One of the employees at All American Pest Control in Orlando was treating my house and asked me if I knew what to consider when buying a breasts pump. She got me thinking about it so I decided to write about it. If you are a new mother then a breast pump is essential for you. It enables you to bottle feed your little one. It helps with feelings of engorgement and in addition to that, it also enhances milk flow. It is very helpful to mothers who have twin babies or premature children that might struggle to latch. And breast pumps also help get your partner involved. They can also feed the babies when you are not available. In some cases, it can help working moms as well making their return to their workplaces easier. Many studies have stated that breast milk is the best choice for a baby.
Features to Consider in Good Breast Pumps
Every mother has specific needs according to their lifestyle. How often moms plan on using a breast pump is dependent on their choice. There are several options when considering buying a breast pump, not all pumps might suit your needs. It is important to decide the kind of breast pump you are seeking. There are some general factors that you should look for when buying a pump. There are many types of breast pumps to choose from:
- Hospital-grade Breast Pump
When it comes to efficiency this is the best pump. It is high powered and sucks at a higher frequency. These are however also the most expensive option. These pumps are designed for multiple users over time, with all of the personal attachments being replaceable.
- Electric Breast Pump
Due to its low cost, the electric breast pump is very popular and ideal for use at home.
These devices generally come with a control unit allowing mothers to select their preferred speed and suction level. There are two types of electric pumps: single and double. The double electric breast pump is more efficient for obvious reasons and will save quite a bit of time. Electric breast pumps will either run on batteries or by being plugged into a wall outlet. Some feature both options for flexibility.
- Manual Breast Pump
This type of breast pump requires you to squeeze the lever by hand repeatedly to create the needed suction to extract the milk. The breast pump does not have a motor. Manual breast pumps are preferred by some mothers as they are quiet, compact, and more affordable compared to electric breast pumps. Manual breast pumps are also easy to set-up and clean. However, they are not as quick, easy to use, or efficient as electric pumps.
What To Do When You Buy It?
The process of using a breast pump can take a little getting used to. There are a few tips and tricks that new mothers can benefit from.
- Practice at home
It takes time to get comfortable using a breast pump, and many women don’t make much milk at first. So give yourself some time to adjust.
Start at home a week or two before you’ll need to be regularly pumping. If you do it right after your baby feeds or in between feedings, that will signal your body to make more milk.
- Stick to your baby’s schedule
Try to pump milk as often as you’d nurse your child at home. If that’s not possible, pump during morning, lunch, and afternoon breaks.
- Dress for it
Wear a dress, shirt, or cardigan that opens in the front. If you have to pump somewhere semi-public, like in your car, have a blanket or shawl with you to give yourself some privacy.
Some women use a hands-free pump. These may be useful if you’re working at a desk or computer, for example.
- Make yourself comfortable
Your nipple should fit comfortably in the middle of the breast shield or flange. Once you begin to pump, there should be a small amount of air around your nipple.
During the first 10-15 seconds, you may feel a bit uncomfortable as your nipples start to stretch. Then as your milk starts to flow, you may feel a tingling “pins and needles” sensation.
But pumping shouldn’t hurt. If it does and you’re using an electric pump, lower the suction level. If you’re still uncomfortable, ask your lactation consultant for advice.
- Let your baby help you
Shoot a cute video of your baby to keep on your phone. Watch it, or scroll through all those adorable photos you have, to help get your milk going if it doesn’t start to flow right away.
You could also keep a baby blanket or something else that has your baby’s scent on it, to trigger that milk “let down.”
Other tips: Sit and relax for a few minutes. Gently massage your breasts, or put a warm compress on them.
- Give yourself enough time
With practice, pumping should take about as long as breastfeeding. But you’ll also need some time to wash your hands, set up the pumps, get comfy, and clean up after. You might want to give yourself about 25 minutes while you’re getting used to it.
When you’re done, slide a finger between your breast and the breast shield to break the suction. The milk you’ve pumped will be in the container connected to your pump.
- Store milk right away
You can safely store breast milk at room temperature (less than 77 degrees) for 4-6 hours. But it’s best to put it into the refrigerator ASAP. (It can last in the back of a refrigerator for 5 days or be frozen for 6-12 months.) It is a good idea to put a date on stored milk. Do not store milk leftover from a feeding.
- Take care of yourself
When you feel good and you’re as rested as possible, your body will make more milk. That makes pumping easier!
Stay hydrated, nourish yourself by eating well, and take naps when you need to. Stress isn’t good for making milk. So take time, even if it’s just a few minutes, to relax.
What’s good for you is good for your baby.
How To Store Breast Milk?
Pumping is only half the story: You’ll also need to know how to store breast milk. Many breast pumps come with custom containers that can be used as storage and feeding bottles; others allow you to use a standard feeding bottle to collect milk.
You can also collect expressed breast milk in plastic bags (definitely use the ones specifically designed for breast milk — plastic bottle liners are too flimsy) and fill them three-quarters full if you’ll be freezing them to allow for expansion.
Freezing milk in small quantities (three to four ounces at a time) allows for easy thawing. Expressed milk can stay fresh at room temperature for up to four hours as long as it’s kept away from the sun or other sources of heat. Milk can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to four days and in the freezer for six to 12 months (up to six months is best). Always label each container with the date, and make sure to use the oldest milk first.
How to clean your breast pump?
Cleaning your pump after each use is important to ensure germs don’t multiply and harm your little one. So be sure to wash all the pump parts that have come into contact with the breast or breast milk with liquid soap and hot water, scrubbing them with a cleaning brush, and rinsing under running water. Air dry and put the parts away only when they are completely dry.
If your breast pump parts are dishwasher-safe, place them in the top rack of a dishwasher and put it on the hot water and heated drying cycle.
Know Your Rights
Federal law clearly states you have a right to reasonable privacy and breaks if you need to use a breast pump at work. If you plan to return to your career while breastfeeding, you must notify your employer of the circumstances. Any decent supervisor should be more than understanding and help accommodate your needs.