping at night hack on this list. You are entitled, by law, to a new and free electric breast pump with every pregnancy. See our article How to Get a Free Breast Pump Through Insurance for more help with this.
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3. Set a Regular Pumping Schedule
Consistency is key when it comes to nighttime pumping. Our next pumping at night hack is to try to establish a regular schedule for nighttime sessions that aligns with your baby’s feeding routine. Pumping at the same times each night can help regulate your milk supply and ensure you don’t miss a feeding or end up engorged. This can mean pumping right before you go to sleep at night around 9pm, then again 3 hours later at 12pm, then 3 hours later at 3am, and then again at 6am. Alternatively, you could pump after nursing your baby back to sleep if he/she is waking every 2 hours. Do what works best for you, but try to be consistent if possible.
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4. Use a Hands-Free Pumping Bra – A Must Do Pumping at Night Hack
Hands-free pumping bras are a game-changer for multitasking moms. These bras allow you to pump hands-free, giving you the freedom to read, use your phone, or even get some much-needed rest while pumping milk. They can make nighttime pumping sessions feel less tedious. If you are being cheap and/or are trying other pumping bra hacks, just stop. Buy a hands free pumping bra you can slip on in the middle of the night and attach your pump flanges to. This will allow you to lean back and relax vs. holding the flanges and bottles to your breast the whole time you pump! Check out our article on The 5 Best Hands Free Pumping Bras 5 According to Real Moms for our top picks.
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5. Stay Hydrated and Well-Nourished
Maintaining proper hydration and nutrition is vital for milk production. Keep a bottle of water and a healthy snack next to your pumping station. Nighttime pumping can be draining, and ensuring you’re well-fed and hydrated will help you produce more milk. I like keeping some lactation cookies like these on my nightstand for middle of the night hunger pains. It also gives me something to look forward to if I’m having to wake up in the middle of the night!
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6. Keep Pumping Supplies Handy
This probably goes without saying, but make sure you have all your pumping supplies, including extra bottles, breast shields, and pump parts, ready and within arm’s reach. This saves time and minimizes disruptions during nighttime pumping. Have an extra set of everything just for your room, if necessary.
Related article: Drop in Milk Supply 4 Months & How to Fix It!
7. Incorporate Warm Compresses
Before you begin pumping, consider using warm compresses on your breasts. This might be helpful if you live in a cold environment or have a cold house in the middle of the night. If you’re too cold to relax and pump, this can help relax your milk ducts, making it easier for milk to flow. You can use a warm towel or purchase a lactation massager like this one with multiple heat settings.
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8. Enlist Help from Your Partner
Don’t hesitate to involve your partner in the nighttime pumping process. They can help prepare bottles, wash pump parts, or even take over feeding duties with pumped milk, allowing you to get some much-needed rest. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so make sure to ask for help if you need it. In all likelihood, your partner will appreciate being asked to help.
Related article: No Letdown When Pumping? Here’s 5 Helpful Tips.
Pumping breast milk at night can be a challenging yet essential aspect of a breastfeeding mother’s journey. With these pumping at night hacks and strategies, you can make nighttime pumping more manageable, allowing you to provide the best possible nourishment for your baby while maintaining your well-being. Remember that each mom’s experience is unique, so don’t be afraid to adapt these tips to your specific needs and preferences. Ultimately, nighttime pumping is a testament to a mom’s dedication and love!
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