How can I get more milk when pumping? So many mamas want to know how to pump more milk! I have spent a ridiculous amount of time breastfeeding, pumping, and learning about the two over the past three years. Here are some tips to get the most out of your pumping sessions.
What Settings To Use
You need to first generate a let-down to get the milk flowing. A let-down is a reflex that tells your breasts to go ahead and start letting the milk out. Some women can feel this, and it can feel like tingling or their breasts getting very full. Some women don’t feel anything at all. Babies generate a let-down when nursing by doing short quick sucks. You want your breast pump to do that at first too.
Most breast pumps will have a mode for this. It might be called let-down mode or massage mode or stimulation mode. All of those are meant to bring about a let-down. Use that mode first to get your let-down and then switch to expression once the milk is flowing.
When you are on expression mode, turn it up to where you are feeling a nice suction, but you are not in pain. If you don’t turn it up high enough, it will take forever to empty if you are able to empty at all. If you turn it up too high and you are in pain, you won’t pump much either because your body will tense up. Look for the middle ground.
Once you are empty, keep pumping for another couple of minutes. This tells your body to keep making milk and can help with your supply.
Get A Second Let-Down
Getting a second let-down can really increase your pumping output. When you have gone empty on expression mode, try switching back to let-down mode and generating another let-down. Then switch back to expression and you may end up with an extra ounce or two (if not more)!
Do Breast Compressions
Doing breast compressions while pumping can help you pump more and empty quickly. To do compressions, make a c-shape with your hand. Put your breast in your hand and gently squeeze your breast tissue forward towards the nipple. This should generate a large output when the compression is complete. You can do this your entire pumping session or for just a portion of it. There are also lactation massagers that you can use that can also increase your output. I like the Momcozy lactation massager. You can use code “Madison10” for 10 percent off the Momcozy store!
Warmth can be helpful when pumping. You can use breast warmers, a warm towel, or a breast-warming device. All can help you pump more and more efficiently.
Make sure you are replacing your parts. How often you need to replace your parts depends on how frequently you are using them. If you are exclusively pumping, make sure to replace your parts quite often. Duckbills in particular need to be replaced regularly to maintain proper pump suction. Many insurance plans will cover replacement parts so make sure to check if your plan does.
Maintain A Pumping Schedule
Pump on a regular schedule and try not to skip pumping sessions. In general, it’s good to have a pumping session for every time that your baby eats. So you will likely need to pump every 2-3 hours if you have a newborn and then maybe you can pump a little less frequently as your baby gets older and needs milk less often. During my work day, my baby eats three times so I pump three times. I generally pump at 9am, 12pm, and 2:30pm. If you consistently miss pumping sessions you will likely see your milk supply decrease over time.
If you would like to pump and you are not away from your baby, it is best to pump right after the baby nurses to ensure you will not disrupt their feedings. It is normal to get just a little after a baby’s feeding. You may find it best to pump after your morning feed as most women’s supply is at its max in the mornings.
To increase your milk supply, you can try doing a power pump once a day. To power pump, pump 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off, and then 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off. This can give you a big boost in milk supply. You’ll likely notice it the next day.
Also, make sure you are eating and drinking enough! Your body needs fuel to make milk. Lactation products can be helpful. My favorite lactation drink is Boobie Latte. You can use code “Madison10” for 10 percent off.