Your baby is born, and the long waiting has ended. Feeding her is one of the many things you must do as a new mom, and breast pumps can help you with this. Besides being a lovely experience and a way to establish a closer bond between you and your baby, breastfeeding can become a serious concern.
For example, you may not be able to produce enough milk, or there may be other reasons making breastfeeding your baby a challenge for you. What if you are a working mother? If so, you must separate from your newborn for several hours daily. Some moms have to leave their babies at the hands of caregivers.
Think of moms who have given birth to twins or multiples. You will get busy feeding more than a baby at a time, and you must use a formula to ensure they are fully nurtured.
This is why your healthcare practitioner may suggest you use a breast pump to milk your breasts and make a reservoir for your baby.
The breast pump is a manual or electric device that allows your milk to be stored in the freezer or refrigerator for later use. We will talk about the types of breast pumps, how to use manual and electric breast pumps, the principles of storing and maintaining milk expressed in this way, and tips for the optimal use of breast pumps.
What Is a Breast Pump & When to Use One?
All mothers are aware of the fact that their milk is a golden standard in feeding their babies. Breastfeeding is one of the primary nursing care you provide for your baby; it takes time to learn to do it correctly.
Every time you hold your baby in your arms to get her fed, your bond gets more robust, and you both learn how to respond to each other's needs. Though you wish everything goes its way, you may come up with a problem or two when getting through this phase of motherhood. Many mothers complain of sore nipples, poor latch, and biting as common issues when trying to breastfeed their babies.
Moreover, some moms feel uncomfortable nursing their babies in public, in cars, or in shopping centers. They should always look for a private place to breastfeed their newborns.
On the other hand, your baby may get so used to drinking milk from your breasts that he will never accept the bottle. The bottom line is you will have very little time left for you to rest and take self-care. When a combination of such scenarios pops up in front of you, buying a breastpump seems justified.
A breast pump is a manual or electric device that consists of several supplies like flanges, breast shields, valves and connectors, tubing, backflow protectors, and storage bags. Using it correctly will help you express your breast milk and produce more milk naturally. As a result, your babysitter, grandparents, or siblings will know how much milk to feed your baby.
Another critical point is to talk to a lactation expert or health care practitioner before using a breast pump. For example, you may want to start expressing milk immediately after your baby is born.
Electric Breast Pump vs. Manual Breast Pump
What differentiates the two types of pumps is that the electronic one uses electricity or batteries to work. In contrast, all you need is your hands to use the manual.
Electric breast pumps may have a rechargeable battery. Some types include wearable pumps, hospital grade pumps, and double electric breast pumps. They are typically not portable pumps, as they are heavier than manual breast pumps.
Still, both of these devices do the same thing: help the mother express her milk. And, of course, the electric type increases the work speed, but in that sense, there is no best electric breast pump or manual one out there.
Whether or not you need to buy a breast pump plus the type that suits your needs depends on several factors. You can always use your hands to milk your breasts because learning to do this will not be any more complex than learning to use a breast pump.
Another critical point is to talk to a lactation expert or health care practitioner before using a breast pump.
When it comes to milk with a breast pump, it is not much about preferring one type to the other; instead, it is mostly about which one is more useful to you. In general, it is better to keep an eye on some rules of thumb when you want to choose between two types of pumps:
Affordability: how much can you pay to buy a pump? When buying one, you may ask your insurance provider which models they cover and what is generally covered. Handsfree breast pumps, wearable breast pumps, and hospital grade breast pump come at higher prices.
Portability: remember that the manual pump's weight and supplies are much lighter than the electric type. In fact, it is more of a portable breast pump. It also takes less time to wash the equipment in the first case.
Frequency of use: How often do you need to milk? The number of pumping sessions depends on your baby's nutritional needs. But generally, the amount of milk you need when building up a milk reservoir differs from when you pump to increase your milk production. Therefore,, your pumping style also plays a significant part in selecting any of these two breast pumps.
An electric breast pump is more useful when:
• You are away from your baby for more than 5 hours a day (for example, if you are a working mom).
• If you are hospitalized (in case of an emergency)
• If you use certain medications (and it is better not to breastfeed your baby for a while).
• If you have twins or multiples.
• If you face a shortage of time to express your breast milk manually.
• If you don't have a problem with spending money to buy an electric breast pump.
• If you are working and have to pump your milk at work.
A manual breast pump can also be used in these situations:
• If you do not express your breast milk very often (or if you don't have to do it every day). In fact, this type of pump is suitable for women who can spend most of the daytime with their babies.
• If you plan to be a mom on a budget and need to watch for every dollar spent, a hand pump is better for you.
• If you are a mom on the go, it is better to choose the manual type. Even thinking about carrying all the equipment and accessories to assemble the electric pump here and there with you every time is annoying!
Note: Always wash your hands before using a breast pump. You should also clean the supplies like bottles and bags after each use.
Tips for the Best Milking Experience
Even the best breast pump cannot work magic if you do not pay attention to some necessary rules. Check the following:
- No need to rush to pump right after your child is born. Take your time and give a chance to your and your baby's relationship. Generally, you are still trying to get familiar with one another in the first month after her birth.
- Choose a time and location for pumping when you feel most comfortable. The optimum position is when you feel relaxed. It is also good to pump when you are breastfeeding.
- Establish your pumping routine. Try to find out how much milk you need to express this way and how many milking sessions are required.
- Don't skip massaging your breasts to improve milk expression. Read about various massaging techniques. You can employ. One is called the "message, stroke, shake" method.
How to Store & Warm the Pumped Milk
To store expressed milk in this way, you need to have a few supplies so that the milk stays fresh and your baby can use it. These supplies must be purchased with the breast pump, as you need bottles or bags to store the milk. You can find them in drug stores, grocery stores, and baby stores.
Also, suppose for any reason you have to milk outside the house and keep the milk cool until it reaches the refrigerator. In that case, you also need a small cooler. Follow these steps to store freshly expressed milk:
Wash your hands and the container before milking
For every baby feeding, pour only the amount of milk your baby needs into the container.
Place the container in the refrigerator or freezer.
Remember to write the milking date on the container.
To warm the thawed milk:
- Put the container inside warm water or under hot running water.
- Remember to test the temperature of milk before feeding your baby.
- Never refreeze the thawed milk, and use it within 24 hours.
In this article, we talked about breast pumps and their types. Mothers may also breastfeed their babies using manual or electric pumps for various reasons. When you want to choose a manual pump over an electric one, there are some rules to consider. Finally, we explained the essential tips for storing, heating, and consuming freshly expressed milk. Always seek the advice of a lactation consultant if you need it.