If you're breastfeeding and are going to be away from your baby for more than two hours, it is important to pump so that your baby can still get breastmilk, but also so you can keep your milk supply up. Pumping allows your body to release the milk, just like a feeding, and signals your body to make more milk. Whatever you take out, your body will make.
Wash your hands. It seems like a no-brainer but so many moms forget to wash their hands before pumping. It's important to keep everything sterile.
Use clean, dry equipment every time you pump. Equipment should be washed with hot, soapy water and air dried after each use. If you are pumping frequently and several times a day, you can put all of your pump parts in a sealed Ziploc bag and put in the refrigerator.
Aim for 10 to 15 minutes of pumping time. You don't want to pump too long because you can damage your milk ducts. When double pumping (pumping both breasts at the same time), pump for 10 to 15 minutes. When pumping one breast at a time, pump for 10 minutes each.
Babies can get more milk than a breast pump. It can be super frustrating to pump for 10 or 15 minutes and only see an ounce in the bottle. The truth is that what you express is not reflective of how much milk you have and is not even close to how much milk your baby is consuming. Babies can always get out more milk than a breast pump. It can be stressful, but you might just need to adjust your suction or try pumping at another time of day.
A stud a dud. Each woman has one breast, a "stud" that expresses more milk than the other one, "dud". Don't worry, your dud is not really a dud, but it can sure feel that way. Just know that when double pumping you will get different amounts and not to stress or to think that something is wrong.