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Best Guide To Breast Pumping For New Mothers

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Being a mother is a blissful experience, but new mom challenges like finding the right kind of breast pump can be daunting. Before choosing any type of breast pump, you should consider whether your milk supply is well established, how rarely or often you are away from the baby and how many hours in a day. 

If you are a new inexperienced mother unsure if you need an electric breast pump, a lightweight pump or a double pump, don’t fret. We have you covered. In this blog, we look at how to use breast pumps, various kinds of breast pumps and their benefits to help you decide which type of breast pump is best for you. 


What is a breast pump? 

Breast pumps allow mothers to stimulate breast milk production and store it in a container by pumping their breasts with a manual or electric pumping device. A typical pumping session lasts 10 to 15 minutes a breast.  

All breast pumps come with breast shields – cone-shaped cups that fit over your breasts and nipples. Larger or replacement shields are often available with manufacturers if the standard breast shield is too small. Maintenance parts of a breast pump like tubing and duck valves also need timely replacement.

All breast pumps come with breast shields – cone-shaped cups that fit over your breasts and nipples. Larger or replacement shields are often available with manufacturers if the standard breast shield is too small. Maintenance parts of a breast pump like tubing and duck valves also need timely replacement.

It is important to store breast milk appropriately after expression. Freshly expressed or pumped milk can be stored: At room temperature (77°F or colder) for up to 4 hours. In the refrigerator for up to 4 days. In the freezer for about 6 months is best; up to 12 months is acceptable.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Benefits of a breast pump

Breastfeeding mothers love using breast pumps for their ease of use and accessibility, efficiency, ease of cleaning and affordability. But breast pumps are a motherhood necessity for several other reasons, such as:  

  1. If the baby is unable to suckle or latch well onto the nipples, lactating mothers can use a breast pump and feed the breast milk in a bottle.
  2. Breast pumps can help lactating mothers feed their premature babies who are still in incubators and require breast milk supply.
  3. Working mothers or stay-at-home mothers with outdoor chores can express and store breast milk for all-day accessibility and convenience.

Also Read: Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding: A Comprehensive Mother’s Guide

How to use breast pumps?  

Depending on which type of breast pump and how many rounds you make to express breast milk, pumping can take 10 to 20 minutes. Milk supply peaks between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., but you can use a breast pump at any time of the day. Here’s how you can use a battery-based or electric breast pump.

1. Wash your hands and clean the pump before using

2. Center the nipple in the cone-like part of the pump

3. Lean forward slightly and turn the pump on

4. Keep the pump at low suction slow speed

5. Pump for at least 7 minutes even if no milk is flowing

6. Stop the pump for 1 minute and massage the breast all around

7. Pump again for another 7 minutes

Never store breast milk in disposable bottle liners or plastic bags that are not intended for storing breast milk, instead always prefer to use breast milk storage bags or clean, food-grade containers to store expressed breast milk.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

How to use manual breast pumps?

Although the process is similar to using an electric/ battery pump, a hand pump requires more work as you have to squeeze the lever repeatedly to create suction on the breast and express milk. The only difference is that the battery or electric pump requires electricity and lets you control the degree of suction and cycling speed. In contrast, with a manual, you control the suction and speed.

Best breast pumps available in 2022

While searching for the best breast pumps for new mothers, you might come across terms like closed-system pump, open-system pump or overflow protection. To help you understand, here’s what these terms stand for:

1. A closed-system pump comes with a barrier that prevents milk from getting into the machine, aka, the overflow protection feature. These hospital-grade breast pumps are most hygienic, but their tubes and small pieces can be difficult to sterilize.  

2. Open-system pumps don’t have any barriers and let you transfer milk flows through the tubes and other parts into the bottle. Since the milk can come in contact with the pumping mechanism, it can be less hygienic.  

When shopping for a breast pump, you should consider certain factors, including your pumping frequency, whether you use the pump outdoors or indoors, the noise level, weight and replacement parts of the pump and if your health insurance covers breast pumps or not. 

  1. Electric breast pumps, especially double-electric models, are typically the most powerful and quickest of all breast pumps. Single breast models are cheaper, but choose a double-electric pump if you can splurge a little.
  2. Battery-operated breast pumps that tend to be smaller and more portable than electric pumps come in both single and double models and are perfect to use while travelling.  
  3. Manual breast pumps may not express as much milk as a battery-based or electric pump, but they are portable, lightweight and inexpensive.  

You can find any of these breast pumps at the nearest drugstore, department store, maternity store and online retailers selling maternity products.

Freshly expressed or pumped milk can be stored: At room temperature (77°F or colder) for up to 4 hours, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, in the freezer for about 6 months is best; up to 12 months is acceptable.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

Final thoughts 

A single-breast manual pump will suffice if you are away from your baby only occasionally and for a few hours. But if you’re joining work full time and might not be available for breastfeeding throughout the day, an electric double-breast pump is quick and efficient. If you choose to pump both breasts simultaneously, make sure the breast pump comes with two breast shields.

You can also try a hands-free breast pump that fits inside your bra, allowing you to pump discreetly or at work. It is best to buy the pump until after your baby is born, as you’ll know better about your milk production and pumping needs. Lastly, it is important to store the expressed milk safely in a refrigerator in an airtight hygienic container.  

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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