It depends. Do you plan on being separated from your baby to go back to work or take a vacation? Is your breastfeeding going all well? Do you want to pump regularly or occasionally? These questions will give you a clearer idea of whether a breast pump is an essential purchase for you. Even when breast pumping is not essential, it can still be beneficial. Breast pumping can speed the process of increasing your milk supply and share the efforts of nursing your baby with your partner.
Your breast milk is made to be the safest nutrient for your baby. Regardless of if you're breastfeeding or breast pumping (or both), you can rest assured that your baby is safe in your hands. Research suggests that bacterial contamination is quite rare in expressed milk. However, we still recommend keeping good hygienic habits, like cleaning your breast pump after every use and sanitizing it often to cut all chances of bacterial contamination or mold.
Yes, it is safe to pump breast milk for your baby. Your breast milk is made to provide your baby with all the best nutrients. Breast pumping is only another great way to offer the benefits of this "liquid gold" without latching your baby to the breast.
Breast pumping can be one of the most efficient ways to provide breast milk to your baby, especially if you're using a double breast pump. Double pumping (both breasts at once) will help you save time and increase your milk production.
Here are some reasons why you may need (or want) to pump breast milk:
- Build supply before your baby needs more milk;
- Go back to work;
- Take a vacation or go on a business trip;
- Involve your partner in feeding your baby;
- Donate your extra milk to other moms;
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Yes, you can breast pump if you have a common cold or the flu. Your baby won't catch these common viruses and illnesses through your breast milk. Your breast milk could support his or her immune system. Ask help from a doctor if you're sure about any medications you're taking.
You can't over-pump your breast milk if your breasts are already full. However, you may have an excessive milk supply. When your body produces too much milk, you may experience gas, fussiness, and other tummy troubles. Dr. Huma Farid of Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center says mom usually will need to pump every two to three hours for about 15 to 25 minutes. You can pump as often as your baby needs, but try not to pump too much. Pumping too much can cause oversupply, which can also affect both your body and your baby's feeding schedule.
Yes, it's normal to pump your breast milk and serve it to your baby in a bottle. Whether you are pumping or breastfeeding, your baby will still get all the nutrients needed for proper growth and development. Breast pumping allows you to return to work after maternity leave and solve other breastfeeding-related issues, including low milk supply and a shallow breastfeeding latch.
Yes, it is perfectly safe to pump for you, and there is no evidence suggesting it otherwise. Breast implants mimic the natural shape and feel of actual breast tissue, so breast pumps should function normally. Be careful when placing the flange, especially if your breast implants are added with a periareolar incision method. In that case, scar tissue can build around the inside of your areola, and a flange can irritate the issue.
To Get Started
Breastfeeding vs. Breast Pump
Breastfeeding and breast pumping are similar but not identical ways to provide breast milk to your baby. With breastfeeding, your baby latches directly on your breast. When pumping, you can use a breast pump to extract milk from the breast and feed your baby at a different moment.
Yes, you definitely can. Pumping is a great way to feed your baby with breast milk without putting them to the breast. You may want to pump instead of breastfeeding for a series of reasons: a premature baby, a baby with difficulty latching on your breast, pain while breastfeeding, or a general preference for pumping.
Learn all you want to know about breastfeeding in our Breastfeeding Guide! 😃
Around 1/2 to 2 ounces per pumping session is the typical amount of breast milk a mother who's breastfeeding full-time may be able to pump. It's difficult to calculate how many ounces a mom can pump from one breast, considering that often one breast will supply more milk than the other.
On average, you should try to maintain full milk production of about 25-35 oz. (750-1,035 mL) per 24 hours. Your body will produce more milk to keep up with your baby's increasing demand. So you can expect to start small and grow your milk supply as your baby grows.
Try to stick to 15-20 minutes of breast pumping for each session to pump a good amount of breast milk. Take your time to 30 minutes if you prefer, especially when you've just got started. The rule of thumb is to pump until the milk starts slowing down and your breasts feel drained.
