breastshield measurement guide

4 Tricks on How To Maximize Output While Pumping

Pumping breastmilk for your baby is a huge accomplishment, one that takes time, hard work and patience. Because you are already juggling the work of caring for a child, maintaining a household and possibly also work or school, why not make the most out of your pumping session. These four simple tricks will help you to maximize your output while pumping!

1. Take a deep breath! Relaxation is key when it comes to pumping. It is really hard to have a let-down of milk when you are tense. So find a comfortable place to pump, where you can feel most at ease. Check in with your body, take a deep breath in, and on your out breath, relax any places of tension that you are feeling in your body; your face, your shoulders, and -even your pelvic floor! Consider your comfort, use a cozy chair, sip of a cup of tea and put on some soothing background music.

2. Massage your breasts. Don’t be afraid to get your hands involved with your pumping, both before and during. Just a minute or two of massaging your breasts before a pumping session can help to stimulate your milk-producing glands, allowing for a faster letdown. Massage or use ‘breast compression’ during pumping also helps to stimulate let-downs and also has the added benefit of helping to fully drain all milk ducts. Consider wearing a hands-free nursing bra so that you can get both hands in on the massage. Gently, but firmly, massage and squeeze your breast starting from the armpit, working your way towards the nipples and as close to breast shields as you can get. You can even stop pumping in the middle of a session, or when you see the milk start to slow down, and massage your breasts for a minute or two and then go back to pumping. This helps to stimulate more let-downs!

3. Heat things up! Applying warmth to your breast will help to dilate the milk ducts, increase circulation and encourage milk to flow. You can run your breast shields under hot water before applying them to your breasts, or you can place a hot, moist, washcloth to your breasts for a minute or two before pumping.

4. Do your breast shields fit? Having the right size breast shield can make a huge difference in your pumping output. So how do you know if it’s a proper fit for you? During pumping, your nipples should move freely in the tunnel, there should be space around the nipple, and very little of the areola should be drawn up into the tunnel. If the flanges are too small, you may experience discomfort as the nipples rub up and down along the sides of the tunnel. If it’s too big, a large portion of the areola is drawn into the tunnel. Improperly fitted breast shields can really reduce the output. Breast Shields come in several sizes, 20mm (S), 24mm (M), 28mm (L) and 32mm (XL), so don’t be afraid to try out a different size.

If you have tried these tips for maximizing your output and you just aren’t getting what you think you should, don’t hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant. A consultant will continue to troubleshoot this topic with you and help to get you on track with your pumping goals.

Do you have additional tips and tricks?  Share them with us in the comments.


18 Good to Know Breastfeeding Facts

Breastfeeding is pretty amazing, it gives your little one a good start to life.  Here are 18 facts to help motivate, inspire and fascinate you:

1. The first 24 hours after birth are most crucial for milk production. The signal for making breast milk starts immediately after the placenta is delivered.  Skin to skin contact and feeding your baby, ideally within 30 minutes to one hour after birth, promotes all the needed hormones.

2. Breasts operate on a supply and demand system. That means they can keep up with the demand of twins or different aged children.

3. Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, is what is promotes let down of your milk and keeps it flowing while your baby feeds.  Another excuse to snuggle and love on that little one. Trying to minimize stress is important as well as best you can as that can inhibit your let down reflex.

4. Babies that breastfeed are sick less often than formula fed babies. Breast milk provides antibodies that help keep baby healthy and recover quicker when they do get sick.

5. Breastfeed babies have fewer allergies. Exposure to mother’s normal body flora through increased skin contact and specific proteins in breast milk are hypothesized to cause this correlation.

6. Breastfed babies are less likely to be obese as adults. Babies are more likely to overeat with formula than with breastfeeding.

7. Breast size has nothing to do with how much milk you make.  It is impossible to tell what your breast capacity is from size.  Fat content generally determines size whereas the amount of breast tissue (ducts) will determine how much milk you can store at a time to feed your baby.

