Breast-feeding and pumping: 7 tips for success

Breast-feeding is a commitment — and your efforts are worthwhile. If you're pumping, follow simple tips for maintaining your milk supply, from pumping often to drinking plenty of fluids. By Mayo Clinic Staff

Breast-feeding is based on supply and demand. The more you breast-feed your baby — or pump while you're away from your baby — the more milk your breasts will produce. Consider seven tips for pumping success.

1. Relax

Stress can hinder your body's natural ability to release breast milk. Find a quiet place to pump. It might help to massage your breasts or use warm compresses. You might want to think about your baby, look at a picture of your baby or listen to relaxing music.

2. Pump often

The more you pump, the more milk you'll produce — especially if you're using a high-quality pump. If you're working full time, try to pump for 15 minutes every few hours during the workday. If you can, pump both breasts simultaneously. A double breast pump helps stimulate milk production while reducing pumping time by half.

3. When you're with your baby, breast-feed on demand

The more you breast-feed your baby when you're together, the greater your supply will be when you pump. Depending on your schedule, try more-frequent evening, early morning or weekend feedings. If you have a predictable schedule, you might ask your baby's caregivers to avoid feeding your baby during the last hour of care — so that you can breast-feed your baby as soon as you arrive.

Apr. 07, 2012 See more In-depth