When to Pump & Dump Breastmilk


Breast pumps can save the day when you find yourself at work and unable to breastfeed your little one. Regularly pumping can prevent engorgement and possibly plugged milk ducts, but your milk might not be suitable for your baby sometimes. Several circumstances can affect breast milk's quality, making "pumping and dumping" the ideal option.


  • Pumping and dumping might be an option for mothers looking for a night out on the town. The amount of alcohol you drink and your weight can affect how long alcohol stays in your system and breast milk, according to La Leche League International. If you drank moderately -- about one serving of alcohol -- and feel normal, it is likely unnecessary to pump and dump breast milk. If you still feel the effects of alcohol or you feel uncertain about your milk's safety, it might be best to pump and dump your breast milk.


  • Surgeries and dental procedures can present complications for breastfeeding mothers. General anesthesia is usually not a concern for breastfeeding mothers because most of the drug has left your system by the time you wake up, according to certified lactation consultant Kelly Bonyata. Before any procedure, ask which drugs will be used and how it will affect breastfeeding. If you feel uncertain about the safety of your milk, or if you cannot confirm that the drugs used in your procedure will not affect your milk, pumping and dumping your milk can be an option.

Pain Medications

  • Taking a pain reliever could affect your breast milk. Taking aspirin could put your baby at risk for internal bleeding, according to Bonyata. Other pain relieving medications, such as drugs containing acetaminophen or ibuprofen, might not affect your breast milk or baby. Always talk to your doctor or your baby's pediatrician about which drugs you can and cannot take while breastfeeding. If you take a drug that is not compatible with breast milk, ask your doctor how long you must wait before your milk is safe again.

Preventing Illness

  • Since breast milk can be influenced by several factors, you might worry that the next cold or flu you catch could be transmitted to your baby. However, the baby has usually been exposed to the illness already by the time you show any symptoms, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. You don't need to pump and dump in that circumstance -- continuing to pump during minor illnesses can boost baby's protection.


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