Most mums spend up to 20 minutes each side, once or twice each day for about five months. It all adds up to a whopping...227 hours per baby.
Last year we spoke with 100 mums, to find out how they really felt about breast pumps. We didn't need to ask much to get the conversation flowing. It turns out that mums feel quite strongly about this pumping thing, and have opinions and stories to share.
There were so many insights from the survey, that we've cut it up into posts for easier reading. However, if you're into digesting large slabs of material, or are scrolling through your phone for something to read while you pump, then you can find the full report here.
This post is about how much to pump, and for how long.
Caption: Cool office space for sure, but perhaps we long for the office layouts of the 80s, where we could close a door and pump in private. Sure beats the bathroom...
How long is a typical pumping session?
Most mums spend up to 20 minutes each side. Some unlucky mums spend more.
About one third of mums spend less than 10 mins per side, over half spend between 10 and 20 minutes per side. An unlucky 13% of mums spend more than 20 minutes per side. Usually these mums are trying to increase their supply.
All breasts aren't equal either - mums often joke about how lefty or righty did more work.
How many times each day?
Most mums will pump once or twice each day.
About 45% of mums pump just once or twice per day, just over a quarter pump up to five times a day, and an unlucky quarter pump more than that
When to stop pumping all together?
Of course, this decision, like everything else to do with your body, is up to you, But, on average, mums will pump for about five months per baby.
About 45% of mums use pumps for the first three months. Over a quarter pump for the first six. The numbers drop off after that.
Mums often say that they stop pumping when they return to work. There are a lot of barriers still lurking in workplaces that cause mums to stop, from crappy places to pump (lots of mums end up in toilet cubicles), to crappy places to store (lunch fridges), to crappy schedules that aren't flexible enough to find time to pump at all. More on how to navigate all this in another report. Watch this space.
The longest anyone pumped for? One mum pumped for just over six years (and four kids). Way to go!
It all adds up.
All these pumping sessions, several times each day for several months clock up 227 hours on average. Add that to the gender pay gap, and you can see why the whole thing should be designed to be a nicer experience.
Didn't answer your question?
If you're still left wondering, or you think we've got something wrong, then please send us your question.
What mums say.
We don't want to complain all the time. Most of us pump because there are obvious benefits.
"Pumping helped me feel in control if something happens or I need to go out. A few fresh feeds in fridge and the rest in freezer."