Pumping and Breastfeeding: How the Two Can Co-exist

By Cake Maternity¦ Gone are the days of staying at home to breastfeed your baby and occasionally vacuum the floor whilst making a casserole for your husband, waiting for him to come home. With the current economic environment after the pandemic and with the blurring of the line between traditional parenting roles, mamas are going back to work sooner. Not only back in the field, but their roles are becoming more diverse with random hours, travel, and responsibilities. The need for pumping and breastfeeding to co-exist is more common than not in this evolving world.

There are other reasons for pumping too, of course, such as lip or tongue ties and other inabilities to latch, pumping for donating, pumping for storage, sharing the love of breastfeeding with other members of the family/friends/babysitters, you might be on a spout of medication, had a big weekend or simply just had a spray tan, and the list goes on.
Regardless of your reasons, pumping and breastfeeding doesn’t have to be an either or situation. Keep reading for tried and true tips, pros and cons of each and our top bra picks.

Maintaining Your Milk Supply

This can be a tricky one to master, but if you balance it – it can be brilliant. But remember that your milk supply can change very quickly and even if you do grasp it one day, it can be very different the next.


  • Don’t get too excited or discouraged by what you produce. If you see that you’re producing a lot, you may be over pumping, and this can lead to oversupply and possibly engorgement. If you think you’re not producing enough, this can be stressful and mean that you’re less likely to produce.
  • When your baby is on your boob – this is the natural way for milk to flow. If there is a pump there, your body is less likely to know what to do with the mechanical apparatus compared to a baby – so you may need to teach it.
  • For the first time pumping – you could try pumping from one side and breastfeeding your baby from the other.
  • If you’re alone and trying to pump and not having much success, try to mimic the feelings you have when breastfeeding. When you look at your baby, your body produces oxytocin which releases the milk, so try to mimic these situations by relaxing with a warm glass of water in a comfortable chair and think of your bub. If you need to look at some photos or videos of them, this can also help. A typical distraction can be work, Instagram or not focusing on the task at hand.


What if my baby doesn’t like the bottle?

There are lots of other ways to get your baby the pumped breast milk apart from using a bottle. You can use a syringe or you can freeze the milk and put it in an ice cube in a perforated dummy – these are also great for bubs who are teething.

Other methods are:

1. Cup feeding.

2. Cloth feeding.

3. Spoon feeding.

4. Straw piper feeding.

5. You can also add milk through the corner of their mouth when they are on your breast, so they feel like they are suckling.

What if my baby doesn’t like being ‘fed’ by anyone else?

This can be a tricky one. For the first couple of tries, you could make sure that you are there with the other person who is feeding them. When you do try to go away for the first time, make sure you leave your baby with a worn shirt or pyjamas of yours so they can smell your scent and feel more comfortable.

What if my baby doesn’t like my breast after the bottle?

This is a common occurrence because babies tend to have to work harder when at the breast to get the milk than when drinking from a bottle. So why should they have to work for it when it comes so quickly out of the bottle? Try opting for a bottle that has a slow flow and halfway through the feed, make sure they can have a rest and burp before finishing the bottle.

Pros & Cons

If you’re tossing up your options, here’s some thoughts which might help you decide. Whatever way you choose to feed your baby is going to be the right way. Fed is best.

BreastfeedingNo washing up bottles
Bonding with baby
Baby is getting exactly what they need for their stage, including antibodies etc
Breastmilk is free
Washing bras and nursing pads
Being limited to nursing-friendly clothing
Baby may become dependent on mum
Can only spend limited time away from baby
Finding somewhere to breastfeed can be challenging
FormulaTakes the pressure off whether you’re able to breastfeed
Anyone can feed the baby
Washing up bottles
Quality formula can be expensive
Baby is not getting antibodies to fight disease and infection – more likely to get sick
Combined Pumping & BreastfeedingCan go back to work or be away from baby for longer period
Baby is getting correct nourishment from breastmilk
Bonding for other family members/friends
Bonding for you
Need to wash up bottles
Need to purchase a pump, bottles, and nursing clothing/equipment
Need to schedule your day to pump
Need to schedule your day to pump

Choosing A Good Pump

It may sound silly, but a good, quiet and convenient pump will be your best friend. I’m a bit of a gadget girl and know that if your tool can help you, then you’re on a winning streak to mastering time and when you’re breastfeeding and pumping, you need to have time on your side.

Choosing A Good Nursing/Pumping Bra

If you are going back to work, opt for a bra that is easy to operate and comfortable. The Pumpkin T-shirt Pumping Bra from Cake Maternity is super easy to use to nurse or pump. There are no clips or attachments to contend with. It has zips for the opening, and you simply open them all the way up to nurse and/or install your flange, then close the zippers from the top and from the bottom to hold it in place. When you’re not nursing or pumping, it looks like a sleek t-shirt bra – perfect for under your go-getting conference outfit.

The Lotus Hands-Free Pumping Bra is also a great pumping bra and super easy to use. Once again, no tricky clips to battle with – you’ve got enough on your mind. So, get your zen on with Lotus. This one doubles as a sleep bra or yoga bra as anything multi use is what mamas are looking for these days.

Whether you are pumping,nursing or formula feeding your baby, the best option is that they are fed. Different methods and techniques take time to master and get the rhythm of, then your milk flow changes, or your baby’s needs change, and that mastered schedule can be thrown out the window. The same advice goes for when you are solely breastfeeding or formula feeding – go easy on yourself and your baby. You’re doing a great job.

Katie is the proud mum of two beautiful girls and has been responsible for all the designs, style and fit at Cake Maternity for over a decade now.

Katie is a nursing bra specialist and a fit, pattern and grading technician. She is passionate about breastfeeding and the many benefits it offers to both mum, bub and the environment. She is determined to make the breastfeeding journey a comfortable, supportive and beautiful one for all mums, understanding that it doesn’t always come easy to everyone. That’s why she has made it her mission to empower women as they mindfully navigate the world of motherhood and help make breastfeeding easier, through experience-driven innovation.