PUMPING.... This crazy concept where a machine pulls breastmilk out of you---
How does this machine even work? How does it collect my milk? How do I keep it clean? There are so many types-- which one do I choose? Do I even NEED one?
Does this sound like YOU?
If it does--you aren't alone! In fact, this is probably the same reaction that every new mom has when thinking about breastfeeding and pumping for the first
There are quite a few models and it can becoming very confusing and frankly-- SCARY --- so lets break it down for you:
Hospital Grade Pumps:
These are typically meant for multiple users HOWEVER each user has their own accessory kit to be cleaned. It prevents contamination from other users and you are only responsible to clean your own set of equipment.
This may be helpful in a setting where multiple women may be using the same pump (such as a hospital). They are larger and inconvenient to move around. BUT--they are also the strongest and most durable which is why some women prefer them---especially if they feel their milk supply is running low or they are solely pumping and not breastfeeding-- as in the case of a NICU baby.
Personal or Single Use Pumps:
These are typically meant for one person because all parts are used. They are typically better for bringing around with you but require all parts to be cleaned. They are not as strong as the hospital grade pumps but work well for already breastfeeding babies and supplementing such as when mom is at work.
Hand Pumps or Manual Pumps:
These are the smallest--- mainly because they do not require all the machinery, you are the manual work. You use the lever yourself to pump the breastmilk into a container and that is about it. Some moms really like this method ---others do not want to deal with having to make sure the suction and pressure is just right.
Mechanical pumps will typically have a suction that is around that of an infant. With a manual pump, there may be some user error which may harm a mom if she isn't careful.
This way requires the LEAST amount of equipment. All you need is a bowl or other container--- and YOU! This methods requires the most amount of work in the actual pumping process but is actually the most sanitary method as long as your hands and bowl is clean.
It does not require extra cleaning and confusing parts. Once you get the rhythm down, many women actually prefer it!
If you want to learn more about this method, Cassie or Mikayla would be happy to coach you through a 'How to Hand Express' --- and you will be a PRO in no time at all!
So how do you use a pump?
This will depend on what you have selected from above. You should always follow the directions from the manufacturer for both assembly and cleaning, but here are a few guidelines to make sure that you are keeping your equipment sanitary and safe.
Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for about how long it take you to sing "Happy Birthday". Before you assemble, make sure the kit or tubing is clean and does not have any dirt or mold on it. If it does, discard that piece. You should always have spare tubing in case of this happenign. If you are using a shared pump--its always a good idea to disinfect that as well.
Make sure you are storing your milk safely! Give it a date and time collected and either store it in the refrigerator or the freezer to defrost later. DO NOT KEEP AT ROOM TEMPERATURE! Your milk is like food, it will be exposed to food born diseases if left out.
Make sure you always clean both the pump and pumping area thoroughly.
Take apart your pump to its full extent for optimum cleaning. Rinse all parts and as soon as possible clean either by hand in a wash basin (not the sink) with soap and hot water. Scrub, rinse, and air dry well before putting away. Do not use a dish towel to rub or pat items dry because doing so may transfer germs to the items. You can also use a dishwasher on high heat settings to sanitize and again let them air dry.
Wash your hands again before reassembling and storing equipment.
To make sure that your pump is extra clean, it is recommended to sanitize once daily, especially if your baby is less than 3 months old. Young infants are more susceptible to disease because their immune system is not yet fully formed.
Side note: 'If your tubing is damaged, dirty or it has mold -- always discard. If your tubing has water droplets in it at the end of a pumping session, disconnect the tubing from the flange/pump kit, but leave it attached to the pump. Run the pump for a few more minutes until the tubing is dry. If your tubing has milk or mold in it, throw it away immediately because it is difficult to clean properly. Replace it with a new set of tubing, and check to see if the problem happened because the valves or membranes need to be replaced. If the outside of your tubing is soiled, wipe it with a damp cloth or disinfectant wipe.'
Breastfeeding can be confusing, and adding pumping can be just plain madness! If you are feeling overwhelmed by the information and want someone to help you figure out what is the best choice for you, Mamas Maternal Health would be a great fit! Click on the link here to join us today!
Until next time!
Mikayla and Cassie
Mamas Maternal Health Registered Dietitians/Lactation Counselors
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