When you’re breastfeeding, it’s natural to feel an urgent need to feed your baby at all times. The constant presence of your baby and the feeling of having a direct link between you two makes it easy for you to feed them when they cry in hunger or demand feeding from you often.
However, as much as many women love breastfeeding, it isn’t always possible for everyone. This is especially true if you are nursing multiple children at once because then feeding several babies becomes a lot more difficult. It's also true if you're a working mom and have gone back to work after your maternity leave.
Fortunately, there are other ways that you can continue to give your baby the nourishment that they need even if they don't have access to your breasts. Using a breast pump is one of these alternative methods that will allow you to continue giving your baby the nutrition that they need, even if you can’t nurse them all the time.
It will not only help supplement your child’s diet but also provide them with the right amount of nutrition every time. They will be less likely to become a picky eater as an adult if you use a breast pump, and more likely to learn to enjoy well-balanced meals and snacks.
What is a Breast Pump?
A breast pump is a machine that extracts breast milk from the mother's breasts and then transfers the milk to a bottle for feeding. Breast pumps come in a variety of models, types and brands that are designed for different uses, levels of affordability and ease of use for moms.
If for whatever reason you are unable to breastfeed your baby, you can use a breast pump to express milk from your breasts and put it in a bottle for him to drink.
You can also use a breast pump to express breast milk If you are not producing enough milk to feed your baby.
Types of Breast Pumps
- Manual - A manual pump is manually operated and is used for expressing milk from your breasts.
- Electric - An electric breast pump is operated by batteries or plugged into the wall socket.
- Battery-Operated - More portable than electric ones
- Hospital Grade - Milk does not come into touch with air or bacteria thanks to a barrier between the milk collection kit and the pump mechanism. Women can share this 'closed system' pump if they prefer.
Benefits of Using a Breast Pump
- Gives you a break from breastfeeding
- If you are breastfeeding your baby but are not able to produce enough milk for him, you can use a breast pump to extract milk from your breasts and feed them with a bottle.
- Helps to Increase milk supply - A significant reason for using a breast pump is to increase your milk supply so you can feed your baby longer.
- Boosts your self-confidence - Using a breast pump can help you to boost your confidence as a woman. When you express milk from your breasts and feed your baby with a bottle, it can help you to feel more in charge of your body.
When Should You Use a Breast Pump?
- You have a premature or low birth weight baby. A breast pump can be used to extract milk from your breasts and feed your baby if they are not able to feed from your breast due to prematurity or low birth weight.
- You need to supplement your diet while breastfeeding. As much as breastfeeding is a great experience, it is not always possible. In this case, you can use a breast pump to supplement your diet and continue to give your baby the nutrition that he needs.
- You need to pump for medical reasons. A breast pump can be used to keep your milk supply high or if you have a hormone imbalance that is causing low milk supply.
- You have a low milk supply. A breast pump can be used to extract milk from your breasts when they are not producing enough milk for your baby.
How to use a breast pump
For Manual Breast Pumps
- Make sure you clean your hands.
- Before using, check that the pump, bottle, and all of its components are clean and sanitary. Do a little breast massage to get things going.
- Cover your nipple with the breast shield or funnel and begin pumping gently. Sometimes breast milk takes a while to come in.
- When you notice a decrease in milk production, you should switch breasts. Then, if you find you have additional milk to express, you can switch back.
- Once both breasts are empty, take off the breast shield and replace the bottle's cap, making sure it's on tightly.
- Prepare the pump and its components for use again by cleaning and sterilizing them.
For Electric Breast Pumps
Follow all the steps for manual breast pumps, except step #3. Instead of manually pumping, switch the machine on. You should ease into it by starting with a slow speed and going at a pace that is comfortable for you. Although you may have to wait a few minutes for the milk to begin flowing, once it does you may quickly increase the speed.
Which type of breast pump is best for you?
Manual Pumps - can be operated without the need for energy or batteries. Instead, a breast shield is placed over the breast to create suction, and the milk is withdrawn by manually operating a lever. Many moms love these pumps because of how simple they are to operate and how much power they provide them over the pumping process. However, it can be tiresome to use your hands to pump, and these pumps don't normally extract as much milk as battery- or electric-powered pumps.
Electric Pumps - If you need to pump frequently, whether for work or otherwise, double electric pumps are widely considered the best option. Electric pumps allow you to change between a "letdown" mode in which the suction is reduced, and a "extraction" mode in which it is increased. This action is reminiscent of how infants suck their thumbs. To maintain a steady milk production when separated from your baby, an electric pump is your best bet once you've established your breastfeeding routine. Though electric pumps can be cumbersome to haul around, modern types are smaller, and quieter too.
Battery-Operated - Pumps that run on batteries are convenient since they can be moved around easily (electric pumps). They're typically less bulky, easier to carry, and smaller in size. Most battery-operated pumps are not as effective as electric ones at removing milk, thus they are not suggested for persons who need to pump frequently. Make sure you have a spare set of batteries on hand in case your pump's power source dies in the middle of a pumping session. You also need to choose the right battery-operated pump to enjoy it to its full potential.
There is no doubt that breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby, but it comes with many challenges. When you are not able to produce enough milk or when your baby is premature, you might need to use a breast pump.
A breast pump will allow you to extract breast milk from your breasts and feed your baby with bottles. And while they can be used in many different situations, they are mostly used to increase your milk supply or to feed your baby when you are unable to.
Looking for a breast pump? Check out our Wearable Breast Pump, a smart, wireless pump that can help you express 6 oz of milk in less than 10 minutes and provides ease of use for both work and home. With this pump, you don’t need to disrupt your productivity at home or in the office.