There's not a specific time length that you should spend pumping on each side. The breast milk flow can vary a lot from breast to breast, especially in the early days. In general, you should pump for around 15-20 minutes for a traditional breast pump. On the other hand, you should pump for 20-30 minutes for a wearable breast pump.
It takes about 20-minutes for your breast to fill up again after pumping. However, it is not recommended to pump your breasts straight away. You need to take time to rest and recharge before your body is ready to face another pumping session.
You can pump about every 2 hours and avoid waiting for more than 3 hours between sessions. It will take some time for you to build your breast milk supply. However, rest assured that as your baby grows, you'll be able to expand the time between each pumping session.
Breast pump bottles will stay sterile for 3 hours as long as they're not opened after the breast milk has been pumped. But, please remember to make sure that the breast pump bottle is clean before use.If you want to be sure, place your breast milk in a cold and dry place.
When pumping for nipple stimulation, you can use your breast pump for around 15 minutes on each breast or both breasts together if you're using a double breast pump.
You should be nursing or pumping at least 8-10 times a day. If you're exclusively pumping, you can use a double breast pump to store more milk and save more time spent pumping.
You should replace your breast pump parts like valves and membranes every 2 to 8 weeks. The exact time depends on how often you use your breast pump every day. You can change other breast pump parts - such as breast shields, connectors, and bottles - every six months or if they look dirty.
Yes, you can, especially at the beginning. Pumping every hour is an excellent way to increase your breast milk supply. The average for the first three months is to pump or breastfeed every 2-3 hours, even through the night.
If your baby is old enough to feed once every 4 hours, you can try pumping every 2 hours between feedings to increase your milk supply and store more breast milk away. You may also be able to pump from one breast while nursing your baby on the other.
Yes, you can start pumping after reaching 36 weeks. However, you won't be expressing that much breast milk in the final few weeks of pregnancy. You can hand express your first breast milk (colostrum) before birth and then move on to an electric breast pump.
Yes, you should nurse your baby every couple of hours right after birth and within 5-6 hours during the first few months. This also includes breast pumping at night. However, make sure not to fully drain your breasts as this will tell your body to produce more breast milk at night.
Avoid skipping breast pumping during the first few months, even at night. It's best to keep the time between feeding within 5-6 hours without pumping during the first few months. Don't worry if you miss a pumping session once in a while, as this won't affect your milk supply. You can add another session at a different time of the day to make up for the session you accidentally missed.
Here's how you can stop pumping breast milk at night:
- Keep track of your current pumping schedule;
- Pump your breasts at night but without emptying them, as this will tell your body to release more milk at night;
- Slowly shrink each pumping and nursing session by a few minutes;
- Slowly increase the time between each feeding;
Many moms would recommend pumping first thing in the morning. At this time of the day, your oxytocin levels (the hormone responsible for your milk production) are the highest.
You definitely can try, but it's not recommended. Your breasts start to produce colostrum (the first breast milk) from around 16-20 weeks of pregnancy. Stimulating your nipples releases a hormone called "oxytocin," which causes the breast tissue to contract and release breast milk. You can get familiar with expressing your hands by hand, but it's not advised to use an electric pump. Breast pumping while pregnant can potentially trigger premature labor, so always consult with your doctor before taking any decision.
You can buy a breast pump at any time during pregnancy. Most breast pumps order a breast pump around week 30. If you get ready before your third trimester, you'll have enough time to get familiar with breast pumping before your baby arrives.
You can pump breast milk first thing in the morning, as this is when your milk production hormones are at their highest. You can also pump 30-60 minutes after nursing or at least 1 hour before breastfeeding. This way, there'll be enough milk for your baby at your next feeding, and you can also prepare your stock of pumped milk.
You can start pumping breast milk when your baby is six weeks or older. If your baby can't latch well or you have a low milk supply, you can ask your doctor whether you may need to start pumping sooner.
Yes, pumping before a run will make you feel better and more comfortable. When your breasts are full, they're also larger, making your sports bra less comfortable. You can pump or feed your baby before running to make your run feel more enjoyable.
