10 Little-Known Tricks to Pump More Breast Milk (Today!)
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Is there anything more frustrating than being stuck to a breast pump but hardly anything comes out? I’ve been there, mama! In fact, I’ve pumped for all three of my kids which adds up to be about 3,000 hours! Needless to say, I’ve learned a thing or two about pumping breast milk.
If you’re reading this post and struggling to produce enough milk, I just want to say that I know this is hard for you. You are doing such a great job making liquid gold for that sweet baby. Hang in there, mama. It will get better! If you’d love some extra support, encouragement, and tons of pumping info, click here to learn about Pumping Mom Academy!
Okay, let’s dive in!
How to pump more breast milk
1. Inspect your pump
In order to pump more breast milk, your pump must be performing well. First, inspect those little white membranes. Are they attached correctly? Are there any tiny holes or tears? When is the last time you replaced them? (For most pumps, you’ll want to replace them every two months.) Next, take a second to inspect all your pump parts. Does everything fit together nice and tight? Finally, inspect your shield/horn. Does it fit your body? You may need a larger size if your nipple scrubs the inside of the shield.
2. “Prime” your breasts by massaging them before (and during) pumping
Every single time you pump, before you hook yourself up, do a breast massage. Make sure your hands are nice and warm. (Don’t forget your armpits. Did you know you have milk-making tissue there too?!) You may even hand express a little milk before you hook up to the pump.
3. Use soft suction…at first
When you first turn on your pump, it’s tempting to crank up the intensity of the suction to high. I mean, you just want to pump that milk as quickly as you can and move on, right? Well, sometimes it helps to start off with a softer suction and then gradually (very gradually) increase the suction power. You never want the suction to be so strong that it’s painful. Starting slow and then gradually increasing can help you pump more breast milk.
4. Use heat (with caution)
Heat is AMAZING and helping that milk to flow. If you have a heating pad, you can use that while pumping or place it on your chest a few minutes before starting. If you don’t have a heating pad, you can always heat up a hand towel in the microwave for a minute or so. A word of caution though, be careful not to use heat around your baby. You don’t want him/her to get burned!
5. Set a timer
You’ll want to make sure you’re pumping long enough. Ideally 15-20 minutes, but sometimes more if you space your pumping sessions out farther. (We go into this in great detail in Pumping Mom Academy Lessons 2 and 3.) You can set a timer to make sure you’re keeping track of how long you’ve been pumping.
The mind and body are powerfully connected. Imagine a river or waterfall of flowing milk. (I know, it may sound a little “out there”, but don’t knock it ’til you try it!) So…vizualize and pump more breast milk.
7. Look at a pic of your baby
Your body releases several hormones (such as Oxytocin and Prolactin) in order to make and release milk. Looking at a photo of your baby can help release those hormones, allowing the milk to flow. If you don’t have a pic nearby, you can also imagine your baby, his or her cries, and/or what baby looks like while nursing.
8. Smell your baby’s blanket or hat
Similar to the above tip, smelling an article of clothing your baby has worn can help trigger those hormones and help with letdown.
If you’re feeling particularly stressed, this may inhibit your letdown and hinder your milk flow. Take an inventory of how your body is feeling. Notice your jaw and shoulder muscles. Are they nice and relaxed? Close your eyes, take some deep breaths and relax all the muscles in your body.
10. Take a break
If you’ve been pumping for a while and your milk still isn’t flowing, disconnect yourself from the pump and relax a few minutes. Try hand expressing a little and then reconnect to the pump.
If you’re a new mom pumping breast milk for your baby, chances are you may be feeling overwhelmed.
As a mom of three breastfed kids, I’ve been there. When my first baby was born nine years ago, nothing went as planned. My natural birth? It turned into an emergency c-section. All my plans for nursing went out the window when I had a complicated recovery.
Since I couldn’t nurse, I turned to pumping. I knew how beneficial breast milk was, so if I couldn’t nurse, at least she could still get the benefits of my breast milk.
The problem? I was exhausted and I knew next to NOTHING about pumping, storing, and feeding pumped milk. I scoured the web, but all that info left my head spinning.
Does any of that sound familiar?
I hear from moms just like you who say:
How on earth am I supposed to find time to pump? I just want a nap!
Pumping is so annoying, painful, and time-consuming! I dread it!
I’m spending so much time pumping, but nothing’s coming out!
Friend, it doesn’t have to be this way!
I’m passionate about helping moms meet their breastfeeding and pumping goals. That’s why I created Pumping Mom Academy, an online e-course designed to teach everything I’ve learned about pumping.
Across the span of three kids and nine years, I’ve pumped about 43 months – that’s an estimated 40,000 ounces! Not only that, but I also battled and overcame just about every complication a breastfeeding mom can encounter.
I know what works!
And I want to guide you through your journey, cheering you on and teaching you all the little-known tricks and tips for making pumping life easier…so you can focus on what matters most — loving on that sweet new bundle of joy!
What’s inside the course?
7 Video Lessons + Bonuses
A comprehensive action plan to achieve your breastfeeding/pumping goals
Tools to change your thinking so you can learn to love the pump (or at least not hate it!)
Proven strategies that work for exclusively pumping moms or part-time pumping moms
Lesson 1: The Pump Is Not the Enemy: Getting to know (and love!) your Pump
→ How to set up your pump (the right way!) and learn about its features
→ Troubleshooting tips for when something’s not working right with the pump
→ How to set up a pumping station at home for faster, more efficient pumping (and less stress!)
