Maintaining Your Milk Supply

By Krista Gray, IBCLC. Last updated February 5, 2013.



Ideally, you should pump as often as your baby is eating.  However, some moms are returning to work situations (such as teaching) where this is very difficult.  Here are some tips to keep your supply up:

  • Nurse your baby right before you drop her off, as soon as you pick her up, and on demand all throughout the evening, night, early morning, and weekend
  • Pump as often as possible while you are at work.  Even if you can only pump twice and each session is only about 1 1/2 hours apart, take the opportunity to pump both times
  • Even if you don’t have time to pump a full session, but just have a few free minutes, go ahead and pump.  Pumping for just a few minutes is better than not pumping at all
  • Store your pump in a refrigerator during the day so you don’t need to clean it after each session.  This saves time and you can simply clean it each evening for the next day.
  • Eat oatmeal often.  Though no research has been done, many moms find that on days they eat oatmeal they get more milk when they pump.  If it doesn’t help you haven’t lost anything and if it does. . . that’s an added bonus!
  • Don’t forget to drink to thirst.  Water is best!
  • Relax, relax, relax.  Stressing over how much milk you pump, how often you pump, and anything else can make it harder to get milk while you are pumping.  Know you are doing the best you can – just relax and go with it.
  • Remember, what you pump is not a measure of your milk supply.  Your baby can always get milk, even when a pump or hand expression cannot.