12 Tips On How to Increase Breast Milk Supply While Pumping
I often get mails from harried moms asking me...
"How to increase breast milk supply when pumping?"
"I am an exclusive pumper and I want to increase my milk production. Please help me!!"
"Please tell me some tips to pump more breast milk"
When I was exclusively pumping for my babies, I also ran in to the problem of lower milk supply. Thankfully, I got lot of correct suggestions which helped me increase milk production enough to feed my babies.
Encouraged by the questions and my own success, I decided to answer this using the post so that all exclusively pumping mothers can know how to produce more milk.
Breast feeding is a privilege that only women can experience. Sometimes, a mother is unable to breastfeed her baby. In such cases mother can pump milk using a manual or an electrical breast pump and feed her baby the stored breast milk. This way the baby gets all the nutrition from mother’s breast milk.
For exclusive pumpers pumping there is always a challenge to establish and maintain the milk supply. Since the body doesn’t get the cues like a baby sucking the nipples, some mom may have trouble with let-down reflex.
Few moms also experience low breast milk supply due to various physical and psychological issues. Regardless of what’s causing your low breast milk supply, these tips will hopefully keep up your milk supply when pumping.
Top Tips to Increase Milk Production
Anxiety can thwart your body's capacity to release breast milk. Whenever you want to pump milk, go to a place which is quiet, peaceful and where you can relax for a while. Any sort of stress can inhibit the let-down reflex in moms thus resulting in low milk supply. Imagine your baby sucking you. It works wonders.
If you’re at work, go to a separate room away from your colleagues and try looking at your baby’s pictures. This will prompt your instincts to guide your body to start releasing milk. My office was kind enough to give me a separate room away from the noise and distractions of a busy office. 🙂
If you’re at home, keep your (sleeping) baby near you.
If music relaxes you then put on a soothing track and ease your mind.
I swear by yoga. Try some pranayama exercises or meditation routines to calm your mind. These practices will help your in long term in overcoming and preventing many health issues.
The key is to not fret about your low milk supply or any other issues. The pumping time should be your ‘ME’ time when nobody and nothing is allowed to disrupt your state of mind.
"STRESS can be your biggest enemy. Keep anxiety levels under control by using music, solitude, deep breathing and yoga."
2. Pump Regularly
The fact is the more you pump the more breast milk you'll produce. So if you ask me if how often you should pump breast milk to increase supply, I would say whenever you feel your breasts are full.
In case you're working 40 hours per week, attempt to pump for 15 minutes at regular intervals amid the workday. Read more about breast pumping schedule for exclusive pumpers.
When you pump your breast frequently it signals the body that more milk is needed which revs up the milk production. This is one of the best tips to produce more breast milk when pumping.
"Pump regularly & frequently. It signals body that more breast milk is needed which triggers more milk production"
3. Load up Calories
Lactating moms should eat energy rich food. In my personal experience I have found that as soon as I dropped calories, my milk supply suffered. I made it a point to follow the diet plan prepared by my dietitian.
I took plentiful of milk and vegetables along with oatmeal, porridge to shore up my calorie intake and increase milk production. If you're a vegan or have lactose intolerance you can drink almond milk or juice.
"Milk production is very energy intensive activity for a mother's body. Feed yourself energy rich nutrional food to enhance milk supply"
Apart from your diet, there are some supplements which can build up your milk production. Here is a list of supplements commonly available in our kitchens and can be used easily.
- Fenugreek: Add 1 tbsp. Fenugreek seeds to 2 liters of your drinking water and boil till the only 1 liter is left. Allow it to cool down and drink it throughout the day.
- Fennel Seed: Add 1 tbsp. Fennel seeds to 2 liters of your drinking water and boil till the only 1 liter is left. Allow it to cool down and drink it throughout the day.
- Asparagus powder: Add 1 tsp. of Asparagus powder to milk and drink it. It will boost milk supply.
- You can also use the below supplements which are a combination of all tried and tested supplements.
"Tried & tested supplements like fenugreek and asparagus fortify your body with many minerals and also helps in milk quantity "
5. Avoid or limit formula feedings
Feeding formula milk will diminish your infant's interest for breast milk. Thus, she will demand less breast milk, which in turn will bring down your milk production.
