How to pump breastmilk

  • Using a breast pump may help protect your milk supply for your baby.
  • To build up a good supply of extra breastmilk, pump 2 to 4 times every day in addition to breastfeeding.

Below are some common tips to keep in mind when using a breast pump.

Correct flange size 
The flange, the cone-shaped part placed over your breast, is available in different sizes from most pump companies. It should fit comfortably on each breast—you may even need a different-sized flange for each breast. Pinchy, painful, just not right? A poorly fitting flange may be the cause. Text Dotti to find the right flange size for you. She's backed by our Certified Lactation Consultant and can give you the expert advice to get you pumping successfully.

Cycle and suction pattern
Whether using a manual or an electric pump, always start pumping with small and frequent cycles using medium suction. Once your milk begins to flow freely, slow down the cycle speed and increase the suction level until just before it becomes uncomfortable.


Massage your breast just before and during a pumping session to help increase the amount of milk pumped at each session. This helps to drain the breast properly and can help increase supply.
Pumping time
Pump until the milk flow has stopped, then massage and compress your breast for a minute or two before resuming pumping for a few more minutes until the flow stops again. An average pumping session may be 20 to 30 minutes on each breast. Using a dual electric pump allows both breasts to be pumped at the same time. 

Break suction
After ending a pumping session, don’t just pull the pump flange off your breast. Make sure to have the pump set at negative suction, then place your finger between the flange and the area around the nipple to break the final suction.
How was the information in this article?
How to store breastmilk
Read More
Breast pump buying guide
Read More
Working and breastfeeding
Read More
Introducing a bottle
Read More