How to Get More Breastmilk When Using a Breast Pump


The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies exclusively receive breast milk for the first six months of life. However, many mothers return to work well before their baby is six months old, and a mom's milk supply increases and decreases with demand. This fact often makes breastfeeding after returning to work challenging since mom and baby are apart around eight to 12 hours a day. You do not have to let your milk supply diminish and stop providing your baby breast milk earlier than you want.

Things You'll Need

  • Breast pump
  • Container to hold breast milk
  • Picture of your baby
  • Cooler
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Make sure you are using a high quality breast pump. Mechanical breast pumps get more milk than manual breast pumps. You can buy one at many stores or you can contact your insurance company and see if they will cover the cost of renting an industrial breast pump.

  • Pump frequently throughout the day. If you can, pump at least every three hours. You should also aim to pump for twenty minutes on each breast. To save time, you can pump both breasts simultaneously.

  • Breastfeed often. Whenever you are with your baby, breastfeed rather than bottle feed. Even when you use a high quality breast pump, pumps are not as effective at stimulating the breast as a baby. Breastfeed before you go to work, as soon as you are back with your baby and if you can, breastfeed your baby during the night.

  • Avoid stress. Tension can decrease your milk supply. When you are pumping, sit in a comfortable chair or rocker and look at a picture of your baby. This can help you relax and transition from being at work back into being a mom. Being relaxed and feeling like a mom helps your milk letdown.

  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Try to eat foods from all the food groups and avoid empty calories. However, make sure you eat enough calories so your body can maintain your milk supply. Breastfeeding burns approximately 300 to 500 calories a day.

  • Drink plenty of fluids. You require more fluids when your body produces milk. If you are dehydrated, this will decrease your milk supply, so you need to drink at least eight glasses of water, not including caffeinated sodas.

  • Avoid alcohol and certain medications. Alcohol decreases your milk supply. Also, birth control pills that contain estrogen and decongestants decrease milk supply.

  • Take an herbal supplement. Fenugreek can increase a mother's milk supply within 48 to 72 hours, according to Breastfeeding Online. Fenugreek contains phytoestrogens, which are similar to estrogen.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure to wash or sanitize your hands before pumping.
  • Properly store breast milk. Breast milk can stay in the refrigerator about two to three days.
  • Fenugreek might make you smell like maple syrup.


  • Photo Credit Creative Crop/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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