Pumping Your Milk

What do I need to know to start pumping?

Nursing moms have plenty of excellent reasons to pump their breast milk. Here are some techniques that will be helpful to both you and your baby:

1. Check out all of the parts that came with your pump. Rental pumps often include some of the same parts as the kinds of pumps you can buy, but there are some unique and specific parts that are limited to the rental pump.

  • You may consider a hands-free nursing bra a very helpful accessory. Some brands include: Easy ExpressionTM by Medela and Simple Wishes. There are many more and you can select by style, features, but most importantly, by fit.


2. Next, attach your tubing to the pump. On the opposite end of the tubing attach the flanges. Then place the flanges over your nipple and areola so they are centered.

  • The nipple should be right in the center of the flange tunnel. It should not rub on the sides of the flange or the tunnel as this can cause discomfort.
  • Do not use a flange that is too large because this will also lead to pain and may not properly empty the milk when pumping.


3. Finally, turn your pump on. You will probably want to begin your pumping session with the pump set to the “flutter” pattern. This is a quick and light pumping pattern that stimulates the nerves in the nipple by sending a message to the pituitary gland to produce prolactin, which initiates milk production.

4. After a couple of minutes using this flutter pattern, switch the pump to the regular phase which will feel like a smooth and firm tugging on your breast. You can adjust the strength of the pump; choose a setting that is most comfortable for you. This is supposed to be a painless process.

  • If you have a pump that does not offer this feature, you can mimic the pattern by switching the pump manually.


Here’s a suggested pumping scenario. Repeat this pattern until your breast is emptied.


Time Interval

Flutter Phase 1-2 minutes
Longer, Slower Pulling 4-5 minutes
Flutter Phase 1-2 minutes
Longer, Slower Pulling 4-5 minutes


When you are finished, carefully remove the flanges so that those last few precious drops of liquid gold are collected in the bottle.

Looking for more guidance about pumping? Share your concerns with us and one of our lactation consultants can help you find the solutions you need.

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