If you are a first time mom, there is the need for you to learn the rudiments of pumping breast milk. A lot of older moms who are expected to be well informed and experienced in this area are skeptical because of the fear of contamination and other related challenges. The act of pumping breast milk is not really a difficult one, but you have to apply some form of caution while doing it.
This is why a lot of mothers choose to avoid pumping completely, and just allow the baby to suck the milk directly from the breast. While safety is important, you shouldn’t be afraid to try pumping because it is a quick and convenient way to feed your baby breast milk.
Why Opt for Pumping Breast Milk?
Life is all about experience. The situation of A might be quite different from the situation of B. That is why you should not condemn/criticize anyone for her actions until you know the reason. The following are some obvious reasons why mothers opt in the use of breast pumps:
- Employment challenges: You need to work to maintain yourself, your home and your lovely baby. For this reason, mothers who go back to work early just do not have time to personally breastfeed their baby, so pumping is a great alternative for them. This is one of the most common reasons.
- Time to rest: You may want to rest some days and don’t feel like breastfeeding, so you can have a breast pump as a backup plan.
- Premature baby: You cannot avoid pumping your breast milk if your baby is premature, so a breast pump is a good idea to have just in case you have any difficulty breastfeeding.
- Ill health: Some babies have difficulty latching after birth; either as permanent or temporal health condition, so you’ll need to pump the breast milk. Also, when a mother is sick and under some medications, she has no other option than pumping the milk out.
- Increase milk production: Expressing your breast milk makes you lactate more. Therefore, if you’re having poor milk production, you may be advised to try pumping instead.
- Flat nipples: Some women’s nipples are naturally flat and babies can’t suck directly. In such situations, pumping will be the best alternative.
- Pain during breastfeeding: Sore nipples or pain while breastfeeding is another common reason why some mothers choose to pump. You would have to ensure though that you purchase a higher quality pump that will be easier on your breasts.
Expressing Milk With The Use of a Breast Pump
A lot of moms prefer the use of manual pumps over electric ones. With that said, these are the two different types of ways that mothers can express breast milk without breastfeeding directly. Whichever method you choose, you should understand that they both have their advantages and disadvantages.
However, using pumping machines or other devices other than hands give you faster and less stressful results. The price is obviously more for these electric pumps however. If you are afraid of using an electric pump, with time, you’ll get used to it. Furthermore, your choice of a milk expression method will depend on the quantity you want require at a time and the period of absence that you`ll have from the baby.
Using Manual Pumps
Remember, the health of your baby comes first. So, before you start the entire process ensure your hands are thoroughly washed with soap and running/clean water. Then, pat dry with a clean towel that has been set aside for that purpose. You are expected to clean the areola region too.
Massaging the breast to get it warm or by directly applying warm water or a towel over it before expressing the milk yields faster results. Don’t forget the place of gravity in the process of milk expression, so you should try sitting up and leaning forward. Place your index finger and thumb (about an inch) on the side of the breast behind the breast or areola region, giving a C shape with your hand.
While compressing the areola region, instead of the nipple, gently press fingers backwards in the direction of the wall of your chest. You must not apply force, but rather a gentle motion of rolling. As a beginner, you may squirt milk at first, but as you continue, you will discover the right spot where the milk will flow from. Gently rotate your fingers around the areola region, making it a top-to-bottom-to-side movement. Don’t be discouraged with the low quantity you may express initially. The quantity will improve and be augmented with regular practice. And lastly, don’t forget to make sure the bottles are clean and wide mouthed.
Using Electrical Pumps
If you are skeptical about electrical pumping devices, this might affect you psychologically and affect the milk letdown. What you have to do is relax as much as you can, and assume your baby is going to do the sucking directly.
Practice regular hygiene of washing the nipple and the entire areola region, wash your hands, and ensure the collection kit is clean and well sterilized to avoid any form of contamination. To start with, use the lowest suction of the electric pump and then increase as time progresses. Depending on the quantity needed, you can keep pumping until you feel both breast are flat or empty. Upon completion, clean the areola region again and viola, you’re done!
Some mothers do have complications using electric pumps, in which they either feel uncomfortable or just simply cannot express enough milk. If this happens to you, you should visit your hospital and meet with a lactation expert so that they can assist you and teach you how to properly pump.