Hands on Pumping


hands on pumping to increase milk supply

Nikki Mather IBCLC talks about hands -on pumping and how it can support you to increase your supply and optimise your time expressing.

Hands-on pumping can benefit any new parents who needs to express milk to build supply. Using a hands-on approach to pumping can help increase supply more than if using a pump alone.

Here’s a guide on how to do it to support an increase in your milk supply.

hands on pumping tutorial

  1. **Warm up:** 
    Gently massage both breasts for a few minutes. You can also use a warm compress to stimulate milk flow. The heat pack is an optional step and if you haven’t got anything to hand, start massaging without the heat pack.
  2. **Double Pump & Compress:** 
    Start pumping with both breasts at once (double pumping). While pumping, use your hands to compress your breasts firmly, focusing on areas that feel full. Consider making yourself a hands-free pumping bra to help secure the pumps to breast. Continue for a few minutes until your milk flow slows to a trickle.
  3. **Massage Again:**
    Gently give your breasts another massage, focusing on any lumpy areas.
  4. **Change things up**
    Switch up the settings on the pump every 3-5 minutes so you utilise the “let-down” stage and the “expression” stage at regular intervals.
  5. **Time**
    Get yourself comfy and aim to complete the above cycle for 15-20 minutes until you feel fully drained.
  6. **More milk please** 
    Use hand expression for 5 minutes after the pump is an effective way of expressing any more milk which may be available. Alternatively, you could single pump on each side again using compressions for 5 minutes.
You may be expressing milk for a variety of reasons; to build your supply after a tricky start, building a breastmilk stash for returning to work or to have a little breastmilk in the freezer just in case you aren’t around for a feed or two. 

Breast pumps on the market are variable in terms of effectiveness from one mother to the next. One person may respond very well to a wearable breast pump, and the next mum will not get a drop. 

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