Breast pumps and expressing


Women pump milk for various reasons:

  • To stimulate a larger milk production
  • If their baby is having trouble latching onto the breast or obtaining the breastmilk
  • To store for times of separation from baby
  • So others can feed the baby if necessary
  • Please note that expressing milk stimulates milk supply so we DO NOT recommend pumping to relieve engorgement. This exasperates the problem and further increases the milk supply. Seek help and advice from a trained professional if you have an over supply or engorgement.


Hand pump
Hand pumps are the cheapest but not the most efficient. They can be fairly hard labour and may take quite some time to drain the whole breast.
However, for Mums who are not pumping frequently and who’s milk flows easily it could be the best option.

Electric pump
These are the most popular but can be fairly expensive. On average they cost around £100. You can buy a single or a double pump. Other options are borrowing from a friend or buying a second hand one.

Some Mothers don’t enjoy pumping and struggle to pump much out. Below are tips on how to make the most from your pump.

Hospital grade pumps
These are available to hire. They are the best as the suction is the strongest, you can pump both breasts at the same time and they are fairly quick.
I recommend hiring a pump if you’re expressing on a daily basis or you want to stimulate your milk production.


Depending upon why you’re pumping depends on when you pump. If you want to increase your milk supply or baby isn’t draining the breast, it’s advisable to pump straight after a feed. This allows time for the breasts to fill for the next feed and tells your body it needs to make more milk.
If you’re expressing to replace a breastfeed with a bottle feed then you can either express that feed when its due or express in the morning when the milk supply is more abundant.

* Please note that giving a bottle to a breastfeeding baby may risk the baby developing nipple confusion.

  1. First get comfortable and start with a breast massage. Downward strokes from the top of the breast to the nipple, work round the breast from top side to underneath. Finish with a few gentle squeezes all over.
  2. Use a small amount of coconut oil or breast cream inside the flange around the part where the nipple sits. This should help to stop chaffing
  3. Place the flange on the breast with the nipple in the centre.
  4. Start the suction on a low setting and only increase if it’s not painful and milk flow is more efficient. You do not need to use a high suction to increase the milk yield, it has to be comfortable.
  5. Pump for a minimum of 15 mins and maximum of 20 mins each side. Any shorter and your milk supply could decrease. Any longer and your nipples could end up sore. If the milk stops flowing before this time, continue for a further 5 mins as it may stimulate another let down and it’ll tell the body to make more milk.
  6. Using a double pump takes half the time and can stimulate a better milk production.
  7. You can use breast compressions at the same time to increase the milk yield.
  8. If you’re pumping regularly you can buy a pumping bra which allows you to be hands free.
  9. What you pump does not necessarily reflect your breasts capacity. Your baby will generally be more efficient at draining your breasts.
  10. Here’s a video to watch: