How to Stimulate a Milk Release Before Using Your Advanced Manual Breast Pump
Moms who have a robust milk supply and a quick let down may be able to release milk easily with the Advanced Manual pump. To stimulate a milk release, place the correct size of flange to your breast, centering the nipple. Start with a fast, short pumping motion, about 2 short pumps per second. As milk starts to flow, transition into a slower, longer pumping motion.
If you find your milk is not flowing within a minute or two of using a fast, short pumping motion, it will be helpful to elicit a let down before holding the pump to your breast.
Before pumping, use breast massage and hand expression to signal your brain to release oxytocin, the hormone which helps your breast release milk. Once your breast releases milk, the Manual Breast Pump can help you collect it easily.
Here are steps to encourage a milk release, or letdown:
- Using the palms of your hands and fingers, massage the sides, top, and bottom of your breast for about a minute. The goal here is to provide skin-to-skin contact.
- Switch to a small, circular massages like a breast exam. Use your fingertips to press into your breast and make a circular movement. Repeat this all the way around the outside of your breast, then around the breast again closer to your nipple, for about a minute.
- Hand express some milk before you hold the pump to your breast. Follow these steps for hand expression:
- Place your thumb on the top of your breast, about two inches behind your nipple.
- Place your fingers on the opposite side of your breast, about two inches behind the nipple.
- Pull your fingers toward your chest wall. This will make your breast tissue tight.
- Keeping your fingers pulled back toward your chest wall, squeeze your thumb toward your fingers rhythmically, two to three squeezes per second.
- You will see a few drips come out. Continue quick compressions until milk switches from dripping to streaming or spraying. Hand express until you see milk streaming or spraying with each compression 4 or 5 times.
- Once your milk is flowing, center your nipple in the correct size of flange and begin squeeze the handle rhythmically, about once per second.
Following these steps will help most moms let down to their pump. But a few moms may still have difficulty. If this is you, here are some more ideas that may help:
- Smell something your baby has worn recently. Look at pictures and videos of your baby (if he is not with you). Smell, sight, and sound all support oxytocin release.
- Apply warmth to your breasts prior to pumping. Warmth does not directly stimulate oxytocin but does support milk flow for other reasons.
- Use hand expression until you get a good ½ - 1 ounce of milk, then use the pump.