breast pumping tips + tricks | increasing supply

a couple weeks ago i put an SOS out on instagram to get some advice. we had gotten the date for piper’s 24 hour EEG…where i would be away from miller for over 24 hours while i was with her. i had been away from mills for a couple hours where he got a bottle or two…but i certainly didn’t have enough of a supply built up for him to have a bottle for 24 hours. i was kind of in panic mode and didn’t have much time {while also feeding him} to build up my stash.
i received SO many wonderful pieces of advice and i’m super excited to team up with motif medical today to bring you all my tips + tricks. i also should note that leading up to this event, i was extremely nervous about mills going through a growth spurt and we did decide to give him 1 oz of formula with each 5 oz of breast milk. i have run the gamut of exclusively breast feeding, pumping + bottle as well as formula with all 3 of our kids… at the end of the day, fed is best and i’m a firm believer that a fed baby is a happy baby.
if you are looking to increase your supply or simply looking to make pumping an easier more enjoyable experience, i’ve got you covered! most everything i have learned along the way are from fellow mama’s…we’re in this together, so if you have anything to add, please comment below!

breast pumping tips + tricks

finding the right pump

after breastfeeding + pumping for twins and now a singleton i’ve navigated my way around the pump. while there isn’t a ‘best pump’ for everyone, there is a ‘best pump for YOU. the pump i used with the girls was box-y, required me to be plugged into an outlet {or carry a very heavy battery pack} and was LOUD. i made it work but i hated pumping. when i had miller, i was introduced to the motif duo and without being dramatic, it changed my life. it’s lightweight {and i mean lightweight}, is rechargeable, small, and quiet. the best part is most insurance companies will cover the motif duo pump and the aeroflow breastpumps is there to help! they will do all the work for you {and let me tell you, it’s a ginormous pain} and they even have a beastpump specialist team to answer any questions you have..and even help you to find the right pump for you + your lifestyle!

increasing supply or building a stash

water, water, water

if there is ever a dip in your supply, this should be your go to. i can always tell a difference in my supply and if i haven’t had an adequate intake of water during the day, i will pay for it at night because mills will want that extra feeding. so how much water?? i’m not a doctor… but i try to stick to a gallon of water. do i meet it?? probably not…but i do drink a lot of coffee which i know decreases my supply so i try to follow coffee with a ginormous glass of water and just keep refilling. i can even sometimes get a 2nd letdown if i chug a huge glass of water while pumping/nursing! tip: i always get motivated with a new water bottle… this one is a fav, i love my straws!

power pumping

power pumping can be done a variety of different ways but is typically used to quickly increase supply. because breastfeeding works on supply + demand, you’re basically trying to stimulate your body to need more milk. to give an idea.. i typically will offer 2-3 ounces of breastmilk before bedtime which helps miller to sleep through the night. in order to get that, i usually pump after his first feeding in the morning since i usually have 2-3oz. more than he eats {assuming i drank enough water}. as soon as we found out i would be gone for 24 hours, i started power pumping after his last nursing session for the night {before his ‘dream feed’}. he would eat about 8pm and then i would ‘power pump’ from 830-930. i got hooked up, pumped for 20 minutes, break for 10 minutes, pump 10, break 10 pump 10. the last two pumps i maybe got an ounce, but the point of power pumping is to stimulate more. the next morning?? I GOT 8OZ. i’m not guaranteeing that for everyone, but, i did this for the whole week and i’m convinced this is the main reason i had enough milk for him. i will do this cycle every couple of weeks to get a quick boost in supply if he seems to be hungry or i need to build up my stash.

premama lactation drink supplements

i was introduced to these drink packets early on with miller and have continued to buy them..they’re SO easy {think crystal light..just mix with a glass or bottle of water} and they taste yummy. i take one a day and call it good. they’re also easy to find.. you can buy at target or snag on amazon {same price either place!}.

mother’s milk tea

you can snag these on amazon or at your local health food store… it’s not my favorite taste in the world but i’ve grown to not mind it. when i first started drinking this with the girls i had to gag it down but now i drink it at night after miller’s last nursing session and it’s my wind down time! never thought i’d say those words…but, it’s not bad.

oatmeal

i always forget about this one and someone reminded me of this easy tip! make it your breakfast {currently eating now with blueberries!} and it will help to give you that boost.

