If you’re going back to work and plan on breastfeeding, a good pump is essential. While there are a lot of pumps out there, our hospital’s lactation consultant recommended the Medela Pump in Style (and no one paid me to say that!) After getting mine out of the box and sanitizing everything, it took me a little bit of time to figure how to use the darn thing. Here’s a quick, no nonsense guide to using an electric breast pump.
This is the Medela backpack. Ask your local lactation consultant if they know of any free or cheap pumps. I bought mine at cost ($200) at a local breastfeeding shop. Just recently, our local health department was giving them away! So, don’t be afraid to shop around for the best price.
To use your breast pump, follow these directions:
Hook up the membranes and valves.
Attach these to the connectors.
The connectors screw onto bottles.
The shields fit into the connectors.
You hook that up to the tubes, which hook up to the pump, and you’re all set!
Most of the time, you’ll be double pumping (both sides).
Turn the dial to where you are comfortable. Make sure that your nipples are centered in the shields and aren’t rubbing on the sides of the tubes. If your milk lets down (starts flowing) while the pump is still doing those little sucks, you can press the yellow button to start the actual pumping. You can speed up let down by doing breast massage or compressions. Toss your membranes (the little white parts) and get out new ones every 1-3 months, depending on how much you use your pump.
Tips and Tricks
♦ After you are finished pumping, check the tubes. If there is any condensation in them, let the pump run until it’s dry. If you don’t do this, your tubes can mold. It happened to me, and is seriously gross!
♦ If the pumping is super uncomfortable, you may need to buy different sized shields.
♦ If you’re pumping in the car with a car adaptor, it works best if you have the engine running.
♦ The pump comes with a battery pack power source that I have with me all the time. It’s nice to have as a back-up.
♦ I also keep a cloth diaper, ziplock bad, extra bottles, nursing bra, and a nursing cover in my backpack. I carry a separate cooler, so that I can store my parts and milk while on the go.
At first, using a pump was really uncomfortable for me. I totally felt like a cow. Over time, I haven’t necessarily grown to like the pump, but it’s not all that bad anymore. If you use a hands free bra, you can type, drive, do paperwork, knit – whatever – while you pump. Easy peasy!