I like to provide information and part of that is acknowledging when there is simply no way I can possibly provide that type of information.  Pumping is one of those areas.  My daughter has never had expressed breastmilk because I have been fortunate enough to have no issues with breastfeeding and no work commitments that keep me away from her for extended periods of time.  I tried pumping once because I wanted to donate, but it was an unmitigated disaster.  But pumping is a reality for many women and they need to have access to the best information to help them in this journey.  In this vein, I present an article from someone far more knowledgeable than I when it comes to pumping.  Tanya Allsop runs The Breast Pump Review Site which provides reviews and tons of information about anything and everything you need to know about pumping.  She has kindly written a brief introductory piece outlining some of the things you will want to consider if you are looking into pumping.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to post them here and I can pass them on, or email her directly from her site.  I, I will admit, will be useless to you!

By Tanya Allsop

Whilst it’s commonly known and accepted that feeding baby directly from the breast is the best possible option when it comes to feeding your infant, it’s not always possible to direct breastfeed exclusively. There are many reasons why a mother may elect to express milk, from latching issues, to the use of potentially harmful medications, to simply needing to be away from bub for periods of time due to work or other commitments.  When these situations arise, a good breast pump can be the best way to ensure your baby is well fed, and cared for. With this in mind, it’s important to know what to look for, and what your options are when it comes to choosing the right breast pump for your situation.

The Manual Breast Pump

The manual breast pump is powered by you, usually via some sort of trigger. The trigger works with the rest of the pump to create the suction that pulls out the breast milk. As you squeeze, the suction increases and as you release, the suction decreases. The only real disadvantage to these pumps is that they require more work since you are doing all of the pumping.

There are plenty of advantages to a manual breast pump that you may not realize. For example, you can tailor the suction to exactly as hard or soft as you may need it to be. Since you control the trigger, you also control the suction.  Some manual breast pumps also come apart altogether which makes them very easy to clean and sterilize between uses. From a practical standpoint, you would need to think about how often you want to pump to help you decide what kind of breast pump you think you will need.

The Electric Breast Pump

This type of breast pump is the one often touted by pumping mothers and lactation consultants as being a great choice for mothers that need or choose to pump frequently. The electric pump works by holding the shield up to the breast and letting the pump do its thing. The suction can sometimes be adjusted depending on what type of electric pump you get. Some simply have high and low settings while others have dials that make the pumping fully adjustable.

Certain electric pumps have milk bottles that act as the reservoir for the milk that is pumped while others have bags to catch the milk. Bags are great for freezing the milk to be used later or kept in reserve. Breast milk that is frozen can be kept frozen for up to 3 months which means that you can build up quite a reserve. Here’s a hint for you when you use bags to store milk: Lay them flat on the bottom of the freezer until they freeze. Once they are frozen, they are much easier to store this way.

The Single Breast Pump

There are two different models of electric breast pumps with the first being the single pump. The single pump has only one breast shield with a single pump that actually takes care of the suction. This breast pump has a single reservoir that can receive the milk.

Advantages of this pump include that they are small to carry and transport and easy to work with as it only expresses the milk out of one breast at a time. One of the major disadvantages of this type of pump is that while you express milk from one breast, you will likely leak out of the other breast.  It is a normal reaction when you let down your milk and if you don’t know how to deal with it ahead of time, you won’t be able to save that milk for baby.

A good way to save the milk that leaks out is to get a breast shield that can be worn under a bra while you are pumping the first breast. The shield can catch the milk and then you can pour it into the reservoir. Of course, make sure that your breast shield is clean and sterilized before doing this to ensure that the milk does not get contaminated.

The Dual Breast Pump

Ah, yes, the dual breast pump. This particular breast pump is the one used by the majority of mothers that have to work full time and pump at work on breaks. Advantages include being able to pump from both sides at the same time and being able to pump quickly.

The way this particular pump would work would be to hold a breast shield in each hand and pump each breast simultaneously. This can be fairly easy for some women while others who are more well-endowed may have difficulty holding the shields in the right place.

Disadvantages of this pump include difficulty adjusting settings while pumping, meaning that if the suction were too much, you would have to stop pumping, adjust, and then start pumping again. This can be inconvenient if your milk has already achieved let down causing both breasts to leak.

Summary

Each breast pump has its own perks, but ultimately, you will need to decide what you want out of a pump to find the best one for you. Breastfeeding is always the best option, but a good breast pump can ensure that your baby gets the best possible care, when feeding directly from the breast isn’t possible.

For more information visit BreastPumpReviewSite.com where you’ll find some great, in-depth Breast Pump Reviews, Buying Guides, Tips and a wealth of breastfeeding, and breast pump related information. Including how to select the right breast pump for your needs, the difference between each type of pump, and how to save money buying them online.