Manual Breast Pump Tips – 13 Secrets To Boost Milk Supply Shared By Experts

Do you want to learn more about how a nursing hand pump works? You will know to pump like a pro, and your milk supply will increase dramatically.

I’ll offer some of the best manual breast pump tips that I learned from the experts. Let’s dive into this article to get it clear!

What Is A Manual Breast Pump?

Omega manual breast reliever with red bulb 

There are a variety of nursing pump alternatives available to meet your unique needs. And the first device we want you to try is the manual breast pump.

The Benefits Of A Manual Breast Pump

Here are some of the most acceptable applications for a manual device, as well as some advantages you won’t find with more technological alternatives:

  • Low-cost alternative: Manual devices may cost less than electric ones. 
  • Low-tech alternative: There is no need for a plug or a charge with a manual breast pump. You can get milk as long as you have a free hand. 
  • Compact design: A manual option is a discreet, compact, and portable alternative if you’re going away for a short time.

The Drawbacks To A Manual Breast Pump

Of course, there are a few disadvantages to utilizing a manual device as well:

  • Waste of time: Pumping using a manual option takes time and patience, so be sure you’re not in a hurry. 
  • It takes more work: Your pumping hand will get a good workout if you try to collect enough ounces to feed your baby. 

Why Do Women Use Breast Pumps? 

Full bottles of pumped breast milk

Breast engorgement is typical during the first few days and weeks of breastfeeding. At that time, your breasts grow uncomfortably stiff and full with breast milk and fluid. 

When it comes to engorgement, we must be cautious not to over-pump to prevent producing an excessive amount of breastmilk. 

Manual breast pumps may help reduce unpleasant engorgement by softening your breasts and releasing pressure.

Besides, some mothers may have trouble latching their babies because their nipples are short, flat, or inverted.

You may swiftly stimulate and evert your nipple with the hand pump, which will assist the baby to attach to your breast.

How To Use A Manual Breast Pump? 

Infant drinks milk from a bottle 

The majority of manual pumps consist of some simple elements. Slip the nipple shield over your breast and start pumping the handle after it’s clean.

It’s vital to remember that milk may take a minute or two to start flowing. 

After all, you are not a machine, and your hand may fatigue. After a few minutes, turn to your other breast and repeat the process.

Manual Breast Pump Tips – 13 Secrets To Boost Milk Supply 

If you’re having trouble pumping breast milk out of the storage bottles, the following tips can help!

Be Prepared

Breastfeeding a baby 

Although borrowing a pump from a friend or family may seem like an excellent way to save money, there are many reasons why you should not share breast pumps, including the danger of bacterial contamination and decreased motor performance over time. 

So, make sure you choose a well-suited pump for your specific requirements. 

Stock Up Early

Start saving your milk several weeks in advance if you know you’ll need a stockpile of milk for your infant—pump in the intervals between your baby’s regular feedings.

Your breasts produce milk 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so there’s no need to wait a certain length of time after feeding to pump.

Milk production slows down when your breasts are “full,” while milk production speeds up when they are “less full.” Feed your infant when they ask for it, and pump in between.

Pump While Breastfeeding

Breast pump 

Some moms discover that pumping on one breast while their baby breastfeeds on the other produces the most milk. Nursing the infant causes the body to create hormones that release milk.

Your body will adapt in a day or two, and you will make somewhat more milk to fulfill the needs of both your baby and the pump. At that time, continue to react to your baby’s hunger signals.

Have Double Or Triple Equipment

Ensure you have two or three sets of sanitary flanges at the start of the day if you’re pumping your milk during work breaks. So you can make the most of your break time, have one set built and ready to go.

After pumping, refrigerate your milk in a refrigerator or insulated cooler with ice packs. After that, put your used flanges in a zipper-style storage bag so you may wash them at home later.

It’s important to note that breast pump flanges aren’t one size fits all. Because women’s breasts vary in size and shape, manufacturers provide many sizes. 

Because you must buy more flanges separately from your pump, make sure you test it out to see what size is most comfortable before getting more. If you’re not sure how to fit your flange, make an appointment with a lactation consultant.

Establish A Pumping Routine

Kitett small double compresses 

Make a list of actions that work as signals to your body you’ll follow almost every time you pump. 

