Flange size


If your milk supply is low, it can be frustrating and disappointing not being able to provide everything your baby needs.

I do want to clarify that a healthy, strong baby can remove more milk from the breast than a pump can. This means that what you pump might not be a good indication of how much milk you’re making. A better judge is how your baby responds after nursing. If he/she is satisfied, you’re making enough regardless of how much you pump. If he/she is still hungry after nursing, you might have low supply and the following tips should help.

Here are some ways to boost your milk supply, followed by what worked best for me. Not every method works for everyone. Try out several and you’re bound to find a few that work!

This post contains affiliate links to my favorite items, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links. This is at no extra cost to you. Learn more here.

Tips to Increase your Supply:

Achieve your letdown reflex: Make sure you’re having one (or more!) letdown during every pump session. Make sure you’re relaxed while pumping and try to create a pumping routine. It often helps to think of or look at your baby. I often write blog posts while pumping and that works well for me because that’s my routine.

Check out this post on how to make pumping easier.

Eat old fashioned oats (not instant): I’m honestly not sure why, but something in oats can increase milk supply. Try hot oatmeal, overnight oats, or cookies made with oatmeal – yum! Eating more oats really helped one of my friends boost her supply.

Take care of yourself: As a new mom, this is way easier said than done. Try to get as much sleep as you can, stay hydrated, and eat as well as you can. I love meal prepping some salads then eating them while my son plays on his playmat.

Visit a lactation consultant: Make sure your baby is being effective and efficient at the breast by seeking the guidance of a lactation consultant. Ensuring your baby has a good latch will help make sure you’re emptying your breasts regularly. This in turn, tells your body you need more milk.

Lactation cookies: These ingredients can help increase your supply. I tried and loved Milkmakers’ oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I personally use homemade oatmeal chocolate and butterscotch chip cookies.

Power pump: To power pump, pump for 20 minutes, take a 10 minute break, pump for another 10 minutes, take another 10 minute break, followed by one more 10 minute pump session. The session takes one hour and can be done daily for a few days. This tricks your body into thinking you have twins.

What Worked Best for Me:

I’m not sure which of these definitely helped since I implemented most of them around the same time. However, my supply increased by an ounce or two per pump after I started the following:

Don’t stress: If we aren’t producing enough it’s easy to stress about it, which can further hurt our supply. If you feel that’s the case (and your baby isn’t getting enough milk), adding in formula can be a big relief and take weight off your shoulders. If you add in formula, make sure you pump every time you give a bottle of formula so your body still knows you need milk at that time.

Increase the suction: I read online that more suction doesn’t help, but one of our lactation consultants said it does, so it’s worth trying. She recommended using 50% suction strength or more. I’d make sure you’re still comfortable though because pain can inhibit your letdown reflex. If you’re uncomfortable when increasing the suction, make sure your flanges are the right size and try nipple butter to ensure your nipples can move smoothly in the flanges.

Correct flange sizes: If your flange is too big, it can pull too much areola into the flange. If your flange is too small your nipples will rub against the wall everytime and create friction. Having the right size flanges reduces pain- pain while pumping can inhibit your letdown reflex, so having the right size flange can increase your milk output.

Nipple butter: Your nipples will be close to the walls, when you get properly sized flanges. Additionally, using a nipple butter or something like olive oil helps them flow in and out easily without any friction.

Nurse more: Assuming your baby is nursing well and emptying the breast, nursing on demand (everytime your baby wants to) tells your body you need more milk.

Pump after breastfeeding: My friend recommended this. She said it worked really well for her. Pumping after breastfeeding is telling your body that you need more milk even after your baby has finished nursing; this tricks your body into thinking you have twins.

You might also be interested in how to stay positive when breastfeeding doesn’t go as planned.

Skin-to-skin: Cuddling your baby while he/she only wears a diaper and you’ve removed your shirt and bra helps release hormones in your body that encourage milk production.

Cut back on formula: Formula can be great and necessary. However, if you’ve gotten the okay from your pediatrician and your baby is nursing well, reducing the amount of formula you give your baby can help boost your milk supply. Everytime you use formula your body doesn’t realize you need more milk, or milk at that time. 

Note: If you do use formula, make sure you pump so your body knows you still need (more) milk.

Take moringa: One of our lactation consultants recommended I take moringa capsules. She said these ones have more than enough mg when taken as directed.

