PUMPING YOUR MILK: A STEP BY STEP GUIDE
All the pieces to your breast pump may initially look intimidating, but it's not hard to learn to use
a breast pump. Follow these basic instructions to pump milk for your baby. For more information
on expressing milk, see Nineteen Tips for Better Pumping.
- Get ready. If this is your first time using the pump, follow the instructions that came with the
pump regarding cleaning and/or sterilizing before use. Assemble the pump parts, following the
instructions. Sit in a comfortable chair, next to a table that will hold the pump. Have a storage
container handy for the milk.
- Get set. Take a few moments to relax and breathe deeply. Close your eyes. Think about your
baby at the breast. Or imagine yourself in a favorite, calming setting. This step helps you relax so
that your milk will flow.
- Go. Center your nipple in the pump's flange (or flanges if you're pumping both breasts at
once). If the pump comes with several sizes of flange, choose the one that fits the best--not too
big, but big enough so that the nipple and areola do not rub against the plastic as you pump. Then
operate the pump. If it has several suction settings, try the gentlest one first. You can increase
the suction if necessary to get more milk. At first, you'll see only drops of milk appearing in the
flange, but after your milk ejection reflex is triggered, you'll see the milk spray out of your
- When to stop. Continue pumping until the milk is no longer flowing. If you're pumping one
breast at a time, switch to the other side and pump until the milk stops flowing on that side. Then
pump each breast again. If you're double-pumping, you might want to pump a minute or two
longer after the milk flow stops to see if you can trigger another let-down and get more milk.
- Store it. Pour the pumped milk into your selected container (see Storing and
Transporting Breastmilk.) Fasten the lid tightly, date the label, and refrigerate or freeze.