12 Fool-Proof Ways to Pump More Breast Milk RIGHT NOW

12 fool-proof ways to pump more breast milk RIGHT NOW! (Number 4 works every time!)
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When it comes to pumping breast milk, there is definitely an art to it. I’ve been pumping for a grand total of 42 months and counting. (That’s an estimated 38,000 ounces!!) Needless to say, I’ve learned quite a few things along the way.
Whether you are an exclusive pumper (hats off to you, mama!), an occasional pumper, a pump at work-er, or somewhere in between, I have some tips and tricks for maximizing your output.
Related Reading: When You Feel Like Giving Up Breastfeeding (And What to do About It) 

Ways to Pump More Breast Milk

(Psst…keep reading to the end to get your free printable!)

1.  Check your fit

 

Make sure the horn/flange is the right size for your body. Areolas and nipples come in all sizes, so don’t assume that the “standard” size will fit you. You want to make sure your nipple isn’t scrubbing the inside of the flange tube. Check your breast pump manufacturer’s website for a sizing guide.
Once you’re sure you have the right size, be sure the position is correct. Make sure you put the flange on straight. You don’t want your nipple to be at an angle or positioned in a way that is painful.

2.  Low and slow

When you turn on your pump, start with a lower suction setting and gradually work your way up to a stronger suction that is comfortable to you. You don’t want the suction to be painful.

3. Watch the clock

Aim to pump for about 15-20 minutes at a time. Pumping for longer than 20 minutes may damage your nipples. (Obviously, use your discretion here. If your breasts are really full, you may need to pump longer. But if your nipples are sore, don’t push yourself.)

4. Use your imagination

 

pump more breast milk

Visualize a river of flowing milk or a waterfall of milk.The imagination is a powerful tool!

5. Heat it up

Apply warmth to your breasts. Warmth helps with letdown, so use a heating pad on your breasts while you pump. (I use this one.) No heating pad? Warm a towel in the microwave for the same results. (Seriously, this works great! You gotta try it!) One word of caution though…babies have sensitive skin and you’ll want to be careful not to use heat while holding your baby so he/she doesn’t get burned!

 

Pumping Mom Academy Ecourse

6.  Hands-on

Massage and squeeze your breasts while pumping. Use circular motions and downward strokes, especially focusing on areas that feel full. Be sure to massage your armpits, too. (Did you know you have milk ducts in your armpits? Crazy!)

7. All the feels

pump more breast milk right now
Look at a picture of your baby or imagine your baby nursing. (Those sounds baby makes? That little chin movement? Ahh!!)

 

8.  Sniff sniff


Smell your baby’s hat or an outfit that smells like him or her. (Is there any sweeter scent?!)

 

9.  Pics for days

 

pump more breast milk right now

 

Look at photos of breastfeeding. (There are some really beautiful/touching ones out there!) Try searching the hashtag “brelfie” or “breastfeeding” on Instagram. As an added perk, you might meet a new friend!

 

 

10.  Breathe

 

pump more breast milk right now
Take some deep breaths. Stress inhibits letdown, so be sure to breathe deeply and relax all your muscles. Notice your jaw and your shoulder muscles especially. Are they tight? Be sure to relax those muscles with every exhale.

 

11. Relax

Listen to relaxing music or a stress-reduction meditation. (You can find both of these for free on YouTube!)

 

12.  Unlatch

If you are pumping and nothing is coming out, disconnect and hand express for a few minutes, then resume pumping.

 My story + How I can help…

When I was a new pumping mama I felt so overwhelmed by all the information out there. I was so stressed and confused! Friend, It doesn’t have to be this way! Across the span of three kids, I’ve pumped for more than 3 years. After hearing from so many moms who are struggling with pumping difficulties, I developed an online course called Pumping Mom Academy designed to teach you all you need to know about pumping and to encourage/support you along the way.

Click here to learn more about Pumping Mom Academy!

Pumping Mom Academy: More Milk, Less Stress - an online course to guide you through the pumping process

Click here to learn more about Pumping Mom Academy

Be sure to pin this article so you can refer to it later! And remember, pumpin’ ain’t always easy. You’re doing a great job! 🙂

 

UPDATE July 2017:

free printable checklistYou guys are awesome! This article has been shared SO many times and I am THRILLED to be helping so many awesome moms pump liquid gold for their little ones.