Yes, it is legal in most countries for women to breastfeed in public. However, there might not be explicit protections for moms who are pumping. If you're not sure, it's a good idea to check your country's and state's legislation about pumping in public spaces.
Here's how you can get prepared for pumping breast milk in public:
- Ask for any lactation rooms or any other available space for nursing mothers;
- Wear a pumping bra, especially a hands-free pumping bra;
- Choose a portable electric breast pump;
- Pre-assemble all the breast pump parts;
- Dress comfortably;
- Choose your covers, such as a nursing cover or a baby blanket;
- Store and prepare your pumped milk in advance;
Laws and regulations regarding breast pumping at work vary from country to country. In the United States, federal law requires employers to provide nursing moms with enough break time to pump breast milk for one year after the child's birth whenever needed.
You can buy a breast pump either online or offline. In some cases, your health insurance may be able to cover the costs of your breast pump. If you're ready to buy a quality breast pump, check our collection of portable and hands-free breast pumps.
Yes, you can carry a breast pump on a plane with most airlines, even though it counts as a medical device. Depending on the length of your flight, you may want to pump or nurse just before boarding your plane and right after disembarking.
Before boarding a flight, you can pack your breast milk in a small cooler with ice packs or frozen gel freezer packs. You're allowed to carry your pumped breast milk with you in the airport even in quantities greater than 100 millimeters as long as you declare it for inspection at the security checkpoint.
All About Breast Pumps
Breast Pump Basic Knowledge
A breast pump is a mechanical device that women use to extract milk from their breasts. While being either manual or electric, it emulates a nursing baby's natural suckling pattern. The pumping stimulates the breasts to maintain and gradually increase milk supply.
A breast pump flange, also known as a breast shield, is the plastic piece of a breast pump that comes in contact with your body when placed on your breast and nipple. It forms a vacuum seal with the areola to draw the nipple into the tunnel of the pump where milk is extracted. Its primary function is to extract milk from your nipples.
Breast pumps are considered medical devices and are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A breast pump is made to mimic the sucking of a nursing baby and can be used as a supplement to breastfeeding.
There's no way to tell for sure, but you can try. A breast pump can be helpful if you want to return to work or plan to spend some hours away from your baby. It also allows you to share the responsibility of breastfeeding with your partner or another caregiver.
You don't need to bring your breast pump to the hospital unless you expect to pump exclusively for long periods. The lactation nurses and doctors will take good care of you and make sure that you feed your baby whenever needed.
Using a breast pump should give you a comfortable sensation. You'll feel some pressure and gentle tugging on your breast. Relieving your full and engorged breasts will make you experience a major relief. Not to mention that you can remove clogs and even out the weight of each breast until the next feeding.
Discover how to make breast pumping even more comfortable with a Momcozy breast pump! ❤️
A closed-system breast pump is a type of breast pump with a milk barrier between the breast pump and your pumped milk. This milk barrier prevents the milk from overflowing and leaking into the pump mechanism. It also ensures the higher safety and hygiene of your expressed milk. An open-system breast pump, on the other hand, doesn't have such a milk barrier. If breast milk gets into the tubing, the tubing must be cleaned and dried before using it again. Whether which type you choose, cleaning is extremely important. Most mold or bacteria growth cases are caused by inadequate cleaning.
As the name suggests, with a manual breast pump, you need to pump breast milk manually. If you want to pump more quickly, you can opt for an electric breast pump. Moms who want to make the most of their pumping sessions often choose a hands-free electric breast pump. For example, the wearable breast pump allows moms to have a normal day because pumping is completely hands-free.
In a single breast pump, you can pump each breast separately. With a double breast pump, on the other hand, you can pump both breasts simultaneously. Double breast pumps help you save time and pump more milk in a shorter period.
A breast pump emulates the natural suckling pattern of a nursing baby. By creating a cycle of suction and release around your breast, a breast pump stimulates the flow of your breast milk in a bottle or storage container.
