Did you know that 85% of mothers who breastfeed will also use a breast pump to express milk?
Today we will go through some pumping basics so you will be ready.
There are many reasons you may need to use a breast pump while you are breastfeeding.
Or you may choose to make the decision to exclusively pump.
In fact, milk-expression devices have been used for centuries to help moms with immediate challenges to breastfeeding.
Some of the most common reasons include:
There are three main types of pumps:
* Check with your insurance company for coverage of breast pump (the
Affordable Healthcare Act expanded coverage for this)
Based on your needs, there’s an ideal pump for you. Let’s review…...
Hospital grade pump
This pump is the most efficient, easiest and fastest type of pump due to its powerful motor. It is also the most bulky and heaviest!. Because the motor system has barriers to keep milk and other fluids from entering it can be safely used by more than one woman. This type of pump can be rented or available for in hospital use if needed.
Personal electric (double): These are the pump backpacks/ shoulder bags. They are self-contained, lightweight so they are easy enough to carry on a daily basis. The motor is not a closed system, so this type of pump is only intended to be used by one woman.
Hand, electric or battery operated (single): Least efficient and effective but for the price it is great for the occasional pump.
Usually, it takes 10-15 minutes after let down has occurred. No longer than 20 minutes.
(If you use a single sided pump that’s 10-15 minutes each breast -so double
More time does not necessarily equal more milk.
More FREQUENT, SHORTER pumping increases production.
Let down occurs in the first few minutes of nursing or pumping. Some moms
feel a tingling in the breast or a sense of heaviness during let down.
Of course, pumping does really end when you are finished...there are those
pesky parts to clean (cue in partner and family support)!
How to express milk with a pump:
1. Wash your hands (you do not need to wash your breasts or
2. Gather your clean and dry pump pieces
3. Have proper fitted flanges- This is the cone shaped piece that fits over the breast and nipple…if your nipples rub against the edge, size up!
4. Sit in a comfortable position
5. Pump- for electric pumps, set the suction to a comfortable speed. IT SHOULD NOT HURT. Usually cycle speed (number of suctions per minute) is higher at the start to initiate let-down and then slower after milk starts in a steady stream.
* Each different type of pump as specific instructions for use and
Go ahead and play the song if it relaxes you...but applying a warm, wet cloth to the breast before pumping will be the most helpful!
Here's what you can do to help let-down and supply during pumping
How much milk should you expect to pump?
Well, you may envision overflowing bottles while you pump…but that is not the reality for most!
Depending on if you are exclusively pumping or pumping in between nursing you may make 0.5- 4oz (both sides combined).
By the end of the second week most women make 20-24 ounces per day of
Here are some tips for specific situations:
If you need to pump to increase your milk supply while breastfeeding-
pump after the baby finishes nursing. This will stimulate your body to make more milk!
Pumping at work or during travel? Plan on pumping 2-3 times in an 8-hour period or follow your baby’s feeding schedule.
Pumping for a baby in NICU- starts as soon as possible and at least by 3-6 hours after delivery. Pump frequently about 8-10 times per day. By the 3rd or 4th day you should have increased volume.
Great work! You know the basics of pumping!
You are now better prepared to figure out your pumping needs!
As always MaternalWell text support and personalized counseling sessions with our certified lactation consultants are available if you need!