8. In the 3 month range, your breasts will regulate their milk production. Some mothers panic when they notice their breasts getting softer around this time, but there is nothing to worry about.  As your breasts adjust to adequately feeding your baby they stop overproducing and make you more comfortable, hooray!

9. Breastfeeding isn’t just “food.”  It also provides hydration, comfort, mother-baby bonding and wellness!

10. Breastfeeding is recommended for at least 6 months, ideally only providing mother’s milk during this time (known as exclusive breastfeeding).  The general recommendation in 6 months to 2 years, but in some cultures they are known feed up to 5+ years!

11. You have rights to continue breastfeeding (via pumping) if you return to work.  This means a private space and adequate breaks. Check out your state laws for specifics. (backlink to your other blog articles on this). If you need a good pump for work, there are a lot of great options here.

12. Prolactin is the hormone responsible for milk production.  Levels are highest at night (and, the early morning hours), making this an ideal time to feed and pump when trying to establish and/or increase milk supply.

13. Breastfeeding is allowed in any public or private location.  As of July 2018, all 50 states allow public feeding. There is still stigma and harassment around breastfeeding in public, so support your fellow mamas!

14. For breast related issues, continuing feeding is crucial.  Issues like engorgement, plugged ducts, and mastitis require continued feeding to recover.

15. Breastmilk exposes baby to the flavors of what you eat. You may find your baby doesn’t like the taste of your breast milk after eating certain foods, such as spicy food or raw onions and garlic.  Certain foods may also make them gassier such as beans and dairy. There is some evidence to show that eating a variety of food when breastfeeding can decrease baby’s food aversions when they start eating solids.

16. Foods can affect milk production.  Foods like sage, oregano, mint, alcohol, and caffeine can decrease supply, while fennel, oatmeal, spinach, almonds, and garlic can increase supply.

17. Breastfeeding comes with a lot less hassle. Although it requires a significant time commitment, it is also convenient to always have milk “on tap” without having to deal with sterilization, bottles, formula ratios and warmth.

18. If you are struggling or are anxious, there is tons of support out there.  Support is available in the form of forums, local support groups (check if your city has a local La Leche Club), and online support.

In case you didn’t already know, it’s clear that breastfeeding is pretty cool! Do you have additional tips to share?  Leave them in the comments!


Spectra vs Medela

Comparing Breast Pumps: Real Mom Review

Comparing Breast Pumps: Medela, Megna & Spectra

Brittany Busbee

First-time Mom, First-time Pumper

I am a first-time mom to my beautiful baby girl and I really had no idea what to expect about breastfeeding.  Honestly, I knew even less about using a breast pump…so, keep that in mind when I was faced with using one! I could truly feel that I needed to pump because I was blessed with a very healthy milk supply! As an exclusively breastfeeding Mommy, I began pumping once per day to start stocking up on pumped milk for my return to work.

Three different breast pumps I used: Medela, Megna, & Spectra

My insurance sent me a Medela Pump In Style and within a week, the pump just decided to completely give out on me. Just great!  Even when it was working, it was loud, uncomfortable and never really felt like it was emptying my breasts. I was frustrated, to say the least, and to be honest, I didn’t know if this was normal. Because I didn’t have a working breastpump my supply really started to take a dive!

Nervous about having enough milk for my little one, and knowing that I wanted to breastfeed and that I was going back to work, pumping was extremely important to me.  I reached out to a family member who was an IBCLC and she recommended that I look into the Spectra S1. I didn’t know anything about this pump. But, within a day of using it ,I could feel my supply coming back…I was so impressed!  Compared to my experience using the Medela, I was shocked by how quiet it was and that I was able to pump so much at once without feeling the pain I did before. I had a new found friend!

