If you are anything like me, you will track how much breast milk is pumped at every session. Throughout the day, you will notice that your milk output will fluctuate with the time of day and the overall success of a pumping session. How can you be more successful every pumping session? Well, the simple answer would be: have the properly fitting flange AND try some simple things to help. Let’s dive in!

Have you tried rotating the flange?

  • PumpinPal flanges can be rotated to customize the fit.
  • Rotating the flange can help customize your nipple position as well as stimulate the breast in a different way.
  • Everyone has their own angle, so try to find yours! 45 degrees? Something else?

For myself, when I was exclusively pumping this last journey, I used the Medium rotated 180 degrees. However, I have seen pumping parents make it their own story by finding the angle that works best for them.

increasing pumping output by rotating Pumpin Pal flange

Hands-on pumping

Some fantastic research has been done on the efficacy of using your hands when pumping. In face, according to a study done by Morton et. all (2019), using your hands will help you yield up to 48% more milk than pumping without using your hands. 

  • Start out by first making sure that you have the properly fitting flange. If you need some guidance finding the right size, reach out to us!
  • Use a good, supportive pumping bra in order to have your hands free.
  • Make sure that you are deep within the flange by applying the flange during the long suction.
  • Imagine you massaging around your breast, like a hand on a clock would be doing. HERE is a great video on hands-on pumping.
  • Massage both breasts.
  • Double pump.
  • Stop pumping and repeat massage.
  • Single pump and/or hand express.
  • Alternate sides (left to right to left, etc.).

Still need help? Again, we are here to support you!

breast massage

Really try to relax

It sounds simple enough…just relax! It really is something that would be beneficial to try. 

  • Allow yourself to have a comfortable area to pump
  • If possible, allow for the pumping area to be as peaceful as possible
  • Dimming the lights can often provide a sense of calmness
  • Have a glass of water or your favorite beverage within your reach
  • Close your eyes and really try to breathe with the purpose of relaxation

You really are looking to ensure that your “fight or flight” hormone isn’t impeding the wonderful hormonal pathways that are laid down during lactation and ensure that your milk supply remains where it needs to be. You are looking to really help the Oxytocin and Prolactin do their special jobs, instead of being impeded by the stress hormone.

Envision the milk flowing

It may seem silly, but your state of mind is important when pumping. A lot of times, your body gets conditioned to a certain stimuli when pumping and your body is responsive to your mental state.

  • Close your eyes and envision the milk flowing into the collection bottle
  • Don’t stare at every drop that goes into the bottle, allow yourself to mentally navigate to not fixating on that

Oftentimes, something simple like this can really make a world of difference. It’s worth a shot, right?

How music plays a part

Have you heard of music therapy while pumping? Well, it’s truly something that has been studied and shown to help reduce stress in pumping parents of NICU babies, while supporting a better milk yield when pumping.

  • Research was done on NICU pumping parents who incorporated music within their pumping routine.
  • Those who listened to the music when pumping yielded more milk overall than those who did not.

So, jam out to your favorite music; or, choose some relaxation sounds. Whatever works for you.

Using your five senses

Believe it or not, our five senses really play a large role in pumping. Your body begins to make connections between a particular stimuli and a result.

  • For example, smelling something that your baby has worn can really help with improving your milk output.
  • Another example would be seeing a photo or video of your little one while pumping has been shown to help increase milk output.

Tying it all together

These are simple things that you can incorporate into your pumping sessions. Why not, right?

Efficiently draining the breasts is vital to maintaining a good milk supply. We hope that these tips can be helpful in you maximizing your pumping yield. Keep in mind that everyone’s journey is unique and what works for someone, may not work well for you. However, exploring these tips can help with ensuring you are pumping at your best.

Resources

Ak, J., Lakshmanagowda, P. B., G C M, P., & Goturu, J. (2015). Impact of music therapy on breast milk secretion in mothers of premature newborns. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR, 9(4), CC04–CC6. https://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2015/11642.5776

Daniels, R. D. (2006). Quiet Moments for Mothers: Pumping. Journal of Human Lactation, 22(2), 232+. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A149661179/AONE?u=anon~b2aca81b&sid=googleScholar&xid=4255ed36

Morton, J., Hall, J. Y., Wong, R. J., Thairu, L., Benitz, W. E., & Rhine, W. D. (2009). Combining hand techniques with electric pumping increases milk production in mothers of preterm infants. Journal of perinatology : official journal of the California Perinatal Association, 29(11), 757–764. https://doi.org/10.1038/jp.2009.87

Stanford Medicine. (2022). https://med.stanford.edu/newborns/professional-education/breastfeeding/maximizing-milk-production.html

Varişoğlu, Y., & Güngör Satilmiş, I. (2020). The Effects of Listening to Music on Breast Milk Production by Mothers of Premature Newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: A Randomized Controlled Study. Breastfeeding medicine : the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, 15(7), 465–470. https://doi.org/10.1089/bfm.2020.0027