Ask an Expert: Tips to Pump More Milk

by Ashley Treadwell, IBCLC

Fan Question:

“I need some tips on pumping I almost exclusively breast feed but when it comes to pumping, I still (eight months later) getting less than two ounces.”

Lots of moms find they don’t respond to the pump the way they want to, whether they’re back at work full-time, or just wanting to pump for an occasional bottle.  Below are some tips on how to maximize your pumping sessions:

  • Check all your pump parts to be sure that they’re in working order with no cracks, if you have a Medela double electric, often the small white membranes need to be replaced.  Some lactation consultants will have a vacuum gauge they can use to test the motor and be sure it’s still effective.
  • Take a look at where and when you’re pumping – is it a quiet, private space?  Do you have enough time to relax while pumping?  Stress and anxiety can affect the way our body responds and may impact the amount we are pumping.
  • Have a picture/video of your baby to look at.  Bring a blanket or article of clothing that smells like the baby.  Thinking of your baby will help stimulate oxytocin which helps your milk to release and flow.
  • Place a blanket over the flanges so that you can’t see the amount that is coming out – this will help you to relax more.
  • Stronger and longer doesn’t always mean more!  Be sure to adjust your suction so that you’re comfortable, pumping shouldn’t hurt.  And too much pump stimulation can have an adverse effect.
  • Apply a little organic olive oil on the inside of your pump flanges to help decrease friction.
  • Lastly – use a combination of double/single pumping along with breast massage and hand expression, see video below:


Good luck!

unnamedAshley Treadwell is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), blogger on the topic of breastfeeding, and advocate for judgmentfree breastfeeding support for all mothers. Ashley lives in San Diego, CA with her husband, Tim, their two girls, Jane and Evelyn, and their dog, Grace and cat, Abby. She loves running, everything related to cooking and feeding her family, spending time with family and friends, and bad reality television.

Ask an Expert: Weaning From a Nipple Shield

By Anne Smith, IBCLC

Fan Question:

“Has anyone had any experience switching from a nipple shield to feeding without one?”

Answer: I don’t know how old your baby is, or how long your have been nursing him with the shield, but those are factors that must be taken into consideration when weaning him off. Although there are no hard and fast rules, many premature or SGA (small for gestational age) babies don’t nurse effectively until they reach their full-term corrected age, or until they weigh around 6 pounds.

Years ago, nipple shields were made of thick latex (the rubbery amber stuff), and this could cause a reduction in the amount of milk that babies received.  Newer shields are made out of thin, flexible silicone, and don’t cause the same problems.

It may be that your baby needs the extra help with milk transfer that the shield provides at this time, and may just not be quite ready to “graduate” quite yet.

Here are some techniques you can use to encourage him to take the breast :

  •  Provide lots of skin-to-skin contact. Tuck him in a sling “kangaroo style”. Try nursing in the bathtub.
  • Offer him the breast without the shield when he is drowsy. Babies are often less resistant to trying something new if they are partially asleep.
  • Start the feeding with the shield, then slip it off and offer your nipple after the milk has let-down, the initial breast fullness is lessened, and he has some milk in his tummy to take the edge off his appetite and settle him down.
  •  Put a tiny piece of damp cloth in the tip of the shield to stop the flow of milk. Some babies will take the nipple that is dripping with milk once they realize that sucking on the shield isn’t going to do anything for them.
  • Don’t trim pieces off the shield with scissors in an attempt to reduce dependence on the shield. This can result in sharp edges that can irritate your nipple and the baby’s mouth.
  •  Last but not least, be patient. Many babies who have become accustomed to nursing with a shield may take weeks to make the transition to nursing without it. A small percentage of babies never learn to nurse without the shield, but this is rare. In these cases, the mother can still maintain a satisfying breastfeeding relationship with her baby by feeding and nurturing him at the breast.

I hope that your baby will soon make the transition from nursing with the shield to nursing without, but regardless of when (or if) that happens, you can feel good about the fact that in spite of the challenges you encountered in the beginning, you are continuing to provide him with the many nutritional, immunological, and psychological benefits of breastfeeding.

