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When you’re a new mom, keeping your baby well nourished becomes your priority. As you get comfortable breastfeeding her, you will also contemplate, what will you do when you have to return to work or be away from your baby for a couple of hours. The realisation that your little one needs a lot of TLC and a whole lot of feeding sessions can stress you out, especially if it’s your first time with a baby. Enter breast pumps! (While you take care of the TLC part, let breast pumps share the load of the latter.)
Whether you plan to pump exclusively or balance between breastfeeding and pumping, the process will be overwhelming, especially, if you have never used a breast pump before. But we’ve got you covered, dive in!
When Should You Start Breast Pumping?
A new mom can start pumping right after her baby’s birth to initiate breastfeeding and to encourage milk supply. If a mother is unable to breastfeed, it becomes all the more important to start pumping. But you should begin pumping when you feel it’s right to do so and after speaking with your doctor or a lactation consultant.
Lactation consultants often suggest waiting for a few weeks, until the breastfeeding schedule is well established. Some experts say that pumping too early and giving bottles can lead to nipple confusion and the baby may refuse to be breastfed. However, not all babies have this confusion. Nevertheless, waiting for a couple of weeks is suggested.
The best time to start pumping and introducing a bottle is when the baby turns at least 4 to 6 weeks old, and there is a proper breastfeeding schedule in place. If you’re planning to return to work and thinking of starting pumping, you should begin pumping two to three weeks before the actual date to get the hang of it. But pumping can be an overwhelming experience, and to get it right, you must invest in quality breast pumps such as Philips Avent’s manual or electric breast pumps, which are designed keeping in mind the comfort of new moms. Their unique designs and soft massage cushions which stimulate the milk flow, make pumping a comfortable experience.
Benefits of Using Breast Pumps
After hearing the innumerable advantages of exclusive breastfeeding, the idea of pumping (and bottle-feeding) may seem less than appealing to you. But when you need a break, plan to return to work, or your milk supply goes into overdrive, you will realise that a breast pump will be your saving grace. It will prove to be a whole lot useful – let’s look at some of its benefits.
1. It will give you control over feeding timings.
Using breast pumps gives the mother and caregivers a control over feeding schedule. You can decide on a schedule that works best for you and your baby and pump accordingly. Having control over feeding sessions will also make it easy for you to return to work without having to worry about how your little one will get your breast milk.
2. A breast pump will help with milk supply.
If your milk supply is less, using breast pumps can increase your milk supply. Pumping after breastfeeding will allow you to build your milk supply and the excess milk can be stored for later use.
3. Using a breast pump can help prevent breast engorgement.
One of the reasons why new moms swear by breast pumps is that it helps prevent breast engorgement. If you have an overflow of milk, you can use Philips Avent’s manual or electric breast pump to express the excess milk and freeze it for later use. Pumping out the excess milk will make sure that your breasts don’t get engorged and painful.
4. You can take a break.
When you have a little one in the house who needs your constant attention, you are likely to be sleep deprived and exhausted most times. You will need rest to take care of your baby. Pumping and storing breast milk can help you take a break and relax for some time. Your partner or someone in the family can feed your baby while you catch on some sleep. It will also make the process of returning to work less challenging.
5. A breast pump can prove to be useful if the mother has a medical condition.
If a new mom is unable to breastfeed, or if the baby refuses to latch, breast pumps can prove to be indeed useful. Pumping milk and bottle feeding can provide the baby mother’s milk and ensure that she is getting the essential nutrients. Breast pumps by Philips Avent can help take care of the problems such as breast engorgement, mastitis, and breast pain.
Different Types of Breast Pumps
There are two types of breast pumps available; they are manual breast pumps and electric breast pumps. We’ve explained both in detail to help you make an informed decision.
1. Manual Breast Pumps
A manual breast pump is held in place on the breast with one hand while the milk is pumped manually with the other hand. A manual breast pump has a handle or level, which needs to be operated manually to express the breast milk. The milk gets collected in the container. You can choose a manual breast pump if you want a pump for occasional use. Manual breast pumps are lightweight and have very few parts, which can be assembled (and cleaned) easily.
2. Electric Breast Pumps
Electric breast pumps are strong and powerful and can help establish and maintain milk supply. What makes them a popular choice among working moms is their efficiency, as they help express milk faster. Using electric pumps doesn’t require much effort, which makes them suitable for regular use.
How to Choose a Breast Pump
A good breast pump can make all the difference, but how do you decide between a manual or an electric breast pump? The answer is simple: consider your requirements and how much time you can spare for pumping. If you want to pump occasionally, you can buy a manual breast pump.
But if you want to pump exclusively or pump and breastfeed at the same time, buy an electric breast pump. You can choose Philips Avent Comfort single electric breast pump – its unique design will allow you to sit in a comfortable position (without leaning forward), and pump in a relaxed manner. Its soft massage cushion with warm feel will stimulate the milk supply, making the pumping process a blissful experience. You can use it anytime, anywhere without worrying about the pain factor.
Now, let’s understand how to use breast pumps the right way!
How to Use a Breast Pump
Having a good breast pump is essential, but knowing how to use it right is even more important, for a pleasant pumping experience. The following tips will help you understand how to use one.
- Read the instruction manual carefully to familiarise yourself with the parts of the pump.
- Gently massage your breasts to stimulate the let-down reflex; you can even think about your baby while doing so, it may trigger the hormones that help release milk.
- Place the assembled breast pump (breast shields to be precise) against your breast such that the flange of the breast shield is pressed against your one nipple.
- If using a manual breast pump, begin pumping by pressing the handle rhythmically – it may take some time for the milk to start flowing. If using an electric breast pump, turn the machine on, the milk should start flowing within a couple of minutes. With a Philips Avent Comfort Single Electric Breast Pump, you can adjust the speed of the pump to match to your little one’s sucking motion.
- Once the milk is released and collected in the bottle, and the milk supply slows down, finish by hand expressing if using a manual breast pump. In case of an electric pump, turn off the machine.
- Once you’re done pumping, remove the breast shield and cover the bottle with its cap. Store the milk in the freezer.
- Dismantle the parts of the pump and wash them with soap and water, and sterilise them.
- Once clean, let them air-dry.
Note: Switch between breasts to make sure you express milk through both breasts. Don’t worry if one breast produces more milk than the other.
Initially, using a breast pump and expressing breast milk is going to be an overwhelming experience for you. But once you get the hang of it, you’re going to look back and wonder, why you didn’t consider using a breast pump earlier. Invest in a good pump, and it will work like magic. But if you’re unable to pump, speak to a lactation consultant or a doctor, she will guide you the best!