Ideas for Pumping More Milk

The question of how to pump more milk comes up at least once a week.  Sometimes from moms pumping for their babies in daycare, other times from mothers just looking to get enough milk for a date night or an appointment.  Whatever your situation, there lots of ways to increase the amount of milk you pump or express.   Below is just a “buffet” of ideas.  We encourage you to try “hands-on” pumping first, but always do what works best for you.

  • Use “Hands-on Pumping” - click here for video
  • Massage the breasts and move them around a little before pumping.  Gently stretch / pull the nipple to help release hormone your body needs to make the milk flow.
  • Some moms are able to hand express more milk.  Touching the breasts releases more of the hormone needed to trigger a let-down.  Click here to watch the video explaining how to hand express milk.  Hand expressing does take practice so don’t give up on the first try!
  • More studies are showing how guided imagery can help increase milk flow.  The reason is because stress can inhibit the hormone that tells the breasts to let-down the milk. 
  • Pumping one side while baby nurses on the other. 
  • Pump first thing in the morning.  Set up your breast pump the night before so you can pump before getting out of bed.  Many mom have found they have more milk in the early hours.
  • Look at pictures / videos of your baby, listen to a soundtrack of your baby crying, smell something baby wore.  If your baby is in the NICU, try pumping near him or her.
  • Don’t watch the collection bottles!  Use a blanket or nursing cover.  
  • Lastly, make sure you have realistic pumping expectations.  Many mothers think that they should be able to pump 4-8 ounces per pumping session, but even 4 ounces is a rather large pumping output for a mom who is breastfeeding full-time.
© LLL of Longmont 2018
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