Pumping milk with a breast pump is something that most mothers are facing at some point during breastfeeding. Whether you are going out for a few hours or you are going back to work and want to leave milk for your baby.
It’s always got to know some of the following tricks and even more so if these are getting you to express more milk. Here are some hints for getting more milk with a breast pump:
Brands: something to keep in mind
As with other products like cars or household appliances, there are many brands of breast pumps on the market and they have different performance characteristics. It is true that there are mothers who pump milk very easily and can get out a good amount even with the worst breast pump on the market. But there are brands that take more care of their breast pump offerings and imitate better the sucking motion of the baby through the reproduction of the sucking cycles and the power of pumping. On the other hand, the less effective breast pumps only perform the vacuum continuously (by repeatedly pulling on the nipple) which can cause pain. So, whenever possible, assessing and comparing some brands is not too bad.
Size do matters
Related to the previous point, the most effective breast pumps have different cup sizes. Women do not have a standard nipple size; there are women with small, large, very large nipples… And for each type it is necessary to have the right cup. An inadequate cup can hinder the extraction and damage the nipple. To know which cup is the right one it is necessary to measure the diameter of the face of the nipple at rest and add 2mm.
The ideal environment
Having the same location for pumping is not always possible, although it may help to get a little more milk. Creating a routine is going to make it easier for our bodies to get used to pumping.
Two things at once
When babies are small you can take advantage of time and facilitate the extraction, breastfeeding while using the breast pump.
The ejection reflex that is obtained when the baby suckles from one breast, facilitates the extraction with the opposite breast pump. This technique ceases to work when babies get older because they are struck by the breast pump, the noise it makes… and it is impossible to do both at the same time.
If your baby is less than three months old, you can use the time you are breastfeeding to express milk from the opposite breast. In this way, the let-down reflex of the milk produced by the baby at suckling, which affects both breasts, allows you to express milk more easily.
One hour later
About an hour after the baby has breastfeed, it may be easier for the mother to get milk. The breast is a factory and works tirelessly so that whenever the baby asks for milk, there is milk. The baby can express milk much more effectively than a breast pump, even though it is the best on the market, so what is complicated for the breast pump is to get an ejection reflex (output) of the milk. If we let a while pass to do the pumping we can get a little more milk.
It is very necessary to perform a good massage on the breasts before starting the extraction. A good previous massage of the breasts stimulates the ejection reflex (exit) of the milk before beginning with the pumping and this favors that it is easier to collect milk.
Repeat, repeat, repeat
To get more milk it is better to pump several times a day than once a day for longer. In this way, if throughout the day we take advantage of pumping for 5-7 minutes every hour or every two hours, we will get more milk than pumping one hour in a row throughout the day.
Smell, see, touch
The ejection reflex (let-down) of milk is not only produced by the suckling of the baby. Oxytocin is activated by stimuli: olfactory, visual and tactile… like this: touching, smelling and seeing the baby’s things should make it easier to express milk.
- For mothers who have their premature babies in the hospital it will be much easier to get milk if they have their baby next to them.
All at once
It has been shown that a very useful way to get more milk is to do it all at once:
- Start with a good breast massage
- Continue breast pump extraction
- Performing breast compression while using the breast pump
- Finish with manual extraction
- Not controlling… with a good soundtrack
- Being aware of the amount of milk that comes out during pumping does not help the mother to relax. So it’s best, if possible, to be distracted during the pumping: watching TV, listening to music, reading… For some women, the noise of the breast pump makes them nervous. If it’s annoying, it’s best to avoid it. So put on headphones and listen to music that we like very much, it will make everything more relaxed and simple.
If you have more tricks we’ll be happy to hear them and share them.