How to breast pump: a how to for mamas

by Olife Team

breast pump is a mechanical device that lactating women use to extract milk from their breasts. Using a breast pump is still a relatively new idea in some regions for women. Breast pumping provides the benefits of breastfeeding when you have to be away from your baby. Pumping will help keep your milk supply and can prevent an unsettling discomfort from breast engorgement. Breast pumping is a great way to manage your breast supply, if you have to stop breastfeeding suddenly. 

There are many types of breast pumps to choose from, they can look very complex and confusing, but they are very easy to use.  If you start finding challenges with breast pumping you can reach out to a lactation consultant, or a breast feeding expert to help you learn how to use a breast pump.  Here is a little How To guide to breast pumping. 

Here is a list of some of our Olife faves!

Vinci V2 Electric Breast Pump - 1600amps

Getting ready to pump

  • Make sure you are using a good pump, well-suited to your needs, buying a new one is more sanitary than borrowing one from friends due to risk of bacterial contamination. 
  • Breast pump motors are designed to work for one year of daily use so having a new one for yourself is very important. 
  • Make sure you read instructions, and that all of the parts are in the box before you begin to assemble it. Ensure you sanitize all the parts. 
  • Find a safe, private, comfortable, clean spot to sit and pump so that it is a somewhat peaceful and enjoyable experience.  You may be pumping at work, perhaps finding a quiet mediation room with a lock on the door. 

Using a breast pump

  • Make sure you wash your hands, before touching the breast shield and your breast. Use soap and scrub your hands for 10 - 15 seconds, rinse with warm water, and use a clean paper towel to dry your hands completely. 
  • Assemble the pump. Making sure all the parts are clean.
  • Make sure you are in the right mind set, holding your baby, or smelling their clothes can help in improving your milk let down. 
  • Position the breast shield over your breast with your nipple in the center of it. You may need to try different sizes for the breast shield, to find the one that fits best. 
  • You may then begin pumping, with a moderate level of suction, increasing the suction as the milk begins to flow. Some pumps can automatically do this for you. 
  • Within each pumping session, ensure you empty both breasts, after pumping your breasts should feel soft, with no hardness. 

After you finish pumping

  • On finishing the pumping, make sure you put the milk in a refrigerator straight away, it is also encouraged to use the milk soon after pumping.
  • If you won't be using it right away, it is better to freeze the milk. Be mindful of storing the breast milk safely. 
  • Take the pump apart and wash well any part that came in contact with your breast or breast milk. Let the parts air-dry.

What is expected

  • Pumping with an electric pump takes 10 to 20 minutes for each breast but can take longer. Watch for signs that your breasts are empty to know when to stop. 
  • Pumping should definitely not be painful, you should feel a gentle tugging when it is on. You can also change the position of the breast shield or try a larger breast shield. 
  • Try to pump every 3 - 4 hours for supply of milk purposes, and breastfeed whenever you can.
  • It may be a swollen milk duct in the breast or breast infection if you feel a swollen or painful lump. It is important to call your doctor if you feel this to ensure everything is ok and to ease the discomfort and pain. 

Remember there are no rigid rules for how our bodies react to different processes. If you feel more pain or discomfort, or still don't feel confident with breast pumping, make sure to reach out to a specialist. 

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