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Breastfeeding: Weaning from breast pumping

At Children's, we support breastfeeding. Because your baby was premature or ill, you have been maintaining your milk supply by pumping your breasts. This sheet is a guide for how to gradually wean from pumping and how to identify possible problems.

How long should I keep pumping my breasts?

When you take your baby home, pump your breasts for 15 minutes after each daytime nursing. Do this until your baby's due date, and until your baby is breastfeeding well at every feeding.

If breastfeeding is going well by your baby's due date, plan to decrease your pumping time on both breasts by two minutes every other day, following this schedule:

Days after due date Pump this long after nursing
Due date and day 2 13 minutes
Days 3 and 4 11 minutes
Days 5 and 6 9 minutes
Days 7 and 8 7 minutes
Days 9 and 10 5 minutes
Day 11 and 12

5 minutes on the breast baby did not nurse.
(If your baby is nursing from both breasts, skip this step.)











Starting 13 days after your baby's due date, pump only if you are uncomfortable, as well as when you are away from your baby at breastfeeding times.

What problems might I have with weaning from pumping?

Check your breasts carefully for signs of weaning too fast:

  • breasts feel overly full or uncomfortable
  • lumps in your breast (this means you may have plugged ducts)

If you have plugged ducts:

  • massage your breast, especially while breastfeeding or pumping.
  • while breastfeeding, latch your baby on so the nose is pointed toward the plugged duct.

How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?

  • You can see or hear your baby swallowing.
  • Your breasts feel softer and less full after breastfeeding.
  • Baby should have 6 to 8 wet diapers per day after 5 days of age.
  • Baby should have 3 to 6 bowel movements per day at least until 4 to 6 weeks after the due date.
  • Baby is gaining at least 3 ounces per week.
  • Baby should be satisfied within 30 minutes of nursing.
  • After breastfeeding, your baby should not be acting hungry. Signs of hunger include:
    - nuzzling and open mouth movements
    - tense appearance
    - grunting or other sounds
    - kicking and arm movements
    - hand-to-mouth activity
    - crying (a late hunger sign)

Look at your nipples after feeding. If they look creased, pinched, or pointed, your baby was not latched correctly, and may not have been able to get enough milk.

When should I call the clinic?

Call the clinic if:

  • you have plugged ducts that you cannot relieve with massage
  • you have signs of breast infection:
    - fever, aching, or feeling ill
    - pain, tenderness, or warmth in breasts
  • you have sore nipples
  • you cannot tell if your baby is getting enough milk
  • feedings are lasting longer than 30 minutes most of the time


This sheet is not specific to you and your baby, but provides general information. If you have questions, please ask your doctor or check with your clinic or insurance plan for a breastfeeding consultant.

You may also call a breastfeeding consultant at Children's:

Minneapolis campus (612) 813-7654
St. Paul campus (651) 220-7126

Last reviewed by Children's lactation team 8/2015 

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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