Skip to Content

How To Pump More Breast Milk: 20 Tips To Increase Milk Supply

How To Pump More Breast Milk: 20 Tips To Increase Milk Supply

When it comes to pumping breast milk, there is definitely an art to it. I’ve been pumping for a grand total of 43 months and counting. (That’s an estimated 38,000 ounces!!)

Needless to say, I’ve learned quite a few things along the way.

You actually think that’s not so hard to do, but once you’re actually confronted with it, you realize that it is.

You are under a lot of stress because you’re constantly worried if you’ll be able to pump enough milk for your little one.

On the other hand, you feel that it’s become the only reason for your existence – that you’re nothing more than a glorified milk supplier.

But even if it gets hard at times, when you realize that there isn’t anything healthier than a mom’s breast milk, nothing is too much for you.

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 on how to pump more breast milk.

Ways to Pump More Breast Milk

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 rubbing the inside of the flange tube.

Check your breast pump manufacturer’s website for a sizing guide.

Many moms use Medela breast pumps and they’re pretty satisfied with them, so you can see if their products work well for you as well.

Once you’re sure you have the right size, be sure the position is correct. Take care that 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.

Remember, if it hurts, stop doing it immediately.

Also, if you notice any changes in your breast size, there’s no need to fear. The nipple size increases during breastfeeding and pumping in most cases, but it doesn’t affect the feeding experience for you or the baby at all.

2. Low and slow

When you turn on your electric 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.

Also, if you’re using a manual pump, make sure that you do it slowly, because nothing right can happen when you do it fast, especially a delicate thing like breast pumping.

Make sure you do it when you really have some peace and nobody’s disturbing you. It’s not like you can do it while busy with other things.

You need some privacy and peace so you can dedicate yourself to your pumping session completely.

These are my two favorite pumps that I recommend everyone:

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

3. Watch the clock

blue heart shaped 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.)

A pumping schedule is an important thing in the whole process, so establish and stick to the same pattern.

4. Use your imagination

How To Pump More Breast Milk

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

That’s why you need to take time while breast pumping just like you do when you breastfeed. Many breastfeeding moms use this tactic to get more milk supply.

Also, working moms who need to do their pump session ASAP use this tip to pump faster so they can go back to their daily tasks.

I know it would be great to be with your child while you’re breastfeeding, but for some moms, it is simply mission impossible.

5. Heat it up

Apply warmth to your breasts.

Warmth helps with letdown and better milk flow, 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!

6. Hands-on

woman holding a breast pump on her chest

Massage and squeeze your breasts while pumping. Use circular motions and downward strokes, especially focusing on areas that feel full.

Breast compression is one of the best pumping tips you can get. It’s great for better milk flow and for getting a bigger milk supply.

Do this every time before and during breast pumping, and the results will be amazing.
Also, be sure you’re massaging your armpits, too. (Did you know you have milk ducts in your armpits? Crazy!)

7. All the feels

Young mother breastfeeding her newborn baby on sofa

Look at a picture of your baby or imagine your baby nursing. (Those sounds baby makes? That little chin movement? Ahh!!)

Moms do this when they can’t focus on breast pumping for some reason. Maybe some of them are at work or so tired because they didn’t sleep enough for the past couple of nights.

Also, sometimes you won’t be in the mood for breast pumping because your nipples are sore.

There are so many reasons why moms sometimes give up on nursing. But all you need to do is to get some rest and ask for some help.

I’m sure a good midwife will talk to you and show you how you can get more milk for your little one.

If you get just a little bit of assistance, everything will be much easier.

8. Sniff sniff

Smell your baby’s hat or an outfit that smells like him or her. (Is there any sweeter scent?!) You’re probably wondering why, right?

Well, many moms swear by this trick when they can’t pump enough milk for their baby.

When you take your baby’s clothes and smell it, your hormones are triggered and your milk production will be a lot better.

It’ll remind you of your little one and the happiness they bring to you every day.

The perfect fit for my babies are these soft and stretchy organic hats:

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

9. Pics for days

Mother nursing baby in a rocking chair

Look at photos of breastfeeding. (There are some really beautiful/touching ones out there!)

When you look at those photos, they’ll remind you of your baby and the time you spend together getting to know each other.

