- Take a couple deep breaths and relax. Tension is the enemy - the more you relax, the better your milk will flow.
- Use your senses. Bring your baby's t-shirt with you and smell it, look at his picture or a video on your cell, listen to him gurgle and coo. All these help to connect with your little one and facilitate your let down.
- Apply heat. A heating pad or a warmed rice bag are great options for gently heating the breast prior to pumping. You can warm the breasts while your assembling your pump parts and getting comfortable.
- Minimize the noise. For some that might be noisy distractions like co-workers or ambient noise, for others it might be the noise of the pump. If the pump noise is a distraction, try placing your pump on the floor, and placing a bath towel over it to muffle the sound.
- Visualize. Visualization is an excellent tool. Imagine rivers of milk flowing. Imagine a sink faucet and you turn it on to have milk flow from the tap. Imagine your baby at your breast and his gorgeous eyes looking at you. Don't understimate the positive impact this can have on your production.
- Pump through the first let down. When your milk starts spraying, that's a let down. Continue pumping until those sprays go back to minimal drips.
- Take a break. Once your first let down is complete, remove the pump horns and give your body a break. Massage the breasts and apply a little heat.
- Pump through the second let down. That's right, after a short break, start pumping again until you have a second letdown. It may not be as long or as much as the first let down, but it has a great effect on milk production. Continue pumping until the drips stop.
Remember, pumping is both a skill and an art. Most women need to learn to let down to a pump, so give yourself time. If you plan to return to work, begin pumping a few weeks before so you can get comfortable with the process. And remember, breasts need to be emptied frequently - plan to pump every 2 - 3 hours while your away from your baby.