First, please check it for faulty parts. Is something wearing out? Are there any cracks? Is anything loose? If so, the manufacturer will give you the information you need to find replacement parts.
Then, you need to check whether your installation steps are correct. When making sure that all the parts are qualified and installed correctly, put a flange against your cheek and turn on the pump. You should feel a little pain because the suction should be strong. If your pump is new and the suction too weak, you can return it and get a better one.
All breast pumps consist of a few basic parts:
- Breast pump
- Breast shields (or flanges)
- Valves and membranes
- Breast pump tubing
- Milk collection bottles
A breast shield (also called "breast flange") is a cone-shaped cup that fits over your nipple and the areola surrounding the nipple.
A breast bottle is a detachable container placed below the breast shield and collects milk as pumped. It can be either a reusable bottle or a disposable bag used to store the milk or used for feeding your baby.
There's no limit to the number of breastfeeding and breast-pumping accessories you can buy. Here's a list of breast pumping essentials:
- A set of storage bottles and containers for pumped breast milk;
- An insulated cooler bag to carry your breast milk with you on the go;
- A comfortable pumping bra to pump on the go;
Choosing a Breast Pump
Not necessarily, but you can opt for a double breast pump. A double breast pump will help you save time while also maximizing the release of useful hormones like oxytocin (milk production) and prolactin (milk flow).
Single breast pumps usually are the least expensive type of pumps with a cost ranging from $20 to $60. Electric pumps can cost anything between $40 and $300. We at Momcozy are committed to providing you with quality breast pumps within an affordable price range. You can buy quality and comfort without paying a fortune. Check our wide selection of nursing bras and breast pumps.
There are many breast pumps to choose from, but no one is as high quality and affordable as a Momcozy electric breast pump. Here are some of the breast pumps available in our store:
- Momcozy 5-Levels Wearable Electric Breast Pump
- Momcozy 9 Levels Wearable Electric Breast Pump
- Momcozy Double Electric Breast Pumps
There's no "one-size-fits-all" approach when it comes to breast pumps. Here are some factors to consider for finding the best breast pump for your needs:
- Your lifestyle: are you always on the go? How much time do you have to pump daily?
- Your pumping needs: where are you going to pump most often?
- Your pumping goals: do you want to maintain your milk supply? Are you planning to go back to work?
- Your budget: What budget have you set aside for your breast pump and all related accessories?
When it comes to breast pump features and characteristics, here are more elements to consider:
- Power source: manual, electric, or battery-powered breast pumps?
- Portability: portable or hands-free breast pumps?
- Suction strength
- Other breast pump accessories
More efficiently, for sure. Manual breast pumps are cheaper than electric models, but they're also suitable only for occasional expression. If you plan on pumping frequently, an electric breast pump is a much more efficient option.
There are many good brands of breast pumps out there. But if you're asking for our five cents on this, we would recommend Momcozy. :)
One breast pump is often more than enough to keep up with your pumping schedule. To pump more efficiently, you can opt for a double electric breast pump. You can also consider buying two different breast pumps: one for pumping at home and the other one for pumping at work or on the go.
It all depends on how often you plan to pump breast milk. If you're often pumping at work and don't have much extra time, you may want to invest in a quality double breast pump. Double breast pumps help you to save time and pump a larger quantity of breast milk.
A manual breast pump will cost less than an electric model. However, it can be hard to use a manual breast pump regularly, as you need to keep pumping the handle to release breast milk in the bottle. Electric breast pumps are much easier and more convenient to use. Consider how often you may want to pump breast milk to pick the right type for your needs.
Yes, for sure. If you are exclusively pumping or you will be away from your baby for an extended period, an electric breast pump - especially a double electric breast pump - is worth it.
Breast pumps can be divided into many different types according to their power source, the presence or absence of a milk barrier, and the number of pumps.
