36 answers

Pumping Milk

I'm having trouble pumping milk with my breast pump. It just seems to pull and be somewhat painful, and not express much milk. It also makes my breasts congested and lumpy making it hard for my baby to get milk sometimes. I think it gives me plugged ducts. The most I seem to be able to express (after a feeding) is an ounce and a half. How much milk is a normal amount to get, and also about how much expressed milk is a good feeding for a 2 and a half month old? I have an Ameda Purely Yours pump and have been experimenting with the different size shields with more luck with the middle size. The small one was really pinchy. Any advice to make pumping go more smoothly and avoid getting plugged ducts from the pump? Do you think a hospital grade pump would be better?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone who replied! Your advice was very helpful. I decided to go to the store "Upper Breast Side" in Manhattan and rent a hospital grade pump. I had already consulted a lactation specialist with the electric Ameda pump I have and she loves that pump, but it just didn't work for me- the shields are to hard and painful I think. Anyway, I rented the Medela Classic, came home from the UBS, sterilized all my new parts and pumped 3 ounces painlessly in less than 10 minutes! I am so relieved! It was a little expensive to rent but worth it. I can now save some milk for my son for when I go back to work/school. Thanks again for all the input!

Featured Answers

I had grat luck with a very cheap Avent plastic model.
The amount sounds right though.
You will get more later on.

I rented a hospital grade pump after my son was born, and it did not work well for me at all. In fact, I tried several electric pumps and none of them worked well for me. What ended up working really well for me was an Avent hand pump. I was actually able to pump more milk much faster with the manual pump than I ever could with any of the electrics, and it was much more comfortable for me. Good luck!

More Answers

Hi there! Congratulations! I own a maternity shop and sell pump, so I have some experience. I couldn't totally tell, but it sounds as if you are nursing as well? If so, a suggestion some of my friends/customers have given is to pump one side while the baby is nursing the other. Your body produces whatever milk the baby needs, so you won't "run out" of milk for your baby when he nurses. Our bodies are so smart that they know it's not a baby nursing and reacts differently. I only work with Medela pumps, but I have heard equally as good things about the Ameda pumps, but you may want to continue to ask around for people who may have experience with both brands. It sounds like a good choice to go with a bigger breast shield if the small was pinching you. If you continue to have trouble, reaching out to a lactation consultant may really help. Most hospitals have one on staff or can point you in the right direction. Hope this helped even just a little!


I always had a problem pumping as well, but I think it was mostly about trying to relax so that the milk would let down. I always ended up in a ridiculous and awkward position of having the baby feed on one breast and pumping the other at the same time because my milk would always come down for my baby. Otherwise just try and relax, I think that's key - take deep breaths, that worked alot with me because I would always be trying so hard to see how much was coming out and wanting the milk to come down, etc.. I used a single electric pump for both my kids (First Years and Medela) and I think the more power you have the better, so if you can afford it, I'd get one. Also, you aren't going to get much after a feeding, so maybe in between would be better. Good luck!

Hi R.,

Sounds like you're on the right track - Upper Breast Side is a terrific resource and I used the Medela Classic pump for 12 months and it was great. Along with the warm compresses before you pump, you also might want to get a hands-free 'bra' - it's a stretchy wide piece of fabric that zips up the front and has 2 holes in the front for the shields. It will allow you to massage your breasts while you're pumping, which is especially helpful when you have blocked milk ducts! Also, try massaging closer to the nipple if you do have a blocked duct, before you pump - this is where the blockage starts. Good luck!


Hi R.,
My first question is, how often are you nursing him? If you are nursing on demand, then it makes sense that there wouldn't be much left to pump. According to Kellymom - a great breastfeeding resource at http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/pumping_decrease.html - "Most moms who are nursing full-time are able to pump around 1/2 to 2 ounces total (for both breasts) per pumping session." So you are doing great. Remember that when/if you go back to work, and are away from your baby for longer periods of time, your supply will have more of a chance to build up.

Here are my suggestions, and please forgive me if I'm telling you thinkg you already know.

Try to pump right before a feeding (when your breasts are very full) - for instance, when you wake up in the morning. Another idea is to feed the baby on one side, and pump the other at the same time, or immediately after. This will help your let-down reflex.

Massage your breasts before pumping. If you do feel lumps, you can massage the area, and/or apply a warm compress (this will also help letdown). I don't know if the pump would give you plugged ducts, but massage and warm compresses will help. Also when you nurse the baby, try to point his chin at the area that's plugged (may require some odd positioning).

Try to relax. I know that's a tough one.

Good luck. Feel free to ask more questions. I have nursed and pumped for 2 babies (now 8 & 5 years old) and am currently doing the same for a 6 month old while working FT. It's hard work but you can do it!


It's been a while for me, but I had a Medela Pump in Style that worked wonderfully. I got larger shields which helped a lot--you definitely don't want pinching, which will clog your ducts. The nice thing about the Medela (I don't know if yours has this feature) was that you could adjust the strength of the pump, so that if it was pulling too hard you could decrease it. That was very helpful when I first started, and then later I was able to increase the strength and get more milk quicker.

One of the best resources for breast feeding questions is La Leche League, which has groups pretty much everywhere.

Yes, absolutely. Get the Medela Symphony. It's amazing! You can barely hear it, and it's completely gentle. I pumped, full time, for many months and this pump was a godsend. I usually got around 4+ ounces per session, and I was *not* a big milk producer. The pump made all the difference for me. You can rent one through a hospital or medical rental company, or you can buy it if you have the money and see needing one in the future. Good luck!!

I rented a hospital grade pump after my son was born, and it did not work well for me at all. In fact, I tried several electric pumps and none of them worked well for me. What ended up working really well for me was an Avent hand pump. I was actually able to pump more milk much faster with the manual pump than I ever could with any of the electrics, and it was much more comfortable for me. Good luck!

First of all congratulations on your new little addition ;) I would definetly recommend the medela breast pump it is the best. I am a mother of 2 my daughter is 4 and a half and my son 2 and a half. I breast fed both...my daughter for 1 full year. I tackled pumping for a few months...unfortunately it was more frustrating than anything for me and eventually gave up. Some women just naturally produce more milk than others. My girlfriend could pump bottles after bottles, driving me crazy LOL!!! Anywho...you shouldn't be trying to pump after your son finishes...you will definetly be dry. You will need to try pumping in between his feedings allowing your body to begin producing more milk flow. Once you feel like your son is on a feeding schedule essentially you will also maintain a pumping schedule. I do hope you understand what I am trying to say. Pumping is difficult...don't give up

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