That’s why I have created this FREE printable for my e-mail subscribers! This exclusive checklist includes all 12 tips above in an easy-to-read format. Print a copy and place it near your pumping station or toss a copy in your pump bag for work or on-the-go.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to click here and pin this article to help spread the word to all the pumpin’ mamas!

(Gmail users, my email might go to your promotions tab, so be sure to check there!)

 

 


30 Comments

  1. Kirsta June 23, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Taking Fenugreek and drinking water has really helped with my production. I never thought after hand expressing to pump again. I will have to try that.

    1. Marianna June 27, 2017 at 11:52 pm

      I know a lot of people swear by Fenugreek! And yessss water! I’m always so thirsty while pumping/bf! LMK how the hand expressing, then pumping works. Hope it helps! 🙂

      1. Brenda February 27, 2018 at 9:26 pm

        Hi! Im having alot of trouble with my supply. In the beginning i had a good amount enough to satisfy the baby. Now that hes 5 weeks old my supply tanked i have barely anything when I say nothing I mean drops come out and it stops. I do exclusively pump due to a tongue tie that doesnt allow him to latch correctly. Im upset because i really want to keep this going for him. I do drink about a gallon of water a day and i do have fenugreek. Is there anything else i should be doing to maybe help get my supply back or is this really the end of breastfeeding for us 😐

        1. Marianna February 28, 2018 at 4:05 pm

          Hi, Brenda! I’m so sorry to hear about your struggle. What kind of pump are you using and how often are you pumping? Based on what you’ve shared, it sounds like my e-course Pumping Mom Academy might be a great fit for you. We talk about supply issues a bunch…check out bit.ly/pumpingmomacademy to learn more!

  2. Candace Ortiz July 19, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Great tips, thank you!
    #4 is SO important for me. I have a technique that I call Mindful Nursing (I wrote about it on my blog) where I visualize my letdown. I imagine milk pouring down from the top of my head down my neck and collar bone to my breasts. It works well during both nursing and pumping. It’s similar to the visualization exercises that I did during childbirth.

    1. Marianna July 23, 2017 at 2:33 am

      I love that! The mind is very powerful. I do this, too when I’m nursing and my little one is getting impatient for the letdown. It really does work! 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  3. Marissa August 2, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Iam almost 3 weeks postpartum, my son is drinking almost 2 oz of Similac and I am only making less than 1oz of breastmilk, will I ever be able to catch up to him?

    1. Marianna August 3, 2017 at 1:47 am

      Hey mama! Are you exclusively pumping or both pumping and nursing? How often do you pump/nurse? Do you get out 1 oz per breast, per pumping session, or total? Remember, every ounce counts…so even a little is beneficial. I know how hard this is. Hugs!! <3

  4. Carmen August 23, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    These are great! Thank you for putting this out there… It’s always helpful to have a healthy guide that doesn’t suggest any random foods or supplements. These are basic, by the book suggestions that a lactation consultant would give. KUDOS to YOU!!!

    1. Marianna August 25, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      Thank you, I really appreciate your kind words!

  5. Pp August 30, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    I have a premature baby in the nicu. I am trying to pump for him. I am very scared my milk will not be enough for him. He is not at my breast yet, which makes it harder. Already I feel I am not someone who produces too much milk. Please help. I am drinking mothers milk, which seems to help.

    1. Marianna August 31, 2017 at 12:44 am

      Bless your heart, mama. Thank you for reaching out. I’ve sent you an e-mail. I’m happy to help in any way I can. Hugs!! <3

    2. Ambarina September 19, 2017 at 10:24 am

      Please don’t giveup I know it’s extremely hard to pump milk for a baby in Nicu but I did it my self for almost 3 months .because my baby was in Nicu for so long and at first I was soo much worried that how I am gonna do this with first time c-section after 2 normal deliveries I used to cry a lot every time but I was thinking only about my poor baby who was fighting in Nicu and all he needs the most important milk which is full of antibodies and everything in it.the Lactation nurse helps a lot ..told me that I have to pump every 2 to 3 hours , feels like you are feeding your baby And I did the best thing rented the hospital pump which works really good.inwas going back & forth to the hospital with 5 to 6 bottles every day and even was freezing tons at home too.i also got meningitis inbetween with fever for soo many days but I didn’t quit pumping..I used to have oatmeal in milk everyday which really helped me with the milk supply.

