Pumping More – the Milkshake and Other Tips You Need to Know

Want to pump more milk? Try the milkshake!

We don’t mean the kind with whipped cream and a cherry on top (though we’re not opposed to you trying that, too.). This milkshake is a technique often used with the Marmet method of hand expression. Ever notice how milk flow stops and starts during a pumping session? This is because milk “lets down”, or flows more rapidly, several times during a feeding or pumping. This technique is one you can use to get a second or third let down while pumping.

When milk flow slows while pumping, set down the pump and take a couple minutes to…

1. Massage the breast:
• Start at the top of the breast. Press firmly into the chest wall. Move fingers slowly, pressing firmly in a small circular motion on one spot on the skin.
• After a few seconds, pick fingers up and move to the next area on the breast. Do not slide your fingers over the skin.
• Spiral around the breast toward the areola using this massage.
• The pressure and motion are similar to that used in a breast examination.

2. Stroke the breast from the chest wall to the nipple with a light tickle-like stroke. Continue this stroking motion from the chest wall to the nipple around the whole breast.

3. Shake the breast gently while leaning forward.

(Adapted from “Manual Expression of Breastmilk Marmet Technique” from La Leche League Int’l)

Massage, stroke, shake.  Don’t skip step three, even if you feel silly doing it. You laugh now, but you’ll be laughing with joy when step three helps you get more milk.

The whole thing should take just a couple minutes. Massage / Stroke / Shake both breasts at once to save time.

Other tips…

Try “hands-on pumping”. In one study, moms who massaged or compressed their breasts while pumping got on average 40% more breastmilk.

Make sure your pump flange is the right size. Your nipple should move freely back and forth in the tube behind the “horn” without rubbing the sides. If your pump flange is too small, try going up a size.

Try a better pump. If you can get one, try a fully automatic double pump that is plugged in, not battery powered.

Remember that if you’re pumping after a feeding, what you see in the bottle is only leftovers, not a full meal.

If you need help pumping or are concerned about your supply, give us a call anytime and we’ll help you figure out what’s going on and what are the next best steps for you!

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