Low SupplyMoms like youPumpingWorking Pumping Mama

Spectra Settings Tips From A Low Supply Working Pumping Mama

Marlena with her son and Marlena holding up a Spectra pump bottle

by Marlena McKee

Do you hate pumping? I do. I especially hate feeling like I’m attached to the wall for 20 minutes to barely collect half an ounce.

However, I had a “come to Jesus” moment when I stumbled across this info-graphic on Legendairy Milk’s Instagram account:

When I read this, I also fuzzily remembered my first appointment with Katie: she taught me to use my hands to massage my boobs and play around with the settings on my pump. Whoops. I hadn’t been doing that… at all. I would “set it and forget it” and then I would zone out. 

I know why I wasn’t doing it. It was because I was #tiredasamother and figured “I just have low supply, I don’t get much output. Oh well.” Well, now my son is almost five months and I’m not so tired anymore. So, I decided to give these tips a whirl. 

Are they difficult? No. Can I play with my phone while I pump? Not really. Do my arms get tired? Yeah. However, I noticed a significant (to me) increase in each pumping session: I could get an extra half to full ounce per pump!

In the world of breastfeeding with a low supply, that extra ounce was everything to me! It made me feel like maybe pumping wasn’t so bad! 

So here is what I am currently doing (just be aware that Step 3 is not for damaged nipples or mommies who are in their first few weeks breastfeeding. Wait until you heal those nips up a little bit first):

  • Step 1 – Put your Spectra in Stimulation Mode (push the wavy button) on 70 Cycle, 4 or 5 Vacuum. Let this trigger a let down for two to three minutes. When milk starts dribbling or flowing start step 2!
  • Step 2 – Switch to expression mode by pressing the button with wavy lines. Put that on 54 Cycle, 5 or 6 Vacuum. Stay there and massage, kneed, and squish each boob and observe your milk flow. When you notice your flow slowing down REPEAT Step 1 and Step 2. When the flow slows down again, repeat Step 1 and 2.
  • Step 3 – Turn down the cycles and turn up the Vacuum for the last three to four minutes of your pump session. Try 38 Cycle, 11 or 12 Vacuum. If it hurts, back the Vacuum down until it’s not painful. Remember, the goal isn’t to damage your nipples, it’s to express milk at a comfortable level. This step really makes me feel empty when I’m done!

I hope this helps! And remember, if it doesn’t work best for you: That’s okay! Everybooby is different.