Going back to work with a new baby at home means breastfeeding moms start thinking about pumping. And many moms ask themselves or friends, “How can I pump more breastmilk?” After nursing two babies, I learned some tricks and found my groove, and I know you can, too!

Here are some tips I have after pumping at work for two babies – my favorite is #3, most people don’t know about this one!

1. Focus – Focus on pumping, not work. Don’t work or talk on the phone when pumping, especially in the beginning. Every time I tried to think about anything important during my pumping sessions I pumped noticeably less milk. So use the time to relax.

2. Relax – In the early days when I had trouble relaxing enough to get the milk flowing (also called a “let down”), I would look at a picture of my son, close my eyes and visualize the ritual of picking him up, sitting in the rocker and getting ready to breastfeed. Most of the time that would help me relax enough to get the milk flowing. Some moms pack a baby shirt or blanket in their bag with the baby’s smell on it, too. And just like starting out nursing, it’s important not to hold your breath. Breathe, breathe, and breathe!

3. Try for a second let down – This is my biggest tip that most new moms don’t know about. When it comes to pumping, just like nursing, our bodies have cycles of let-downs. After pumping for 5-10 minutes you might notice your milk has stopped flowing. Don’t pack up your pump just yet! This is when your baby would change his or her sucking pattern to get your milk to flow again, and your pump can do that, too. Once your milk stops flowing, turn your pump onto the highest, fastest setting to simulate the baby’s sucking pattern. On the Medela PISA, turn it off and turn it back on – on high. This will help you have a second let down and can save you a lot of time. For many months I would sit and wait, sometimes up to 10-15 minutes, trying to get another let down. This is hard to do when the pump is on the regular pumping suction setting. Once you get into the habit of simulating your baby to stimulate a second let down by turning it to the high setting again, you will save time and get more milk!

4. Drink water – Like when you are nursing at home, it is important to stay hydrated at work and eat little snacks throughout the day.

5. Oatmeal – Oatmeal is a natural way to increase milk supply and I found that my pumping output was dramatically higher whenever I ate it for breakfast (the instant packets work well). If you are really struggling with milk supply, you can research some of the safe herbal supplements on the market like Mother’s Milk Tea.

Check out my Breastfeeding: How to pump successfully at work post for more tips, including ideas on how to talk to your boss and coworkers, recommendations on pumps, hands-free pumping bras, milk storage bags and more! I’d also love to stay in touch on facebook and twitter!

Note: This post was written from my experiences as a working mother who pumped for two babies. I am not a lactation specialist or health care professional.


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