motherlove more milk special blend

this was another one that someone recommended after my SOS on instagram and stick with me here. apparently the key to this is the goat’s rue. if you do a quick search on amazon, you can find a variety of different ‘blends’ but the key to having this work is the ‘goats rue’..the one i linked here is the only blend that has it. i’ll forewarn you..it’s nasty. the good news is that you only take 1 dropper {1mL}..the bad news is you do it up to 4x daily. while i really don’t like it i was kinda pulling at strings and was willing to do anything. i still use it and honestly think it works so… the sacrifices you make, i guess. tip… stick it all the way in the back of your mouth so you don’t have to really taste it {impossible but it helps}…also note. you are NOT supposed to take this with water!

look at pictures / watch videos of baby

i learned this tip in NICU with the girls and i’ve continued to use it now! if you are having a difficult time getting let down or want to increase supply, an easy way to get that extra boost is to look at pictures of your babe while you get started. even now at 7months {how did that happen?!}, i can watch a video of mills, get all the feels, and my letdown occurs SO much faster. if i’m stressed or not paying attention, it can sometimes take 3 minutes before i get letdown. especially if you are just starting to pump or have a baby in NICU, always always try to be near your baby or at the very least, look at pictures!

FAQ about breast pumps + breast feeding

what is the best way to clean my pump?
make sure to read the directions from your manufacturer, but i will typically wash my parts either by hand or in the dishwasher. if i am out for the day, i will pack a cooler with ice packs, a ziploc bag and in between pumping sessions, empty the milk into a bottle then store the pump parts in the ziploc bag and put it in the cooler. this keeps the parts cool without having to wash in between each session. if i’m at home and plan to pump, i just store them in the fridge in a ziploc bag. note: always wash within 24 hours. another option would be to purchase a couple sets of parts if you prefer to have a clean set each time and then stick all parts in the dishwasher for the following day!

how often should i pump?
when i put out the call for all questions related to pumping, i got this question multiple times… i’ve talked extensively to lactation consultants over the course of 3 years and they always remind me to try to pump as often as baby typically eats. if, for whatever reason, i can’t pump at the same times as what miller will eat, i try to still get that number of pumping sessions in. for instance, if he eats at 9am and 1pm, but i can’t pump at 1pm because i’m at the gym and then at a restaurant {that’s never actually occurred, but you get the point}… i will try to pump at 9am and then at 11am before i go into the restaurant. same thing if you’re at work or in a meeting. if you can’t sneak in the pumping session at the exact time, try to squeeze it in, even if it’s a shorter session. at the very least, pump for 20, take a 10 min break, then pump again for 15-20 min.

what is the best way to store/transport breast milk?
i always bring a cooler and extra bottles with lids. i just dump the milk from my pump bottles into extra storage bottles and i can freeze those. you can also get bags {these are my fav} and store in there. i use this type of cooler and these ice packs. note: you are not supposed to combine warm milk + cooled breast milk. you can combine milk from the same day, just make sure it’s all cooled first.

what if i’m experiencing pain while pumping?
a friend recently asked me if i have experienced pain while pumping and the only time that i have truly experienced pain was when i had mastitis or if i had the settings too high {toddler hands helping} on my pump. {if i am engorged or have gone too long between pumping, my breasts may be uncomfortable but pumping relieves that pain} if you change the settings on the pump and are still experiencing pain, you should reach out to a lactation specialist or a medical professional for assistance. there are so many different reasons that may cause pain and you should definitely reach out for help.

most all of these tips i learned from other mama’s and y’all are the BEST at sharing everything you’ve learned along the way, so tell me… what is your #1 tip for increasing your milk supply?! 

a huge thank you to motif medical for sponsoring this post. as always, opinions expressed are 100% my own!

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11 thoughts on “breast pumping tips + tricks | increasing supply

  1. Great pointers, when I was a working mom, I went through a few periods where I had supply issues while pumping and these are right on the money!

  2. Good tips Lindsey! I’ve been trying to navigate pumping/bottles/etc. since going back to work a couple weeks ago 🙄

  3. These are all such great tips! I’ve been trying hard to stay well hydrated and eating well – lots of oatmeal over here! Saving these tips for future!

  4. These are great tips! I am one of those that is blessed with an over-supply! :O I know, I know… we’re rare and SO lucky!!

  5. Great tips! Since I induced lactation for my spiritual children, I’ve been drinking Mother’s Milk Tea (I love the taste, personally), taking goat’s rue, moringa and saw palmetto in capsules (these herbs help my PCOS, too) and relying on domperidone + pumping for prolactin stimulation. Goat’s rue is fantastic, but moringa is another fabulous herb that helps boost milk supply. It works charms for me (Mother’s Select on Amazon has bottles by 120 capsules, if I’m not mistaken; moringa also goes by the name of malunggay or moringa oleifera). Aaah water… no milk without it, for sure!

    Big hugs,
    Luana

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