It’ll also remind you of breastfeeding and that moment that only the two of you understand and means so much to both of you.

Every mom will get nostalgic at these kinds of photos. Also, you can bring a photo of your little one or save some of them on your phone.

So, when you want to breast pump, you can just take a look at the photo of your baby and the milk flow will be much easier.

10. Breathe

How To Pump More Breast Milk

Take some deep breaths.

Stress inhibits letdown, so be sure to breathe deeply and relax all your muscles. Especially take note of your jaw and your shoulder muscles.

Are they tight? Be sure to relax those muscles with every exhale. Don’t try to breast pump if you don’t have time for it.

You need to relax and take your time.

Give yourself some space and time and do it while someone else is taking care of your baby.

If you’re under stress, pumping breast milk, and checking on baby at the same time, nothing will happen.

You’ll just get nervous and end up transferring it to your baby.

11. Relax

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

This helps with the let-down reflex because it’s easier to get more milk for your little one.

Consider that time only for yourself when you don’t think about anything else but on providing your baby with the healthiest liquid that exists.

If you do it while you’re relaxed and if you give yourself as much time as you need, the whole process will be much better.

I find stress balls to be also helpful:

You won’t stress out and you’ll have enough milk for your little one.

12. Unlatch

woman holding a breast pump with milk

If you want to know how to pump more breast milk, try this great tip: If you’re pumping and nothing is coming out, disconnect and try hand expression for a few minutes.

Get some rest, take a deep breath, and give yourself a tender breast massage.

Don’t do it fast – give yourself time and focus on what you’re doing. Remember that you don’t need to hurry anywhere and that nothing is more important than the milk you’re about to pump.

After that, you can connect to your pump and try again.

In case this doesn’t help, leave the pump for a bit and do something that you like. Dedicate yourself to your baby, eat something yummy, or watch TV.

After you stop pushing yourself to do it, the let-down reflex will start working normally and you’ll be able to breastfeed or pump more breast milk.

13. Eat fenugreek

What you eat has a lot to do with breast milk production.

That’s why you need to eat food that is rich with galactagogues like for example fenugreek.

You can try these seeds and your milk supply will get higher after 24 hours:

Also, you can take it as a pill, which most women do, and you can find it in your local supermarket.

Making a fenugreek tea is possible as well, but it doesn’t have as strong an effect as taking the pills.

Every lactation consultant will advise you to take this herb because it’s been known for over a hundred years to boost milk production.

When you have an ample amount of milk, you won’t be under stress about whether or not your baby has enough food.

Even if there are many baby formulas for newborns, most moms insist on breastfeeding if possible, so milk supply is of a high importance.

14. Ask for help from an IBCLC

International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners

For all of you who don’t know an IBCLC stands for (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), it’s a person who helps new moms who’re not sure how to breastfeed or how to pump more breast milk properly.

You can take this course earlier in your pregnancy so you can be ready once you give birth.

Things that you learn in this course can be a lifesaver in one moment. I know many moms who didn’t know how to breastfeed properly and they did it wrong the whole time.

Result? Extremely sore nipples, sometimes even bleeding, and a baby who is crying all the time because they’re hungry.

I know that some of you don’t want to take these courses, but at least ask a midwife how to breastfeed properly so you and your baby don’t run into any problems.

15. Have a pumping schedule

A pumping schedule is an important thing if you want to pump more breast milk. If you normally pump milk early in the morning, make sure that you do it at the same time.

There is no sense in pumping for 15 minutes and then trying it again in 15 minutes.

There won’t be enough milk in your breasts and you’ll just waste time trying to do something unrealistic.

On the other hand, there are moms who have so much milk at some point that they simply have to pump themselves more often. It also depends from woman to woman.

In case you need to pump more often, you can use a pumping bra and have your hands free at the same time. Cool, right?

There are some great Medela pumping bras that have helped new moms more than anything else during this sensitive period in their lives.

This one is my recommendation:

16. Stay hydrated

Another great tip for pumping more breast milk is drinking a lot of water. You need to take care of your diet and drink a lot of liquid, and the best would be just water.

That way, you’ll be able to produce more milk. And the more milk you pump, the more you’ll have, since pumping works on supply and demand.