  • Getting a new glass of water
  • Hanging a “do not disturb” sign on your bedroom door
  • Glancing at a photo or video of your baby
  • Phoning your baby’s caregiver for an update
  • Lowering your office lights 

Some moms also utilize auditory cues, such as relaxing music, nursing “hypnosis” records, or recordings of their baby’s noises.

Due to the brain-body link, these signals may promote the mother’s habit, just as Pavlov’s dogs acquired a physical reaction to an aural cue.

Massage Your Breasts

It is an important step that you should not miss! You may improve milk expression by massaging and squeezing complex breast parts.

To put it another way, when moms touch their breasts during breast pumping, they tend to express milk.

Before you place the flanges on your breasts and start pumping, massage them for 1–3 minutes. It may be a sufficient stimulus for you to force out as much milk as you want. 

It would help if you tried out several types of massages to see which one feels the most relaxing. Some specialists advise using a “massage, stroke, shake” method combined with manual expression or breast pumping. 

Pump Both Breasts Simultaneously

Breastfeed a baby from a bottle

Many women claim that pumping both breasts at the same time helps them to produce more milk.

It might be because when moms force out both breasts simultaneously, the pituitary gland releases more prolactin than when they force out alternating breasts.

Prolactin levels that are higher result in more milk production.

Schedule Pumping Breaks

It’s important to remember that you need to nurse your baby based on supply and demand. Most mothers find that scheduling brief pumping breaks of 15–20 minutes at times corresponding with when their baby would typically feed gives them the most significant outcomes. 

You may reduce the number of pumping breaks to two per day during regular work hours if you are introducing supplementary meals to your baby’s diet.

However, if your milk production begins to dwindle, you may need to add another pumping session to your plan. 

It is preferable to have more short sessions than fewer lengthy ones in supply.

Divide Pumped Breast Milk Into Small Servings

Infant drinks milk from a bottle 

If your kid eats approximately eight times per day, you may anticipate that he will require roughly 2–4 ounces of your milk every feeding. 

Freeze your milk in 1- or 2-ounce portions to save waste. It will help if you urge small, frequent feedings rather than bigger, less frequent feedings. 

To avoid bacterial development, if you wish to blend milk from various pumping sessions, ensure the fresh batch is completely cold before adding it to previously produced milk. 

More to read: Is a Bottle Warmer Required?

Breastfeed Often

bottles of pumped breast milk

To maintain a strong milk supply, working mothers should breastfeed as much as possible while you and their infant are together.

Breastfeeding should always be the final thing you do before you part ways and the first thing you do when you get back together.

Consider concentrating your weekend on your kid if you see your milk production dwindling throughout the week.

Put your feet up, grab an excellent book or the remote, go skin-to-skin with your baby, and feed them whenever you sense an early symptom of hunger.

If expressing your milk apart from your infant seems difficult or unpleasant, “reverse cycle feeding” may be a good option. When you go with reverse cycle feeding, you need to nurse your infant in the evening and into the night. 

Because reverse cycle feeding might make some moms sleep deprived, it may not be the best long-term strategy.

It can be a valuable strategy for moms who want to avoid pumping for a short time if they are comfortable co-sleeping, have a baby who doesn’t like to take a bottle, or for a short time.

More to read: 4 Factors Influencing Fluctuating Milk Supply

Make Yourself Comfortable

One-hand manual breast pump

The optimum position for pumping is one that you are comfortable with. So find a quiet, comfortable place to pump and ensure your arms and back are adequately supported.

If you’re not using a pumping bra, place your breast shield between your thumb and index finger and support your breast with your palm and other fingers.

Hold the breast shield lightly against the breast because if you push too firmly, your breast tissue will compress, and you will obstruct milk flow.

Some mothers find it helpful to express more milk by saying more milk through deep breathing, relaxing music, visualization methods, or having your spouse massage their back and shoulders.

Kick-Start Your Let-Down

Lansinoh manual breast pump 

According to many experts, massaging your breasts before and during pumping and warming them with a warm compress before expressing will help accelerate milk flow and increase the quantity you collect.

According to scientists, skin-to-skin contact with your infant before and during pumping can help you release more milk.

The warmth and contact of your baby’s skin against yours cause your body to produce the hormone oxytocin.

Because of the added stimulation, some mothers find that expressing works best if they feed their baby from the other breast while pumping.

If your baby isn’t with you, try expressing while gazing at a picture or video of the baby or smelling a piece of her clothes.