Electrolytes: Stay hydrated with Gatorade or coconut water, which also help replenish electrolytes. I drink 10-12oz of Gatorade per day- it’s a nice treat too!

Try lactation drinks: I loved Milkmakers’ berry lemonade lactation drink mix but I’ve also tried Premama’s berry drink mix. Premama’s tastes a little funny. I got used to it after a week or so. Now, I look forward to it as something to drink other than water to stay hydrated.

I hope some of these work for you and help to increase your milk supply!

Share your tips and what worked for you in the comments!

How to Effectively Increase your Milk Supply

If you pump on a regular basis, you know how challenging, time-consuming, tiring, and overwhelming it can be. Therefore, you’re probably looking for all the tips and tricks on how to make pumping easier.

You might also be interested in this post on how to stay positive when breastfeeding doesn’t go as planned.

Even though I wasn’t planning on pumping, due to circumstances out of my control, I’ve become an (hopefully temporarily) exclusive pumper. These are some of the tips and tricks I’ve found to make pumping more manageable.

This post contains affiliate links to my favorite items, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you. Learn more here.

Tips & Tricks for Easier Pumping:

Use the correct flange sizes: Not only can incorrect flange sizes be painful, they can also negatively impact your milk output. Ensuring you have the proper size flanges will make pumping more comfortable and efficient. Flanges that fit properly should pull your nipple in without rubbing on the sides and without pulling in your areola. The areola is the dark area around your nipple.

Lactation consultant: You might think lactation consultants are only for breastfeeding moms, but they can help with pumping too. They help by ensuring your flanges are the right size and offering pumping tips. Also, if you still want to breastfeed, they can obviously help with that.

Use a mini fridge: Instead of running to the kitchen multiple times a night (for milk or formula if you’re supplementing), put a mini fridge in your bedroom. This also helped me stay half asleep during feedings and get back to sleep sooner!

Refrigerate pump parts: I’ve heard that in between pump sessions you can refrigerate your pump parts instead of washing them every time. This assumes that since milk is good in the fridge for awhile, it’s safe on pump parts in the fridge as well. Simply throw the pieces in a big ziploc bag between sessions and wash them once daily.

Buy a Haaka: If you’re nursing, use a Haaka while you nurse on the other side. This will allow you to save the milk that leaks during a letdown, and reduce the amount of time you need to pump. This is if you pump after nursing.

Use lanolin cream and/or organic nipple butter: Use these before and after pumping (and after nursing if you’re nursing)! Putting one of these on before pumping will help your nipple slide easily in the flange. Plus, it helps to reduce any discomfort you might feel. Using a cream or nipple butter after pumping helps soothe sore nipples. I especially found relief from this nipple butter, and with organic, natural ingredients I felt comfortable using it.

Put together a pumping caddy: Having a bin of essentials with you every time you pump makes the process easier. It is also less frustrating because you don’t need to keep jumping up for things you forgot. I recommend (audio) books, extra nursing pads, snacks, water, a Haaka, a phone charger, lanolin cream and/or organic nipple butter.

Take sunflower lecithin: If you’ve been getting clogged ducts (and your doctor approves it), try taking sunflower lecithin capsules. They’re meant to help your fatty milk flow easier, therefore reducing clogged ducts.

Use collection cups: Instead of a traditional pump (that are honestly distracting and unattractive), try collection cups that fit inside your bra. These are more discreet and better for not only on the go, but also walking around the house (does anyone else seem to bump traditional pumps on everything?).

Get a hands free pumping bra: If you want to be able to do anything while you pump, you need a hands free pumping bra! Most pumps say they’re hands free, but only if you have a hands free pumping bra to hold it. Without one, you’ll need to hold each flange on your breast, which leaves no hands for anything else. Plus, what mother has time to sit and do nothing but pump? I bought this one and really like it.

Leave milk out: Instead of refrigerating then reheating milk for every feed, leave it out at room temperature (for up to 4 hours) so it’s ready to go when baby’s ready for it! Also, I heard cooling breast milk removes some of the good qualities in it. So, it actually seems more beneficial for your baby to leave it out if you’ll use it soon.

I hope these tips and tricks help make pumping easier and more manageable for you. Let me know in the comments what helps you!

You got this, mama!!

You might also be interested in this post on finding an ideal breast pump.

How to Make Pumping Easier