10 Tips for Pumping More Breast Milk

#1 Get the right pump.

When it comes to pumping, the pump makes all the difference. Use a high quality double electric pump like Medela Pump in Style Advanced, Lansinoh Affinity, or Medela Freestyle. You can also rent a hospital grade pump to help you pump some extra oz each day.

#2 Pump as frequently as you can.

If you are at work, most likely you will only be able to pump 3 times a day. This may not mimic the nursing pattern your baby has at home, so you will want to pump a little extra while you are at home to help compensate. Try pumping right after you get out of the shower and right when you get home from work. You can add an extra 6-8 oz of breast milk right there.

#3 Pump twice to get an extra letdown.

When you sit down to pump massage your breasts and roll your nipples to help stimulate a letdown. Then pump. Once you see your milk flow is slowing down or stopped, take a break. Massage again, roll your nipples and pump again. This may stimulate a second letdown. It may only get you an oz or 2 extra, but every oz counts.

#4 Drink plenty of water.

You don't need to get carried away with the water, but make sure you are hydrated. About an hour before you are ready to pump, drink a large cup of water.

#5 Try Blessed Thistle or Fenugreek.

Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek are considered galactagogues. Galactoagogues are foods or herbs that help increase milk supply. Generally 3 capsules a day are recommended. You can also buy a tea to drink called Mother's Milk tea that contains Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek.

#6 Pump while nursing.

You can do this in the morning before work or on the weekends. Place your pump on the opposite breast that your baby is nursing on. You will get a really strong letdown when you pump and nurse at the same time. Once baby has emptied your breast, switch breasts and pump again. You may not get any additional milk at first but if you do this regularly, you may be able to get an extra oz or so from the opposite breast. This should give you enough milk for a full bottle for baby, if it is done routinely.

#7 Eat a healthy diet.

Now is not the time to diet. Eat a well-balanced diet to insure a healthy milk supply. Foods like oatmeal, carrots, and papaya aregreat for your milk supply.

#8 Bring your baby's blanket or picture to work.

Looking at your baby or smelling your baby's blanket may help to stimulate stronger letdown and help you to pump more milk.

#9 Have a nurse in.

If your supply has decreased when you are at home, try boosting your supply by having a weekend nurse in. Bring your baby to bed with you, if you can stay topless in the bed, and nurse as frequently as you can through the day and night to help give your supply a boost.

#10 Be smart with your stored milk so none goes to waste.

Instead of preparing 6 or 8 oz bottles try preparing 2 and 4 oz bottles. This way there isn't extra milk that could get left over and wasted. Once milk is thawed from the freezer it needs to be used so preparing smaller bottles (or freezer bags) may help with waste. Also, tell your caregiver to use the 2 oz bottles if you are going to arrive shortly. This way you can just nurse your baby instead of having your precious milk used up just before you get there.