Many breastfeeding moms wish they could pump more breast milk.
They often look at the little pump bottle and resulting milk and think, “Why isn’t there more!?!? I need to figure out how to pump more breast milk!”
First, keep in mind…
“At its best, a baby’s suck is far better at removing milk from the breast than any pump…” // WebMD.com
So if you’re looking at your pumped milk and wishing Baby was getting more milk than that, know that when you’re breastfeeding she is! As long as they have a good, effective latch, babies are way more effective at extracting milk than any pump.
They get even better at extracting milk as they get older, which means they’ll need less time at the breast than before. That doesn’t always mean your milk supply is low!
Now, back to pumping.
How to pump more breast milk
1. Choose the right breast pump.
- Consider a renting a hospital-quality breast pump.
- Make sure your pump is in good working order and is of good quality.
- Make sure all connections and tubings are well secured.
- Choose the correct shield size
- Set the speed to be comfortable. Stronger suction does not always extract more milk. It can even hinder a letdown if it’s painful.
2. Aim for multiple let downs.
This is the number one milk production-boosting technique. When pumping, your second or third let down won’t be as much as your first. Add them together, though, and you’re still getting more milk!
Plus, once Baby’s about 2-3 months old, breast milk supply is all about supply and demand. The more milk extracted from your breasts, the more your body will make (assuming you’re eating well enough, drinking enough fluids, and getting enough rest!).
How do you do it? After your first let down, turn your pump to massage mode (or do whatever else you usually do to stimulate a let down). Keep in mind, it will take longer to get to every subsequent let down. If it’s been more than 10 minutes since your last let down, stop pumping and try again later.
3. Use your hands.
I’m sure you’ve seen videos of a mom pumping as she nonchalantly sips on coffee and talks on the phone. Yes, hands-free pumps are time-savers. They’re very convenient. However…
If you want more milk, massage your breasts while you pump.
Always massage your breast and don’t feel pressure to pump for a certain amount of time. Rather you should always listen to your body and stop when you don’t see any more milk.
3. Hand express after double-pumping.
Pumping both breasts at the same time gently increases your hormone prolactin, which is the hormone needed for milk production. Hand expressing after double-pumping has also been found to yield the highest amount of milk.
Learn about the hand expression technique known as the marmet techniqe here.
4. Re-position the breast shield.
Re-positioning your breast shield may help you get more milk. After achieving your first let down, detach then reattach the breast shield so as to recreate the vacuum then pump again. Alternatively, you can position the breast shield over a different part of your breast.
5. Pump more frequently for shorter periods.
More pumping sessions equal more milk. This is because you will be regularly emptying your breast, giving your body the signal to continually make more. When you don’t pump and use up your milk supply, your body gets the signal that milk isn’t necessary and therefore produces less and less of it.
Instead of aiming for multiple let downs in one sitting, add an extra pumping session (spaced out through the day accordingly). You’ll get more milk, and your body will be cued to make more!
6. Pump early in the morning (if you’re not night-nursing).
The wee hours of the morning are the golden hours of milk production. This is because the hormone that controls milk production is highest during the morning, which is why your breasts feel so full.
If you’re no longer night-nursing, consider an early morning pumping session to boost milk production. This early-morning pump will likely yield the most milk of all other pumping sessions.
If Baby’s still nursing at night, keep at it! We know it’s hard, Momma. You miss your sleep. But night-nursing is the nursing Mom’s best friend in terms of milk supply. And Baby will be off breast milk sooner than you think!
7. Pump and nurse.
If you really need to boost supply early on, this works best when your baby is still a newborn. Pumping while you nurse will make your body think you are feeding twins and therefore make more milk.
Be careful with this one, though. Artificially increasing your milk supply like this could give you an oversupply. And, yes, that comes with its own set of worrisome and painful problems…like engorgement and mastitis!
You should also note that during the first few weeks, you will be wasting loads of milk as you and baby figure out how to breastfeed. as baby grows, it will become harder to pump while breastfeeding.
8. Try power pumping.
Have you ever heard of power pumping? This is a technique that mimics the frequent feedings your baby demands during a growth spurt. It involves several short sessions within an hour with some breaks in between.
Check out this moms story on her power pumping attempt.
That’s all the tips! If you’re really worried about low milk supply, the real answer is to nurse, nurse, nurse!
Eat nourishing foods and nurse!
If you can’t nurse all the time, we hope these tips help you figure out how to pump more breast milk at each session.
Do you have any more tips on how to pump more effectively? Please share in the Comments!
Featured image source: www.verywell.com