→ How to shift your mindset about pumping and learn to not dread pumping sessions
Lesson 2: Creating a Pumping Schedule that Works for YOU!
→ Identifying your breastfeeding/pumping goals
→ Sample pumping schedules for the first year of baby’s life
→ Sample pumping schedules for part-time pumpers
→ How to build a freezer stash for emergencies or for returning to work
→ Tips and tricks for keeping baby occupied while you pump
Lesson 3: Increasing low supply
→ How to know if you truly have low supply
→ How to power pump to boost your milk supply
→ Practical things you can do to increase your milk supply
Lesson 4: Efficiently pumping as much milk as possible
→ 10 Strategies for maximizing your output
→ How to know when to change pump parts
→ How often and how long should I pump?
→ Is it time for a new pump?
→ How to massage your breasts before (and during pumping) for maximum output
Lesson 5: Pumping at work, on vacation, or out and about
→ How to stay organized while pumping outside the home
→ Working with your employer for pumping at work
→ Little-known trick to warm breast milk on the go
→ Tips for pumping in the car
Lesson 6: Breast milk storage and handling
→ How to safely store your milk
→ Pumping products I use and love
→ How to bottlefeed a breastfed baby
→ Tips for freezing, thawing and using frozen milk
→ Can you re-use a bottle that baby didn’t finish?
Lesson 7: The ONE thing you should do before you freeze another ounce of breast milk
→ Excess lipase overview
→ How to test for excess lipase in milk
→ How to treat milk for excess lipase
BONUS LESSON: What to do when you feel like throwing in the towel
When you sign up for Pumping Mom Academy, here’s what you’ll get:
The Full Pumping Mom Academy Course
You’ll get unlimited access to all of the training videos, plus free printable lesson summaries and worksheets. Plus lifetime access to all course updates. With Pumping Mom Academy, you can learn at your own pace and refer back to the materials again and again.
Weekly Coaching/Q&A Sessions
You can submit your questions ahead of time or come live. Nearly every week of the year I’ll be available to take your questions live inside our private Facebook group. I take care of my students and do my very best to help each one. You can also look back on previous Q&A sessions anytime.
Free Printable Bonus Gifts – A $15 value!
→ Customizable pumping schedule with output tracking
→ Packing your pump bag for work checklist
→ Travel checklist: everything you need to pack for pumping
→ Breast milk storage guidelines card – perfect for your fridge or pump bag
→ Breast milk storage safety tips card
→ Pumping affirmations: 8 beautiful cards to remind you that you’re doing a great job!
When you enroll in Pumping Mom Academy, you’re backed by my 30-Day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
If you don’t love this course and it hasn’t helped you, then I don’t deserve to have your money. Simply email me: findyourmomtribe (at) gmail.com and I’ll happily issue you a full refund.
Friend, it’s time to stop stressing about pumping and start taking back your life. You don’t have to be chained to the pump, dreading the next pumping session or sleepless night. Pumping life can be amazing and fulfilling.
About the Instructor
Marianna Chambers is a mental health counselor, a breastfeeding guru, a blogger, and an author. She’s passionate about helping moms reach their breastfeeding goals and overcome any challenges that may come their way.
She has a Master of Social work degree from the University of North Carolina and is a licensed clinical social worker. She’s not a doctor or a breastfeeding professional, but she’s a wealth of breastfeeding knowledge and experience. She’s a real mom who’s been there, researched that, and overcame countless breastfeeding struggles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is this course for me?
A: This course is designed for moms who exclusively pump or who pump at least 1-2 times per day. Pregnant moms who plan to pump will also benefit from this course!
Q: How are course materials delivered?
A: This course is hosted on Teachable, a super easy-to-navigate learning platform. As soon as you purchase, all your bonus printable gifts plus an invitation to join our private Facebook group, just for Pumping Mom Academy students will be waiting for you inside the course.
Q: Do I have to complete all the lessons in a certain order?
A: Nope! Feel free to skip around and watch the lessons in any order you wish.
Q: What breastfeeding training do you have?
A: While I’m not an IBCLC or a doctor, I am a mom who has been through it all. I’ve spent countless hours researching and reading and have been the go-to person in my friend-group when someone has a nursing problem. I’ve had friends refer their friends to me for advice. Not only that, but I’ve also had hours of formal training, as I have previously volunteered at a well-known breastfeeding hotline, talking with moms over the phone and answering their breastfeeding questions. Not only that, but I’ve faced nearly every breastfeeding challenge you can imagine. I’ve exclusively pumped, pumped part-time, pumped occasionally, and nursed full-time. (In fact, my 21-month-old is still nursing!) After spending nearly 3,000 hours attached to a pump, I’ve learned a thing or two along the way! 😉
Q: Okay, so you’re telling me this class is valuable but it’s SO affordable…are you sure it’s not just fluff?
A: No fluff here! I know how busy you are, so I’ve worked really hard to make sure this course is jam-packed with information, tips and tricks, and NO FLUFF or sales pitches. I’m confident you won’t be disappointed.
If the class doesn’t live up to your expectations, just email me within 30 days at findyourmomtribe (at) gmail.com and I’ll gladly issue you a full refund.
Q: I can’t stand boring lectures. Why would I want to pay for a class?
A: This class is different than anything you’ve attended in school. I seek to be compassionate, energetic, and make learning fun.
Q: Is this course available outside the US?
A: This course is geared towards moms in the US.
Pumping Mom Academy is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.