Anne Smith, IBCLCAnne has been helping moms reach their breastfeeding goals for over 35 years, as a La Leche League and an IBCLC in private practice since 1990. Breastfeeding six children gives her a unique combination of first hand experience as well as professional expertise. In 1999, she started her website,, with lots of information on breastfeeding and parenting, and a wonderful group of bloggers, including Abby from The Badass Breastfeeder, Rachelle from Unlatched, and Marie from Anarchy in the Sandbox.

Join the more than six millions of moms who come to Breastfeeding Basics each year for information and support, and visit Anne on Facebook.

Not So Gentle Parenting

By guest blogger Terri

Like most things in life, the things we do are cultural. I believe you either do exactly what your parents did or the exact opposite of what they did. Either way, the way you were parented will affect the decisions that you make in adulthood….right down to the type of toothpaste and cereal you buy. So it is no huge coincidence that when I became a mother, I picked and discarded the staples of parenting that had been present in my childhood. [Read more...]

Badass Breastfeeder of the Week: Week of 4-7-14

Some people think to be “badass” you have to breastfeed topless on a crowded bus or stand on your head or hold a gun. This could not be further from the truth. The word “badass” became a part of this very early on for me. It simply symbolizes doing things our way. Questioning authority, questioning norms, questioning the mainstream. To me “badass” means being open to new information and choosing what is right for your family despite what everyone else is doing. This week’s Badass of the Week represents this. She is doing things her way. It might look different than other families. It might not be what the majority is doing, but it is what works for her and her family. It is about being true to what feels right.

katherine Despite being nearly 4 years old, this one still wants his nursies. Esp at night and when he doesn't feel good... like today in this picture.

“Despite being nearly 4 years old, this one still wants his nursies. Especially at night and when he doesn’t feel good… like today in this picture.”

-Badass Katherine

Become a Badass Public Breastfeeder in 7 Days: Introduction

Exif_JPEG_422I spoke with hundreds of women before writing this e-course. It was the responses I got from these women that motivated me to make this course as extensive as it is. What angered me more than the rare story of harassment was the level of fear that many hold about breastfeeding in public. They cited fear of being stared at, fear of being verbally abused, fear of showing their body and even fear of being physically assaulted. Has our culture sexualized and demeaned the female body so severely that women live in fear of providing the only natural method of nourishing their babies? It seems so. These fears are real. These are not irrational women. These are women just like every other woman who has internalized the demoralization of the female body and experience. I decided to take this personally. As someone who Nurses In Public (NIP) comfortably and with never a negative experience I felt it was my opportunity to share what I think and feel about the issue. I want to help you put a plan in place so that you can begin to unravel those negative messages and understand how you can begin on a path toward NIP.

Nursing in public can seem daunting to a new mother. It can even be difficult and anxiety provoking for a veteran mother! I will help you navigate the world of NIP. I will cover everything from clothing to comebacks to give you the confidence and tools you need to NIP without fear. Practice makes perfect with breastfeeding in public. The first time might be terrifying, the second time nerve wracking, but soon it will become as second nature to you as being outside has ever been.

Before we begin I would like to say that you are a Badass Breastfeeder. Plain and simple. There is no divide, there is no competition. You are not more Badass for nursing in public than you are for nursing at home. You are not less of a Badass for using a breastfeeding cover. At the end of each and every day this is about breastfeeding our children. It is about being informed and making those tough decisions for our children based on that information. That is Badass. This course is for informational purposes, not to try to change you. You are already a Badass Breastfeeder.

