Breastfeeding is rewarding…but hard…and pumping is even harder! Returning to work after baby is already stressful enough, but if you breastfeed you have the additional stress of pumping enough milk for your little one while you’re away.

There are a variety of reasons why you may see a temporary dip in your supply, like being dehydrated, sick, or your period is about to return. Be sure to build a freezer stash a few weeks before going back to work for these instances.

But, don’t fret too much about your pumping output unless it is continuously low.  Most likely, some simple fixes will get your pumping output back up. Listed below are 7 easy ways you can increase your pumping output fast. 

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7 Easy Ways to Pump More Milk 

1. Look at Photos or Watch Videos of Your Little While Pumping

This will reduce your stress, take your mind off of worrying about how much milk your’e getting, and just make you happy. If you have your own private office or pumping room, you could hang pictures up all over (which I’m sure you already do 😉 ), if not your phone works just fine. 🙂 Videos are great because the sound of your baby will help trigger your let down.

2. Massage Your Breasts While Pumping

You may need to pump one breast at a time to do so effectively. I have found that massaging works wonders for me. It even helps shorten my pumping sessions.

3. Increase Your Water and/or Caloric Intake

Being dehydrated or not getting enough calories can strain your milk supply. I know getting plenty to eat and drink is tough when you are busy at work, but you need to make this priority. Breastfeeding mamas need about 500 extra calories per day. Listen to your body; Eat when your’e hungry (even though it may seem like you are always starving!) and satisfy your thirst. You could also try eating some oatmeal or drinking some fennel tea; both commonly known to help boost milk supply.

4. Make Sure You Have the Correct Breast Shield Size

If you feel discomfort while pumping or still feel full after a pumping session, it may be a sign you need to change your breast shield size for one or both breasts. Here is a great resource for helping you choose the correct shield size. If you still need help, you could also meet with a lactation consultant (LC). Most LCs will provide this service for free.

5. Regularly Maintain Your Breast Pump Parts

If you pump on a regular basis, you should be replacing your membranes about every 4 weeks. If you’ve noticed a decrease in your pumping output, check your membranes first. If there is a gap between the valve and membrane, you need to replace it. The membrane should lie flat against the valve. It’s always a good idea to have extra valves and membranes on hand.

breast pump membranes

If your tubing is getting loose, try snipping the ends off. Replace your valves every 4-6 months, and sterilize your parts once a week. Sterilization bags work great for the busy working mom.

6. Use a Warm Compress

Try placing a warm washcloth on your breasts a few minutes before pumping. It will help trigger your let down.

7.  Try a Manual Breast Pump 

You may find overtime that you stop responding as well to the pump. And, some women just don’t respond well to electric pumps at all. You may respond better to a manual pump.

Manual pumps are fairly inexpensive and usually range somewhere from $20-$35. You can pick one up online or at your local Target or Walmart.


If you continue to get a low output from pumping, be sure to meet with a lactation consultant as soon as possible. Try not to stress, and remember, the amount you pump is not always a good indicator of how much milk baby is getting when she’s at the breast.

You’re doing great mama! You are growing another human with your own body! You are amazing!

Did You Find This Post Helpful?

Be sure to leave a comment or share this post with other pumping mamas.


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  1. New Momma on October 19, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Oats and cream of wheat helped along with warm compressions and massaging the breasts. Drinking lots of water also helped.

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on October 23, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience and what worked for you. I hope that this post and these comments will greatly help other breastfeeding mamas.

  2. Addison on June 25, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Great tips. I second the tip about the correct sized shield. Great picture of the gap verses smooth. I thought my pump was broken so many times because of this.

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 25, 2017 at 7:47 pm

      Maintaining and having the correct pump parts certainly make a big difference!

  3. Angela Milnes on June 24, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Such a beautiful post and so helpful especially for the first time moms, I tried to pump for a couple of weeks because my son has a nipple confusion.

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 25, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Thank you for the kind words Angela. Pumping is a struggle of it’s own, that’s for sure.

  4. Lee on June 24, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Fantastic blog post!! So many women need help with this & there just isn’t enough accurate information available.. Especially with number 4!

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 24, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      Thanks so much for the kind words Lee! I certainly hope this post will help a lot of women. Pumping is so stressful, but so worth it.

  5. Devon on June 24, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Great tips! I’m not nursing anymore but I remember struggling to increase my output with my youngest daughter.

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 24, 2017 at 9:25 am

      Thanks for the kind words Devon! Pumping is a struggle of its own, that’s for sure!

  6. Kayla on June 24, 2017 at 7:00 am

    These are really great tips! I despised pumping, but it was totally worth all the effort.

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 24, 2017 at 9:24 am

      Same here! I dreaded pumping, but you’re right, it is so worth it!

  7. Kyler on June 14, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Great tips, I exclusively pumped for a couple of weeks because my son had nipple confusion but ended up switching to formula because it became so difficult. I look up to women who keep up with it!

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 16, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      I really think that pumping is harder than breastfeeding. Those first weeks can be rough for many moms and babies while they figure it out, but in the end a healthy, fed baby is what is most important.

  8. Belle on June 14, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Such a very helpful post! I’m sure a lot of moms will truly appreciate this!

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

  9. Kanani on June 14, 2017 at 7:16 am

    I felt like I was freaking fountain with my first kid and then I felt I had less and less supply with each additional child. The hardest was my fourth, Atlas. I could not pump for the life of me. Applied the same tips you suggested particularly the increased hydration and it seemed to get it going enough to build a small stash!

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 16, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      I have heard that over time, your body can stop responding to the pump as well. Hand expression can be helpful in those cases, but certainly isn’t ideal. Props to you for breastfeeding four kids! I hope I am able to breastfeed all my future children as well.

  10. Corinne @ My Mom Writes (Mommy Blog) on June 14, 2017 at 4:51 am

    Yes! Changing the membranes and making sure I had the correct size breast shield really helped with my output ❤️

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 16, 2017 at 2:04 pm

      I’m so glad those worked for increasing your output! They certainly helped me as well!

  11. Bethany on May 25, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    I just read another article about massaging your breasts and it’s WORKING! I will definitely be changing my pump membranes tomorrow. I have been at it for 3 months without switching those bad boys. Cheers!

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on May 25, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      I’m glad massaging is working for you! That really helped me a lot as well! Sounds like it is time to change those membranes!

  12. Emily on May 24, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Increasing water and correct flange size were key for me!

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on May 24, 2017 at 11:34 pm

      Both very important! I’m glad you were able to increase your pumping output by some simple fixes!

  13. Bailey Bouwman on May 23, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    I’ve also read there are meditative tapes that can help with pumping? Pumping mamas amaze me.

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