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As a breastfeeding mom, there may be times that you find it necessary to use a breast pump. For example, if you’ve had a premature baby that needs to stay in the NICU for an extended period of time. Or maybe you’re going back to work and want to continue breastfeeding. Or, perhaps your husband or partner would like to be involved with feeding the baby. Whatever the case may be, if you happen to find yourself in the market for a breast pump, be sure to continue reading. I’m sharing my tips on motherhood for choosing and using a breast pump.

Are you thinking of getting a breast pump? Check out my mom's guide to choosing and using a breast pump.

Whether it's because you're going back to work or you want to take a break, today I'm sharing my tips on motherhood for choosing and using a breast pump.

With both Sweet B and V, a breast pump was necessary for me. V was in the NICU for three months and only had breastmilk for his stay. It was the same situation with Sweet B when she was in the NICU for about a month. But then, with Squeaker, I knew I was going to be staying at home with her, so I didn’t think too much about getting a breast pump. Still, just in case I did want to pump, I started looking around for what would be best for my needs. I had also read that using a breast pump could help with increasing milk supply, so it was something else to consider.

A Mom’s Guide to Choosing and Using a Breast Pump

Choosing a Breast Pump:

First, it’s important to know what types of breast pumps are available. When V was in the NICU, I rented a hospital grade breast pump that was covered by my insurance. With Sweet B, I was also able to rent a hospital grade breast pump.

So what are the types of breast pumps?

A manual breast pump is operated by hand and can come in both single and double varieties. Single variety is the more commonly seen, or at least that one that you might want to consider so you don’t wear out your muscles too quickly. Manual pumps are great for on the go situations, or if you’re looking to increase your milk supply.

choosing and using a breast pump manual ggnoads

Popular and well known manual pumps include:

Ultimately, the one I ended up choosing for myself was the Tommee Tippee. I’m familiar with the Medela line as that was the manufacturer for the hospital grade pump. But I wanted to try the Tommee Tippee line for my manual pump.

Another type of breast pump to consider is a battery operated or electric breast pump. Usually, an electric breast pump can be plugged into an outlet but may also have a battery option for on the go use. They come in single or double use and are a better choice for a working mom who wants to continue breastfeeding.

choosing and using a breast pump electric ggnoads

Popular and well known electric pumps include:

Regardless of which type of breast pump (electric or manual) that you end up choosing, you’ll also need breastmilk storage supplies such as bottles or bags to collect the milk. You can freeze breastmilk or you can store it in your fridge. Be sure to clearly label it though.

Storage guidelines for breastmilk:

  • At room temperature- 4 to 6 hours
  • Cooler bag – 24 hours
  • Refrigerator – 72 hours to 8 days
  • Freezer (attached to fridge) – 2 weeks
  • Freezer (side by side with fridge) – 3 to 6 months
  • Deep Freezer – 6 to 12 months

If you're thinking about purchasing a breast pump, be sure to check out my guide to choosing and using a breast pump.

How to Use a Breast Pump

So now that you’ve picked out your breast pump, how exactly do you use this thing? Well, the best advice is to get comfortable and follow the instructions that are included. But, if it’s your first time using a breast pump, it can be quite uncomfortable. And even though they say it’s supposed to mimic how a baby breastfeeds, it’s not quite like that.

Preparing the breast pump
1.  Read all the instructions in the kit very carefully.
2.  Every part of the breast pump will need to be sterilized before you begin using it.
3.  After use, all the parts of the pump will need to be washed in warm, soapy water, then rinsed with hot water and drained on a clean towel.  The
plastic tubing doesn’t need to be cleaned unless you get milk into it.  If you do wash it, it should be hung to allow time to dry and drain thoroughly.
4.  If your doctor feels the need, the entire kit can be sterilized every day.
5.  When you first start with an electric pump, the suction level should be on the lowest possible setting.

Getting started
–  Warm compresses, gentle massages of the breast and gentle nipple stimulation will help to stimulate a quick let down.
–  You should always relax while doing breast massages during pumping.  Some mothers prefer to close their eyes then think about nursing the
baby, imagining the baby in their arms. The more relaxed that you are, the better let down you’ll have and the more milk will be dispensed.
–  Your first attempts at pumping should be considered practice sessions with learning to use the breast pump as the goal, not how much milk is
actually dispensed.
–  When you use a hand pump, quick, short pumps at the start is stimulating and will imitate more closely the way a baby breast feeds.  Once
the let down occurs and milk starts to flow freely, long, steadier strokes are more effective and  less tiring.
–   When you learn to pump, you should practice for 5 minutes on a side at least once or twice a day.  Always pick the least stressful part of your day for pumping.

So, there you have it! This breastfeeding mom’s guide to choosing and using a breast pump.

Have you ever used a breast pump? What advice would you share?

If you're thinking about purchasing or renting a breast pump, be sure to check out my mom's guide to choosing and using a breast pump.

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Digital Product Creator at Kori at Home
Kori is a late diagnosed autistic/ADHD mom. She is currently located in Albany, NY where she is raising a neurodiverse family. Her older daughter is non-speaking autistic (and also has ADHD and Anxiety) and her youngest daughter is HSP/Gifted. A blogger, podcaster, writer, product creator, and coach; Kori shares autism family life- the highs, lows, messy, and real. Kori brings her own life experiences as an autistic woman combined with her adventures in momming to bring you the day-to-day of her life at home. Kori is on a mission to empower moms of autistic children to make informed parenting decisions with confidence and conviction.

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