Are you a new mom who is struggling to produce enough milk for your baby? You are not alone. Some moms have a hard time producing enough milk for their babies, and others just never get the hang of it. If this sounds like you, don’t worry! There are many ways that will help boost your supply so that you can feed your baby with ease. In this blog post, we’ll cover 10 different ways to increase milk supply by pumping!
Pumping can help you improve milk production if you need a short boost to create a freezer stockpile or if you have a poor supply.
It is a nursing fact that most mothers produce enough milk for their babies to develop normally. However, one of the most common reasons a woman discontinues nursing is that she believes she does not have enough milk.
How to Increase Milk Supply By Pumping
Double pumping is the best way to increase milk supply. When pumping, use a pump with a let-down setting and drink plenty of fluids. Try to pump every two hours. Pump both breasts when nursing your baby. If your baby only eats from one breast, you can pump the other side while she feeds. Invest in a good pump.
Why Make More Milk?
There are lots of reasons why you might want to make more milk. Whether it’s to get over a temporary drop in your milk supply or just boost your freezer stash for future use. You could also be one of the many moms who have a low milk supply and are looking for long term tips to help increase your milk supply.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways you can increase your milk. One of the best-known ways is to pump (either with a breast pump or manually). However, merely pumping arbitrarily here and there may have only limited if any, consequences. When utilizing pumping to enhance milk production, it is critical to have a strategic approach.
We’ve conducted detailed research with moms who needed help over the last few years and are now sharing with you the top tips to make pumping work when it comes to increasing your milk.
Does Pumping Help Produce More Milk?
Yes! If done right. Pumping stimulates your body to produce more milk, by completely emptying your breast (something your baby rarely does), your body gets the message simply to make more milk. It thinks your baby is going through a growth spurt so it starts producing more milk to satisfy your baby. But, don’t do this in a sporadic manner.
Timing – Don’t Leave it Too Long After a Feed!
You should always pump right after you have fed your baby. Don’t leave it longer than 15 minutes after your baby has fed. This is important as you don’t want to leave it too long and reduce the milk available for your baby on the next feed. If you can’t do it within 15 minutes, then leave it, you will do more harm than good by pumping after this time.
Pump More Often
Little and often is much better when it comes to pumping to increase supply. We recommend up between 4-8 times a day to increase. Yes, 8 times! However, do this in balance. There is no point spending all day pumping and missing those vital cuddles with your baby! If this is you, relax a little and cut the pumping sessions down to a manageable limit.
Pump After Feeding
Always pump after you have fed, never before. As we stated above if you pump before you are just taking away your child’s food! Always just take the leftovers, never the starters or main meal!
After a feed, if you keep pumping your breasts are stimulated. The more they have stimulated the more your brain releases the hormone prolactin. This is vital as the more prolactin is released, the more milk you make!
A baby only ever takes about three-quarters of the milk in your breasts. If you leave that extra 20-25% in there, your body is fooled into thinking it has made enough. If you then pump out every last drop, your body realises that it needs to make more milk.
The longer you leave it after feeding the more milk you will get, but all you are doing is taking from the next meal. You want your body to think this is still the same meal, hence the need to pump within 15 minutes of feeding your baby!
Tips to Pump More Milk
It’s one thing to pump to get more milk, but another huge help is to get more milk when you pump! There are several ways of getting more milk each time you pump and research by Stanford University shows that the best way to make the most milk is to COMBINE hand techniques with an electric breast pump.
Hand techniques or hands-on pumping is when you massage, compress, massage, compress your breasts as you are pumping. You are giving your breast a deep massage to help reach all parts and help the milk flow. The researchers also proved that not only did this method help produce MORE milk, but it also increased the caloric content of the milk is produced, a double win!
In order to to the hand techniques method, you will need a hands free pumping bra or tank top to do this as you will need both hands free to massage and compress.
You may also find lactating massagers help with both the milk let down and flow, as the vibrating massers help and do the same job as the hand’s technique in massaging and compressing. You can also get massage rollers to help when doing this hands technique.
Length of Time Pumping – 5-20 Rule!
Another thing to consider is how long you are breast pumping. You should always do it for about 15 minutes. Our guides are never less than 5 and never longer than 20 minutes. The more you pump, the more your brain releases the hormone prolactin, and the more prolactin = the more milk you have.
Prolactin is the hormone responsible for milk production in both mothers. Breast pumping also releases oxytocin, which is the hormone that helps with contractions of the uterus. This is important as it helps to expel the milk from your breasts.
