Doctor gave me some pills to increase breast milk but at the same time told me that those pills won't be effective unless the baby sucks directly from your breast since breast pumps cannot suck like a baby does.
Emptying the breast with the breast pump is not a problem for me I think.

She said it is all about the signals the brain gets to produce more milk when the baby sucks.

So, I wish to know how to mimic the infant sucking actions with a manual breast pump?

  • I don't have an electric pump so I would need to know how to do it with manual pump. Sep 11, 2013 at 4:05
  • The only pump which is considered good enough to establish and maintain a milk supply for exclusive pumping is a hospital grade double electric pump. Are you breastfeeding at all? If so you need time with your baby to build supply. It is not possible with a manual pump.
    – justkt
    Sep 11, 2013 at 16:19
  • I checked the price of the double electric pump. It is extremely expensive. How do people afford that? I can afford only a single breast electric pump. will that not solev the problem to some extent? Sep 11, 2013 at 16:42
  • What I'm talking about is not even just a regular double electric pump. I'm talking about something like the Medela Symphony. Often people don't buy them. They rent them from the hospital. The pumps are designed so that many people can use them (unlike regular double electrics which only one person can use) and use expensive technology to adequately stimulate milk supply.
    – justkt
    Sep 11, 2013 at 17:34

1 Answer 1


The instructions for the Avent Isis manual breastpump include the following information under the "How to use" section:

7) Begin by pumping 5-6 times rapidly to initiate let-down. Then, hold the handle down for 2-3 seconds, and allow it to return to its resting place. These 2-3 second cycles imitate your baby’s natural suckling pattern and allow the milk to flow between strokes.

I would encourage you to read the whole of Section 8 "Hints to help you succeed" as well - they are general points and not specific to the particular operation of the Isis pump.

  • In addition breast compressions once letdown has occurred are helpful. Babies use not only suction (which is all the pump has) but compression to get milk. However none of these motions mimic the other complex reactions that actual contact with a baby gives in establishing milk supply.
    – justkt
    Sep 11, 2013 at 16:19
  • What is breasts compression? @justkt Sep 11, 2013 at 16:24
  • Vicky's answer is correct. You don't need to mimic all the actions the baby makes. It can help relax you, and make milk production simpler, but manual breast pumps should work just fine.
    – Rory Alsop
    Sep 11, 2013 at 23:33
  • @user462608, breast compression is the act of actually compressing / squashing the breast as well as providing the suction. You can do this with your hands on the top of the breast to encourage let down.
    – Vicky
    Sep 12, 2013 at 11:00

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