It may take a few minutes before your milk releases. Start out in manual mode to control the quick, short/gentle pumps for about two to three minutes. This process resembles the action of the baby anxiously trying to get milk. When the milk starts flowing, do slow, long manual pumps and then set the pump machine on auto pump.
Pump both breasts for about seven or eight minutes. Turn off the pump and massage your breasts from the armpit down toward the nipple for a minute or so. This allows the breasts to readjust. Then continue to pump for another 5 minutes on each breast or until the flow of milk has decreased.
Pumping breast milk does not have to cause pain or discomfort. Nor does it have to be a dreaded chore. The following are just a few tips which will help increase the amount of milk and also make pumping easier.
• If you know when you are returning to work, you can start pumping a couple of weeks beforehand. Some mothers find it helpful to nurse the baby on one side while pumping on the other side. This helps with letdown issues and allows you to build an emergency supply of milk.
• Pump more frequently rather than for longer periods of time. Instead of pumping just twice during the day for extended periods of time, try pumping in three or four shorter periods of time. Or try pumping both breasts at the same time.
• Skipping a pumping session can decrease your milk supply. Pumping even for a few minutes can be beneficial in keeping up the supply.
• Use weekends and holidays for exclusively nursing the baby. This will help keep your milk supply abundant as well as encourage bonding between you and the baby.
• All breastfeeding mothers know that it's easier to feed the baby than use the pump. Try looking at photos of your baby while pumping if let down is a problem for you when you pump. Some pump cases come with a spot designed for holding a picture of baby.
• Using either a hand or an electric mechanical pump is not the only way to express milk. Lots of mothers do just fine by hand expressing their milk. Not many working mothers are able to use this technique, but it works nicely for the occasional need for expressed milk.