Even when I go outside I carry this bottle with me to stay hydrated at all times:

The most important thing when breastfeeding or pumping is to eat healthily and to drink a lot of water, since you need to make up for all the milk that you’re pumping out.

Remember, you need to take care of yourself and be good to yourself so you’re able to be good to your baby as well.

17. Double pumping is the real deal

Double pumping results in more milk. So, why wouldn’t you do it when you have the chance? It’s much easier, it’s time-saving, and your little one is guaranteed to get enough milk.

This is really great for working moms who don’t have time for themselves. So, while they double pump they can apply makeup or comb their hair.

When you double pump, you’re extracting more milk because of the double stimulation.

Many moms couldn’t believe this was possible until they tried it themselves. And you know what? It really works.

So, if you want more time for yourself, if you feel that you’re pumping the whole day, or if you’re stressed out about your baby getting enough milk, try double pumping.

Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Above I already mentioned a double pumping bra, but here are some other great alternatives:

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

18. Use a breast shield for breastfeeding

If you have sore nipples and if they sometimes bleed because the position is not right, you can try a breast shield.

Many moms swear by Medela breast shields:

The catch when using a shield is that your baby won’t irritate the area around the nipple and the nipple will stay as it is.

I know that I had so many problems after I gave birth to my first baby. My nipples were so irritated; they hurt and were bleeding.

After using some nipple cream to recover, I started using the breast shields and it never happened to me again.

Also, if someone explains to you what the right position is for nursing a baby, it can prevent you from nipple pain.

So, always educate yourself and ask as many questions as you want. That’s the only way to learn something properly.

19. Make sure you have a high-quality breast pump

One thing that you need to take time for is choosing the right pump. If you’re not planning to pump a lot, a manual pump will be enough for you.

But if you intend on pumping several times per day, it’s better to buy an electric pump.

Buying a double pump is better than buying a single one.

It saves time and you get more milk because you’re pumping from both breasts, which increases the level of prolactin – the hormone essential for milk production.

There are many models from the Medela collection that are of a high quality and many moms have told me they are satisfied with them.

Here is a list of some cheaper solutions than Medela or Spectra:

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Also, if you don’t have a budget for a new pump, you can borrow one from a mom who isn’t using it.

But the most important thing is that it is of high quality and you feel comfortable while pumping milk.

If you want to make sure you’re still pumping enough milk for your little one while out of the house and on the move, you’re going to need a breast pump bag.

20. Don’t quit

woman breast pumping milk

No matter how hard it can sometimes be, don’t quit. Just think about all the pros your milk has on your baby.

Your milk is the first antibiotic that your baby gets when they start breastfeeding. It helps their immune system to develop, meaning a healthier baby.

I know that you’ll sometimes be tired and that nothing will make sense, especially if you have low milk supply, but please don’t give up.

The best tip on how to pump more breast milk is simply not giving up.

Everything will pass and one day when you forget all the problems, you’ll be happy that you were persistent in your call and that you didn’t give up.

If you feel that you can’t do it by yourself anymore, reach out to someone to talk to. You’re just a mom – you’re not a superhero – you need some support.

In this sensitive period of your life, it’s very important to have someone who’ll be there for you and help you overcome it all much easier.

Like this post? Please share or pin it for later. You can also stay in the loop and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Pinterest How To Pump More Breast Milk

We love honesty! Find Your Mom Tribe is an Amazon Associate and we earn from qualifying purchases through affiliate links at no extra cost to you. Please see our full Amazon Affiliate disclosure for more information.

Sharing is caring!

Shelby @Fitasamamabear

Friday 15th of February 2019

I love this tips! With my first everything was a mess but with my second I found it easier to relax when I pumped, I thought of her and it made a big difference. My first I was super stressed about it - not helpful.

Marianna

Tuesday 26th of February 2019

Thank you! And, you're right...relaxation is key! :)

Monica

Friday 9th of February 2018

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.

Marianna

Sunday 11th of February 2018

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!

Amanda

Wednesday 7th of February 2018

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?

Marianna

Thursday 8th of February 2018

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

Samantha

Monday 18th of December 2017

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!

Marianna

Thursday 21st of December 2017

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! :)

Amie

Friday 24th of November 2017

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.

Marianna

Saturday 25th of November 2017

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