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Here's Your A-Z Guide for Picking Up the Right Breast Pumps

Did you know all new mothers do not need to use breast pumps? Scroll down to find out other myths related to breast pumps.


Updated:April 18, 2019, 12:49 PM IST
Here's Your A-Z Guide for Picking Up the Right Breast Pumps
(Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Wavebreak/ Istock.com)

Most expecting new-age parents feel that breast pumps are a key accessory in their journey of raising a child. This is a misconception and is very often propagated by well-meaning friends, relatives, peers, medical professionals and media. Moreover, when scouting for a breast pump, make sure you ask yourself a few questions such as why you think you need to use a breast pump, how often you need to pump, the age of your baby and where you will be pumping.

All new mothers do not need to use breast pumps, Amrita Desai, IBCLC, LCCE, Cloudnine Hospital and Member of Medela India LC Club, busts all the myths related to breast pumps and its usage.

This is what she says:

It is important to understand that depending on your need, the correct breast pump should be chosen or recommended. It is always crucial that mothers do not purchase breast pumps before the baby is born.

Any mother who needs to pump repeatedly almost as much as a normal baby breastfeeds should think of getting an electric breast pump. There are definite advantages of using an electric breast pump and there are double pumps available which can help a mother to pump from both the breasts at the same time thereby effectively increasing the total milk output in a substantially shorter period of time. Electric pumps can utilize technology to closely mimic the sucking of an actual baby, hence signalling the mother’s brain more effectively that milk should be let down. This is useful when the baby is not around the mother. The more advanced electric pumps are so compact and efficient that they can be strapped on to the waist/arm (like a slightly bigger iPod) while the mother goes on her daily work.

Pumps for working mothers: A mother needs all the moral support to get back to work and one of the key triggers is the provision of milk for her baby. Getting back to work comes with a lot of dilemma and doubt. On the job requires a mother to attend meetings, travel for work, and have an uninterrupted work schedule. Pumps are therefore saviours for mothers who want to continue to provide nutritious milk to their babies but cannot feed due to time constraint.

It is easy to clean and sanitize electric pumps. They come with microwavable steam bags and wipes. An electric model with better vacuum pumps will make it easier to grip the breasts for smooth milk suction.

Safe use of electric pumps: Be in a comfortable and relaxed position to pump out the milk because any kind of anxiety will hamper the supply. Purchase pumps with right flanges (breast shield). These are the funnel-shaped structures which fit on the breast. Breast shield fitting is important. A breast shield that is too small can restrain the nipple, increasing friction on the nipple and breast leading to skin trauma and the potential for infection. The main culprit for sore nipples during milk expression is the use of an undersized breast shield.

Preset the pace of the pump which is comfortable. Many mothers try to set the pump too high as they feel they will get more milk more quickly leading to painful milk removal. The suction pressure of breast pumps should always be increased slowly and gradually and it is not required to pump milk at the highest suction pressure. Pumping should always be done at a comfortable suction and should never be painful.

For mothers who use the pump frequently or on the go, often a bustier is advised. This allows a mother to freely use her hands for other tasks rather than only holding the breast shields.

A good pump should be packed in a sleek bag for easy transportation of the pump, other supplies and your breast milk while travelling. It must include a freezer pack and bottles to ensure that the milk stays cold throughout the day. The aim is to get the best suction and most milk. Good hygiene practices should be followed before, during and after using a breast pump.

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