All You Need To Know About Pumping

Mirna Sabbagh: All you need to know about pumping

Your breastmilk is your baby’s most precious food!


If you’re planning on pumping your milk for your breastfed child, then you might be wondering about the right way to do so. 


Today I’ll discuss the different types of breast pumps, how to use them, how to sterilize them, and how to utilize them to suit your lifestyle.


To watch the full video, click on this link


Why do I need to pump?

Moms generally pump for several reasons and these include:

  • To relieve breast pain if the breast is engorgement
  • To store pumped milk in case another caretaker needs to feed her baby
  • To store milk in the fridge as she prepares herself to go back to work
  • To have an adequate milk intake in case she needed to travel
  • To help the baby with several medical conditions like not being able to latch
  • It can be a way to exclusively give milk to the baby through pumping.


Breast pumps help moms breastfeed for a longer period of time. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that moms should exclusively breastfeed their baby for the first 6 months of age, which explains why pumping could immensely help during that period especially with our modern lifestyles.


Moms could have the choice to exclusively breast pump ever since the baby is born. However, if moms prefer to breast pump along with breastfeeding, then it’s recommended to wait until the baby is 6 weeks old before pumping, as it may affect her milk production.


What are the types of breast pumps?

There are two types of breast pumps, the manual and the electrical one. 


Manual Pump

Using the manual pump consists of setting the pump on the breast and manually doing the pumping. Although it could help you produce enough amounts of milk, it won’t be as efficient as the automatic one. 

Mirna ElSabbagh Manual Pump

Electric Pump

The electric pump comes in either a single or double form. The double form could be applied on both breasts at the same time, has greater suction energy, and saves time to only 20 minutes for both breasts instead of spending 40 minutes to pump from each breast separately.

My recommendation here is that you should go for the pump that suits your needs, and preferably choose the double electric pump if possible as it is more practical and convenient and useful in the long term. 

Mirna ElSabbagh Electric Pump

How should I pump?

A pump, just like your baby, works on stimulating your breasts’ milk production by suction. The pumped milk could be stored in bottles or bags in a fridge and given later on when you need to feed your baby. 

Pumping milk should never be done randomly. Pumping at a random time can confuse your body and cause you to get engorgement or oversupply.

If you want to pump milk to go out and come back

If you want to pump a bottle so you can go out for 2-3 hours and come back, simply set up the pump a little bit before your usual breastfeeding time and pump from both breasts while massaging thoroughly. If you are exclusively breastfeeding and your baby is above a month old, you should get around 60-150 ml during this session. When you get back home, you can go back to breastfeeding as per your usual schedule.

If you want to pump additional milk 

Below are some guidelines if you want to produce extra milk for your baby. An extra bottle to store in additional to your adequate milk supply,  such as an additional 60-120 ml per day. This process takes around 10 days.

Start with finding a convenient time that you can pump on everyday. It could be in the morning, or at night when the baby goes to sleep. Pump for for 20 minutes from each breast along with breast massages. Or you might pump from 1 breast only and it could be enough! You can also choose to split it into 2 pumping sessions one in the morning and another at night.

Fun fact: The best time to do that is in the morning! For example, if you feed your baby from one breast at 6 am, you can pump the adequate amount left from the other breast. However, don’t feel pressured to pumping in the morning, as you can choose the time that suits you best.

The first day you pump you might find that you only made a small amount. If you consistently pump daily, this amount will increase daily until your body makes you an additional 60-120 ml. 

If you want to pump for work 

If you have a work schedule as you’re breastfeeding, you can have the option of pumping the adequate amount at work, and storing them in ice packs, then use them the next day for your baby during work hours. And repeat.

How does a pump work?

Always read the instructions very carefully for your pump. Each pump is different and has different instructions. If there are videos on the website, check that too.


A pump has a cushion that massages the breast. Most electric pumps have 2 options: stimulation and suction. You should always start by stimulation and move to suction mode after seeing a drop or 2 of milk.

You can start by a low suction mode, and gradually increase if it feels comfortable to you. You will know when to stop pumping once you realize that there is no more milk being extracted. I recommend applying breast compressions and massages during pumping to better induce milk production.

How to clean the pump?

First of all, you should sterilize the pump before using it, then clean its pieces every time you want to pump. The pieces that should be cleaned are the ones in direct contact with milk. You should exclude the long tube and electrical parts from the sterilizing process. Do not use bleaches or sanitizers for cleaning, as water and soap are more than enough. Keep the pieces dry up at room temperature or in the sterilizer. 

Mirna Sabbagh: All you need to know about pumping

I hope this was helpful!


To watch the full video, click on this link


Mirna Sabbagh, an adult and child dietitian, nutritionist, and lactation consultant. She also has several digital courses: Pregnancy Nutrition Coursebreastfeeding course,  starting solids 6-12 months course, and also child nutrition for all children including picky eater, that you can sign up for from the comfort of your home.

The courses are pre-recorded. As soon as you make the course purchase, you will receive a link to watch the course from your phone or laptop.

You can also e-mail Mirna for questions at

Mirna is no longer doing consultations. Her online courses and webinars cover 95% of parents' common concerns.