My S1 has given me not a single issue and it is honestly a joy to use. My milk output is awesome compared to the other pump used,  I could finally relax because I didn’t feel like a space shuttle was going off and it was finally comfortable to pump. While every woman has a need for a different flange size, the Spectra pump came with  24mm and 28mm flanges which allowed me to find which size worked best for me. In addition, the actual shape of the flange is perfect and totally comfortable. Also, having multiple options on pump settings is AMAZING. I have been able to maximize my output by finding the different settings that work best for me.

Then, I was given the opportunity to try a different breast pump, the Megna M7.  It was pretty exciting to try this pump because it was small, came with some cool extras (like a cooler pack and extra collection bottles) and it had USB capability.  I planned on using the M7for when I went back to work because of its more portable size (it fit in my hand). Unfortunately, when I went back to work I realized it was not as satisfactory as my S1. The first time I went to go to use it, I was at a crunch for time and desperately needed to empty my breasts. I was all set and ready to start pumping, only to realize only one side was allowing the milk to flow into the bottle. The flap that allows the milk to pass through always gets stuck on the pump and causes such a mess and headache. It’s happened every time I use the pump.

Another thing that has frustrated me about using it was that the flange shape is so uncomfortable for me. It causes so much pain while pumping. My output with it is honestly SAD compared to the Spectra. I’m an over-supplier and I’ve never successfully pumped more than 3 ounces from one side even when engorged. With the S1 I usually pump 4-5 ounces from each breast every time I pump!

The winning breast pump: Spectra S1

The fact that I depended on the Megna while at work and couldn’t successfully pump has been so frustrating. I started bringing my S1 to work and pump 5oz from each side in 5 minutes! Wow, just wow!  It’s been a huge relief to know that I can pump quickly, be comfortable when I do and have enough to leave my little one while I work.

Even though it’s not the most portable size, it is so worth having especially when I only have a few minutes to pump.  I am absolutely in love with it and would recommend it to every mom! The fact that I can pump without being plugged into a wall outlet is just another plus in my book.  What a great pump…I’ll be storing the other two pumps for the remainder of my pumping experience. See ya!

Spectra vs Medela

Breastfeeding changing color? What does that mean?

by Melissa Portunato MPH, IBCLC

You finally got the hang of breastfeeding. You perfected baby’s latch, you’ve mastered the football hold while texting, and baby has a ton of poop diapers so you know your milk supply is right on track. But since you’ve started pumping, you’ve noticed variations in the color of your breastmilk. Your breastmilk went from yellow in color after delivery then to white when you came home and your milk came in. Now you started to pump and noticed the color of your milk seems off. Is this normal or have you started to produce milk for a tiny Martian? Before you totally freak out, we’re here to tell you color changes in breastmilk is a normal occurrence. Don’t pump and dump just yet mamas. Get the true story, bust the myths and breastfeed on.

Here are a few important facts to know about breast milk color variations and to assure you that your milk is perfectly safe for your baby.

Understanding the stages of breastmilk

During the first few weeks after delivery, your breastmilk will change rapidly in amount and in color. In the first few days, your body will produce colostrum, also called “golden milk” because of its deep yellow or even orange color. Colostrum is highly concentrated and nutritious. You will only make a few teaspoons of colostrum at first because that’s all that baby really needs to fill up their tiny belly. After about a week your milk will start transitioning and start to come in. During this time, moms will sometimes experience engorgement as their bodies begin to produce mature milk. Transitional milk will get less yellow and more white in color. You will notice your milk is not as thick as before and you have much more now. You might even be able to hear baby chugging while nursing. Gulp! The last stage of breast milk is when your milk supply has been established and is now in sync with baby’s demand. You are now producing “mature milk.” At this stage, you may notice when you first turn on the pump or maybe even drip a little before nursing, that your milk is clear and thinner which is called foremilk. And behind the foremilk, your breast milk is creamier which is your hindmilk (higher in fat). Both foremilk and hindmilk are essential to baby’s development. Research tells us that if baby is breastfeeding well and nursing sessions are not getting cut short, there is no reason for concern. Overall baby will receive a balance of both foremilk and hindmilk throughout the day and get exactly what is needed for an appropriate growth trajectory.

