I chat to a lot of mums about pumping, how to decide to start pumping, why to pump and which pump to pick. Before you even begin to choose a pump first try and answer these questions below;
- Are you going to be away from your baby during the first 6 months for more than 1 day and 1 night?
- Do you want your partner to feed your baby with expressed breast milk to give you breaks during the day or at weekends?
- Do you want to exclusively pump and not feed at the breast?
- Do you want to have some milk as a back up, but not have to pump every day?
So I will start with the easiest question, if you are exclusively pumping then you need to get a hospital grade pump like a Spectra that will last and can be used to pump every 2-3 hours. Before you commit to exclusively pumping, do some research, speak to a lactation consultant and try and find some mums who have done it before so you can get a full view of what it entails. I pumped regularly with Isobel for the first few weeks and I found it extremely tough to manage, so just be aware it might not be the easiest option to feed your baby.
Collecting let down milk:
I think it is always handy to have some breast milk in storage and it can be frozen for up to 6 months in a deep freezer. Follow HSE guidelines for storing breast milk.
If you do want to have some milk in case you are away from your baby for any length, then collecting your let down milk or manual pumping milk can be an efficient way to build up a small supply of milk.
Milk collection cups can fit on your breast whilst your feeding from the other and catch any let down milk, that would otherwise leak into your nursing bra or breast pad.
A manual pump can collect your let down milk, but it also allows you to manual pump by using suction in the pump to pump some milk. This is a gentle and non-evasive way of pumping and you also don't need to be plugged in to do it.
Build a stock of milk:
If you want to build up a stock of milk for either your partner to help at weekends or if you have a short maternity leave then it might be worth investing in a good electrical pump. Electric pump's try and mimic your natural let down and have several different settings to speed up or slow down the pumping output. I used the Medela Solo Pump as it can be charged up and then work for several hours after without being plugged in. You may also need to think about different flange sizes as the ones that come with the pump may not fit your breast. If the pump is anyway tight around your breast, causing pain, or nipple bleeding then you will need to adjust the flange size.
If you have any other questions about pumping, just pop me a message.