Breast pump, how to choose and use it

Who I am
Philippe Gloaguen
@philippegloaguen
Author and references

Contents

  • 1 Why pump and store breast milk 
  • 2 Methods of collecting milk 
  • 3 What types of electric breast pumps are there
  • 4 How to use the breast pump
  • 5 Rules of hygiene when using the breast pump
  • 6 How to store breast milk
  • 7 Choice of breast pump: the best-selling 
  • 8 Choice of breast pump: the best value for money 
  • 9 Choice of breast pump: the most innovative 
  • 10 Choice of breast pump: the most compact

By now everyone knows that breast milk is the best nourishment in the world. The benefits of him are many and primarily concern the child, but also his mother. Did you know, for example, that breastfeeding gives you extra protection against certain cancers? In short, already while you are pregnant it will be explained to you that it is a true source of well-being, as well as of love. In some cases, for various reasons, it may be necessary to stock up on breast milk. Here comes a very useful tool that can make life a lot easier: the breast pump. 



Why to pump and store breast milk 

There are several reasons for pumping. The first concerns working mothers who, at some point, having finished their maternity leave, must return to work. And there are many who do not want to give up breast milk. The solution therefore is to have ready doses to store and defrost at the right time. 

Then there are women who produce large quantities of milk, far beyond the puppy's daily needs. So what do you do in order not to "waste it"? Put it in the freezer as a reserve. Alternatively, if you want to make a nice gesture, you can donate it to milk banks: it will be used above all in neonatal intensive care units for premature babies. 



Then there are those who pump the milk to get the baby used to the bottle in view of returning to work or to have it given by the father, in order to make him participate in this very intense moment. Everyone says that breastfeeding creates a special bond. It is true, but it is also true that giving a bottle, looking into each other's eyes and cuddling each other, becomes a very special and strong moment. 

Milk supplies are also used for other reasons. One is a little more "futile", but no less important: if you decide to enjoy a night out with your partner, leaving the baby to the nanny or grandmother, he will already have his baby food ready. Additionally, you may need collected milk if you need to take medications that are incompatible with breastfeeding or are away from home for a few days.

Milk collection methods 

  • Manual expressing: consists of a series of maneuvers to gradually empty the breast, in order to avoid traffic jams. After making a circular massage of the breast, from the outside to the inside, place the thumb on one side of the nipple and the index finger on the other and slide them towards the center, squeezing slightly. Use a sterilized bowl for collection. 
  • Manual breast pump: suitable for occasional use. The most practical can also be used with one hand. Avoid those in glass with a rubber pump because they are not very effective, unhygienic and tend to cause fissures.
  • Electric breast pump: it is certainly the most comfortable method, especially if you plan to have to pump the milk for a long time. Not all electric breast pumps are the same, but choosing a good quality model is essential. 

The breast pump has a special advantage: by stimulating the breast like the normal sucking of the newborn it guarantees the continuous production of milk. When one breast is not sufficiently stimulated (for example, when the baby is bigger and sucks less) the quantity is reduced. 



What types of electric breast pumps exist

Basically, breast pumps are divided into two categories: 

  • single: the operation is done on one breast at a time;
  • double: pumping takes place simultaneously on both breasts. Obviously it is faster than the single one.

The other differences between the products concern the pumping speed, the size of the cups (and this is not a negligible detail), the silence, the material of the containers (plastic or glass), the cost.

How to use the breast pump

First, choose a quiet and comfortable corner of the house. Take this time for yourself, possibly without being in too much of a hurry. Induce the emission reflex by massaging the breast in a circular direction, from the outside to the inside. The breast pump should be held by the cup, not by the container in which the milk is collected. The nipple must be in the center of the cup that has been previously moistened. The cup should be gently pressed towards the breast.  

Breast pumps have various pumping speeds that can be changed during the operation, depending on your needs. The ideal is to start with a sustained speed, while the suction power must be reduced until the milk ejection reflex is induced. Immediately after that, you have to continue with lower speed and higher suction power. 

Every certain amount of time (about 5-7 minutes) stop pumping, repeat the massage and, if you use a single breast pump, change breasts. 

Rules of hygiene when using the breast pump

When using this milk pump, hygiene rules are basic. Let's see them together: 


  • Before starting, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and breasts (with warm water only). Dry yourself carefully.
  • Carefully wash all components of the breast pump after each use. 
  • Sterilize the various parts by boiling, washing in the dishwasher at 65 ° C or using the normal sterilizer (however, it must work hot: the cold one is not very effective).
  • Store milk in appropriate breast milk bags or containers. You can find them in the pharmacy.

How to store breast milk

According to the Leche League, expressed breast milk can stay at room temperature for around 4-6 hours. If, on the other hand, you store it in the refrigerator (in the coldest part, i.e. at less than 4 ° C) it can be consumed within 4-8 days at the latest. 


If, on the other hand, you want to keep it in the freezer, the times vary depending on the appliance you use. In the classic freezer (that of the two-door refrigerator), at a temperature of -18 degrees, it lasts from 3 to 6 months. If, on the other hand, you have a separate freezer (-20 ° C), the shelf life is up to 12 months.

Before using it, the milk should be defrosted in the refrigerator. Milk thawed and not consumed must never be frozen again: it can be kept in the refrigerator for 24 hours if the container is closed, 12 if it has been opened. Heat it in a bain-marie, never using direct heat sources or a microwave oven. Milk that has been heated and not used can no longer be offered to the baby. 

Choice of breast pump: the most sold 

With a touchscreen and high-definition display, the Bellababy breast pump shows the modes (there are 4 in total) and the suction levels (9 in total) while you pump. It is a double breast pump, a feature that allows you to complete the operation in a short time and effectively, while maintaining high production of breast milk. It features rechargeable batteries, so you can use it anywhere, even while on the go. In the package you will also find 10 bags for storing milk. 

Choice of breast pump: the best value for money 

The Nekan electric breast pump has an excellent quality-price ratio and a very efficient anti-backflow technology: the diaphragm of the pump protects against the so-called backflow that separates the milk from the air. In this way, the milk does not come into contact with the air and there is no danger of contamination. It has 3 modes of use: suction, massage and bionic. The LCD touchscreen is backlit, so you can use it smoothly both day and night. 

Choice of breast pump: the most innovative 

Chicco's NaturallyMe electric breast pump is the optimal solution for mothers looking for comfort and ease of use and who often use this useful object. This device is capable of imitating the infant's sucking, automatically switching from "stimulation" to "extraction" mode within 2 minutes. The second is slower to encourage a constant flow of milk. The design is ergonomic and compact, the cup in soft silicone. 

Choice of breast pump: the most compact

It's called Luna and it's Nuk's compact automatic breast pump. It is characterized by a two-phase rhythm: stimulation of the milk flow and pumping of the actual milk. The suction is adjustable, which guarantees maximum comfort for the mother. And speaking of comfort, the soft silicone pads with reliefs exert a pleasant breast massage while you pump. Also included in the purchase are the bottle with anti-colic teat and the container to collect breast milk.

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