Pumping page


Laura's Pumping Page

What do I know about pumping?

When my daughter was born, she had a high palate and was unable to nurse effectively.  (It took us a while to figure this out, check out my full story ).  We ended up feeding her expressed breast milk only for a month, and then were able to transition her back to the breast.  We were so successful at the transition that as of 4 months old she completely refused the bottle :-(.  I was so successful at pumping that I donated ~600 ounces of milk to the San Jose Mothers Milk Bank :-).  As of this writing, I'm pumping once a day, even if Amelia isn't eating any of it-- I like having that cushion of extra milk, and it is going to a good cause.

I don't have experience working and pumping, or pumping for a hospitalized baby, but I suspect some of this still will be useful to people in those situations.

What are my opinions on pumps?

The electric pumps I've used (in order of my preference)


Ameda Egnell Purely yours


Ameda Egnell Lact-E (rental)


Medela Pump in Style 98


Medela Classic (rental)

I've also tried the Ameda Egnell hand pump, with moderate success.

Check out my pump comparison between the Purely Yours and the Pump in Style.

I've heard really good things about the Avent Isis, and if I wanted a hand pump for semi regular to regular use, or if I was on a strict budget, that's what I'd try first.

[email protected] put together a summary of the differences between the various types of pumps


Pumping Tips

  1. The massage technique in the Medela booklet worked wonders for my pumping output.  What I did was pump for ~7 minutes, then stop to massage (massage the whole breast in a circular motion, stroke towards the nipple, then lean over and shake out the breasts), pump ~5 minutes, massage, pump ~3 minutes.  When my pumping output was where I wanted it to be, I pumped until the output slowed down, then stopped to massage, and then pumped one more time. 

  2. Lubricate your breasts before pumping.  I used lansinoh, I've heard olive oil works well, or even expressing a few drops of breastmilk.  Just make sure whatever you use is baby safe,  This really helped my sore nipples, and increased my output.

  3. With the Purely Yours, you can control the speed and suction.  I start with the speed on high and the suction medium to stimulate a strong letdown, then switch the speed to about medium, and turn the suction up.  I get more milk per suck cycle, so  I can pump much more quickly this way.  (Interestingly, once I "trained" my breasts to go more quickly, I was able to pump more quickly with the PIS as well).

  4. If you are pumping full time, or even if you aren't, recruit your partner to help.  DH (Dear Husband) even still does all of the washing (see the next tip) and uses my pumping time as some of his play with baby time.  He also would bring me water if I forgot and helped get my station set up (including making flange rests and adjusting the height of my footstool.)

  5. If you are pumping multiple times a day, get multiple sets of flanges and wash them all at once (see below).

  6. I discovered pumping more frequently (9-10 times per day) helped increase my supply initially, but that I could maintain and increase gradually with 8.   (this is with little to no baby nursing taking place).

  7. Make sure you have a comfortable place to pump, with everything you need at hand (see below).

  8. Find a way to free up at least one hand, so you can read or whatever while you pump:


    I prop the bottles on my lap.  Then I can use one hand to steady both bottles.


    The Medela booklet shows a picture of using one arm to hold both flanges.


    The Medela hands free pumping kit works. It also works with the newer Ameda Egnell flanges.  The first time using it, the setup is a little strange.   It requires using a Medela bra, although you could probably modify other nursing bras using the Medela bra as a model.

  9. Relax. Use the techniques you learned in your childbirth prep class.  Put on calming music.  Get your partner to rub your neck (while holding baby in the other arm).


Pumping Logistics

Here is some information I've put together on storing breastmilk and on how much milk to expect to get.

Here is my pumping station.  Don't forget, you need much the same physical support for pumping as for breastfeeding-- make sure you are comfortable, that you have a good footstool, back support, etc., and everything you need should be within easy reach.pumpstuff.jpg (22475 bytes)

On another topic: An extra set of flanges means you don't have to wash immediately after pumping.  When I was pumping full time, it meant more sleep time.  It could also mean not having to wash pump equipment at the office.  For us, the time/money tradeoff led to lots of equipment.  We had 4 sets of Medela flanges, so that when I  was pumping 8 times a day, DH only had to wash morning and evening.  Then we switched to an Ameda-Egnell pump, and acquired 4 sets there as well.

We also wanted enough bottles to not have to worry about them.  I've got information on the different types of bottles (and bags) that I used

In the picture, the Medela stuff is on the left and the Ameda Egnell stuff is on the right.



I wish I'd seen this earlier:  Pumping Moms Information Exchange

The La Leche League web page has a FAQ and a Working and Breastfeeding section with some pumping info.

The Working Cow has information on working and pumping.


I'd be happy to get any feedback on these pages, please send to [email protected]