Connecting with your baby while pumping is another strategy to boost your oxytocin levels and get your milk flowing.

Tailor The Length Of Your Pumping Sessions

Use the nuby manual breast pump 

You may start adjusting how many minutes you need to pump after establishing your supply (after around four to six weeks). It can save you time. 

Due to the number of let-downs, which affect how frequently milk flows, some moms must pump for longer than others. What’s even more astonishing is that, although every mother has a different flow pattern, yours will be the same every time you pump or nurse.

So, how do you figure out what pattern you have? Choose a period when you force out the most milk and observe as you pump, noting when milk jets emerge from your nipple or when milk drops into the container during the session.

A mother who only gets let downs early in a session will have eliminated most of her milk within eight to ten minutes, and pumping any longer will not provide her with more milk.

A mother who has numerous or late let downs, on the other hand, may need to pump for 15 minutes or more to empty her breast.

The video below will show you how to use a typical manual pump:

Manual Vs. Electric Breast Pumps: How To Choose What’s Best For You?

It’s easy to become lost in the world of breast pumps! There are a lot of different items on the market, and figuring out which one best matches your requirements might be challenging.

Let’s look at the two main types of breast pumps: manual and electric, and see how they vary, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each, and how to pick the one that best suits your lifestyle and requirements.

Manual Breast Pumps

Manual breast pumps do not need the power to operate. You can run it by hand and only work on one breast at a time, and you will need to place the pump over the breast to produce suction and use the other hand to pump the lever. 

A manual breast pump may be a simple, efficient, and cost-effective choice for mothers who want to pump on the go without having to connect to a machine.

These pumps are frequently less costly than electric pumps. It’s lighter and more compact, making them an excellent alternative for individuals on a budget or with limited space.

With a manual pump, you don’t have to worry about finding a power source or making sure you have batteries on hand. All you need is the pump itself to start rocking and rolling.

Electric Breast Pumps

A power source or battery may power an electric pump. They come in single breasts and double breasts expressing varieties.

Placing the cup over your breast will produce the suction, helping free one of your hands for other duties or have a rest. An electric breast pump may be a lifesaver for mothers who need to express their breast milk daily or weekly. 

The correct electric breast pump will be a helpful aid in the nursing journey for exclusive expressers or mothers who have returned to work.

Here are two of the essential benefits of this handy device:

  • Powerful: A decent electric breast pump can help you pump more milk in less time by providing hospital-grade suction.
  • Fast: With an electronic pump, most pumping moms will quickly learn the best mode and speed for expressing and will be able to explain the amount they need accurately.

Both pumps can extract milk for storage and bottle feeding. Your lifestyle, pumping schedule, and money determine the ideal match for your requirements.


How do you get more milk with a manual pump?

Pumping after breastfeeding might boost the quantity of milk you make throughout the day over time.

How do I get the most out of my manual breast pump?

  • Select a high-quality pump.
  • A double pump is preferable to a single pump.
  • Don’t forget to read the instruction manual.
  • Check to see whether the breast shields are a good fit.
  • Don’t be afraid to switch up your pump.
  • Make sure your objectives are attainable.
  • Be aware of your limitations.

How should I sit when pumping?

When pumping, make sure you’re sitting in a comfy chair or recliner. Although you can’t lean back, having a seat that supports your back relieves strain on your back and stomach while you’re pumping.

How long does it take to pump with a manual pump?

Manually pumping each breast might take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes.

How much milk can you pump in one session?

A full-time nursing woman should be able to pump between 1/2 and 2 ounces total (for both breasts) every pumping session.

Can I use a manual breast pump every day?

You may use a manual pump once a day, but new mothers should wait until their newborns are six weeks old before using one. 

Final Thoughts

The majority of women use a breast pump at some point in their lives. These devices assist you in pumping milk quicker, more efficiently, and comfortably.

Breast pumping experiences differ significantly from one woman to the next.

Some women may pump many times a day to produce milk for a baby who is still learning to nurse. Others may never need the use of a breast pump. 

If you are in the first situation, the breast-pumping tips we suggest will help. Do you have any other pumping techniques to share? 

Please let us know in the comments. Thank you for reading!



I'm Rosaura, five years worked as Nurse in NY. I'm also an avid writer, seeking to share knowledge to take care your family's health through this blog.