Breastpumping Guide - When & How to Pump

Breastpumping Guide - When & How to Pump

This information is brought to you by Philips Avent. Breastfeeding is the best food for your newborn baby as it has innumerable health benefits. While it is important to breastfeed the baby for the first 6 months, it is not always possible due to time constraints, work or errands to run. However, thanks to breast pumps, a child can easily be breastfed even if the mother is not present.

Why breast pumps?

There are many reasons to express milk with the use of a pump. The mother might have resumed work and has no way to breastfeed, the baby won’t latch onto the breast or maybe the mother herself is not ready to breastfeed because of sore and painful nipples. The reasons could be innumerable and could vary from mother to mother, yet the baby need not be deprived of breast milk, all thanks to a breast pump. Even if a baby is not breastfed, he should be fed with breast milk.

All you need to know before pumping

Types of breast pumps: There are many different types of pumps available in the market. You will come across mostly two types of pumps - the manual pumps and the electric pumps. The manual or hand pumps works when you move the handle to activate a vacuuming motion. These work best for mothers who want an inexpensive pump and are not in a hurry to express and are easily portable. This method takes time and can be a little exhausting as you have to pump your breasts manually. There are top-end and mid-range electric pumps. Top end pumps work at both breasts simultaneously. Mid range pumps work well for mothers who need to pump breast milk just once a day. These are less expensive and take a while to pump milk as compared to the top-end ones. Philips Avent offers both manual and electric breast pumps that are easy and affordable.

When can you start pumping?

That depends on the mother but ideally a mother should wait for upto 8 weeks before her child is ready to take a bottle. Sometimes it is difficult for a baby to latch on to a mother’s breast. In that case, breast milk can be pumped and the baby can be fed with a sterilised spoon or nipple. If your baby is preterm or ill and is not able to breastfeed, you need to pump as soon as you have given birth - preferably within one to six hours of your delivery. One thing you need to remember is that if you want to exclusively breastfeed your child, you should not aim at only pumping and getting the baby off of your breasts. Nursing is hard work for a baby as well and if you feed the baby through a bottle the whole time, you will have a hard time in getting the baby to breastfeed. This will hamper milk production, as breast milk is produced and regulated only if the baby is breastfed.

When is the best time of the day to pump?

If you are exclusively breastfeeding, mornings would be the best time to pump out milk. Many mothers say that it is in the wee hours of mornings when they have the best quantity of breast milk supply. The volume of milk gradually decreases during the day and evening. Even both breasts will produce differernt amounts of milk. If your baby has just been fed, it is wise to wait for an hour or 2 before pumping as your breasts need to refill themselves. Doing it earlier may cause unnecessary stress. If your baby still wants to have your milk after finishing the pumped one, you shouldn’t stop the baby from doing so. If you are only pumping milk, make a plan and schedule your pumping. You need to pump 8-10 times in 24 hours. Pumping is never painful. If, however, you experience pain, try repositioning the cups. Try to relax while pumping. Breast shields can be used to make the process easier.

How to use a pump?

Breast pumps might take a little while to get used to. It may look like a complicated process but it is quite simple. Follow these steps to make pumping a fun and simple task.
  • Read up on all the information you need before using a pump. You will get an instruction manual along with your pump.
  • Do not be stressed. Try to relax and enjoy the pumping experience.
  • Keep yourself hydrated and maintain a healthy diet.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Take your time in assembling the pump as shown in the instructional manual.
  • Position the cups. Center the cup, phalange or shield over your breasts. Make sure that they are placed properly and turn the machine on.
  • If using a manual machine, center the cups over your nipples and simply starting pumping with your hands.
  • Start with a high speed and low suction until you see the milk flow. Gradually adjust the speed to medium and increase the suction according to your comfort level.
  • If the milk flow decreases, increase the speed of pumping.
Keep practising and you will eventually get the hang of it. Practice positioning and using your breast pumps. Nobody learns in a day. With regular use, you will be at ease with your pump and your body will also adjust and cooperate.