Pump as high as comfy
Pump at your highest comfortable suction. Those same authors from University of Western Australia found that women pumping at their highest suction setting (that was comfortable) allowed them to express more milk than at a standard suction of -125mm Hg.
Try to avoid having pain or discomfort from pumping in the first place. This means getting the ‘right’ flange size, using an attachment that is designed to make pumping comfortable (see here for a list with pros and cons), and not dialling the suction up so high that it becomes uncomfortable. At Milkdrop, we routinely hear from women who have pain or damage around the areola and nipple from having the suction up high. They had thought that having higher suction would get them more milk – which is totally understandable if you’ve never used a pump before.
Replace your parts
Make sure your pump parts are replaced as recommended. As a rule of thumb, the softer the part, the more often it needs to be replaced. Each manufacturer is different but see here for a guide.
- Make sure that your breast shields are the correct size. Incorrect sizing causes pain and can also affect output.
- Do breast compressions. This can help push milk out of your milk ducts and make pumping more efficient.
Don’t look at the bottles – cover them with socks.
- Make sure to replace your pump parts regularly (especially valves). Suction can decrease over time.
An electric pump is typically the fastest way to express milk. Read here about the difference between electric and manual pumps if you’re not sure. Depending on how well pumping is going for you, sometimes a manual pump can be more efficient.
A quick way to improve your efficiency is to double pump. This means pumping both breasts at once. This works for many women, although if you find you really need hand compressions to get milk at all, then one at a time may actually be more efficient.
- how to pump - double vs single
- how to pump - getting letdown
- how to pump – hacks
- how to pump – volumes
- how to pump – efficiently
- how to pump – tips
- Volume hacks - to get more milk/relax – visuals
- how to pump – massage / hand express as you pump
- how to pump – positions
- check age of the pump parts – need to replace valves regularly, pump motor could wear out if very old
- how to pump – diet
- how to pump – power
- double the pump, half the time
- wearable pump
- something to remind you of your baby – photo, video, clothing to help w letdown