How to Use a Breast Pump November 1, 2015 15:12

Breast pumps are an amazing tool to help moms everywhere. For the breastfeeding mother, a breast pump can be a saving grace in several ways. Babies in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) might not be able or be developmentally ready to breast feed, but breast milk is the best nutrition for any baby. A breast pump can assist these tiny infants in receiving the nutrition they need to grow. Even in the best of circumstances, breastfeeding can be difficult in many ways. For moms who need to take a break occasionally, a breast pump is a great option. Lastly, for moms about to return to work, a breast pump offers a way to maintain a milk supply for your baby even when you can’t be together to nurse. In all of these circumstances, a breast pump is an amazing tool. If you are a new mom preparing to use a breast pump, consider these simple basics of how to use your pump from

The Basics

There are two kinds of breast pumps on the market: manual and electric. The electric pump does wonders for mothers going back to work. The manual pump requires a little elbow grease, but both types of pumps have the same outcome–breastmilk.

Typically, you should pump for a typical feed time or approximately 10-15 minutes. Here are the pumping steps:

Before you begin, you should carefully read the instructions for your pump.

Wash your hands.

Center the nipple breast shield (cone for the pump).

You want to sit up straight with both feet on the floor and slightly lean forward so as not to spill milk.

Find the best suction that works for you. As a reminder, more suction does not mean more milk. The suction to use is about the same as what your baby uses. This will help with the letdown reflex.

Pump for about 5-7 minutes on each breast.

If the milk does not come right away, do not be discouraged. It can take about 4-5 minutes for the letdown reflex to take effect. As a reminder, your body is continually producing milk. If you feel you have not gotten every drop, it’s absolutely normal.

Once you have finished pumping, be sure to store your milk properly, and make sure to clean your pump thoroughly, following your pump instructions.

You can store your milk in the refrigerator for 5-7 days or in the freezer for 5-6 months.

If you want to learn more about using a breast pump in Seattle, you can contact a lactation consultant.