 ***I highly suggest taking this course as if it is a true 7 day course. Please read each day separately for 7 days in a row.***




Abby, The Badass Breastfeeder



“I have been following your NIP email series. This has been ….a subject which has brought me many tears over the last two months since my son was born. I have lost all but two of my friends and am not asked to family events any longer. In only two months. I hurt. I cry. I desperately miss the companionship of people. Why did it all go away? Because I breastfeed. The first few times people shrugged it off; I was using a cover. No big deal. But my son gets hot, so at Thanksgiving I opted to remove the cover. Everyone left the room. They sat down to dinner, and when I came in the whole table was full with no place and no chair set out for me. My significant other got me a plate and made a place for me, but the damage was done. I wasn’t fit company. A few weeks have passed and I was asked to a birthday party today. The first time anyone reached out to see me. So I went. I’ve been reading the emails about exuding confidence and reaffirming that what I’m doing by breastfeeding is good. Great even! But I want to feel free to do it. Part of the way through the party, my little man needed changed, so I excused myself to do so. When I got back someone from the family made the comment that he looked so much better full. I said he hadn’t eaten, I would never eat in a bathroom and he wouldn’t either. I then proceeded to feed him (with two shirts, one to pull up, one down) and enjoy the party. Every single person walked away from me. Everyone. I wanted to start crying. But then, one of the oldest and most respected friends of the family came over, sat down with me, and talked to me. This man, in his fifties told me how great of a thing I was doing both for nursing, and doing it in public. He lovingly told me about how his son (now 8) was breastfed until he was two and that it was only problems with severe biting that stopped them. Members of the family were starring and gossiping, not trying to hide it at all, and I suddenly felt proud. You and your series gave me the confidence to believe in myself and do what’s good for my son and society. I was rewarded by having someone they respect so much show them how dumb they were being. I want to tell everyone else to hang in there. It’s hard. It hurts. It makes you feel utterly helpless to deal with people. But if you hang in there, if you have faith and you follow this advice, it is more worth that tiny moment of the sweet and glorious victory than you would ever have imagined. Thank you Badass, for helping me.”



“Thank you so much for this e-course. I generally don’t feel uncomfortable NIP, but I appreciate the tips and encouragement you provide! In the last week, as I’ve been NIP more frequently due to being inspired by your emails, my friends have commented on how brave and awesome it is that I’m comfortable nursing my daughter wherever, whenever. I truly believe that people like you (and every mother who happily NIPs) are changing the world for the better. Thank you!”

-Stefanie , Proud nursing mother :)


“I would like to let you know that your course has truly changed the way I feel about nursing my baby in public. I do prefer to cover with the clothes I’m wearing and I have nursed in public with people standing next to me talking to me and they don’t even know!! A cardigan, nursing tank and well placed scarf does the trick! It’s made life much easier for my whole family since I don’t always have to run off to a private place to nurse…nor should I feel obligated to! :) thanks for the wonderful tips that have given me the courage to be a badass breast feeder!”



“Thank you so much for all of the information. I’m a ftm and have breastfed my son for four months now, I never was too timid about nursing in public but this helps me understand my rights. I fed my son in the middle of wal mart without a cover and it was amazing I felt like I changed the world just a tiny bit :). ”



“I just wanted to thank you for the NIP course, and all that you do to normalize breastfeeding. I EBF my 7 month old daughter, and even before she was born I became a lactivist! The only thing I ever had trouble with was nursing in public. But after following your facebook page and taking your course and seeing all the photos you post, I was inspired to NIP! I have done it a few times prior, but always made sure it was in my car or in a quiet, empty area of a store where no one would see me. Well, the other day at church, my daughter wanted to eat. And usually I would go to the nursery to feed her. But I thought, “why don’t I just feed her here, right in the pew?” And I hesitated. Then I asked myself “Why are you hesitating?” and I thought, “Because people may see my boob and may get offended.” Then I had a long thought process of about how that isn’t my problem. And that I should not feel ashamed because feeding my baby isn’t shameful. It’s normal. It’s nothing to feel weird about. And even though some people think that, it shouldn’t stop me from feeding my child. The only way I can get people to think like I do about breastfeeding, is to just do it and normalize it. Which is why I decided to sit in my pew, unsnap my bra, pull my boob out and feed my daughter. I felt so amazing. The male ushers looked my way and just smiled. No one cared! And my daughter peacefully went to sleep as the music played. IT was a beautiful moment! One women (who had two teenage children) commented to me, “Aww how I miss that. How wonderful!” As I got up to leave, I also saw another mom nursing her toddler, and I was like “AWESOME!” Now I don’t even think twice about feeding my baby in public.


-Badass Jen