Pumping and Increasing Breastmilk / Milk Supply

Out of everything in trying to get pregnant to getting pregnant to taking care of the baby and getting “no” sleep, I have to say the thing I hate most is pumping. Pumping is such a waste of my valuable time but yet it is totally needed. Why do I pump?

  • My husband can do some feeding and bonding with baby.
  • I eventually need to pump and give the baby milk through a bottle so why not start now.
  • Even if I breastfeed directly, I still need to pump after each feeding so I don’t loose my milk supply.

Many people do only breastfeeding and I think they’re so awesome. I have to be honest and say as a time efficient person, I don’t see how I can breast feed baby for 40 minutes, take 30 minutes to pump, wash pump parts, and then baby wakes again since my baby’s on a 2 hour schedule. This means I get zero sleep. None functioning mommy means mommy with no milk. Milk supply goes bye bye with no sleep.

What did I do? I pumped every 2 hours after I got out of the hospital and pumped every 4 hours nightime.  I did this for 2 weeks and my milk supply went up to 950 ml a day! In the first day, I think I got only 5 ml out of each side at each session. Then it gradually increased to be about an ounce a side and finally, I got to a point where I was pumping 950ml a day and this took about 2-3 weeks of pumping on a 2 hour schedule. It was pretty brutal but I wanted milk supply. My baby was a lazy eater so she wasn’t much help in generating milk supply. Instead, the pump did all the work. I used the Medela Pump In Style Metro pump so I can take the pump anywhere without it being attached to a dumb backpack (in the other model). I pumped 15 minutes per side when I did my 2 hour schedule.

After about 1.5 months pumping on that crazy schedule, I went to pumping every 5 hours and my milk still stabilized around 900-950ml a day! After three more weeks of pumping on this schedule, I changed to pumping every 8 hours. I was pumping at 5 am, 1 pm, 9 pm. My milk was now at 850 ml a day. I lost about 100ml in cutting from 8-9 pumps a day to only 3 pumps a day and my baby wasn’t even 4 months at the time.

Recently, I’ve cut down even one MORE pump and I now pump every day at 9 am and 9 pm. I cannot explain how GREAT it feels to not pump so often! Once you’ve trained your body to produce milk, you can still get the same amount of milk if you train your body to stabilize.

Tricks? Lots of them. First, you HAVE TO MASSAGE your breasts while you pump!!! Many people say they can’t get any milk out from pumping. Well that’s because you’re not helping the milk flow! Have you seen a cow get milked? I know this is probably very graphic in your head but you have to do exactly that. Take the palm of both hands, put them on one breast first while you pump and push from under your armpits to your nipple while you pump. You’ll get milk! I’ve tried not massaging before and I missed out on 80% of my milk! The massaging action really helps the milk flow flow flow. Then after your flow is to a “drip”… a slow drip… then you stop the pump and hand express some more. Why? There are reservoirs near your nipple and when you pump, it leads the milk to these reservoirs. It leaves “some” milk there and as long as there’s “some milk” there, your body is saying it doesn’t need to produce anymore. By hand expressing the last few drops, your body is generating more milk! Only do this if you want more milk supply. Otherwise, you can stop or your milk supply will keep going up. Oversupply isn’t good either.

Other tricks: drink lots of water, eat protein, and stay away from cold stuff. Cold drinks seems to slow the flow of milk as a warm body more readily give a let down that’s faster and more efficient for pumping. Get enough sleep. Drink lots of chicken, pork, or beef broth. Broth contains protein and gives you hydration, both of which are important to milk production.

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One Response to Pumping and Increasing Breastmilk / Milk Supply

  1. Daicy Cooper says:

    I’ve been pumping since my baby was 4 days old, because she wouldn’t latch on properly and body weight dropped more than NHS recommended. But of course I still want her to have breast milk. She’s now 3 months old.

    Recently I wanted to decrease my supply because we’re running out of freezer space, so I decided to pumped every 6 hours instead of 5 hours, because I heard fewer pump can decrease milk supply, but instead every 6 hours pump I managed to pumped 1400ml rather than around 1200-1300ml.

    So now I’m going every 7 hours. I’ve given up on trying to decrease my milk supply now, as long as my supply don’t drop below 1000ml a day. I found myself very lucky.

    I hope I can only pump twice a day in the future too.

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