    3. Nicole September 26, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      I do not know if you are out of the NICU yet or not. But I too was a mama to a premature baby. The one thing I did that helped tremendously, was pump right after doing skin to skin with my baby. My milk production tripled once I started doing this! It will all work out! You can do it!

  6. Amber September 14, 2017 at 12:46 am

    I allowed my baby to have bottles, with breast milk when im gone or even when im home when my nipples were so cracked it hurt to allow water to hit them in the shower, now my baby prefers bottles to my breast and its making me so sad & i want to get her back on the breast and produce more milk, any suggestions?

    1. Marianna September 15, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Aw, hugs mama! How old is your baby? Have you tried latching her during a dream feed? Here’s a great resource to help you with a nursing strike.. How to Stop a Nursing Strike – 7 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Baby Back to Breastfeeding Hope that helps! <3

    2. Ambarina September 19, 2017 at 10:28 am

      Please don’t giveup I know it’s extremely hard to pump milk for a baby in Nicu but I did it my self for almost 3 months .because my baby was in Nicu for so long and at first I was soo much worried that how I am gonna do this with first time c-section after 2 normal deliveries I used to cry a lot every time but I was thinking only about my poor baby who was fighting in Nicu and all he needs the most important milk which is full of antibodies and everything in it.the Lactation nurse helps a lot ..told me that I have to pump every 2 to 3 hours , feels like you are feeding your baby And I did the best thing rented the hospital pump which works really good.inwas going back & forth to the hospital with 5 to 6 bottles every day and even was freezing tons at home too.i also got meningitis inbetween with fever for soo many days but I didn’t quit pumping..I used to have oatmeal in milk everyday which really helped me with the milk supply.

  7. Amal September 26, 2017 at 9:58 am

    Hi Marianna,
    Thanks for the article. Will definitely try these tips as I’m struggling with breastfeeding. My feed is insufficient for my baby’s (one month old) intake. I have to give him formula to meet his demand which is why I’m very upset 🙁
    Breastfeed vs formula ratio is 30:70. Is there a way i can reverse the ratio? I use pump as well as try to make him latch directly apart from giving the formula. But since he is now habitual of taking pumped and formula milk from bottle so he doesnot latch directly. I have to use a silicon protector on my nipples after which he latches.
    Please help how can i increase my milk production and make him latch directly without nipple protector.
    Thanks a bunch!!!
    A worried and sad mom 🙁

    1. Marianna September 27, 2017 at 1:35 am

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m so sorry to hear you’re having a tough time. I’ve sent you an email so we can chat further. Hope to hear from you soon! Marianna

  8. Angela Cameron October 2, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Breastfeed exclusively because it’s supposed to be a feed-back system. The more milk is demanded of your breasts, the more they should produce. You can also stimulate a greater “need” for breast milk by using a breast pump after each feeding. Also, make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids. I’ve boosted my supply through these remedies. I have also used Healthy nursing tea that tastes good and boosts supply as well.

  9. Jen November 14, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Thank you so much for writing something other than eat these cookies. My little guy is 8 months and my pumping supply tanked, I’ve tried everything I read until I stumbled across this post. I loathe pumping but have to do it so he has milk when I’m at work. It was to the point where I could pump for 20 minutes and not even fill the bottom of either bottle, I power pumped everyday for a week and a half to get up to 2oz. I think my mind set really affected my ability to pump as he still nurses fine. Just turning on relaxing music and turning off my mind has helped so much. This morning I pumped 5oz in 20 minutes! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

    1. Marianna November 15, 2017 at 12:45 am

      Jen, You’re so welcome. I am SO happy to hear these tips worked well for you! (And good job for pumping for 8 months! Woohoo!) High five, mama!