If you pump more than 20 minutes, not only are you stopping prolactin release, you are also causing your body to release cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone and too much of it will have a negative impact on milk production!
Trigger a Let Down
The more you pump, the more likely you are to trigger another letdown. A letdown is what happens when the milk starts to flow and it can be triggered by many things like hearing your baby cry, seeing them or even just thinking about them.
Some women find that if they pump for a certain amount of time, they are more likely to get a letdown. For others, it is all about using the correct breast pump or massager. There are some women who find that they need to pump in a certain way or use a particular technique to get the letdown.
Power pumping is a common way of increasing milk production. Pumping frequently for a period of time, usually, an hour to an hour and a half is referred to as power pumping. It is usually done once every day.
Power pumping is modeled after cluster feeding, which is when a baby feeds more frequently in a short period of time. This stimulates the breasts to produce more milk. When you power pump, you are trying to simulate cluster feeding.
You should aim to do this for one hour to one and a half hours. You can break it up into two 30 minute sessions, or three 20 minute sessions.
During the time you are power pumping, you should use an electric breast pump and follow these steps :
- Pump for ten minutes
- Take a ten minute break
- Pump for another ten minutes
- Take a ten minute break
- Pump for another ten minutes
- Take a ten minute break
- Pump for the last ten minutes
You should also use the hand techniques method during this time. And relax! Put on some music, Netflix, anything to pass the time away and keep you chilled.
The 15 x 4 Power Pumping Method
This method is like the power pump method above, but rather than a solid 70-minute block of pumping, you should pump for 15 minutes every hour for four hours, hence the 15 x 4 method. This method is ideal for working moms who can pump once an hour at work.
You don’t have to worry about scheduling feedings if you solely pump. If you are breastfeeding, you should practice power pumping when your infant is going through a lengthy period between feeds. It’s best to power pump in the evening when your baby is initially falling asleep and has been sleeping for at least four hours.
Pump BOTH Breasts
Pumping both breasts raises prolactin levels, resulting in more milk. It’s as if you’re informing your body that you’re attempting to breastfeed twins. The International Journal of Nursing Studies research concluded that double-breast pumping always obtained higher milk volumes against all other options. So when looking at breast pumps, ensure you get a double pump option!
You can either opt to pump both or pump the other breast whilst you feed your baby on one. Pumping when nursing is beneficial for the same reasons that double pumping is beneficial. While twice the stimulation does not always result in twice the amount of milk, it does typically result in more milk.
If your baby normally feeds from both breasts, you should pump the first breast after she has fed on the first side and while she is eating on the second side. If your baby only eats from one breast, you can pump the other side while she feeds.
Double pumping also helps clear out the breastmilk that was missed earlier or has been sitting in the ducts for a while.
Have Efficient Breast Pumps
Just like anything in life, having working fully efficient breast pumps will be a lot more effective than old, sub-standard pumps. Like any bit of machinery, pumps need maintaining and many parts will need to be changed frequently. Old worn-out pumps will just result in a lot less milk being extracted. Ensure all parts are in working order and your pump is working to its best ability.
Old worn-out pumps will reduce your pumping capabilities so it’s worth investing in a good pump that will save you a lot of time, effort and stress!
You could even think about renting or purchasing a new pump. Renting a hospital-grade pump for a few weeks can help increase your milk supply and pumping volume.
If you’ve been using your pump as a workhorse and test out a rental and find a significant difference, you might want to consider investing in a new pump.
Get a Pump With a Let Down Setting
It’s worth investing in a pump that has a letdown setting and using this when pumping to help produce more milk. If your pump has a let-down option or you can increase the frequency of your cycles, you can possibly induce several let-downs.
Let down occurs when the hormone oxytocin is released from the brain, causing the milk ducts to constrict. This aids in the movement of the milk down and out. When the letdown reflex is stimulated, it should result in a faster milk flow.
When your baby starts sucking while you’re nursing, he or she isn’t generally swallowing immediately away. They begin swallowing quite quickly all of a sudden. This is due to your milk “letting down.” Milk ejection reflex, or MER, is the medical name for this.
If you try it and observe more milk being pumped for a minute or two, you’ll know it’s working.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Along with pumping, you need to drink plenty of fluids. This will help keep your body hydrated and will help with milk production.
Water is best, but you can also drink juice, tea, or other drinks that are
So there you have it, our top tips for pumping to increase milk supply. We hope that at least one of these techniques work for you and you see an improvement in your milk production very soon.
Pumping to increase milk supply is not an easy task, but it is definitely worth it! By following these tips, you can ensure that you are getting the most out of your pumping sessions and increasing your milk supply in no time!