How to Use a Breast Pump?

Breast milk is essential for baby’s growth and development. A breast pump is a great innovation for nursing moms or working mothers who can’t manage regular feeding sessions. A breast pump is an easy and efficient way to maintain and feed your baby with your breast milk when a mom can’t be with their baby.

It can be used for various reasons like convenience to feed at any time, having any medical problems, stimulates milk supply, etc. Are you new to this breast pump and using it for the first time? Before you are going to learn how to use a breast pump, one should how many types of breast pumps available in the market.

  • Looking for an efficient and time-saving breast pump, then an electric breast pump is your best choice.
  • For occasional and cost-effective breastfeeding, a manual breast pump may be right for you.

How to use a Breast Pump:

Either it is a manual or electric breast pump, here is a step-by-step procedure that guides you on how to use it effectively.

  • Before starting the process, make sure your hands and breast pump is clean.
  • Go through the instructions on the manual to assemble the kit.
  • Stay calm and relax in a comfortable private place with proper breastfeeding position.
  • Stay hydrated and massage your breasts for a couple of minutes.
  • Think about your baby, as it will trigger hormones and thus help to release your milk.
  • Take out the breast phalange and place it exactly at the center of your nipple.
  • Gently press it against the breast but be sure to maintain a distance between the wall of phalange and nipple.
  • Start the pump by setting the speed to high and suction to a low level.
  • After you found milk dripping, reduce the speed to medium level and raise the suction to a comfortable level.
  • Continue this process for about 15 minutes and in case, if you’re pumping both the breasts, then switch them for every 5 minutes. Each breast gets a total stimulation of 15 minutes.
  • If there is any slowdown in your milk flow then increase the speed and set it back to medium when there is a normal flow.
  • Keep changing the fast and slow pattern of speed until you finished the breast pumping process.
  • After that, remove the breast shield and unscrew the bottle to place a cap on it.
  • Finally, make sure to thoroughly clean your hands and all parts of the pump kit.

Initially, most new mothers may feel a bit odd while using this breast pump, but they get used with simple practice. One has to know the usage procedure before using this breast pump for a painless breast pumping. A good breast pump will ensure a healthy milk journey from you to your baby.

What is the Best Time to Pump?

It depends on the situation. In general, the best time to feed/pump is in the morning (between 1 am to 5 am), as milk supply peaks at this time for most moms. Although, a mom can pump a plenty of milk even after this first-morning feed. Most moms prefer to feed their babies from both breasts. It means pumping from both after feeding is enough, even though the breasts won’t feel full.

For working mothers, who want to continue breastfeeding, she has to pump frequently to feed her baby even when she is away. This will help to maintain an enough milk supply and makes the baby be in an expected schedule. Finally, it allows to follow an easy routine.

How Much Milk Should I Pump?

The breast milk you produce will depend on the various factors like baby’s age, quality of the pump, time in a day, frequently of feeding/pumping, etc. Make sure to empty both breasts while breast pumping. This process may take about 25 – 30 minutes.

Keep pumping for a couple of minutes even after passing the last drops of milk to confirm you are done completely.

Here is a list that let you know the amount of milk you expect to pump based on your baby’s age.

  • For 5 to 7 days, you can expect to pump up to 2 oz.
  • For a baby with 1 to 3 weeks old, pump up to 3 oz.
  • For 4 weeks to 6 months old baby, you have to pump up to 5 oz.

Avoid worrying if you are not pumping much breast milk during the first few days after the baby born. It is normal to pump about 2 oz during the initial days.

When to Start Pumping?

In general, whenever it makes sense for you to start pumping then you can start pumping. But your situation will determine the right time to start pumping.

For instance, a few new moms will start pumping right after their baby is born in a hospital. It will encourage their milk supply and initiate breastfeeding. It is always good to start pumping early, especially if you are unable to nurse the baby from birth like if the baby is premature or need special attention. Others may wait for a few weeks to start pumping.

It won’t matter when you start pumping but breastfeeding should be well-established by the time your baby is 4 – 6 weeks old. Also, a nursing mom should have enough time between feeding sessions, to pump extra milk and store it for later use. Are you planning to get back to work? Then start pumping 2 – 3 weeks before the head, as it will build up a stockpile of milk.

What is a Power Pump and How to Do it?

Power pump will naturally boost your milk supply and used for baby feeds frequently than normal. It increases the prolactin production (a hormone which stimulates the production of breast milk). A power pumping can be done in the place of a feeding session or right after a breastfeeding session.

In general, it lasts for an hour and here is the process.

Pump for 20 minutes, take rest for 10 minutes, then pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes and again pump for 10 minutes to complete an hour schedule. (OR) you can do two 30-minute sessions by pumping for 10 minutes, rest for 5 minutes, pump for 5 minutes, rest for another 5 minutes and again pump for 5 minutes.

After that, you can pump as usual on that day. A few moms can observe an increase in their milk supply within 3 days whereas others may find it a week to see results.

How Often do I Need to Pump?

To enhance your milk supply, you have to pump in between the nursing sessions while you are with the baby. In case, if you’re at work and want to pump to replace your feeding sessions, then try to pump at the same time as you feed your baby at home. It will keep the milk supply and fulfil with your baby’s demand. So, it’s better to pump it for every 3 – 4 hours.

How long you have to spend on pumping?  It depends on the individuals but be sure to spend at least 15 – 20 minutes to pump a good amount of breast milk (or) till you feel the breasts are well-drained or milk slowdowns. Its recommended cleaning the breast flanges every time after its usage.

If the Breast Pump Causes any Discomfort or Pain While Pumping?

Generally, pumping breast milk won’t hurt. In case, if you feel discomfort or chafing on your nipple or notice any blisters, then reduce the breast pump suction. Also, you have to use the correct size of the breast shield. Although, it surrounds the nipple closely, but have to leave enough space to move it back and forth freely without rubbing/chafing.

Worse fitted breast shield will reduce the amount of milk you express. So, choose the breast shields that fits perfect for your size. Even though discomfort continues after following these tips, you can stop pumping and consult a lactation expert.

How to Store Breast Milk Without Spoiling?

Other than pumping, you should know how safely you have to store the breast milk. Most breast pump models have custom containers which let you use as feeding and storage bottles. While for other models, you can collect and store milk in a standard feeding bottle.

Expressed breast milk can also be collected & stored in a plastic bag, which is designed especially for breast milk. Make sure to fill 3/4 part when you’re freezing, as it allows for expansion. You can also freeze milk in small quantities, which allow for easy melting and feeding.

In general, the expressed milk when kept at room temperature will stay fresh for up to 4 hours (but don’t keep it around the sunlight and other heat sources).  It is completely safe to store your breast milk in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and in the freezer for about 6 months. Labelling each bottle with a date and use the oldest bottle first.

Final Words:

We hope you came to know how to use a breast pump effectively. Make sure to clean all the parts of the breast pump before and after its usage. Still, do you have any queries on how to use a breast pump? Then feel free to share with us in the below comments section.