Breastfeeding and Pumping Tips

Tips for keeping your milk supply up and baby and mommy happy and healthy.




  • Try to pump at the same times every day, preferably at intervals no longer than 3 to 4 hours apart.
  • Nurse as frequently as possible when you’re with the baby.  Try to avoid cutting night feedings.  Or, if your baby is sleeping for long stretches at night, pump in place of a feeding.  Pumping first thing in the morning is also recommended since this is generally when your milk supply is at its highest level.
  • Many women find they can not pump enough during the day to provide adequate milk for all that the baby needs.  So build up a stockpile in the freezer before going back to work, and try to maintain it by pumping on days off, nights, and weekends.  Once the baby starts solids, try to keep them to a minimum on the days you're with her and nurse as much as possible.  On the other hand, your caregiver can give the baby more solids so as to use less breast milk.  The same goes for water:  don't give the baby any water when you’re with her, but, rather, just nurse instead (unless it’s very hot out or if your pediatrician advises otherwise).
  • Try to maintain as flexible a work schedule as possible.
  • Pump using the right size flange (there are different sizes).
  • Be sure to follow CDC guidelines about How to Keep Your Breast Pump Clean


And from another discussion with a mom having difficulties pumping...

As the original poster writes:

"I have been pumping 3x/Day since mid-April and have noticed that in the past week, I have been expressing less milk. Although this may be a result of a lower supply, it seems to be more a result of an inefficient pump, as I still seem to have milk left in me after I end my pumping session (about 15-20 minutes, waiting until milk isn't being expressed for about 2 minutes before I stop). I have a Medela Pump In Style that I bought in November. Until mid-April, when I returned to work, I used the pump at most 1x/Day. It's very frustrating, and then I stress that my body just won't produce as much because I'm not emptying myself. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated."




Thank you so much to all of you who responded to my plea for help. All of the suggestions are summarized below, and all are very helpful. I will be taking advantage of many of these.

  • Many suggested switching pumps: (a) Rent a hospital grade pump from Boing Boing (and other places), which are more efficient and quicker; (b) Ameda pump worked better for 1 mom; (c) Avent Isis hand-pump worked better for another; (d) Medela manual pump fit another mom better. And one mom suggested cutting the ends of the tubes because they might not be tight enough and so may not be getting the right amount of suction.
  • Many folks suggested replacing the white membranes, which apparently wear out over time. One mom replaces them every month.
  • Getting your breastshields checked (one mom suggested returning to hospital where you gave birth to avoid paying a private lactationconsultant).
  • Breaking up a longer session (15-20 min) into 2 shorter ones, which allows for another let down, using the Medela PIS.
  • A few moms suggested what looks like a great resource: yahoo pumpmoms listserve. And another suggested Kelly Mom, particularly this article which is very informative.
  • Massaging breasts during pumping, working hands down and out towards the horn.
  • Using maximum pressure on the pump (may need to work up to it).
  • Recognize that supply just dips if you are exclusively or primarily just pumping, if baby is on solids, if mom is menstruating. And pumping isn't as efficient as is nursing.
  • Changing the way one nurses: in the mornings, I would let the baby nurse on one side exclusively to fully empty out that breast, and then pump the other one , which was really full. Then, when I pumped at work,both breasts would fill up pretty well again after that.
  • If it's a supply issue: (a) EAT, EAT, EAT. You have to eat to produce milk - burgers & fries and pasta helped one mom. Drink lots of milk and eat oatmeal; (b) drink plenty of water; (c) pump at least 3times a day at work (this isn't practical for me, unfortunately); (d) marathon feed your baby on the weekends; (e) fenugreek; (f) mother's milk tea; (g) try to relax and not stress; (h) More Milk Plus tincture (the version with grain alcohol) used as directions on bottle recommend. My own two cents: review the archives because there are recent posts on this topic.


PUMPING AT WORK? Read what working moms say about how to pump at work when breastfeeding HERE