woman sits on couch with breast pump attached

Whether you’re pumping at work, pumping periodically to have a backup stash, power pumping to increase your supply, or exclusively pumping, the PUMP can be a friend – and even a foe! – to many breastfeeding parents. Fitting pumping into your busy life as a new mom can be completely overwhelming, and add to your stress. This may, in turn, continue to negatively impact your supply. It’s a vicious cycle, and it can be hard to break.


Our Certified Lactation Counselor, Lyn, has come up with her top five tips for maximizing your pumping sessions.


  1. The average amount of breastmilk pumped during a session is usually 3 to 4 ounces, though sometimes that first pump in the morning may yield more. Because breastmilk is alive, the nutritional values will continually change to meet baby’s needs so most babies will only need 3 to 4 ounces every 3 to 4 hours!

  1. Sometimes one breast will be the main producer while pumping. We lovingly call them ‘Studley’ and ‘Dudley’ – but, you probably have your own nicknames you use (that may or may not include swear words). Which breast will be the star student can change from one baby to the next. The reason why this happens can vary from longer versus a shorter let down, nipple shape, and baby’s breast preference, just to name a few.

  1. Hands-on expression can help with output even when using an electric pump. While pumping, use your hands to massage and compress milk out of your breasts, experiment to find what techniques work best. Be sure to include areas further back on the breast! Milk comes out through your nipples, but we have glands clear back in our armpits!

  1. How much milk you pump is NOT an indication of how much milk you can make or how much your baby is getting from the breast. It is ONLY how much you can pump. Babies are far better at removing milk because our bodies are connected to theirs and, let’s face it, baby is way cuter than the pump. A weighted feed is how to determine how much your baby is eating during a nursing session.

  1. Trying to pump between breastfeeding sessions? Pump right after nursing or at least one hour before the next breastfeeding session. This gives your body time to refresh and rejuvenate. If your baby wants to breastfeed right after breastpumping, let them! There are A LOT of benefits to non-nutritive nursing.

Have a question or want to ask about your own specific case? You can email Lyn at help@bessiesbest.com.