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How to Establish a Full MilkSupply with a Breast Pump
Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, Lactation Education Specialist,
YOUR GOAL: Pump a full milk supply, 25-35 ounces
• You may not need to pump during your normal sleeping
(750-1050 mL) per day, by Day 10 to 14 after birth
hours. With a full supply, many exclusively pumping
no matter now much your baby is taking. Your body
mothers can pump as the last thing they do before
is primed and ready to produce milk now, and if you wait
bed and the first thing they do in the morning. If you
too long, it may be difficult or impossible to increase your
can do this without too much breast fullness and
• For most mothers, once supply is established, 10-15
As soon as possible after birth, start pumping at least
8-10 times every 24 hours (as many times per day as
• Monitor your supply at least once a week by keeping
your baby would be breastfeeding).
a written record of your daily milk yield.
per day equals more milk produced. Use a hospital-gradeautomatic pump with a double pumping kit.
If you need to increase your milk supply, the
• Until your milk “comes in” on Day 3 or 4, pump at least
sooner you work on it, the faster you’ll see results:
• Increase the number of pumpings to 8-12 per day,
• When your milk increases, as often as you can, pump
which for most women is an “increase level.”
longer, until 2 minutes after the last drop of milk or
• Increase pumping time to 2 minutes after the last drop
20-30 minutes total, whichever comes first. (Drained
of milk or 20-30 minutes, whichever comes first.
• Have your pump flange fit checked. Many women get
Focus on the number of pumpings per day,
better results with a larger nipple tunnel.
not the time between pumpings.
• Use breast massage during pumping.
• If you think in terms of the time between pumpings,
• Ask your lactation consultant to talk to your doctor
when pumping is delayed it is too easy for the total
about prescription medications and/or medicinal herbs
number of pumpings (the most important factor) to
such as metoclopramide (Reglan), domperidone
(Motilium), or fenugreek (natural plant product) capsules.
• When planning your day, think: “How can I fit in my
When you are ready to wean, you can do it
comfortably and safely by cutting back on
• If you can’t pump during part of the day, pump every
• Start by eliminating one daily pumping, give your
• Before you reach 25-35 (750-1050 mL) ounces
body 2-3 days to adjust, and then eliminate another
per day, pump at least once during the night and
pumping, leaving your first and last pumpings of the
don’t go longer than five hours between pumpings.
day until the end. Repeat until you’ve weaned.
• Keep the number of pumpings the same and stop
Once you’re pumping 25-35 ounces (750-1050 mL)
pumping sooner. For example, if you normally get
per day, you may be able to cut back on pumping
4 ounces (120 mL) at a pumping, stop after 3 ounces
and still maintain supply.
(90 mL). Give your body a couple of days to adjust and then decrease by another ounce. Repeat until
• Cut back to 5-7 pumpings per day – this is
you no longer feel the need to pump.
a maintenance level at which most women can
If you feel full at any time during weaning,
maintain their supply. If you notice your supply
pump to comfort – not a full pumping, but long enough
so that your breasts feel comfortable. Leaving yourbreasts full increases your risk for pain and mastitis.
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Publications 2000 Journal articles Aartman, I. H. A., de Jongh, A., Makkes, P. C., & Hoogstraten, J. (2000). Dental anxiety and dental attendance after treatment in a dental fear clinic: a follow-up study. Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology, 28, 435-442. Boomsma, D. I., Beem, A. L., van den Berg, M., Dolan, C. V., Koopmans, J. R., Vink, J. M., de Geus, E. J. C., Slagboom,
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