How to Correctly use a Breast Pump for Beginners

Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to ensure your infant gets the healthy nutrition he or she needs. An electric breast pump allows mothers to extract their milk for feeding during those times when they cannot be there in person.

Both an electric breast pump and manual breast pump can be utilized for breast milk extraction when mothers have the need. These devices enable mothers to continue nursing their babies while they fulfill other family or work obligations.

Advantages of using Breast Pumps

The advantages of using breast pumps for new mothers are many and varied.

Mothers who want to breastfeed but have the responsibilities of a job can continue with both options by extracting their milk for feeding when they are not home.

Read: How to Combine Breastfeeding and Pumping

Extracted milk can be saved in the refrigerator or freezer for in-between feedings during work hours. Extracting the milk also ensures a mother’s milk supply does not dwindle.

Even non-working mothers can benefit from using an electric or manual breast pump as it allows them to take needed breaks in their schedule. During this time, new fathers can have special bonding time with their babies as they bottle-feed their infants in mom’s place.

How to use an Electric Breast Pump

When purchasing an electric breast pump, getting a quality pump is key to getting the best results.

Everything you need to pump your milk should be included in the kit that you buy. Each kit comes with step-by-step instructions for its use to make it as easy as possible for mothers with no experience in using these devices.

The basic steps towards using an electric breast pump are as follows:

  • Choose a location conducive to pumping where you will not be disturbed.
  • Select a time when your breasts have the most milk.
  • Make sure your hands and breasts are clean and dry.
  • Make sure your breast pump equipment is also clean and sterile.
  • Place the breast phalange (shield) over the nipple of your breast and hold in place
  • Turn on the pump at low and extract the milk. Slowly increase to the speed desired.
  • Make sure the milk is collected safely in its container.
  • When you are done, turn off the pump and remove the shield.
  • Pour the milk from the container into storage bags and store it in the fridge or freezer for later use.

It takes approximately 15 minutes to extract milk from both breasts with an electric breast pump. When done properly, the procedure is painless and requires little effort to complete.

Generally, a mother holds the shield on her breast during the pumping process. An alternative would be to purchase a pumping bra that holds the shields in place, so you can use your hands for other activities as you wait.

Once you are done with your pumping session, be sure to clean all your equipment well and store it neatly away in preparation for its next use.

Electric breast pumps provide a fast and efficient method of extracting breast milk. However, they can be quite expensive in cost, ranging from $100 and above per unit.

How to use a Manual Breast Pump

Extracting breast milk with a manual breast pump may take as long as 45 minutes for both breasts. This may not be so convenient for busy mothers on the go.

However, some mothers may find a manual breast pump more to their personal liking. The cost of this equipment is also much less than its electric counterpart.

Manual breast pumps often take time to adjust to in order to get the results you desire. But with patience and perseverance, you will master the technique for optimum results.

Relaxation is key to extracting milk with a manual pump, as your body will not release the milk if you are tense or pressured. Steps for extracting milk with a manual pump are as follows:

  • Choose a comfortable location for the duration of the process.
  • Choose a time period when you can relax and be free of distractions or obligations
  • Wash and dry your hands and breasts. Make sure your breasts are full of milk for your session.
  • Prepare breasts for extraction by gentling massaging before pumping. Take deep breaths to relax your body for the milk to flow.
  • Attach a manual breast pump to your breast and start pumping with brisk, shallow motions, similar to how your baby sucks when he or she is first placed on the breast. Many mothers find it helpful to visualize that their baby is actually nursing to get the milk to flow. Once the milk is flowing, you can pump more slowly to draw out more milk.
  • Repeat this process for both breasts.
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