Colors and variations of breastmilk

Most color changes are caused by diet but things like herbs, nutritional supplements or medicine can also alter the color of your breastmilk. Taking a close look at what you’ve been eating can often pinpoint where the color change is coming from. A green or bluish tint can come from eating foods that contain dyes or overloading on dark leafy greens. Baby is literally tasting the rainbow when drinking breast milk. Research says breastfed babies are less picky eaters as toddlers because they try different foods through mommy’s milk. Keep with the healthy eating. You are opening baby’s palate to healthy nutritious foods and they will be more likely to eat them as they get older.

Brown or pink colored milk or even blood tinges in breastmilk can be coming from a variety of different reasons like cracked nipples, damaged capillaries in the breast, or even hormonal changes. The evidence shows, if you and baby are healthy, occasional breast milk streaked with red or pinkish in color, is perfectly safe to be given to baby. It is important to note small amounts of blood ingested by baby are likely not to be of concern, but larger amounts can cause baby to have an upset stomach and have blood appear in their stool. If you have an infection such as Hep B or C, or baby is immune compromised breastfeeding may need to be interrupted. Reach out to your doctor to discuss the best plan of action.

Rusty pipe syndrome is a temporary condition that can happen during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. This condition typically only lasts a few days and is caused by colostrum mixing with transitional milk. Don’t panic if you notice your milk looks like dirty or “rusty” water. It shouldn’t bother baby or affect breastfeeding whatsoever. If it doesn’t clear up in the first few days of breastfeeding or if it starts to happen later along your breastfeeding journey something else may be going on and it’s important to talk to your doctor.

Stored breastmilk and changes in color

Pumping and storing milk can alter the color of breastmilk. When storing breastmilk in the fridge you will notice it will separate into those 2 layers of foremilk and hindmilk. Fat rises to the top, so that’s why you will see the separation. The foremilk on the bottom might even appear bluish or grayish and this is normal! No need for concern and safe to be given to baby. Give the bottle a gentle swirl and it will combine again. Breastmilk will also change color in the freezer and can appear more yellow. This is also completely normal and your milk has not gone bad. Check out the CDC guidelines for proper milk storage to maintain the safety and quality of expressed breastmilk.

When to scream and call the doctor

Pain is not subsiding and you are seeing some pretty large amounts of blood in your breastmilk when you pump or in baby’s mouth after nursing. Call the doctor! Along with blood, you have hard lumps, fever, body chills and aches that are progressing. Call the doctor! Mastitis or “inflammation of the milk ducts” can be either infectious or non-infectious. Most of the time it’s non-infectious and can be treated with simply rest, frequent nursing or pumping, and lots of fluids. But when it’s infectious, you may see large amounts of pus, blood, or other wacky substances leaky from your nipples. Call the doctor!

Although changes in the color of your breastmilk is usually not serious, it’s always best to talk to your healthcare practitioner if you are concerned. Keep in mind there can be contraindications with some medicines, herbs, or supplements while lactating and they can also alter the color of your breastmilk. Download the free LactMed app! Review the evidence behind medications and breastfeeding with your doctor and make the best decision for you and your baby. It’s unlikely breastfeeding will need to be interrupted and in that rare occasion that it might be, it will almost always only be for a minimal amount of time. Trust your body. Trust your breastmilk. And nurse on mams!  

Copyright © 2019 | Spectra Baby USA

Compare Spectra Electric Breast Pumps

Spectra Electric Breast Pump Comparison Chart



Great news, mamas!

If you purchase a Pump, Tote and Cooler Bundle, plus Storage Bags, you will get 15% off your ENTIRE purchase! Offer ends 6/30 and is only valid while supplies last!

Simply add a bundle plus storage bags to cart and apply the following code: