Breast Pumps: Getting Mega Milk with a Manual Pump

Cynthia Dermody
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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baby gear, breastfeeding, work