- Is your pump new? Your insurance will provide you a new pump with each baby. The motor wears out with use!
- Are you using the right size flange/shield? It should be just big enough to comfortably fit your nipple.
- Have you tried other settings? Many pumps have a “letdown” mode with stronger and faster cycles to start MER. When your milk slows turn this mode back on.
- Visualization makes milk flow! Sit in a comfortable place, take some deep breaths, and imagine your milk flowing easily. Cover up the bottle so you can relax and not worry about how much you are pumping.
- Membranes, valves, and tubing need replacing regularly (between 3 weeks and 6 months depending on how often you pump).
This is also a good time to explore what “enough” is. Some bottles are really huge! And other parents on social media share huge pumping session successes which may not reflect what is average or achievable.
On average, exclusively pumping parents can express 3-4oz (90-120mL) with each session. Whereas, parents pumping after feeding baby will express about 1.5oz (45mL).
This is a reflection of what baby’s stomach can hold. Around 4-6 weeks most babies reach their maximum intake and can hold up to 5oz at a time. This doesn’t mean they need all 5oz (I don’t want to feel Thanksgiving dinner full after every meal!).
Over the course of a day, baby will take 27-30oz and this does not increase with age for breastfeeding babies!
So….how are you doing? Are you expressing 3-4oz when you exclusively pump?
If not, try some of the tips above and if that doesn’t work, check in with your IBCLC for a full evaluation and support!