If you're pumping exclusively (not also breastfeeding), it's important to wait until after the first month so your milk supply is well-calibrated before reducing the number of times you pump.
After the first month, it's generally possible to reduce the number of pumping sessions without reducing the overall milk yield, but keep in mind that everyone is different and responds differently, so your mileage may vary (YMMV).
Reducing the number of pumping sessions should be done very slowly to avoid the risk of plugged ducts, mastitis, or reducing your supply.
Start by gradually eliminating the least-helpful sessions by moving the ones before and after by 15 minutes every three days.
- Let's say it's at 6pm and you normally pump at 3pm and 9pm.
- So begin by pumping at 3:15pm and 8:45pm for three days.
- Then 3:30pm and 8:30pm for three days.
- Then 3:45pm and 8:15 for three days.
- Then 4pm and 8pm for three days.
- Then 4:15pm and 7:45pm for three days.
- Then 4:30pm and 7:30pm.
- At this point, you can now completely eliminate the 6pm session and the remaining sessions can be spaced more evenly during the day.
Reviewed by Diana West, IBCLC
June 15, 2021