How Pumping Can Increase Your Milk Production
By Paige Ames | July 15, 2019
How expressing breast milk helps mothers with low milk production & increases the pumping output
Although breastfeeding brings with it many questions, probably the biggest concern of most new mothers is whether their supply is sufficient to nourish their baby. As always, if you have any concerns about your supply, always consult your doctor. There is no website, book or piece of friendly advice that can replace the knowledge of a medical expert.
However, if you know that you are having a supply issue - either because the amount of ounces you’re pumping have decreased or because your baby is not gaining weight - you can utilize pumping to help increase your supply.
We know that having a new baby is exhausting. The last thing you probably want to think about is carving out time that you don’t have to attach yourself to a breast pump. However, your breast milk production works as a supply and demand system. The more you pump the more you’ll make. In fact, barring any underlying medical conditions, pumping more will almost always boost your supply.
Your breast milk production works as a supply and demand system
Your body doesn’t know the difference between a baby suckling to remove milk and the mechanical action of a pump to remove milk. Therefore, using a pump to fully drain your breasts will, in turn, signal your body to produce more milk. The combination of the suction of the pump combined with the stimulation of your nipples tells your body to make more milk.
Needing to boost your supply doesn’t necessarily mean that your baby isn’t doing an effective job of nursing. Often, even when babies are gaining weight, they don’t completely drain your breasts during a feeding session. In this case, pumping after a nursing session simply removes more milk and triggers your body to make more.
Pumping after nursing can also be helpful if your baby is sick and not eating as much as usual or if she goes on a “nursing strike.” If your baby nurses relatively effectively, but you want to ensure your production is at its peak, simply pump for up to 15 minutes after nursing to drain your breasts and stimulate extra milk production.
If you have a genuine supply problem or are an exclusive pumper, pumping will be essential to maintain your supply. Be sure to use a double breast pump to save time, and pump for a minimum of 15 minutes per pumping session, at least 8-10 times a day. Once you have expressed the last drop of milk, continue to pump for another 2-5 minutes simply to stimulate your breasts and release the milk-producing hormone oxytocin.
If your baby does a fair amount of comfort nursing, you’ll want to try and limit nursing sessions to only active suckling. Comfort nursing is important for comfort and bonding; however, it doesn’t provide your baby with food and it also doesn’t stimulate your breasts to produce more milk.
Many women find night time and early morning pumping produces more milk than daytime pumping.
Many women find nighttime and early morning pumping produces more milk than daytime pumping as well. This is because of the increased amount of prolactin in your body during these hours. If you can fit a middle of the night pumping session in for a few weeks to boost supply, we highly recommend it. However, listen to your body. Getting adequate sleep is important and being overtired can also stunt your production, so be sure to balance out any night pumping with an adequate amount of sleep.
If you still find yourself with a low supply there are a few more things you can do:
- Get as much skin to skin contact with your baby as possible. This is a highly effective way of bonding and increasing your supply.
- Also remember to relax. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and if you aren’t near your baby try to imagine him or her. Stress and tension are never good for your milk supply.
- Finally, you can always ask your doctor to prescribe medication to boost your supply or ask them for recommendations on any over the counter medications or herbs that can safely stimulate your milk production.
Haven’t secured your insurance covered breast pump yet? We’re here to help. Simply click this link to get started.
1 Natural Way offers a complete array of products and services to make moms more comfortable and confident throughout their pregnancy and breastfeeding journey. We provide mothers with name brand breast pumps, monthly breastfeeding supplies, maternity compression stockings and postpartum recovery garments, as well as expert and compassionate advice and top-notch customer service. Click here to start the qualification process and find out if you qualify for a breast pump at no cost to you.
About the Author
Paige Ames is 1 Natural Way's Verification Specialist and Training Coordinator, working with insurance providers to find out what benefits moms can receive through their insurance plan. In addition to benefits, Paige is also very knowledgeable about the breast pumps and pumping accessories. Because of her range of knowledge, you can find her educating moms at online baby showers and on podcasts like the Army Wives Network. Paige is mom to one beautiful daughter. She enjoys gardening, going to the movies and spending time with her family.