Breast Pumps

Frequently Asked Questions

Breast pumps are medical devices frequently used by breastfeeding women to extract (or express) their breast milk

Tips for Using a Breast Pump

  • Wash your hands.
  • Find a place with some privacy.
  • Center your nipple in the breast shield.
  • Start on the lowest pressure and increase to your own comfort level. Low pressure may work as well as higher pressures.
  • Double pump to save time. Single pump if you need to massage your breasts.
  • Pump 10-15 minutes (pump for a few minutes after milk flow stops).
  • Pump every 2-3 hours while away from your baby, including travel time. Milk supply depends on regular and effective removal of milk from your breasts.
  • Take good care of yourself. Rest and good nutrition are always important.
  • Remember: Frequent breastfeeding is the most important thing you can do to protect your breastmilk supply when with your baby. Frequent pumping when separated from your baby is equally important
  • A hospital grade pump (Symphony®, ClassicTM, and Lactina®) with double pumping kit to stimulate supply is important when:
                          -Your milk supply is low
                          -Your baby is not latching well
                          -Your baby cannot breastfeed

Frequently Asked Questions

What time of day is best to learn to pump?

  • Pick a time of day that works for you and your baby, when you are both well rested.
  • Mornings are often a good time to pump. Pump after the first morning feeding, or pump on one side after the baby has breastfed on the other. 

I can get more milk from one breast when pumping than the other.  Is this a problem?

  • Many mothers find that one breast produces more milk.
  • Check with your doctor if you are concerned. You can try feeding more often from the breast that produces less, or pumping that side more often when away from your baby.
  • If you are not able to pump enough milk for your baby, check with a professional lactation consultant or doctor. 

What is the usual amount of milk a mother can expect to get while pumping?

  • For a missed feeding, babies between 1-6 months will need 3-5 oz of milk (90-150 ml). Babies may need more at some feedings than others.
  • It may take a few pumping sessions to gather this amount at first. Getting 1-2 ounces (30-60 mls) of milk to start with is good.
  • Each mother is unique in the amounts she can pump. Amounts of pumped milk often increase with practice.

Breastfeeding is going well, and I’m returning to work soon and want to introduce a bottle.  When should I begin pumping to store milk for my first few days at work?

  • If you choose to use a bottle, the best time to begin pumping for storage or to begin offering a bottle of expressed milk is around four weeks after birth, when breastfeeding is well established.

Do you have any tips to help with milk ejection reflex (let-down)?

  • Express milk in a comfortable warm place.
  • Minimize interruptions (hang a "do not disturb" sign).
  • Massage your breast and nipples before pumping.
  • Relax for a minute or two, and then begin pumping.
  • Think about your baby.
  • If the milk flow slows, massage breasts for a few minutes in between, and continue to pump until a few minutes past the time the flow stops.

Is it ok to use someone else's single user breast pump? My friend is willing to lend her pump to me, and I can get all new plastic parts. Is this safe?

  • It is NOT safe to use someone else's single user breast pump even with new parts.

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