Pumping is a great way to boost your breast milk supply.
Whether you’re having to delay breastfeeding or you’re returning to work, a breast pump allows you to provide your baby with all the health benefits of breast milk even when you can’t nurse. To increase your breast milk supply while pumping, use these time-tested tips and strategies.
Choose a high-quality double electric breast pump.
Breast pumps are covered by health insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, so you can pick the best one for your purpose without stressing about price tags. The Elvie Stride, the Motif Luna, and the BabyBuddha are our three most popular double electric breast pumps. They all make double-pumping possible, and the Stride can be tucked directly into your nursing bra so you can pump anywhere without having to plug into a wall.
Customize the pump for your body.
Once you’ve found a pump you like, test the pump flanges that cover your breasts and nipples to make sure they fit you properly. If breast flanges are too large or too small, it can make pumping uncomfortable, damage breast tissue, and limit your milk flow. If the flange that comes with your pump doesn’t fit, find one that does. Most pump manufacturers advise that the nipple should extend about halfway down the flange without touching the sides. Very little areola should be pulled into the flange.
Find your maximum comfortable vacuum.
In the medical study Importance of Vacuum for Breastmilk Expression, researchers found that breast milk flow was greater and cream content was higher when mothers pumped at their maximum comfortable vacuum. To find your maximum comfortable vacuum, increase your pump’s suction gradually until it becomes uncomfortable. Then, back it down to your comfort zone. That is your maximum comfortable vacuum.
Many studies have shown that emotional distress in mothers inhibits the let‐down reflex. This, in turn, can lead to breast milk flow disruptions and reduced breast milk volume. However, a systematic review of scientific literature conducted in 2017 found that relaxation therapy can boost breast milk production and improve expression. Consider incorporating meditation or at least a little quiet downtime into your pumping practice to improve your pumping outcomes and feel better.
Pumping frequently tells your body that it needs to make more milk. If you’re still breastfeeding, pump after nursing sessions to completely empty both breasts. If you’re pumping exclusively, empty both breasts every two to three hours to stimulate breast milk production.
Keep eating (and drinking) for two.
Your breast milk is only as healthy as your diet, so keep eating foods rich in nutrients while you’re pumping. Drink plenty of fluids, too, as pumping pulls a good deal of water out of your body. It’s easy to get dehydrated if you’re not paying attention, and that can take a toll on your breast milk production and quality.
Get the perfect breast pump to improve your pumping experience and boost your breast milk supply.
Not sure which pump is right for you? It’s true. We’ve got lots of options for new moms to choose from. If you’re not sure which pump would best meet your needs, or if you need some reassurances about what your insurance will cover, give our experts a call. We’re all moms who have been there and done that. We’re happy to offer our assistance and advice based on our decades of experience.