Written by Aparna Hari
Mothers today have a wide range of products to choose from, whether it is for self-care or for the care of the baby. With so many brands foraying into the market, the choices are very many depending on the budget and requirements of the mother. The same applies to a breast pump, a pump-like device which basically helps suck milk into a bottle with the help of vacuum suction. In this article, we discuss why a breast pump may be needed for mothers and how to choose the right breast pump.
There are many situations where a breast pump may be needed – a working mother who may not be able to breastfeed a baby, a baby who may not be able to breastfeed due to health issues, etc. In all these cases, a breast pump can be greatly helpful. It is important that the mother chooses the right product to suit her budget and the specifications she is looking for. Here is all you need to know about choosing the right breast pump for your baby.
In This Article
A breast pump refers to a device that helps lactating women extract extra milk and improve their supply. In addition, these pumps are helpful to relieve engorged breasts and pull out inverted or flat nipples. Breast pumps are available in different designs; some are manually operated, and some are automated devices.
A breast pump is basically a suction device which you latch on to your nipples. They help extract milk using a vacuum which you can store for later use. These devices help to collect extra milk so that you can feed your baby later, especially when you are a working woman or are in situations where you have to leave your baby with your partner or caregiver for longer hours.
A woman can start 3-4 weeks before they resume their work. This helps one become familiar with breast pump function and their working method. But if your baby is feeding well and gaining weight, there is no such need for breast pumping. So, it is recommended to wait until your baby is around six weeks old.
Also, the best time to use a breast pump is morning because this is when the breast produces more milk. The prolactin hormone stimulates milk production, which may result in milk leakage. Thus, if you want to extract extra milk from the breast, you can pump it out with a breast pump.
You can also start using a breast pump if you have to wean off breastfeeding for various reasons. A lactation consultant can be of great help when you are planning to wean.
There are three different types of breast pumps that a mother can choose from. You can choose depending on your budget and requirements.
Manual breast pumps have small tubes used to pump in and out from a larger tube to create a vacuum to collect milk. The breast shield of the breast pump is placed over the areola and nipple. The lever and handle are squeezed manually to generate suction and extract milk. A bicycle horn pump is another form of a manual breast pump with a hollow rubber ball attached to the breast shield for milk.
The battery-powered pumps have a cord plugged within the electrical outlet and run on batteries. These batteries help to run motorized pumps to create suction which helps to extract milk. The breast pump has a long tube connected to the breast shield and an electrical pump. The pump has a switch and dials to control the suction degree.
Some of the battery-operated breast pumps are adjusted to set different suction patterns and allow you to mimic nursing babies. Moreover, battery-operated breast pumps come with exclusive features such as letdown which helps to create a natural reflex to release milk from the breast. Since these battery-operated pumps need power sources, women have to prepare for emergencies.
Electric breast pumps are best for working women and those who need pumping regularly. These electric pumps are extremely budget-friendly and easy to use. The electric pumps are typically excellent for daily use and cover many features.
These pumps come with options like different modes and suction strength so that you can set suction strength as per your need. Some of the electrical breast pumps have letdown mode, also known as massage mode, which is lighter and faster to mimic the sucking as a nursing baby does. Within a few minutes, the electric breast pumps switch on extraction mode, which is steadier and slower, mimicking a baby’s sucking pattern.
While choosing the breast pump, mothers have to consider the following things.
Your comfort matters a lot. Therefore, while considering the breast pump, be sure to check the pump fits your body properly without pressing it harder. Also, ensure that the suction shield fits snuggly on your nipples without overlapping.
Women sometimes carry breast pumps with them so that they can extract milk even outside the home. Thus, a breast pump should be portable enough to carry anywhere with you. There are so many options of breast pumps available that are portable and handy. You can look for portability and decide which pump is best for you.
Electric breast pumps or battery powered breast pumps come with different suction settings so that you can set the suction power according to your requirement. Therefore, while choosing the breast pump for you, pay attention to the strength and variation of suction.
Last but not least, be sure to consider the loudness of the pump. Ideally, a breast pump doesn’t make much noise, but some motor-powered or electrical pumps can make too much noise. Hence, you need to be sure that it doesn’t make much noise while operating because it can be annoying and may irritate you.
Here are some of the advantages of a breast pump
Mothers who may have milk supply issues can pump extra milk after each feeding session. This will stimulate the glands and ensure an increased milk supply.
[Read : Oversupply Of Breast-milk]
If, for some reason, your baby is unable to latch, and you are feeding them with a spoon or a pallada, a breast pump can be of great help to collect milk before feeding your munchkin.
In addition, premature or low birth weight babies cannot be given breastfeeds till they reach their birth weight. This may also apply to babies who are in the NICU. In such cases, doctors recommend mothers to express milk so that they can ensure timely feed. Breast pumps are greatly helpful in such cases.
Working women cannot keep commuting back home to feed their babies every couple of hours. They can express milk with the help of a breast pump and store it in the refrigerator and the partner or caregiver can ensure timely feed to the baby. The same applies to mothers who are traveling.
[Read : Storing Your Breast Milk]
Breast pumping is helpful to extract extra milk and ease down the engorgement while weaning. Breast engorgement can be quite painful for women and often results in swelling and infections too. Removing milk regularly with the help of a breast pump can help reduce the severity of the issue.
Mothers with flat or inverted nipples cannot breastfeed their babies in most cases since the babies cant find a nipple to latch on to. Such mothers can express milk with the help of a breast pump and feed their baby. Sometimes, flat nipples also tend to get corrected with regular usage of breast pumps.
Some of the well-known breast pump brands in India are as follows:
Breast pumps are an excellent way to express extra milk and pull off flat nipples for breastfeeding. Moreover, they help improve the milk supply in mothers. Therefore, if you are a working woman with the issue of overflowing breast milk, this should be an ideal device to prevent leakage by expressing extra milk.
Now, you know how to choose the right breast pump for you. With these tips, it will be easier for you to make the right decision and buy the best breast pump to express milk.
Breast milk should be stored at room temperature in a sterilized bottle. Alternatively, you can store it in the refrigerator for 4 days, and in the freezer, you can even store it for a month. Thawing breast milk is very important before feeding. Leave the frozen milk at room temperature and feed it to your baby once the milk is a t room temperature. You should feed this thawed milk to your baby within 2 hours, or it must be thrown away.
While choosing the breast pump, make sure that the flange fits snugly around the breast. It should cover your nipples only and only a small portion of areola enters into the pumping tunnel. Also, ensure that nipples move freely while extracting out milk.
Due to suction, you may notice swelling on or around the nipple. It’s pretty normal and it will be resolved within a few minutes. Sometimes, swelling may happen if you are using the wrong flange size breast pump. So, make sure to choose the right size to avoid such issues.
Read Also: How To Buy Baby Bottles And Nipples?
Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.