22, Feb 2022

If you are preparing your return to work, if you need some rest or traveling, you should consider the possibility of using a breast pump. Its use allows your baby to continue to benefit from breast milk even when you are not available.

There are several types of breast pumps to choose from and the most correct selection for your case will help you keep the regular flow of milk and to prevent infections or plugged ducts.

Whatever the type of breast pump you choose is a good idea to familiarize yourself with it and have it ready before you return to work or to leave your baby in the care of another person.

You can start to extract milk and introduce the bottle when your baby is between 3 to 4 weeks of age. Some babies reject the bottle if it’s introduced later. So that your baby keep accepting the bottle you can give him a small amount of milk in the bottle every 3 or 4 days.

Types of breast pumps
There are many different styles and models of breast pumps, but they are grouped into two main types: manual pumps and electric pumps. Some women use the two types – one to extract the larger amount of milk and the other for short trips – but most prefer one or the other.
To realize which type is best suited for you have here some cases:

Moms struggling to breastfeed

Mothers who need to use the pump more than once per day

Mothers who need to use a breast pump once a day or less

Electric breast pumps of hospitalar quality Personal electric pumps Manual pumps
If in the first weeks after the birth of the child you are having difficulty in breastfeeding, if your baby is not being able to get enough milk and stimulate the production of more, it may be recommended the use of this type of pump.

If the baby is premature, if needs special medical care or if the mother has any medical condition that affects the quantity of milk produced, probably this is the type of pump used.

A model of hospitalar quality breast pump with double collection set has rapid stimulation and extraction loop that removes the milk at approximately the same rate as the child. The set of double pumping allows you to extract both breasts at the same time, reduce the time of extraction and make a more effective extraction.

Because they are more portable, personal electric pumps are popular among mothers who return to full-time work, or who need to be away from their babies for long periods.

Usually these pumps are automatic or semi-automatic, with rapid extraction-stimulation cycles and adjustable suction levels (to prevent the discomfort of the nipple). And are aimed at women with a well-established milk supply.

Some models mimic the behavior of the baby, by varying the speed and suction force. This feature can make pumping more comfortable, but that doesn’t mean that you will produce more milk.

These pumps are suitable for occasional use, for example if you want to leave your baby with the grandparents and you do not want to use formula.

These are more portable and more affordable than the models above. On the other hand is generally needed more time and more effort to use.

Manual pumps often require hitting a piston or lever to create empty and so pumping.

While most mothers who need to extract milk regularly choose an electric model more efficient, some women praise simplicity of manual pumps and convenient size. There are mothers who say that some hand pumps give a more natural and closer feel than does the baby and like to be able to control suction.

The hand pumps are generally more affordable, smaller, lighter and quieter electric pumps.

Important safety notes
Although it may be tempting to share or borrow a friend’s or buying a used pump, experts recommend caution. Breast milk can carry bacteria and viruses, including hepatitis, HIV and Cytomegalovirus, which can contaminate the hydraulic pumps and pass infection to you and your baby.
Drops of milk can fall into the pump’s internal parts, and simply using your own set of collection does not necessarily make it safe.
The pumps designed for multiple users, as pumps for rent and hospitalar quality pumps, do not have this problem. They are designed in such a way as to prevent breast milk reaches the inside of the pump. In this situation the use of your own set of collection ensures total security.
The hand pumps may not be as effective because its components loose strength and the seals deteriorate over time, two issues that can lead to a loss of suction.
When using only one side of a double pump, make sure that you seal the one you are not using. Not doing so is a common mistake that reduces the ability of pump suction, which may lead to a drop in milk production.
If you do not want to use the pump in the next few hours, wipe the parts with water and neutral soap. Remove all removable parts and wash them.
If you find milk residues in the pipes, clean them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Most times you can use warm water and a mild detergent. Be sure that dried up the tubes completely before putting them into the pump.
Important features
  • Adjustable suction control: the suction level comfortable for a woman can be torture for another. Choose a pump that allows adjusting the suction to your comfort.
  • Efficiency: If you have little time – and what mother hasn’t? – probably it is worth paying a little more for a pump with a higher capacity of suction or double pumping. A model that allows you to pump both breasts at the same time can reduce the pumping time: from about 30 minutes for both breasts to about 15 minutes. Double pumping increases milk production, because it empties both breasts more completely.
  • Ease of use: browse an easy-to-use, clean and assemble pump
Accessories to experiment
The use of some accessories can help you use your pump more efficiently and comfortably. For example:
  • A breastfeeding bra or band that holds a bottle on each nipple releasing your hands while extracts both breasts.
  • Storage Bags or containers for collecting, storing and freezing the milk.
  • Microwave cleaner bags allow you to sterilize the pump parts in the microwave.
  • Protective disks for nipples.

The following products may also be useful:

  • Gel packs for placement within the nursing bra. The gel packs can be used hot or cold to relieve sore and swollen breasts.
  • Lanolin Ointment to relieve sore nipples.
  • Disposable or washable nursing pads to absorb the leaky breasts milk and prevent stains on clothing.
What to look for

The multiplicity of types of breast pump on the market reflects the many individual needs of women who are breastfeeding and what worked well for your mum or a friend may not work well for you. The choice of the most suitable pump should be made after considering your needs and evaluating all options.
Following are some points to consider when choosing a pump:

How you intend to use the breast pump?

Will you use the pump to complement breastfeeding?

Do you want to pump and store multiple containers of milk?

Are you going back to work?

Will you be away from your baby for several days?

How long will it take to extract milk?

The amount of time of extraction varies from pump to pump, but certain types of pumps are easier to use and allow you to extract the milk more quickly.
If you intend to use the pump at work, or do not have much time for extraction, consider using an electric pump. A double pump (which extracts milk from both breasts at the same time) can also decrease the amount of time, because both breasts can be emptied at the same time.
The instructions of the pump are easy to understand?
If possible, review the instructions included with various different pumps and choose a pump that is easy to assemble, use and clean.
Do you need a pump easy to carry?
If you travel frequently, or use a breast pump at work, consider buying a lightweight pump that you can easily carry.
If you intend to use the pump always in the same place you do not need to worry about the ease of transport.
The size of the funnel is appropriate?
Make sure that the hopper opening is the correct size for you. You should be able to comfortably place the nipple in the center of the funnel.
Most pumps are marketed with an average size of hopper. Before buying a pump, check the manufacturer’s website to see if they can replace the funnels by a different texture or size that is comfortable for you.
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