Breastfeeding Answers
How do I use a breast pump?
Like breastfeeding, pumping is a learned skill. Most Preparing the breast pump
mothers are able to express only a few drops of milk  Read the instruction sheet in the kit when they first try a breast pump. With practice and knowledge of how the breast works, the mother will  All parts of the pump need to be sterilized  After each use, all parts of the pump need No matter what method of pumping is used, the to be washed in warm, soapy water, rinsed success of pumping depends on the body’s ability to “let-down” to the pump. Some times if mother don’t towel. Plastic tubing does not need to be see milk immediately after beginning pumping, they cleaned unless milk gets into it. If washed, start to pump harder or increase the suction with the it should be hung to allow it to drain and mistaken idea that more pressure will “pull” the milk out. Doing this can cause discomfort and  If your doctor feel it’s necessary, the entire anxiety and actually discourage the let-down kit can be sterilized daily according to the response. Understanding how the let-down works instructions included with the pump.
 When beginning with a full service electric The let-down reflex releases milk from the back of the breast into the ducts to make it available to baby or the pump. As the nerves in the nipple and aerola gradually increased to what is comfortable are stimulated by baby’s sucking or the action of the pump, the pituitary gland receives a signal to release prolaction and oxytocin into mother’s blood stream. Getting started
Prolactin relaxes the mother and stimulates the  Warm compresses, gentle breast massage alveoli to produce more milk. Oxytocin causes the alveoli to contract and squeezes milk into the ducts.
 Relax while doing breast massage and during pumping. Some mothers close their eyes and think about nursing the baby, imagining the baby in their arms. Many mothers use a picture of their baby to focus their thoughts. The more relaxed a mother is, the better let-down she will have and the more milk will be expressed.
 The first attempts at pumping should be considered practice sessions with learningto use the pump as a goal, not how much milk is expressed. In these early sessions, it is normal to get a very small quantity of milk, especially if you are learning with a hand, battery or small electric pump. Pumps that allow you to nurse on one side while pumping have the advantage of using the body’s natural response to let down the milk for the baby.
 When using a hand pump, short pluses at alternating breasts several times during stimulating and imitates more closely the result in a higher volume of milk. Double pumping can save time and may result in a freely, long, steadier strokes are effective  Drinking enough fluid and getting  When learning to pump, practice for 5 adequate rest are important. Getting into minutes on a side once or twice a day. Pick the habit of having something to drink each the least stressful part of your day for time a mother sits down to pump is a good pumping. A good time for many mothers is intake. It is best to limit daily intake of caffeine containing drinks since excessive caffeine can cause some babies to be wakeful.
Helpful hints
 A young breastfed baby usually needs to  Many pumps provide inserts that fit into nurse every 2-3 hours. It is best to pump on the shield portion of the breast pump or are stimulated, the more milk is produces. mother to choose a size of breast shield that feels more comfortable for her. Some experts recommend using both sizes during pumping (5 minutes on both sides with Relaxing and realizing that the pump is a friend is smaller insert; five minutes with larger the most important thing the mother can do. There shield; continue switching until milk is are many things mothers can do to help themselves expressed). Doing this stimulates different relax such as: putting a picture of baby on the pump; play cards or a game with her mate or friend; watch television; read a book; talk on the phone. Watching  The length of time spent pumping varies the milk collection bottle is not helpful.
with each woman and with each day. Expect to spend about as much time Easing the transition to the breast for the sick
pumping as your baby does nursing. Using a double pumping system can cut this time  Mother and baby need lots of time together  Frequency of pumping depends on the breastfeeding at all, pump 6-8 times a day.  Expectations need to be realistic. Baby will If the baby is nursing, it may be necessary start nursing gradually and gain skill with  If baby was pre mature or low birth weight, he will become more interested in sucking necessary. In any circumstances, becoming as he gets closer to the originally expected  If large amounts of milk are not expressed  Each baby takes to the breast at his own breastfeeding. No pump expresses milk as whom the pump is rented may be able to help, or can refer the mother to a breastfeeding counselor.
For more than 50 years, our breast pumps have helped mothers give babies the very best – their milk.
For more information, or to find the Ameda breast pump rental 1800 227 464
Written by: Judy Minami, MS, CLE. Series Editor: Julie Stock, BA, IBCLC 2005 Advantage Health Care Pt Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


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