Breast Pumps: Getting Mega Milk with a Manual Pump

Cynthia Dermody
2
baby licking breast pump

Photo by vincenzio101407

Some women prefer manual breast pumps when breastfeeding, or they just can't afford the electric ones. The good ones are pricey -- upward of $200. But manuals take some work and skill.

Here are some tips from members of the Breastfeeding Moms group on how to get the most milk out of a manual pump:

-- 1 to 2 ounces is average, so don't beat yourself up if you can't fill a 4 ounce bottle. Start off with a low suction, and gradually make it stronger.

-- Don't pump too fast thinking it will help ... it only hurts yourself.

-- Breast massage and nipple stretching before pumping, continued massage while pumping.

-- Visualizing a snow-capped mountain with the snow melting and running down turning into a stream of flowing water.

-- Record your baby cooing and/or crying while looking at a picture of your baby.

-- For me, warming the unused breast while pumping the other helped. I used a "corn sack,"  the round bit from inside of a Corn Sack Critter, in one side of my bra while pumping the other. I would pump one breast for 5-10 minutes, tilting the flange to put more pressure on different parts of the breast while doing breast compressions, breast massage, etc. Then I'd switch and pump the other breast for 5-10 minutes before switching back again. I'd keep doing this until each breast had been pumped five times. 

-- Drinking hot tea also helps. Especially if it's nursing mom's tea/Mother's Milk tea. Add honey if you don't like the taste. Drink it while pumping. The warmth helped me relax.

-- I also varied my position. I'd lean into the pump (gravity helped), then push the pump up against my breast (compression helped) and I'd get more milk out of a breast that was otherwise refusing to give up the milk.

Do you use a manual pump or an electric pump -- is it a matter of choice or price? What are you tips for getting the most milk?

 

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