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Thread: How to increase expressed milk ?

  1. #1

    Question How to increase expressed milk ?

    I have been pumping every 3 hours for 10 minutes ( same feeding pattern as my 2 weeks old baby ). My breasts are not full anymore and I noticed my milk supply has reduced each pumping session. How can I increase my milk supply by pumping alone ? ( Note: Feeding by breast is not working well for me ). I am already using a hospital graded pump.
    Last edited by @llli*ating28; July 31st, 2011 at 05:07 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011

    Default Re: How to increase expressed milk ?

    I would increase the amount of time you are pumping at each session. I would recommend an absolute minimum of 15 minutes per session if you are pumping 8 times per day for a minimum total pumping time of 120 minutes. I suspect that is why you are losing supply. A pump is not as efficient as a a baby so you have to pump longer than your baby would nurse. I know it is frustrating as I too am exclusively pumping at the moment. I would increase your pumping, drink lots of water, and possibly even add in a power pump (10 min on, 10 min off, 10 min on etc for 1 hour) to try and up your supply. Are you pumping every 3 hours at night as well? It is important that you are pumping enough even if you are having to set an alarm. You are still so early so you should be able to increase your milk supply fairly easily I would think. HTH


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: How to increase expressed milk ?

    this link might be helpful to you:

    is baby not nursing any at the breast?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: How to increase expressed milk ?

    Good advice from the PP. When increasing supply using the pump, the best things you can do are:
    1. Use a great pump (you're already doing that)
    2. Pump for longer time periods
    3. Pump more frequently (if every 3 hours isn't doing doing it, try pumping every 2 hours)
    4. Use correctly sized breast shields
    5. Combine pumping with breast massage and hand expression
    6. Power pumping

    Are you pumping exclusively or considering pumping exclusively? If so, I encourage you to do everything you can to make breastfeeding directly from the breast work. It is so much easier in the long run than exclusive pumping, and I'd be happy to explain why, but I don't want to bore you if you know already!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Re: How to increase expressed milk ?

    I definitely agree with PP about breast massage and hand expression. You would be amazed at the difference between a strictly "hands off" and "hands on" pumping session.
    The only thing I would say before you start really trying to boost your supply though is that your baby is still very young and in those early weeks the breasts kind of "learn" what they are doing and dont get engorged as easily and you typically dont have as much oversupply as your breasts begin to figure out exactly how much baby needs.

    I am currently having the same difficulty - although my DD is almost 8 months. But for help with boosting supply: I am taking fenugreek which seems to help some. But you have to take WAY more than the bottle says. I think the bottle says take 1-2 capsules daily but in reality I have read you may have to take up to 10!! 2-3 capsules 3 times a day, or as someone posted on this forum, "until you smell like it". I ended up having to start taking reglan as well this week which is a stomach medicine with an off label use to increase lactation. I am a nurse practitioner so I knew to ask for it because your OB or midwife may not offer it. It does help but has some risk factors so it should be taken as a last resort.

    Above all I agree with PP that it is MUCH easier to just put the baby to the breast. I still do this every chance I get and I miss being able to actually nurse exclusively but pumping is all I can do while I am at work.

    Good luck to you mama! What a great gift you are already giving that sweet baby!!
    First time mom
    Tinsley born 12/7/10 6lbs 8oz
    made it 1 year!!

  6. #6

    Default Re: How to increase expressed milk ?

    I tried nursing by breasts. I nursed my baby until she looks like she doesn't want anymore. ( 30-45 mins each feed ). It turned out that she was not getting enough milk. I saw her sucking but maybe she was just playing around. she cried so much and lost weight. Pumping exclusively seems to solve the problem at least I can tell if she is getting enough milk.

    Any suggestion is appreciated.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to increase expressed milk ?

    Also, every time I nursed the baby fell asleep and very to hard to wake up. How do you wake her up so she will eat.

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to increase expressed milk ?

    This video might be helpful:

    Maximizing Milk Production With Hands-On Pumping

    It's specifically aimed at mothers who are exclusively pumping because their babies are preemies in the NICU, but the techniques will work for anyone.

    Have you worked with a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC)? I'm wondering if one might be able to help you get your baby back to the breast while making sure she's getting enough milk.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: How to increase expressed milk ?

    I'm sorry that you had a rough time nursing! The sleepiness you mention could be the problem. Sometimes very sleepy babies start snoozing too soon, and don't take in enough milk. Here are some tips for keeping your baby awake and active at the breast:
    - Annoy her. Tickle her feet with a cool damp washcloth, or rub it against the grain of her hair.
    - Keep her cool, since a cool baby may be more awake. Keep a fan blowing in the room where you are nursing, and dress your baby lightly when it is time to nurse.
    - Burp her and change her diaper in between breasts to wake her up.
    - Try switch nursing. Any time the baby's suckling slows and she seems to be falling asleep, take her off the breast, burp her, and switch her to the other side. Repeat the process as many times as possible.
    - Speed milk flow to the baby using breast compressions: http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/conte...agename=doc-BC

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