Breast pump types based on different power sources:
- Manual pumps;
- Battery-powered pumps;
- Electric pumps;
Breast pump types based on the presence or absence of a milk barrier:
- Closed-system breast pumps;
- Open-system breast pumps;
Breast pump types based on the number of pumps:
- Single breast pumps;
- Double breast pumps;
Here's how you can tell if your breast pump flange is a proper fit or not:
- You're not feeling pain in your nipple;
- Your areola has little or no tissue inside the tunnel of your breast pump;
- You don't feel areas of your breast that still have milk inside;
- You don't see a white circle or a nipple blanch at the base of your nipple;
- Your nipple is centered in the flange;
- Your nipple moves freely in the tunnel of your breast pump;
Using a Breast Pump
Avoid using breast pump parts that are still wet, as this can cause mold. Dry all breast pump parts before pumping to avoid any moisture and possible bacterial infections that you could share with your baby.
Yes, you can. All moms are different, and the same is true for breasts. You may be experiencing uneven milk supply or less milk production in one breast. If you and your baby are comfortable, you can focus on pumping mainly from one breast.
Yes, you can use a breast pump to express colostrum, but you'd better be expressing it by hand. Colostrum is usually produced in small quantities, so it's not enough to use an electric or manual breast pump. It also easily sticks to the bottles and pump parts while also being harder to collect. For new moms who need to remove colostrum, hand expression is often more effective than expressing colostrum with a pump.
No, you don't need to pump to empty your breast even when you feel full after feeding your baby. You can pump or hand express just enough milk to relieve discomfort without emptying your breasts.
It is possible to induce lactation - the official term for producing milk without pregnancy and birth - even if you're not pregnant. You can increase the lactation hormones in your body through manual stimulation or with medications to mimic pregnancy. You can also try to use an electric breast pump, but you may not be producing that much breast milk initially.
You can start reducing the time spent during your daily pumping sessions to wean off breast pumping gradually. Start by shortening your pump times by a few minutes at a time until there is no longer any milk to pump.
You can bring your breast pump with you on vacation if you want to feed your baby on the go. However, if you plan to travel with your nursing baby, you can also decide to breastfeed instead of pumping.
No, as most countries worldwide have laws that protect the right for nursing mothers to breastfeed or pump even at work. Your need to pump breast milk is similar to any other employee's need to break to the restroom or a lunch break. For this reason, every employer must provide a reasonable amount of time for you to pump breast milk. You also can't be fired or denied a promotion because of your current situation.
Cleaning a Breast Pump
For example, you can use the boiling method. Place disassembled items that are safe to boil into a pot and immerse them in hot water for five minutes, and then let them air dry.
There are also microwave steam or cold-water sterilizing methods. However, we do not recommend using ultraviolet for disinfection. For the steam method, please remember that don't microwave or steam sterilize for more than five minutes. In addition, please always refer to the manufacturer's instruction manual.
On the other hand, most bottles and breast pump parts can be washed using the top rack of a dishwasher. You can check the manufacturer's website for more information on how to wash your breast pump parts and bottles.
Sanitize is especially important for very young babies (less than three months old), premature babies, or infants with weakened immune systems. The CDC recommends sanitizing your breast pump parts once daily. On the other hand, for older, healthy babies, we recommend the sanitizer should be once a week. To sanitize your breast pump parts, separate all the parts that come in contact with your breasts and milk. Boil them in a pot filled with water and then let them air dry before using them again.
You should wash your breast pump parts and bottles after each use. You can also sanitize all of them once a day after they've been washed.
Yes, you should wash your breast pump and its parts after each use. You should also sanitize them at least once a day after they've been washed. Store your breast pump parts in a clean and cool place when not in use.
Please refer to the manufacturer's instructions first, because some steamers and microwave sterilization temperatures are very high, which may cause plastic parts to deform.
There are many methods you can use to wash your breast pump parts:
- Boil them for five minutes;
- Place them in the dishwasher;
- Steam them;
- Rinse them under running water in a large bowl or washbasin;
- Clean them with baby wipes;
Make sure not to reuse your breast pump parts without washing them. If you don't have time to clean them between pump sessions, you can place your pumped parts in a large resealable zip-top plastic bag and store them in the fridge. If you're on the go, keep your breast pump parts in a cooler filled with ice or gel packs until your next pumping session.
