pump suction Tag

woman wearing Elvie double breast pump

What is double pumping breastmilk and how do I do it?

What is double-pumping?

Double-pumping is exactly what it sounds like: using a breast pump that allows you to express milk from both breasts at the same time.

What are the benefits of double-pumping?

The most obvious benefit to double-pumping is the time savings. Rather than pumping one breast and then the other, you can pump both at once. Using a bra like the Medela Easy Expression™ bustier frees up your hands for other tasks, saving even more time. According to research conducted by Medela, double-pumping can save up to two hours per day compared to single-pumping.

In addition to saving time, double-pumping can boost the volume and nutritional value of your milk supply. Medela’s research showed that mothers who double-pumped produced on average 18% more milk volume than those who single-pumped each breast, and the milk from double-pumping had a higher energy content at 8.3% fat content compared with 7.3% fat content for single-pumping.

Double-pumping tips

  1. Stay relaxed. Stress inhibits the production of oxytocin, the key hormone for milk production, so try to maintain manageable expectations around breastfeeding and pumping. Worrying too much about milk production can actually harm milk production, so stay relaxed. We recommend meditation as a way to turn double-pumping sessions into a more calming experience.
  2. Massage your breasts before and after pumping. Speaking of relaxing, try using your fingertips to gently massage your breasts. You can lightly move from the top down to your nipples as well as in circular motions to loosen clogged ducts, soften firm areas, and encourage milk flow.
  3. Use a warm compress. Dampen a soft cloth with warm water and apply it to your breasts to further stimulate letdown and encourage milk flow.
  4. Adjust your breast pump to your own personal maximum comfort vacuum. Not too long ago, we wrote on the affect of suction intensity on milk supply. The main takeaway was the value in experimenting to find the optimal pump suction for your body. Finding that setting can lead to increased milk flow and higher cream content in your milk.
  5. Choose a strong, comfortable electric breast pump. Ideally, the pump you choose for double-pumping will have a strong suction and a comfortable fit as the combination of those two factors is critical to milk production.

Elvie Stride: the ultimate double-pumping time saver

Elvie, the woman-owned company that produces very cool femtech to make women’s lives easier, recently released their newest double breast pump The Stride. This lightweight, wearable pump fits into any standard nursing bra, and you can control it with a small remote. You can also pair The Stride with your smart phone using The Elvie Pump App, which allows you to track milk production and create setting preferences once you’ve found your personal maximum comfort vacuum. We love the Elvie Stride for double-pumping, and we think you will too.

Call or email us if you want more information on The Elvie Stride or double-pumping in particular. We’re always happy to hear from nursing moms.

How does suction intensity affect my milk supply?

How does suction intensity affect my milk supply?

How is breast pump suction measured?

If you check the product description of your favorite breast pump, you’ll see the suction documented as mmHG, or millimeters of mercury. The more mmHG, the more intense the suction. At Milk N Mamas Baby, we carry breast pumps with a range of suction intensity, from the Medela at a maximum strength of 240 mmHG to the BabyBuddha at a whopping 320 mmHG of maximum strength. In between, are Luna at 280 mmHG and Spectra at a maximum strength of 270 mmHG.

Main Takeaway: Breast pump suction, or vacuum, usually falls between 220 and 350 mmHG.

Is a breast pump with a stronger suction intensity better?

Suction does play a role in milk production. A study published in Breastfeeding Medicine analyzed the effect of strength of suction on the flow rate and volume of breastmilk using an electric breast pump. Mothers participating in the study expressed breastmilk for 15 minutes using a pump set at their own maximum comfortable vacuum. Then, they expressed at softer vacuums. The study found that milk flow was greater at the maximum comfortable vacuum, and cream content was higher.

Main takeaway: Pumping at the highest intensity you’re comfortable with is likely to lead to increased milk flow and cream content.

Maximum comfortable vacuum may vary from one mother to another (or even from one feeding session to another)

It hardly needs to be said that every mother is different and, therefore, every mother’s maximum comfortable vacuum will also be different. However, your maximum comfort vacuum may change from day to day and even from feeding session to feeding session. While pumping at your maximum comfort vacuum can increase flow, pumping at an uncomfortable suction can hinder milk flow. If a suction level is set too high, it can cause breast tissue to compress, which can block the flow of milk ducts and potentially irritate them. Furthermore, if the suction level is uncomfortable, your body is less likely to produce the oxytocin that helps stimulate letdown.

Main takeaway: Increase your suction intensity until it is just slightly uncomfortable, and then back it down to find your own, personal maximum comfort vacuum.

Talk to our consultants to learn more about the breast pump most likely to meet your needs

At Milk N Mamas Baby, we know that different moms need different pumping solutions. We’ve had years of experience helping all kids of moms find the best breast pump for their circumstances. Give us a call today to learn how we can help you find a breast pump that meets your needs and your budget. Many of our pumps are 100% covered by insurance.