How to Pump & How to Store Your Breast Milk

Are you pumping for everyday use, to get an occasional break or are you preparing to go back to work? At, we are here to help. Here are a number of tips to help get you started or help you maintain your milk supply.

View this breast pumping video

Center nipples in tunnel

Make sure your nipples are not rubbing against the sides, top or bottom. If your nipples rub no matter how they’re positioned, you may need a breast flange with a larger diameter nipple tunnel.

Keep air seal around breast flanges

Hold the shields firmly to your breasts to form an air seal, but also make sure they’re not digging into your breasts.

Angle breast flanges downward

Make sure the tunnels are pointing down so the milk flows into the bottle and not back at you!

Suction/vacuum should be at a comfortable setting

If the pump suction is too high, you’ll tense up and your milk won’t flow. If you’re gritting your teeth, the suction is too high.

Experiment with control knobs

If your pump has two knobs, milk may flow more quickly at the highest speed setting at first. You can leave it on the highest setting throughout the pumping, or slow it down to mimic the longer, slower gulping of a baby. Or, try alternating between high cycles to trigger let-down and low cycles to drain.

Double pump one-handed

Free up one hand by using this simple trick. Position the first flange at your breast, then use the arm next to that breast and brace the flange against your forearm near the elbow. Use the free hand of that arm to put the other breast flange in place. Now you have one hand free to talk on the phone or eat a meal!

Pump 10-15 minutes per breast

When using a double pump, this is 10-15 minutes total. If you’re still getting lots of milk at 15 minutes, you can keep going. If your milk flow stops at 8 minutes, you can stop at 10 minutes.

When to pump

Typically, most women get more milk in the morning or late in the day. A good time to pump is 30-60 minutes after nursing and at least an hour before nursing. Try not to pump right before nursing, or your milk flow may be very slow for the baby.

How much milk to expect

If you pump between regular feedings, breastfeed only and your baby is gaining well, expect to pump about half a feeding. If you pump at feeding time for a missed feeding, expect a full feeding.

An interesting study shows that babies who are fed breast milk exclusively for 6 months are at far less risk of obesity in childhood.

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