Establishing a routine is one of the most effective breast pumping tips. Pump at the same place, in the same chair, and drink the same beverage. Get your equipment ready in the same way each time; use your mental tricks to relax and pump. This routine conditions your milk ejection reflex. Start at the armpit and use the fingertips of your opposite hand to make small circles on the breast tissue in that one spot. Then move your hand slightly and do it again. Work your way around the breast and gradually down toward the areola in a spiral pattern. (This is similar to the breast exam that you or your doctor use to check for lumps.) Finish the massage with a series of long strokes from the chest wall down to the areola, again working your way around the entire breast. Then massage the other breast. If your milk flow slows down during a pumping session, a few minutes of breast massage is one of the most helpful breast pumping tips that may help get it going again. Drink a couple glasses of water right before pumping. Visualize flowing mountain streams or rivers running toward the ocean as you pump. Or imagine yourself as a fountain of milk–whatever image helps your milk to let down and spray into the pump. Bring along one of your baby’s blankets or a piece of clothing. Enjoy your baby’s smell on the fabric. Call the sitter and find out what your baby is doing right before you pump. To minimize distractions while pumping, try listening to music. You can enjoy your favorite music while you pump, or listen to soothing nature sounds: the ocean, the rain forest, whatever appeals to you.