How to Use a Breast Pump: Essential Tips for Nursing Mothers

How to Use a Breast Pump: 5 Basic Questions You Should Ask Yourself

Sep 05, 2023
Breastfeeding is the best caring method that the WHO recommends for infants for at least the first six months of life. However, in reality, most mothers nowadays decide to stop breastfeeding after two or three months. 

They feel trapped by breastfeeding as they don’t have enough time for themselves while their husbands get only a few days’ paternity leave. They need more support but most of the time; they have to deal with everything on their own.

The breast pump is now the best “companion” of modern mothers. How to use breast pumps properly to make breastfeeding less stressful? This question will be fully answered through these five basic questions.
First, let’s start with the most basic question that I think all new mums will have in mind.

1. Why do all health experts strongly recommend mothers to keep breastfeeding for at least six months for their babies?

Benefits of breast milk for both babies and mothers
Benefits of breast milk for both babies and mothers

According to the WHO, breastfeeding is good for both babies and mothers; thus, we will answer this question from both sides.

Breastfeeding is the best feeding method in the first year of babies

Breast milk contains a lot of hormones and an adequate number of vitamins and proteins to strengthen the immune system of a baby. Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from common illnesses such as asthma, diabetes and obesity.

Breast milk contains DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is known to be crucial for the development of the baby’s brain and eyes.

Although formula milk now can be made to have all of these nutrients but breast milk is still a better choice because your baby will be easier to digest.

Breast milk is unlimited for babies. The more babies consume, the more milk mums produce.

Breastfeeding is good for the recovery of the mother

Breastfeeding can help you to lose weight quickly without having to go to the gym because you will spend more calories while feeding your baby.

Breastfeeding makes your uterus return to the pre-pregnancy size because it increases the amount of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces the size of your uterus and the bleeding after delivery.

According to the WHO, breastfeeding also lowers the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

In a word, all of these health benefits come to the fore as long as mothers keep breastfeeding. In reality, many mothers give up breastfeeding after two or three months as this feeding method requires you to spend all of your time with your baby. No more hobbies! No more relaxing time! All that you do is to stay at home and always ready to feed your child.

But, don’t worry! Modern mothers are much happier than those in the past thanks to the introduction of breast pumps.

So, the rest of this guide will share with you breastfeeding pumping tips.

On the market, there are two main types of best breast pumps: manual pumps and electric pumps.

2. Which is the best breast pump for a new mum?

Manual pump vs Electric pump

● Manual breast pump: another name of this kind is a hand-operated breast pump. This accessory is small, discreet and does not require a battery or electrical outlet like its electric counterpart.

However, it is only suitable for a mom who is still on her maternity leave because it requires more effort and time to pump breast milk. But, the manual pump is a lot cheaper than an electric one (which can reach several hundred US dollars).

● Electric breast pump: This type of pump is easier to manipulate as it offers different automatic breast pumping programs to choose from. Some new models allow you to pump both breasts at the same time.

This feature is really useful to save you time and help increase milk supply. But, the size of the electric pump is bigger, thus, you will need more space to carry it around (a big backpack or a big tote bag). The noise is another minus point of this kind of breast pump.

No matter what kind of breast pump you choose, learning how to use a breast pump properly can help increasing milk supply and release engorgement.

Now, it’s time for the most important topic that all mothers on earth care for when using breast pumps. As the demand for our babies grows rapidly, we must find the best way to pump breast milk in order to stimulate our body to produce as much milk as possible for our loved ones.

It is a good idea to be well prepared and familiarize yourself with different types of breast pumps. This is the reason why we will share the instructions on how to use both manual and electric breast pumps.

3. How do you use a breast pump including a manual pump and electric pump?

How to use a manual breast pump

Manual breast pump and milk at background

Manual breast pump and milk at background

Step 1: Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. Hygiene is always our priority.
Step 2: Massage both breasts gently in a pumping motion by squeezing and pulling your breasts outwards.
Step 3: After stimulating your breasts, place your nipple inside the flange of the pump.
Step 4: Start pumping each breast softly just as if your baby is sucking.
Step 5: Repeat both step 3 and step 4 for each breast to allow the milk to flow.
Step 6: End the pumping session by hand expressing.

