Why You Might Be Missing Out On Major Breast Milk with the Wrong Breast Pump Parts and Settings
Did you know that having the wrong breast pump parts, fit, or settings can have a BIG impact on your breast milk supply?
If you’re having trouble getting as much breast milk pumped as you’d like (and are getting less than you think you should!) this is a must read for all nursing moms.
So how do you make sure your breast pump is right for you?
Well, believe it or not breast pumps don’t come as one size fits all.
While this can be great, customizing your pump and getting it to fit perfectly can be a little tricky.
It can also mean having to re-read that breast pump manual or even having to buy new pump parts.
Make Sure Your Pump Is Right For You
Having a passion for obstetrics and a history of working in a birthing center as a nurse, I knew I wanted to breastfeed (or at the very least, give it my best shot).
I also knew this meant eventually pumping when I would go back to work.
Like most women, I started pumping with all the parts that came with my breast pump.
Now, I have a Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump Backpack – and have since also tried the Spectra S2 and love it!
I highly recommend choosing a pumping bag that’s practical and you love the look of. Personally, I loved the backpack style because it’s one less thing to sling over your arms on the way out the door in the morning (er – I mean for my husband to carry to my car, I’m a lucky lady!).
My insurance also covered part of this pump (and my 2nd one with the next baby!), so make sure you read this first about getting your breast pump for free.
After pumping for a few
weeks months, I felt like my breast pump wasn’t doing as good of a job as it once did.
I had completely forgotten the rule I didn’t know I should know: make sure your pump fits you.
What Can Be Customized On Your Breast Pump
Making sure your pump is right for you, includes knowing which parts you can customize. This usually includes:
- Choosing proper breast shield sizes
- Knowing when and how to use the let down button
- Using the speed and intensity settings.
First of all, there are breast shields. A breast shield is the part of your pump that actually attaches to your breast. The shields come in different sizes based on your nipple size.
Don’t be fooled – choosing the right size can greatly impact your milk supply!
Let Down Button
The next customization in a breast pump is speed and intensity. Most breast pumps will offer a knob or button to stimulate your let down.
If your let down happens fast, don’t be afraid to click the button off. If it takes a little longer for your breast milk let down to occur, press the button again!
Speed & Intensity
Once your let down is achieved and your breast milk starts flowing you can adjust the speed and intensity again.
Depending on the type of pump you have, you should have an option to increase the speed of the breast pump.
Keep in mind that a faster speed does not necessarily mean a faster or more efficient pumping session.
You should experiment with your breast pump to find the speed that best mimics your baby’s sucking. This is the real trick to having the best and most efficient pumping time.
Breast Pump Size Tips
While knowing what you can customize on your breast pump is huge, there are a few other important breast pump tips to keep in mind whether you’re first starting to pump or you’re a pumping pro.
1. Make Sure Your Pump Fits Correctly by Getting the Right Size Breast Shield
Again, this is so important and can definitely change your milk supply. Check out this video to see how your breast shield should be fitting.
The Medela Pump In Style Advanced comes with 24mm shields (the “standard” size). Medela also offers 21mm, 27mm, 30mm, and 36mm.
If these sizes still aren’t working for you – for example the 21mm is still pulling too much areola into the tunnel – there’s hope! Maymom is a brand I found online that offers an extra-small breast shield that you can find on Amazon: Maymom Brand 19 mm Breastshield.
Trust me, when your breast shield is the right size, you’ll not only be more comfortable, but also should produce more milk.
2. Replace the Membranes on Your Breast Pump
You know those little white parts attached to yellow valve? That’s the membrane.
And unfortunately, those little membranes can wear out.
So how do you know if your membrane has worn out?
Your membranes should not have any holes or little rips in them.
They should also lay flat next to the valve against gravity, not be so flexible (and well-used) that they fall open right away.
You might even notice that your pump doesn’t have the same suction it once did. And it could all be related to your pumps membranes!
The membrane is what creates suction in your pump, so make sure it’s working well to get the most out of your valuable pumping time. The good news? You can buy these little membranes on their own (or with the valves) and they’re pretty inexpensive!
Now That You’ve Made Sure Your Pump Fits You Right…
Now that you’ve learned how to make sure your breast pump is right for you, it’s time to put all those customizations into action!
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your pump and really find out what works best for you. With these easy tips and tricks you should be pumping more breast milk (and pumping it faster!) in no time!
Hopefully you found these tips helpful and end up with a few more ounces for all your hard work.
Keep it up momma!
I’d love to hear if you have other customizations you’ve used with your breast pump to help enhance your pumping session.