Using a Breast Pump

Several different types of breast pumps are available:

  • Hospital grade electric pumps produce the closest imitation of both the pressure and rhythm of a baby's sucking action. They are the most appropriate choice when breastfeeding is going to be delayed for a considerable time (as with a premature baby) and the most convenient if you will be away from your baby for long periods on a regular basis (as when returning to work or school).
  • A double pump set-up permits pumping both breasts at once. The advantages are that it takes half the time to pump and can increase the level of prolactin, the hormone that tells your body to make milk. With a double pump, it usually takes 10 to 15 minutes to express your milk. If you do once side at a time, it will take 10 to 15 minutes per side. These pumps are expensive to purchase, but they are available for rent on a weekly, monthly, or longer basis. They usually can be rented from hospitals or medical supply companies. Check with our office for information on how you can obtain these pumps.
  • Small hand-held battery or electric pumps are used to collect milk from one side at a time. They vary in type and quality, from good to ineffective. Before purchasing one, talk to someone who has used a hand-held pump successfully or ask a certified lactation consultant or our office for advice on which type to choose. This kind of pump is probably most appropriate for a limitied amound of pumping, as when you collect for an occasional separation from your baby. With practice, expressing your milk should take no longer than about 30 minutes. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for using and cleaning the pump.
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