How to Pump More Milk
After I had Elliott, I joined a few breastfeeding support groups on Facebook. One thing I’m always seeing moms ask about is how to build a freezer stash or how to pump more milk. I’ve been able to build a freezer stash and exclusively breastfeed both of my babies with a few simple tips and tricks.
Use a Haakaa
I did not have a haakaa when I breastfed Weston and I started seeing women talking about them shortly after I weaned. I did a little research to see what the heck it was and I was so mad I had missed out on this amazing invention. I’m pretty sure I talk about this thing in almost every blog post because in my opinion, its one of the best things you can purchase as a breastfeeding mom. A haakaa is a silicone breast “pump” that suctions on to your other breast while you’re nursing. It catches the letdown and continues to pull milk as you feed your baby. It doesn’t actually make a pumping motion, it just kind of sits there and magically does the work. If you use this while you’re nurse, you’re well on your way to building your freezer stash.
Save Breast Milk with Milkies Milk Savers
Milkies milk savers are similar to the Haakaa in that they catch the milk from the other breast while you’re nursing. You simply insert the milk saver into your bra, and it will catch the milk from your letdown while you feed your baby on the other breast. The benefit of the milk savers is that its very easy to use with no risk of falling off (the Haakaa has to be used carefully to make sure it doesn’t come off). The downside is that the milk savers don’t continue to “pull” milk from your breast like the Haakaa does. While the Haakaa is likely to get you more milk per session, the milk savers are far easier to use.
Pump More Milk with a Manual Pump
Some women respond better to a manual pump than an electric pump. They’re also very convenient if you’re going somewhere that doesn’t have easy access to electricity (or you just don’t want to lug your electric pump). If you’re away from your baby, you should be pumping for every missed nursing session. With a manual pump, it’s easy to make sure you’re always able to pump when you need to. I work part-time in a restaurant, and I always bring my manual pump instead of my electric pump. It’s easy to use and so much more convenient for a quick pumping session (in my opinion). You can also attach the Haakaa to the other breast while using the manual pump for an electricity free double pump!
Hands on Pumping
Another great way to get more milk is to massage each breast at the end of each pumping session. Simply use your hands to massage your breasts and push any extra milk toward the nipple. You can feel around for any spots that might feel a little full. Here’s a great video that shows how to do hands on pumping.
Try Different Sized flanges
If you’re having trouble getting a good output from pumping, try different sized flanges. Not all breasts are the perfect fit for the standard flanges that come with your pump. While pumping, you should see your nipple moving back and forth within the flange without issue. If the flange is too small, your nipple will rub against the inside of the funnel. If the flange is too big, it will pull your areola into the funnel. You can purchase different sized flanges on Amazon.
Pump while Nursing
Another option for pumping more milk is to nurse from one side while you pump from the other. Often times, our babies will be more efficient at causing a letdown than our pumps are. If you nurse while you pump, you’ll benefit from those extra letdowns and be able to pump more milk. You’re also emptying both breasts (this is really a figure of speech… your breasts are never truly empty) which is telling your body to make more milk.
Pump in the Morning
Did you know that we produce the most milk over night? That fact, in conjunction with the fact that your baby probably eats less throughout the night, means that the morning is a great time to pump for extra milk. I typically pump from one breast and feed from the other first thing in the morning.
Power pumping is a great way to ramp up your milk supply and make more milk for your freezer stash. Power pumping is when you pump on a rigorous schedule. It mimics cluster feeding which tells your body to amp up production. There are many different power pumping schedules you can try, but I like this option from The Milk Meg.
Think about Baby
If you have trouble getting a letdown when your hooked up to a pump, try thinking about your baby. You can look at photos or videos of your little one to try to encourage a letdown (or multiple letdowns). I’ve found that videos of my babies crying are usually the most effective, but an extra adorable photo does just as well.
If you’re struggling to get more milk during your pumping sessions, I hope one or more of these tips helps! Making milk for our babies is a full time job… and a difficult one at that. Just remember that even the smallest amounts of momma’s milk are helping your baby grow and thrive. You’re doing great!
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