A breast pump is no longer a medical device reserved for the sick and infirm, it has become a staple on baby registries and a standard household item for many new mums. However, few mums understand the history of this powerful and controversial machine and how it came to be. This article will take a closer look at the evolution of the automatic breast pump and what it means for breastfeeding and women’s health.
Electric pumps work by using a motor to create suction on the nipple and mimic the rhythm of breastfeeding. They come in a variety of sizes, styles and price points. Some have a small, portable battery that can be used on the go while others are large and bulky and require an electrical outlet to plug into.
Some breast pumps have a small LCD screen that displays the speed and mode being used. They may also offer different massage settings and expression levels to optimise the experience for your comfort. Other features include a quiet, low-hum motor, a closed system that prevents bacteria buildup and multiple milk storage bags and flange sizes to maximise your collection capacity.
While a breast pump is a useful tool to help your body produce and store more breastmilk, it’s important not to overuse it. It is best to use it in the early stages of your feeds, as it’s a time when you will have a surplus of milk to feed your baby. Once your breasts start producing less and less, it’s a good idea to switch off the pump for a few hours to let your body rest and recover from the strain of constant pumping.
Hand expressing is a more natural way to express breastmilk. It’s easy to do on-the-go, doesn’t require any equipment and can be used for all stages of feeding. This is a great option for twins, second time mums, and those who have limited space at home to keep a pump set up.
The key to successful hand expressing is to keep your hands clean and to use a fast, circular motion that replicates the movement of a nursing infant. This will help you get a more effective and consistent flow of liquid gold.
If you are interested in hand expressing, it’s always best to practice before your due date so you can develop the proper technique and feel comfortable doing it on your own. You can also ask for help from a lactation specialist or nurse.
When using a manual or electronic pump, make sure all parts are clean and dry before each use. Check your user manual for specific cleaning instructions. Remember, that some pumps are dishwasher-friendly while others have removable parts that need to be washed and sanitised by hand.