All About Breast Pumping Tips
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Using a breast pump can be a challenge if you've never used one before. But a few pointers can make it easier for you and your baby. Check out our video to learn all about breast pumping tips.
Transcript: If you're among the 70% of women in the United States who give breastfeeding a try, you'll probably need...
If you're among the 70% of women in the United States who give breastfeeding a try, you'll probably need to pump your breast milk at some point. Breast pumps are electric or manual devices that express breast milk, allowing you to save it for later use. The most common reason to pump is to ensure your baby has breast milk when the two of you are apart. Pumping also allows your partner or another helper to feed your baby from a bottle, allowing you to get more uninterrupted sleep, or to perhaps take a break from baby care. Letting your partner share in the feedings can also be a good bonding experience with baby. Women going back to work pump in order to maintain their breast milk supply and to prep food for baby while they are away from home. Pumping can ALSO stimulate your milk production and allow you to nurse for longer. That's because breast milk works on a supply and demand basis: the more you express, the more you will make. And pumping allows you to build up a reserve of milk, which can come in handy if you need to be away from your baby unexpectedly. After you express your milk, store it in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours, or in the freezer for about three months. It's best to put breast milk in plastic or glass feeding bottles that have secure caps to seal in freshness. You can also use plastic bags made especially for storing breast milk or even disposable baby bottle liners, though they both may break more easily because the plastic is thin. Remember to write the date on the bottle or bag BEFORE putting it in the refrigerator or freezer so you'll know WHEN you pumped it. Breast milk may look different than you think when you store it: it's normal for the fat to separate and float to the top, and sometimes, the milk has a bluish hue. Please note though, that the process of freezing destroys SOME of the antibodies in the milk, so don't freeze unless necessary. HOWEVER, frozen breast milk is STILL healthier and offers more protection from disease than formula does. To thaw frozen milk, place the bottle or bag in a bowl of warm water and run it under warm tap water, or defrost it in the refrigerator overnight. NEVER use the microwave for defrosting or warming because it KILLS the nutrients in breast milk, and also heats unevenly, creating "hot spots" that can burn your baby's mouth. And most health professionals recommend throwing out any milk that's left in your baby's bottle after a feeding, as bacteria from the bay's mouth can get in, potentially causing an infection. If you are the mother of a baby who has trouble latching, you may also pump so that she can still consume breast milk. You might also use a breast pump to stimulate your milk production and increase your supply, to collect milk to feed a premature baby or one who can't latch on to your breast, or to relieve the pain and pressure of engorged breasts. To find the best type of breast pump for you, look at your budget and at how often you plan to be expressing your milk. The most efficient pumps are electric. These models are fully automatic, and can usually pump your breasts very quickly, and at the same time. Electric breast pumps range in price from about $200 to $350, and most pumps come with a one-year warranty. Some newer models are designed to mimic a baby's sucking patterns: they start with short, quick sucks to elicit the letdown response and then move into a slower, deeper sucking pattern. This feature can make pumping more comfortable, but it doesn't necessarily mean you'll produce more milk. Battery operated breast pumps are less expensive, ranging from about $50 to $150. But they can usually only pump one breast at a time, and are much slower. Finally, manual pumps allow you to express your breast milk by pumping a piston or pulling a lever. Ranging in price from about $30 to $60, these models are the cheapest but they are extremely labor intensive, and may not work as well. A note of caution: stay away from the models that look like bicycle horns, as the rubber balls can harbor harmful bacteria. To use any type of pump, start by putting a breast cup or shield over your nipple. Nipple shields come in many variations, so make sure you're using one that's built for your nipple size. To use an electric pump, turn the machine on and let it do the work of emptying your breasts into a storage container. An electric pump will let you adjust the suction settings to a level and speed that's comfortable for you. A manual model of course, will require that you do the pumping work. It's important to note that a good breast pump mimics the sucking action of a baby and WON'T cause you pain, but it is not super comfortable, either. And you might want to consider buying a pumping bra so you don't have to hold the cups on your breasts, which makes things much easier! Remember that pumping may feel a bit odd at first, and may hurt a little, but it should not last beyond the first few moments.. If you're experiencing pain, or are having trouble expressing your milk, talk to your doctor or lactation consultant about measures to help.More »
Last Modified: 2013-03-29 | Tags »
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