  10. Amie November 24, 2017 at 6:36 am

    Hi, I need help!
    I had my son 3 weeks ago, born at 27 weeks, weighing 800grams.
    I’ve been pumping since birth, and I’m only getting 20-30 mls out.
    He is on 2 hourly feeds of 14 mls.
    I have run out of supply and the nicu has started to give him formula.
    I don’t have him with me, I see him a few hours a day, I get an hour cuddle each day if he is having a good day, but that only started this week basically.
    I don’t have anything to smell. I have got photos to look at.
    Been drinking malt drink, and eating oats. Nothing is helping it come in.

    1. Marianna November 25, 2017 at 1:27 am

      Hi, Amie! Bless your heart, you’ve been through so much! Sounds like you are doing all you can. Can the hospital give him donor milk until your milk comes in? How often are you pumping? Since he’s so young, I’d recommend pumping at least 12 times per day, 15-20 minutes each time. The more you pump, it will send a signal to tell your body to make more milk. If you aren’t using a hospital-grade pump, it may be beneficial to try to rent one temporarily if you can afford it. Please feel free to email me: findyourmomtribe@gmail.com if you want to chat further. Keep up the good work, mama! <3

  11. Samantha December 18, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    My second baby is 5 months old and I havent started pumping yet. I pumped while I was it work with my first, and now that I’m home full time with my two kids I’m having a hard time finding motivation to start pumping with my second! I’m just wanting to have a small stash in case I want to go out or an emergency. I’m really scared that if I start pumping so late in the game I will mess up the good, evened out milk supply I have going! Are my fears rationale? Any suggestions or tips? Thank you!

    1. Marianna December 21, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      Hey, mama! Congrats on making it to nursing five months, woohoo!! I definitely understand that you don’t want to mess with your well-established supply and create an oversupply. Here’s what I think I’d do. You know how sometimes when baby nurses they just want a little snack but don’t feed a loooong time? I might try pumping for 10 minutes or so after a feed like that. Another option is to pump first thing in the morning when your body naturally produces more milk. If you did either of those two things once or twice a week, I think you’ll have a nice little stash built and it won’t interfere with your supply. Let me know how it goes! 🙂

  12. Amanda February 7, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Hello thank you for all the info! But I need more help! My little guy is 6 weeks old tomorrow and I’m just not pumping enough I feel. I try to pump 4 times a day on top of breast feeding him so I have a supply for when I get back to work. I’m taking fenugreek, the milk tea, increase all water intake, and just added the “let there be milk” tincture by birdsong and still only pump 3-4 oz total all day. Is it possible to be taking too many supplements?

    1. Marianna February 8, 2018 at 1:52 am

      Hey, Amanda! Congrats on that sweet new baby! At six weeks, your milk supply is still getting established. How soon do you have to return to work? It sounds like you are doing all the right things! I’m not sure if it’s possible to be taking too many supplements or not…you may want to ask your doc about that one. Pumping first thing in the morning (if you aren’t doing that already) is a great time to get more milk, because that’s when your supply is naturally the highest. Feel free to email me: findyourmomtribe @gmail.com and I’m happy to chat with you further! Hang in there, mama! <3 <3

  13. Monica February 9, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    How often would you suggest to pump? I breastfeed and bottle feed my baby and it seems lately I’m having to do more of the latter. I don’t pump too oferten honestly just because I’m discouraged and I don’t feel I have much supply to pump.

    1. Marianna February 11, 2018 at 1:00 am

      Hi Monica! How old is your baby? In the early days, you want to pump as often as your baby nurses if you are exclusively pumping and not nursing at all. Then you can gradually space out pumpings. Please don’t be discouraged if you aren’t getting a ton of milk out. We go into this in great detail inside the e-course (Pumping Mom Academy), but basically the more you nurse and pump, the more your milk your body will make. Skipping pumping/nursing sessions will cause your body to think, “Hmm, guess we shouldn’t make that much milk!” So it’s all about supply and demand. The more you “demand” milk from your body by pumping or nursing, the more supply (milk) your body will make. Hope that helps! <3 Hang in there!

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