Pumping Tips to Get More Milk Out in Less Time 

Breastfeeding your baby is the best way to deliver essential nutrients, build your baby’s immune system, and spend some quality time bonding with your newborn. While most new mothers will try to nurse as often as possible, it is not always realistic for long-term care. Many new moms go back to work and even if you stay at home, sometimes you’re going to want a little help. That’s where pumping comes in. Using a breast pump allows you to give your baby what they need even while you’re away. However, pumping doesn’t come easy to everyone. Some women struggle with it and don’t seem to expel enough milk. In this article, we’ll go over our top essential pumping tips to get more milk out in less time.

Normal Pumping Outputs

One of the first questions new moms ask is are they pumping enough? If this is your first time using a breast pump, it’s understandable to question your output. While everyone is different, most mothers who breastfeed can expect to expel ½ to 2 ounces total, for both breasts, per pumping session.2 Sometimes your output will be higher and sometimes it will be lower—breast milk is created based on supply and demand.   

The Supply-Demand Cycle

Your breast milk is regulated based on a supply-demand cycle. If you don’t breastfeed and never pump, eventually your body will stop making milk. If you breastfeed often and pump frequently throughout the day, your body will make enough milk to meet the demands. In addition, your milk supply is largely regulated by hormones and your own circadian rhythm.1 Due to these cycles and internal regulatory systems, many women find that they have the highest milk output in the mornings.  

How to Increase Milk Output

If you notice your pumping output decrease, or feel like you could be expelling more, try a few of the following. If you still feel like you’re not pumping enough milk, talk to your doctor. Clogged ducts, a common culprit of low milk output, can be painful but they’re fixable. You should also keep in mind that milk output can vary from each pumping session, day, and even time so try to keep a log of when you expel the most milk to better understand your body.

Increase Pumping Frequency

One of the best ways to get more milk out in less time is to actually increase the frequency of pumping. While it seems counterproductive, it will help you stimulate your breasts to release milk. When your breasts get too full, your body stops making milk.1 When you pump often, your body will be triggered to make more milk and you’ll be able to expel more in less time. To begin, try cluster pumping. Do this until you notice a difference in your milk supply and then adjust accordingly.

If cluster pumping isn’t viable for your schedule, simply add an extra pumping session into your schedule. If you currently only pump once a day, start pumping twice. If you already pump three times a day, add in a fourth and see if it makes a difference. Find a time that works for you and stick to it so your body will start to expect it and respond accordingly. Some women find that the best time to add in an extra pumping session is right after nursing so that you can completely empty your breasts. Find what works for you and stick to it. After a while, you’ll start expelling more milk in less time.

Spend More Time Pumping

The best way to fuel the supply and demand of your milk supply is to ensure that you pump long enough. A lot of women will pump for a little, get some milk, and stop before their breasts are empty. If you want to increase your milk output and speed up the process of doing so, you need to pump until your breasts are empty. The more milk you remove from your breasts during each pumping session, the better. Try to pump for 2-5 minutes after the last drops of milk during most sessions for the best results.2

Create a Pumping Routine

Create a routine with your increased, elongated pump sessions. Your body likes consistency, so if it starts to expect that milk will be released, it will come faster during pumping sessions. Try to create a routine that works with your everyday schedule and then stick to it. If you need to stray from your routine every now and then, don’t worry—just get back on schedule the following day.

Keep a Healthy Diet

Staying hydrated and eating a balanced diet of nutrient dense food will help you maintain a healthy milk supply.1 While many new moms are in diet mode, don’t restrict your caloric intake too much. You need calories to make milk and expel it. In fact, you should be eating about 450-500 calories more per day when you’re pumping.1 If you’re struggling with this, talk to your doctor or find a lactation consultant.

Use a Warm Compress

Warming up your body temperature will help your milk flow more smoothly.3 When you’re about to pump, apply a warm compress to your breasts and make sure you’re in clothes that keep your body temperature comfortable. If you’re cold, you’re going to inhibit milk flow and it will be more difficult to pump efficiently. Keep yourself comfortable and avoid trying to pump in cold rooms.

Increase Vibration

While this might not work for everyone, some women experience stronger letdown reflexes after mild to moderate vibration stimulation.3 Try it out to see if it works and if you find success, there are a few great products that you can incorporate into your nursing routine.

Try to Relax

If you start your pumping session while you’re stressed or anxious, you’re not going to expel a lot of milk. Your body will tense up and your flow will get disrupted. While you might feel like you can’t take a break from work or your day to pump, it will make everything easier. Use your pumping sessions as a mental break and sit back and try to relax. Play some music, listen to a podcast, or read your favorite book. It won’t take too much time out of your day and you’ll get an added bonus of some me-time.

Understand Your Pump

If you’re still having trouble with expelling milk, make sure you check your breast pump. Understanding your pump is extremely important to efficient pumping sessions, especially since they continue to increase in complexity. Take the time to read the manual for your breast pump so that you understand everything about it. Different pump speeds can help with milk output and the flange sizes are important to getting a strong enough suction. Before doing anything else, stop and read your manual so that you understand how to properly use your specific breast pump. Making sure that your pump is kept clean and in working order is also extremely important to a strong milk output, so read up on how to keep your breast pump clean and follow the steps to do so.

Try a Hands-Free Approach

If you’re still not getting out enough milk fast enough, consider switching to a hands-free breast pump. Using a hands-free pump will allow you to spend your pumping time more efficiently and makes it less disruptive to your daily schedule. If you work, a hands-free breast pump will allow you to continue working while discreetly pumping throughout the day.

Take Lactation Supplements

If all else fails, talk to your doctor about incorporating lactation supplements into your diet. Lactation supplements can help your body fight clogged ducts and produce more milk. Lecithin is commonly taken for clogged ducts and can help smooth out the flow of milk.3 You can also incorporate more galactagogues into your diet. Galactagogues are foods that are known to help increase your milk supply. Talk to your doctor about any changes to your diet or supplements beforehand to ensure that you’re staying safe.


While breastfeeding is a beautiful time for mom and baby, using a breast pump to supplement nursing is a great way to give yourself a break and let your partner bond with your baby. If you’re still having trouble getting milk out, talk to your doctor about finding a lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist. Do some research on a pump that will work for you and remember that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, new and expecting mothers are eligible to receive an electric breast pump covered by their insurance provider.

If you have any tips or advice about breast pumping or want to share your experience with a lactation consultant, head over to our Facebook page today and leave a comment!



1 https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/how-to-increase-milk-supply-when-pumping#think-about-baby

2 https://kellymom.com/hot-topics/pumping_decrease/

3 https://exclusivepumping.com/pump-breast-milk-faster/