How to use electric breast pump

Electric Breast Pump for Breast feeding

Electric Breast Pump for Breast feeding

Step 1: Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. Hygiene is always our priority.
Step 2: Assemble all parts of the breast pump: breast shield, a milk container, etc. You should read the manual to assemble it correctly.
Step 3: Place the breast shield over your breasts. Make sure it is in the center of your nipple and press to make a good seal.
Step 4: In the beginning, you should choose the lowest pumping level to stimulate your breasts. You can increase the intensity gradually if you don’t feel pain.
Step 5: Remember to clean the breast shield and all parts later in the right way to prevent the development of bacteria.
As you can see, a manual breast pump is a little more difficult to manage and requires more effort than the electric pump.
Below are some of our manual breast pumping tips for you if you think buying an electric pump is beyond your reach.

➜ Related: Spectra S1 Breast Pump: Will It Work For You?

Don’t be stressed while pumping breast milk

Stress can delay the production of breast milk; thus, you should be relaxed and start the pumping session by massaging both breasts. For example: turn on your favorite song or look the face of your cute baby.

✓ Schedule logically your pumping session

As we mentioned earlier, breast milk is produced on supply and demand basis. It means that the more you pump, the more milk your breasts produce. In case you return to work, try to arrange a pumping session after every two hours.
✓ Don’t stop breastfeeding your baby

Although you use a breast pump to store milk for your baby, please try to breastfeed your loved one whenever you have time. It can stimulate your breasts to produce more milk.

✓ Drink as many fluids as you can

Water, fruit juice and milk are highly recommended for you to stay hydrated. There are some beverages you should avoid such as tea, coffee and alcohol. You can you drink those occasionally, but please don’t breastfeed or breast pump for two hours afterwards.

✓ No smoking

Smoking will lead to many negative effects on your health. It is more serious when you are breastfeeding. Smoking can change the taste of the milk and make it difficult for your baby to sleep. More importantly, smoking can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and some illnesses related to the respiratory system.

✓ Follow a daily healthy diet

A healthy diet is crucial during the breastfeeding period. Remember to follow a daily healthy diet by eating more fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts. This way, you can ensure your breast milk has enough nutrients for the healthy development of your baby.

Next, Do you agree with me that learning how to breast pump is important, but choosing the right breast pump to support you to reach your breastfeeding goals is indispensable?

No matter how long, how often you pump your breasts, every drop of milk counts! For this reason, we did a lot of research online and ended up with a Medela breast pump.

Let’s see why:

4. Why should you choose a Medela breast pump?

Medela is the top-recommended breast pump in the United States. This brand offers many models that are designed to suit different needs and lifestyles of modern mums.

All Medela products are committed to providing comfort and convenience for all moms to optimize the pumping experience.

A couple of its well-known technologies are Overflow Protection and 2-Phase Expression. You will feel relaxed when using Medela breast pump as it operates by imitating nature as much as possible. All of these technologies are founded thanks to the company’s continuous investment in science and research partnerships regarding the anatomy of women's breasts and lactation.

Last but not least, always remember to take care of your breast pump after use if you don’t want your baby to develop an infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the babies that are premature are more prone to infection. This is the reason why in the last part of the How to use breast pump guide, we are going to give you instructions about cleaning breast pumps properly.

5. How best to do cleaning breast pump?

Cleaning a breast pump after every use is crucial

Cleaning a breast pump after every use is crucial

These instructions are based on the latest CDC guidelines:

Step 1: Wash your hands thoroughly before doing anything.
Step 2: Use a disinfectant to clean the outside of the breast pump.
Step 3: After every use, rinse all parts of the breast pump under running water. Please don’t just put all of them in the sink!
Step 4: Start cleaning your pump part as soon as you can with a soapy and hot water. Use a separate brush for cleaning these parts.
Step 5: Thoroughly rinse with fresh water and don’t put back in the basin of soapy water after rinsing.
Step 6: Place a clean dish towel on a table and put these parts on it. Please don’t rub them with a towel to prevent germs from spreading.
Step 7: Clean the basin and the brush you use and let them air dry.
Step 8: Store the breast pump parts in a clean, dry and ventilated area only after they are completely dry.
Note: You should keep updated about all new guidelines published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lastly, please feel free to ask for supports from your partner.

Final Words

The five questions above cover all our breast pumping tips. Breastfeeding calls for your commitment but its results are worth the effort. If you are afraid that you will not have enough time for yourself while breastfeeding, a breast pump will be your “companion” in this journey.

Once again, this guide about How to use breast pumps is all about our experience. It may be not a complete guide but we hope it can support all new moms to have some basic knowledge about breastfeeding. We are sure that a heart-smelting smile of your baby is the strongest motivation to stop you from giving up breastfeeding.

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