Lactation Consultant FAQ: Breast Shields, Suction, Milk Supply

We sat down with Lactation Trainer Georganna Cogburn, MSHE, RD, LDN, IBCLC, RLC, to ask her a few popular questions we get from moms. When using a breast pump, it’s important to know how to address issues like pain or breast shield fit. Asking for help from a professional lactation consultant can be very helpful if you are having trouble finding the right style or size breast shield to meet your needs.

Q: Why am I feeling discomfort when pumping?

A: “During breastfeeding and pumping, the shape and size of your breast and nipple may change. If you start to feel any discomfort or pain with pumping, check the fit or your breast shield/flange. It is possible with the change in the shape or size of your breast/nipple that the breast shield is no longer fitting properly. You should see an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant for an assessment of the fit of the breast shield/flange. Also check with the manufacturer of your breast pump for information on the available sizes of breast shield and flange.”

Q: What suction level works best for getting maximum expression?

A: “It is not necessary to run your breast pump at the maximum cycle and suction level for effective milk removal. This may cause breast pain and discomfort. You are encouraged to go to the highest comfortable cycle and suction level then decrease those by 1 level/notch.”

Q: How can I maximize milk expression?

A: “Using breast massage and hand expression along with pumping with an electric breast pump is the best way to maximize milk output.”

We want to thank Georganna for taking the time to answer these important questions! If you have more questions about using your pump, finding the best breast shield fit, or anything else, be sure to use this handy tool to find a Lactation Consultant near you.

Information provided in blogs should not be used as a substitute for medical care or consultation.