The Wonders of Breast Pumping

Expressing breastmilk with a pump is becoming more and more popular among new parents.

But which breast pump should you choose?

There are a few different types of breast pumps on the market. Let’s take a look at the difference between them.

Hand held pumps (electric or manual) should be used for occasional pumping. So for instance, you’re away for the night or you just need a few hours to get some bits done, so someone else watches your baby. If you’re away over a feed then it’s useful to have a hand held pump with you and express a little to ease the pressure of any build up in your breasts. A handheld pump is unlikely to produce large quantities of milk that would be enough for your baby, so if you want more then you should try a hospital grade pump.

Hospital grades pumps are the pumps for you if you want to collect larger quantities and store milk in the fridge or freezer. These can be hired on a monthly basis. They come with everything you need, including the pump itself, bottles and shields. Most hospital grade pumps plug into the wall. I’d suggest cutting two holes in an old bra and attaching the shields so you can go hands free. If you want to get your milk flowing then we need oxytocin levels to be high - to do this make sure you’re comfortable, aren’t interrupted and you could even look at photos of your baby or have an item of their clothing close by.

Any milk you express can be stored in the fridge or freezer to use another time!

So, when can you start pumping breastmilk?

Women typically start expressing milk when still pregnant - this is called colostrum harvesting. They express the milk by hand to freeze, and then give it to their baby if for any reason they can’t feed at birth.

But can you use a pump to express colostrum when pregnant rather than hand expressing?

In short, no - there’s no point! Colostrum is produced in such small quantities that if you use a breast pump the small drops would just be lost around the shield of the pump.

Instead, hand express a little and then collect into a syringe - yes, that really is all that comes out at first!

You can start using a pump when your full mature milk comes in at around day 5. If you want to pump on a regular basis, then I’d suggest using a hospital grade pump. If you want to express a little at a time, then a handheld pump would be best.

However you choose to feed your baby, knowing your options and understanding your body is the best place to start. The ‘Prepare my mind’ section of the butterbean platform is your companion into all of this! Be sure to check it out.

mother breastfeeding her baby and using a handheld pump to express breastmilk

The Wonders of Breast Pumping

mother breastfeeding her baby and using a handheld pump to express breastmilk

Expressing breastmilk with a pump is becoming more and more popular among new parents.

But which breast pump should you choose?

There are a few different types of breast pumps on the market. Let’s take a look at the difference between them.

Hand held pumps (electric or manual) should be used for occasional pumping. So for instance, you’re away for the night or you just need a few hours to get some bits done, so someone else watches your baby. If you’re away over a feed then it’s useful to have a hand held pump with you and express a little to ease the pressure of any build up in your breasts. A handheld pump is unlikely to produce large quantities of milk that would be enough for your baby, so if you want more then you should try a hospital grade pump.

Hospital grades pumps are the pumps for you if you want to collect larger quantities and store milk in the fridge or freezer. These can be hired on a monthly basis. They come with everything you need, including the pump itself, bottles and shields. Most hospital grade pumps plug into the wall. I’d suggest cutting two holes in an old bra and attaching the shields so you can go hands free. If you want to get your milk flowing then we need oxytocin levels to be high - to do this make sure you’re comfortable, aren’t interrupted and you could even look at photos of your baby or have an item of their clothing close by.

Any milk you express can be stored in the fridge or freezer to use another time!

So, when can you start pumping breastmilk?

Women typically start expressing milk when still pregnant - this is called colostrum harvesting. They express the milk by hand to freeze, and then give it to their baby if for any reason they can’t feed at birth.

But can you use a pump to express colostrum when pregnant rather than hand expressing?

In short, no - there’s no point! Colostrum is produced in such small quantities that if you use a breast pump the small drops would just be lost around the shield of the pump.

Instead, hand express a little and then collect into a syringe - yes, that really is all that comes out at first!

You can start using a pump when your full mature milk comes in at around day 5. If you want to pump on a regular basis, then I’d suggest using a hospital grade pump. If you want to express a little at a time, then a handheld pump would be best.

However you choose to feed your baby, knowing your options and understanding your body is the best place to start. The ‘Prepare my mind’ section of the butterbean platform is your companion into all of this! Be sure to check it out.