Having and using a breast pump can be intimidating and overwhelming. This is especially the feeling if it is your first baby and frankly handling your breasts in this way can just be plain weird!
Experts advise that you should not use a pump in the first weeks as this can mess with the establishment of your supply, but some moms have no choice and do just fine.
I would like to share tips from my experience with breast pumps over the course of 3 babies. My first breast pump I bought without doing any research, it was on sale and the last one on the shelf too. Really not something I recommend, at all, but it did it’s job for a little manual pump.
With my 2nd I used a single electric for almost 8 months of expressing then feeding the breastmilk via bottle. If I had the funds I would have definitely bought a double electric. For my 3rd I was very lucky and only needed the single hand pump a handful of times.
Do your research on the best breast pump based on how often you plan to use them.
It can be a bit overwhelming when first considering buying a breast pump, the main things to consider when purchasing is how often you will be using it.
For an occasional pump, say once a week or when going out, or if baby misses a feed and you feel full, a Hand Pump
My first breast pump was a hand held which I tried to use a few times a day. My hand soon cramped with the manual motion.
For a 3 times or more a week pumping, most certainly an electric pump. It is also at this time frame that you can look into buying a double electric pump.
Tips and tricks of the breast pumping trade – how to use a breast pump.
Manufactures will provide a manual for the pump you buy, it is always good to actually read these! My 3rd breast pump known as one of the best manual pumps on the market had a nifty trick to it which I would not have known had I not read the manual.
Things to avoid when pumping is getting milk into the air tube that leads directly to the motor. Sounds simple, but it does happen. I have had this happen to me when the value so not fitted correctly or turned the wrong way or simple because the bottle which the milk was being pumped into was full!
Try to get your breasts as empty as you can. This includes massaging of the breast and breast compressions in tune with the pumping motion of the pump. I feel it is important to mention this as a preventative to blocked ducts and even mastitis. If you do get a blocked duct or mastitis warnings try cabbage leaves in your bra, this works well over a 24 hour period for me.
When pumping it is advised, as with breastfeeding, to have a glass of water where you are, most woman get thirsty. A visualization, picture or memory of baby or actual baby can often stimulate a let down and get the milk flow going.
Try different speeds on with your breast pump. For me starting out slower then increasing to high on a let down would get the most milk out.
Breast milk storage tips
Never shake stored breast milk. Always gently swirl it. It does separate with the fattier parts rising to the top, this is natural and does not mean it is off or bad.
I love the Kelly Mom site for all things breastfeeding, please read the post on What to Expect When Pumping, it is brilliant.
If you do decide to breastfeed as well, take a look at my 10+ Tips on breastfeeding and if you are anything like me and my search for the perfect nursing bra, check out my review for this awesome nursing bra range.