To keep up your milk supply, it's imperative to pump at whatever time your infant needs your expressed breast milk.
Keep in mind, the more you express while you're separated, the more milk you'll produce. You may likewise pump additional milk — either after or between breast feeding sessions — and store it for future use.
"Use formula milk only when it's an absolute necessity"
6. Drink lots of liquid
Water, milk and juice can help you to be hydrated. Breast milk is mainly water so it’s important that you drink plentifully. Coconut water restores body's electrolytes so can be taken once a day.
Limit soda, coffee and other stimulated beverages, however as they are diuretics. Diuretics promote urine production, which will further dehydrate your body and salt will be also be lost.
An excess of caffeine may prompt crabbiness or meddle with your infant's sleep pattern. In the event that you drink any caffeine laced drink, avoid expressing milk for a couple of hours.
"Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water, juices, coconut water and milk."
7. Buy an efficient double electric breast pump
Buy a reliable breast pump. Double electric pump models are the best. If you’re exclusive pumpers then it’s even more important that you buy an efficient and trusted electric pump.
I used a double breast pump - Medela Pump In style Advanced. It allows a mom to pump more milk as it has a unique 2 Phase Expression Technology which mimics how milk flows when baby is feeding.
Double electric breast pumps also cut down on the time and are more efficient as they massage & pump both breasts at the same time.
"A reliable & efficient breastpump is an exclusive pumping mom's bestfriend. Choose wisely..."
8. Use accessories to ease pumping
As I had the Medela Breast pump accessory set with the Simple wishes hands free pumping bra, I was never reluctant or lazy to start a pumping session. I will also suggest you to buy accessories which will lessen the hard work for you.
Very often moms start hating and postpone pumping sessions only because too much work and labor is involved.
Here are some accessories which can be very helpful for pumping mothers.
"Make pumping a less taxing affair by using breast pump accessories"
9. Pump both breasts till milk quits flowing
Pump both breasts until they appear to have stopped producing milk, then extend the pumping session by another 5-10 minutes.
By pumping past the typical time, you will signal your breasts to increase breast milk supply.
During the earlier days of my pumping, i used to stop even before my breasts were not fully empty. A lactation consultant gave me the above tip and it made a lot of difference!
Pump each half-hour at regular intervals. As your infant goes longer between feedings you can do likewise between pumping sessions.
"Extending your pumping session even by few minutes will signal the breasts to produce more milk the next time"
10. Take warm shower
Warm shower especially over your breasts trigger let-down reflex. For mothers who are a having a hard time expressing sufficient milk, a warm bath can be very helpful. You may notice visible effects with just 1 shower session.
"Taking a warm shower is a hack which is very popular with moms as it is pleasurable, easy and effective!"
Massage your breasts and manual express milk using your hands. This stimulates the breasts to release more milk. You can hand express milk before every breast pumping session for more milk.
"Massaging not only stimulates milk flow but also relaxes your body and mind."
12. Take care of sore nipples
Many times moms start avoiding pumping because of cracked and sore nipples. This can inhibit mill production.
"Intense pain and cracked nipples can discourage you from pumping. Use Lanolin cream to ease the problems."
Dont's to Increase Breast Milk Supply
Here are some don’ts which you should follow while you’re lactating or pumping
- Don’t drink caffeine laced products. This includes coffee and energy drinks.
- Don’t consume alcohol in any form.
- Don’t consume alcohol in any form.
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t take birth control pills.
- Don’t take medications without first checking out with your doctor.
When your baby depends on you for her food, it’s very imperative that we are responsible and careful about our lifestyle and habits. We cannot let our impulses and bad habits endanger the life of our baby which we brought to this world.
Author: Marissa Claire
Hi, I am Marissa. I am a wife of a very supportive husband and mother 3 precious kids. Even though my life is not picture perfect, I have too many blessings to be counted. I am an ordinary mom who has been through some tough times.
I have tried to collate the best information available and write personal & real reviews for the benefits of parents who are confused with the plethora of breast pumps available. I have made an effort to steer clear of technical jargons and used layman language which is understood by people like us.
Tags: alcohol, express milk, fennel seeds, fenugreek, How to Increase Breast Milk Supply While Pumping, low milk supply, oatmeal
Categorised in: Guide