A breast pump is a mechanical device that is used to extract milk from the breasts of a lactating mother.
Why do I need a breast pump?
You will not be with your baby at all times. Even if you are a full-time mother, there will be times when you have to leave your baby at home while you run for errands or attend to other matters.
Needless to say for working moms who spend at least 8 hours outside without baby by their side.
Breast pumps mean you do not have to sacrifice breastfeeding. It allows you to express and store your milk supply so that your baby can have constant feed whenever needed, even when you are not with them! So really, breast pumps are one of the must-have items, amongst the usuals such as baby cot,pram and clothes etc parents-to-be buy in preparation of the arrival of their bundle of joy.
Manual or Electric?
There are two types of breast pumps- manual and electric. As with everything else, both have pros and cons so you should choose according to your needs. In this case, perhaps a very deciding factor is the frequency of use.
Manual Breast Pump
Manual breast pumps are powered by hand where you squeeze or pull a handle in repetitive fashion. This allows you to directly control the pressure and frequency of milk expression, however, they do require significant effort and can be tiring because you would be the one providing all the power. As such, this style is recommended for infrequent usage such as when you areaway from baby for a single feeding, or if you only want to express milk for one feed a day or for an occasional break.
It is not recommended though, that you buy “bicycle horn” style manual pumps because although they are cheap, they can damage breast tissue and harbor bacteria in the rubber suction bulb, which is difficult to clean.
- Small, lightweight and portable
- Inexpensive and cost nothing to run afteryou’ve bought one
- Feel natural and more closely mimic tobaby’s sucking
- Ability to better control suction rate thuslevel of comfortableness
- Quieter than electric pumps
- Easier to clean and sterilise with fewercomponents
- Only allow one breast to be pumped at a time
- May not provide sufficient stimulation andemptying of the breast
- Can be difficult to get into a regularpumping rhythm
- Slower than an electric pump
- Repetitive pumping can be tiring for your hands
Electric Breast Pump
Electrical breast pumps, on the other hand, are powered by electricity or battery through a motor which supplies suction through plastic tubing to a horn that fits over the nipple. If you are going to be pumping daily, electric pumps are ideal because it makes expressing quicker and easier.
- Provide a lot more suction
- Allow pumping of both breastssimultaneously
- Easier to use
- More expensive
- Larger and noisier
How to use a breast pump?
For the Manuals, simply place the suction cup over your breast. Then squeeze the handle to create arhythmic vacuum that stimulates milk flow. Keep in mind that you may need both hands to work the pump at first but once you get the hang of it, you will be used to one-handed pumping.
For the Electrics, simply fit the horn over your nipple, switch on the pump and let it does all the work. Remember, the portions of the pump that come into direct contact with the expressed milk must be sterilized to prevent contamination.
Does it hurt?
Breast pumping should not hurt. “No pain, no gain” does not apply here. At most, you may find the suction uncomfortable. If pumping is painful, something needs to be adjusted. Fortunately, in nearly all cases, pain during pumping is a solvable problem.
Often usual than not, pain during pumping is caused by setting the pump suction too high. A common misconception most mothers, especially first-timers made, is analogizing pumping to straw-sucking – the higher the suction setting is, the more milk is pumped. This is not the case! Most milk comes only when there is a let-down, or milk release without which most milk stays in the breast. Too-high suction can actually slow your milk flow so set your pump at the highest suction that you feel most comfortable with. A tip? If you are gritting your teeth, the suction is probably set too high!
Another common cause for pain is the incorrect size of flange. Usually, the standard flange that comes with the pump fit for most, however, it can be too small or too large for some as different women are shaped differently. Find a better fitting flange and it should eliminate any pain, in addition to pumping more milk.
Remember, comfort should be a top priority for expressing moms so if you experience unbearable pain,stop using the device immediately. The breast pump that you have chosen may not be suitable for you and you should look for an alternative. If the pain still persists despite several tries on different models, see your lactation consultant immediately.
Now that you have a better understanding of the breast pumps, why not check out the Top 5 Best Baby Breast Pumps Mommy Tea Room has compiled for you? We promise it will provide you tremendoushelp for we have done the hard part eliminating the substandard ones so that you choose only from the best. You’re welcome.