Hands-on Pumping: Helps Mothers Make More Milk
Some mothers struggle to make enough milk. This is often true when a baby is not able to fully nurse and the mother needs to use a breast pump. Breast compression (a type of breast massage) and hands-on pumping (also called hand expression) can help mothers make more milk.
What is Hands-on Pumping?
Hands-on pumping is a type of breast massage that can help you pump more milk. It helps the breast drain more each time you pump. This helps you make more milk, including more of the fatty hind milk that your baby needs to grow.
How is Hands-on Pumping Done?
• Start pumping with a hospital grade pump as soon as you can after your baby
• Pump 8 times a day, or every 3 hours, for about 20 minutes (this includes
during the night).
• Massage your breasts before pumping to help with let-down. Massage both
breasts using small circles, like a self breast exam. Pay extra attention to the
outer parts of the breast.
• Stroke both breasts from the outside in toward the nipples. Use a light touch
to relax and help with your let down.
• Double pump with breast massage and compression for 15 minutes. Hint: A
hands free pump bra makes this much easier.
• Adjust suction to the highest level that is comfortable for you. It should not
• After 15 minutes, stop pumping and repeat the breast massage.
• Next, pump and massage one breast at a time. Be sure to pay attention to
any spots where you feel lumps. These lumps are full milk ducts. Stroke from
the outside in toward the pump, use medium pressure to empty the ducts.
Keep going until the sprays of milk stop, usually about 3 to 5 minutes.
• Pump the other breast, the same way.
• Finish by hand expressing (pressing your breast with your hand to push milk
out) into the pump flanges. This last milk is the richest hindmilk you produce!
Where Can I Find More on This?
To watch a video demonstration of hands on pumping follow the link below:
Video link: http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/MaxProduction.html
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 05/10/2013
Copyright © 05/09/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7498
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