Let’s Get Pumped Up Mamas: Top Tips for Pumping

Jun 10, 2020
  • It’s important to understand the milk making theory of Supply and Demand. This basically means to make lots of milk you will need to empty the breasts often (the demand) throughout the day/night to make more milk (the supply). By frequently emptying the breasts by pumping or breastfeeding tells the milk making factory to keep up with the amount of milk that your baby needs. For the first few months pump or breastfeed at least 8-10x/day or every 2-3 hours for 15-20 minutes on both breasts.


  • If your baby isn’t breastfeeding then you have to pump to tell your body to make milk. 


  • Check to see if your health insurance will cover a pump. If so, see what your options are and pick the right kind of pump for you (i.e. manual hand pump, single use electric pump, or a hospital grade pump). Do not buy or use a used pump. Personal use pumps are meant to be used by one person and they are only good for so many hours of use. 


  • Make sure you know how to use your breast pump and that you understand all the settings. Take a look at the pump manual or check out  Baby’s Best Beginning YouTube channel which it a great resource to teach you about the different pumps and how to use them. There are different programs on the pumps and settings for the letdown/massage mode.  They are both especially important to understand to be successful with pumping. 


  • A good time to start pumping is ~3-4 weeks to start milk collection if you are going back to work. It is a myth that you need a freezer full of milk . The recommendation is 50-60 ounces. When you are back to work you will be using your freshly pumped milk first before you use the frozen supply. 


  • Pump regularly. Pumping after the morning feeding or after a nice warm shower is a great time to start collecting milk. Pump for 10 min sometime within 30 min after breastfeeding.


  • Flange (breast shield) size and type matter! Helpful Tips-the size of the flange has nothing to do with your breast size. It does have to do with the size of your nipple diameter. You may even need two different size flanges based on the size of your nipples. Your flange size may change over time as well. Always make sure the nipple is in the center of the flange before you turn the pump on, the nipple should have good movement in the tunnel, the nipple should not be rubbing, have a red ring or look super tight like a squashed sausage. It is helpful to use coconut oil applied to the nipple to help it to glide easier. Nipple stretching=more milk. Nipple tissue is dynamic meaning it stretches, elastic nipples may need a special kind of flange (Pumping Pals or the BeauGen cushions often work well), if the flange is too big, a lot of the areola will be pulled into the tunnel or you will see gapping or cupping at the top of the flange. 


  • Before pumping, take a couple of minutes to massage the breasts lightly and hand express a couple of drops of milk. This helps to bring blood supply to the breasts and help the milk flow easier. 


  • Double pump if at all possible. This creates more stimulation to your brain and it is more efficient. If you can’t, try to switch back and forth rather than stay on one side for 15-20 minutes then switch. 


  • After 10 days to 2 weeks a normal milk supply is 24-32 ounces per day.


  • If you are breastfeeding well, you can use the HaaKaa on the opposite breast while you are breastfeeding your baby on the other breast. 


  • Sensory Pumping-use all 5 of your senses when you pump. Be present to what you are looking at, hearing, smelling, tasting and that wonderful sense of touch when you are pumping. 


  • RELAX and get COMFORTABLE! Put your mind on something else while pumping (i.e. Netflix, the internet, a book, music, game on your phone, catch up on emails, etc.).


  • Pumping should NOT HURT. Don’t press the flanges into your breast so the it compresses the breast tissue. Rather hold it comfortably against your body. Set the suction to where it feels like a pulling and tugging. Cranking the suction up doesn’t mean you will get more milk especially if it hurts. 


  • Use your hands to massage while you are pumping. It is helpful to use a hands free bra. You can also use heat or vibration while pumping. Hand express afterwards to see if there is any milk left in the breasts that the pump did not get out. 


  • Make sure you are well hydrated (your urine is pale yellow or clear), take your prenatal vitamins, eat a balanced diet with enough protein, DHA, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and Omega -3 rich foods (i.e. fish oil, leafy greens, kale, collards, bok choy, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, legumes, salmon, herring and codfish). Be sure you are practicing good self-care to help decrease your stress and try to get enough rest. 


  • During those first few months, try not to go longer than 5 hours at night between emptying your breasts by pumping or breastfeeding. 


  • Always wash your hands before pumping. Wipe down your pump daily and change your pump parts every 3-6 months. 


  • The CDC recommends that you clean your pump parts in hot soapy water after each use and sanitize one time per day. Having an extra pump kit can be really helpful with this. 



Happy pumping Mamas! You got this!

Want a FREEBIE to help keep your milk supply up?
Click HERE to get access to the FREE Mini Milk Boosting eBook!

If you liked what you read and would like to learn more, I would love for you to join the Baby’s Best Beginning community! 


Here are all the ways to connect… 


Baby’s Best Beginning YouTube 

Baby’s Best Beginning Face Book 

Baby’s Best Beginning Instagram


With love & gratitude,


Let’s be (.)(.) Breast Pen Pals!

Stay connected with news and updates!

Get the latest news on upcoming classes and the latest blog posts.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.

Supporting moms. Nurturing babies. Overcoming challenges.