How do I pump more breastmilk?
For many breastfeeding moms, there is a love/hate relationship with the breast pump. It allows you to keep giving your little one their own special milk even when you’re away. On the other side, the process isn’t exactly fun. When you’re also concerned about making enough milk, it can be downright stressful. There are many supplements and drinks and treats on the market that some people swear by. Today we’re going to focus on the actual process of pumping and how to get the most out of a session.
Ok mama, we’re going to talk about some ways to smooth out this process.
- Check the parts! Often when we’re not pumping as much as expected we start worrying about our own production. Before you bust out the blue Powerade take a look at the membranes/duckbills. They’re the part milk flows through right before hitting the bottle. They need to be replaced periodically. Look over the tubing, making sure it’s all intact and plugging in snugly. If you’re using a battery pack make sure those batteries are fresh.
- How are those flanges (also called breast shields) fitting? Does your nipple barely budge? Is your entire areola being dragged down the flange? You want your nipple to extend into the flange enough to provide stimulation. Take a look and see what’s going on with your flanges. Try to size up or down. Alternative flanges like Pumping Pals offer a more comfortable fit for some moms.
- Keep a routine. If you’re used to feeding baby at a certain time, try and pump at that time to work with your body’s rhythms. If you’re exclusively pumping try and pump at the same times each day.
- Stress is not your friend, but visualization is. Take a moment to close your eyes and think about your baby. Imagine holding them close, feeling that soft skin, smelling that sweet spot on the top of their head. Breathe in. Breathe out. Imagine the milk flowing and filling the bottles. Scan your body – relax your jaw, relax your shoulders. Play your favorite music or watch videos of your baby.
- Cover your bottles. If it’s stressful to not see your bottles fill as quickly as you want, cover them. Take a baby sock and put it around the bottles or bags so you don’t have to be preoccupied.
- Heat it up! Slip some warm packs into your bra a few minutes prior to pumping. Whether it’s a homemade rice sock or a store bought one made just for breastfeeding doesn’t matter.
- Massage – before, during, after. Prior to hooking up, gently massage the breasts toward the direction of the nipple. While you’re pumping, try the “hands on pumping” method. Massage your breasts firmly in the direction of the nipple as you pump. After pumping, many find success with hand expressing to get the last few drops out.
Try these tips for a few sessions.
*Check you parts * Heat * Massage *Visualize.*
Don’t forget to breathe and relax your muscles. You’re doing a beautiful thing for your baby.
Amanda is an RN, IBCLC (lactation consultant) who helps breastfeeding families through classes and home visits in the greater Baton Rouge, La area. Secure virtual visits are available for breastfeeding support no matter the location.
All information on this website is intended for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Magnolia Lactation Consulting encourages all families to have close communication with the medical providers of their choice.