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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:

○     http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/MaxProduction.html

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.