3 tips for pumping more breast milk
by Sabrina Garibian posted in Products & Prizes I’ve been pregnant or a nursing mom since June 2010. My third and possibly last baby has started to wean, and it has me feeling all the feels. I don’t mind that she’s quickly leaving the baby stage, but I feel sad that our nursing relationship will… Read more »
posted in Products & Prizes
I’ve been pregnant or a nursing mom since June 2010. My third and possibly last baby has started to wean, and it has me feeling all the feels. I don’t mind that she’s quickly leaving the baby stage, but I feel sad that our nursing relationship will soon end. Don’t get me wrong – I’m letting her wean on her own time and hope to nurse for a few more months, but I know it’s only a short matter of time before it’s over.
What I won’t miss? My breast pump. I’m thankful for the freedom it has given me to work away from home when needed and to go out on fun dates with my husband occasionally, but I’m done and it feels good.
I was a pumping master from the start and impressed my lactating friends with stories of the amount of milk I could pump in mere minutes. It didn’t happen naturally and took work. This is what worked for me.
There are some obvious things you can do to pump more breast milk. From experience those are pumping often and as often as your child might feed, pumping both breasts at once, and looking at a photo of your baby while you pump (this is so weird but works).
You can also try a pumping power hour, which is quite different from the power hours of yesterday. You pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, pump for 10, rest for 10, and pump for 10 more. It can help increase your pumping output.
I was a pumping machine. I sometimes pumped 8 ounces of breast milk in 5 minutes and then was able to nurse my child immediately after. I found a few interesting things helped my pumping output tremendously and thought you might want to know them too.
Here are 3 tips for pumping more breast milk:
While you pump, compress your breasts with your hands. Use the C-hold that you would use while nursing and press down on your breasts during your pumping sessions. Use your fingers to press on any hard lumps on your breasts and massage them to express more milk.
2. Proper size breast shield
In order to pump efficiently you want to be sure you’re using the right size breast shield for your body. I have found this Medela Breastshield Sizing Guide to be very useful in determining the right size shield. A breast shield that fits properly will help you pump more comfortably and increase your output.
3. Clean parts
This seems like a no brainer, but it isn’t. If you don’t wash your breast pump parts well and properly, you may be losing pumping efficiency. I found that when I really took my time to wash my pump parts thoroughly and carefully I was always able to pump more at the next session.
I considered pumping to be like an extra feed that I had to do every single day. From the day I came home from the hospital with each child I pumped at 5 a.m. for 5-10 minutes so I could build up my freezer supply. It worked for me because I tricked my body into thinking my baby always woke up at that time. I was also very careful to pump on time any time I was away from my nursing child. Sometimes it was quite inconvenient, but it worked for me.
By the way, will this work for everyone? No. Does pumping work for everyone? No. But these are the things that worked for me and helped some friends too. I hope these tips help you pump more breast milk!
Some other resources I like:
Babycenter: Top tips from moms who pump
LLL: Getting more milk when pumping
Kellymom: I’m not pumping enough milk. What can I do?
What tips do you have for pumping more breast milk?
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