PumpingWorking Pumping Mama

Pumping: Most Amount of Milk; Least Amount of Time

Want to know how to yield the most amount of milk in the least amount of pumping time? Who better to ask than the Pumpin’ Mamas. These are the women who are dedicated to pumping at work. Day in and day out they diligently sit down and hook up to the pump. We collected all the best techniques from our most recent Working Mom’s Group.

Sometimes, pumping milk is purely mechanical. It may not matter how you are feeling or what you are thinking and whether or not you are stressed. You hook up and you let down. Other times, how you feel physically and emotional can noticeably impact your ability to fully express the milk out of your boobs. If pumping how you are pumping is working, great! If you are having trouble draining your breasts, try some of the following Pumpin’ Mamas’ suggestions!

The main consensus from the Pumpin’ Mamas is to never stop changing it up. What works one day may not work the next day. Be flexible and tenacious. In addition to being open to changing up your routine, also consider the following techniques:

Control your environment.

Prevent intrusions, interruptions, and unexpected interferences.

Physically: Lock the door; hang a sign on the door.

Socially: Turn off your phone, text message alerts, and email alerts. Be very careful if you decide to hit social media while pumping. Scrolling through your feed could elicit emotions of anger, frustration, sadness, or fear—all feelings that release cortisone, which can block oxytocin, the hormone that allows your milk to release and flow. If you are going to check into Facebook, go directly to a safe place like the Pumpin’ Mamas Facebook page. If you don’t have a safe place on Facebook, don’t go there.

Control the messages coming into your brain.

If your thoughts are racing and you are feeling overwhelmed by all of your responsibilities and lack of time, try distraction. Distraction means doing something other than staring at the milk dripping out of your nipples. Watch something on Netflix, listen to or read a book, go to a safe place on social media.

Relaxation/meditation: Using an app like Headspace or Insight Timer can coach you to breathe and clear your mind long enough to get your thoughts out of your way.

Check in with baby: Text your childcare provider and ask for a picture, watch videos of baby on your phone.

Work or don’t work: If it makes you stressed to bring work into the pump room, don’t bring it in. If it makes you stressed thinking about all the work you have to do, bring some with you.

Make your pumping environment as comfortable as possible.

Get a space heater if you are cold. Bring in a neck pillow. Dim the lights. Do whatever you are able to do to give your pumping space a calm and relaxing atmosphere.

Troubleshoot the mechanics.

Make sure all of your pump parts are functioning properly.

Rotate the cycles and suction of your pump.

Pump a little longer if you have the time. Be okay with it when you only get a short pump in.

Warm up your boobies! These are amazing.

Switch to larger flanges as the day goes on if your nipples are swelling.

Use hands-on pumping techniques. You’ll need an awesome hands-free bra or Freemie Collection Cups.

Hand express to get out last drops after you finish pumping.

Try turning the pump off for five minutes, then finishing your pumping session.

Gain perspective.

You will have good pumps and bad pumps. Good days and bad days. Focus on what you bring home at the end of the week rather than what comes from each pump.

For more practical pumping information as well as support from fellow working moms, join the Pumpin’ Mama’s Online Program or Live Back to Workshop!