Pumping Your Breast Milk

The pumping and storing of breast milk is a vast topic and leaves the nursing mom with many decisions to be made. Inform yourself on the low down of pumping and storing breast milk so you can make better decisions.

Pumping Breast Milk
Your choice to pump milk can be a very serious decision and can be driven by a need to spend more than two hours away from your baby. If you enter the workplace, for example, you may have to pump milk for your baby at home.

Many women prefer to pump their breast milk rather than formula feed their baby. There are many reasons for this choice. Compared to formula, breast milk has hundreds more nutrients and is cheaper (free in fact!). And since it's so healthy for your baby, it may save you big bucks in future health-care bills. Experts agree that feeding your baby exclusively on breast milk for the first six months of life offers immeasurable benefits to your child.

One disadvantage of pumping breast milk is nipple confusion. Once your baby drinks from a bottle, he may begin to prefer the bottle's nipple, as they're designed to maximize a proper latch-on, which means more milk for him. If he's picky about it, he could even refuse to take your breast after attaching himself to the bottle. Therefore, be sure that your lifestyle necessitates pumping milk.

Once you've decided to pump your milk, you need to decide how to you want to pump it.

Tips On Buying a Pump
There are certain features that will help make milk expression more comfortable and efficient. Note that the more features a pump has, the more likely the price is going to rise.

Adjustability. The vacuum that latches onto your areola should be adjustable. Each woman has a different level of comfort with these vacuums, so make sure you can choose your individual level.

Double capacity. Some pumps will only express one breast at a time; this means to milk your two breasts will take about 30 minutes. Having a double capacity pump means that you spend only 12 minutes pumping your milk. That leaves 18 invaluable minutes in your hectic schedule to do whatever you want! Interestingly, a double capacity breast pump tricks your body into thinking you have twins, and could mean you'll have more milk.

Efficiency. Double capacity and efficiency go hand in hand! With an efficient pump, you'll get more cycles per minute. An efficient pump will cut down your pumping time.

Convenience. Last but not least, make sure it's an all around good fit. Your breast pump should be compact, quiet, easy to clean, lightweight, and only need one hand to operate. Alternatively, you can buy a pedal pump, which will let you keep your hands free while you pump. If your pump meets all of these requirements, you have an excellent model on your hands.

Pump Options
You can choose between a manual or an electric breast pump. Don't forget you can also express your milk with your hands.

Manual pumps are more affordable than their mechanical counterparts. You work a manual pump by squeezing a lever or pumping a piston. They are slower than electric pumps and some women find them uncomfortable. However, improvements are always being made and pumps, like the Harmony Breast Pump, have been designed for easy AND comfortable use.

Inexpensive electric pumps are usually not the best deal. You can get one for $30 to $80, but you may pay in other ways. Pumping will take longer and may be more painful. You'll probably only get a single capacity pump that has a long cycle time with suction that doesn't adjust. If you're not going to use a breast pump for very long, the inexpensive electric pump may be a good choice for you.

Midrange electric models are a pretty good deal. They range between $75 to $150 and come with many features. You should be able to get adjustable suction, double pumping action and midrange cycle rates.

High-grade electric pumps come with all the features mentioned above and range from $200 to $800. You can also charge them through your car lighter. If you're banking on pumping milk for a long time, and with many babies to come, you may want to invest. If you work or travel a lot, you might want to look for one that comes with a convenient carrying case so that it is easy to transport your equipment. Alternately, you can look into renting options available for many hospital grade pumps.

Renting a Pump
You can rent a hospital grade pump that would otherwise cost $1,500 for only $1-$3 a day. Hospitals usually carry top of the line pump manufacturers, like Medela. The only disadvantage to the many benefits of renting a pump is that these top-grade hospital pumps are usually quite heavy. This means it could be inconvenient to take places and you may have a hard time finding a place to store these pumps. However some, like those made by Lactina, come with a carrying case which make it much easier to both transport and store the breastpump equipment.

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I haven't had any luck with breastfeeding my son. My nipples are too flat and he cannot latch on..therefor I have been exclusively pumping. It doesn't seem like I'm getting enough milk per sitting to fulfill his needs so I have been substituting with formula. Does anyone recommend a specific brand of formula? And what about great milk producing foods? I really don't want to dry up quickly considering my son is only 3 weeks old..
12 years ago