I work for an online retailer that specialises in breast pumps and the guys at Lullaby Babies have invited me to share my expertise on this blog.
Breast pumps can prove to be an essential item for a breastfeeding mother to provide enough milk for the baby. Many women complain about the use of breast pumps but the fact is that as long as you buy a good quality breast pump that suits your needs and you know exactly how to use and clean it, then you will have no problems. Since a breast pump is a machine and is not designed to be as flexible as your baby, you will have to work with patience with your personal pump to express sufficient milk. Mothers usually need a breast pump when they are returning to work or when they have to be away from the baby. A breast pump also helps mothers to maintain and increase a healthy milk supply and it is best to pump milk often and usually during your normal nursing hours.
To use a manual or electric breast pump efficiently, firstly make sure everything is clean and hygienic, wash your hands thoroughly and go through the instruction manual of your pump to know every detail about it, so that you can set it up and use it correctly. Every breast pump requires you to achieve a let-down; with some breast pumps there are massagers in the flanges that massage your breasts and nipple. Otherwise, massage and gently rub your nipples until you relax completely. After you have achieved a let-down, the milk will flow freely. You can choose either between an electric breast pump or a manual breast pump. Manual pumps require a little more time and effort and are not meant to be used frequently. Spend around 15 to 20 minutes per breast or 5 minutes for each breast till they are drained. Use short squeezes to get a let-down with a manual pump and afterwards use long squeezes for an effective, less tiring job. Electric pumps, on the other hand, are best if you will be expressing milk frequently, for example, during work hours. Different types of breast pumps can be found and ordered online at trusted breastpumps.
After each use, you have to completely disassemble the pump parts and wash each of them separately in hot, soapy water and dry them after rinsing them properly. Try to clean your breast pump right after use so that bacteria are not allowed to grow in it. If you cannot do that immediately, then soak the pump in warm soapy water until you can get back to it. Also read your pumps’ instruction manual about the proper way to clean your particular pump. Some pieces of you pump may require mild cleansing while some may require regular sterilization. Remember that not all parts of the pump can be submerged in water, electrical parts like the motor, batteries etc. should never be cleaned with water but can be cleaned with a clean, dry cloth. Some pump parts are also dishwasher friendly but check that with your instruction manual before putting them in the dishwasher.
Clean all parts of the pump thoroughly that come in contact with your breast milk, no milk should be left behind as this curdle combines with fresh milk and can be harmful for the health of your baby. There are a few of ways to sterilize pump parts; with the electric sterilizer method you need special bags, a container designed to sterilize parts in the microwave or an electric counter top sterilizer. These use water to steam the parts of the pump and use it for nipples and baby bottles as well. To sterilize in a dishwasher, first determine which parts of the pump are dishwasher safe. Then rinse excess milk from the parts and place them in the top tray of the washer, set the washer on hot cycle to ensure enough heat for sterilization. You can also sterilize pump parts in a large pot after washing the parts with warm, soapy water. Boil these parts in water for 10 to 15 minutes to sterilize them.
Once you have cleaned your breast pump, don’t dry it with a cloth or towel because they can contain germs and bacteria which will contaminate the pump parts. Leave the parts to dry and when they are completely dried, they can be reassembled for use or stored for future use.