“Although refrigerating used pump parts between uses might be okay if the pump kit is not contaminated,” said Dr. Anna Bowen of CDC.
Here's how you can clean your breast pump at work:
- Clean them with baby wipes;
- Rinse the breast pump parts under running water;
- Allow all parts to air dry after cleaning;
Yes, you can wash your breast pump parts in the dishwasher. Place all the parts on the top rack of your dishwasher and allow them to air dry in a clean area. Check the cleaning instructions provided by your breast pump manufacturer to make sure all the pieces are dishwasher safe.
No, you don't need to wash your breasts before pumping unless you have been using a cream, oil, or other products on your breasts. Before using your pump, you can wash your hands with soap, scrubbing for 10-15 seconds, and then rinse with plenty of warm water.
Here's how you can sanitize your breast pump parts in boiling water:
- Fill a pot with enough water to cover all the breast pump parts;
- Bring the water to a boiling point;
- Leave the parts in boiling water for 5 minutes;
- Allow water to cool;
- Remove the pump parts from water;
- Place the parts on a clean surface or towel;
- Allow the pump parts to air dry;
- Rinse in clean cold water
- Clean with warm water and mild kitchenware detergent, and then wipe it dry with a clean cloth
- Then rinse in clean cold water for 10 to 15 minutes
On the other hand, place the washable parts on the upper rack of the dishwasher.
You can stop pumping by gradually reducing the time spent pumping during all your daily sessions. Try shortening your pump times by a few minutes at a time. Eliminate progressively another minute or two from each session until there's no longer any milk to pump.
The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend feeding your baby exclusively breast milk for the first six months after birth. You can continue to provide breast milk for up to 12 months or longer.
There's no "right" time to stop pumping breasts, and many recommend providing breast milk at least for the first year whenever possible. If you want or need to stop pumping before your baby is 12 months old, you can use previously frozen milk or formula.
Other Breast Pump Accessories
A pumping bra, also known as a hands-free bra, allows you to express milk for your baby and use your free hands to do anything else. It holds your breast shields during the milk expression process. The best pumping bras should be comfortable, supportive, and easy to clean.
On the other hand, the wearable breast pump is an alternative to the traditional hands-free option. Instead of the bell-shaped flanges of a traditional breast pump, a wearable pump can be tucked into the user’s bra.
Discover our wide collection of comfy pumping and nursing bras! 🙆♀️
Whether you need a breast pump bra or not depends on a series of factors, including how often and where you plan to pump breast milk. A breast pump bra makes it easier, more comfortable, and more pleasant for you to pump. If you pump only occasionally, a breast pump bra may not be necessary. If, on the other hand, you need to pump breast milk regularly or on the go, then a breast pump bra is one of the main accessories you should invest in.
All About Breast Milk Supply
There's no direct link between breast pumping and a decrease in your milk production. One of the main reasons you might experience lower milk supply is fatigue and stress due to demanding schedules, lack of self-care, burnout, and more related reasons. So it's essential to take care of yourself.
Breast pumps won't automatically increase your milk supply. However, when you're using a double breast pump, it's easier for your breasts to release more milk. This increase in the milk production hormone prolactin will result in a higher breast milk supply, even if it's just a little more than usual.
Don't get upset if you're not able to pump enough breast milk. It's normal and more common than you may think. Try to relax, take better care of yourself, eat more nutritious foods and drinks. You can also check whether your breast pump is not working correctly or if the breast shields are not the right size. If all of this still doesn't work, you can contact your doctor and eventually supplement with donor milk or formula.
You can run out of breast milk while pumping for longer than 15-20 minutes, but this is completely normal. Your body will release enough breast milk to fulfill your baby's growing needs. If you consistently run out of breast milk right after starting each pumping session, contact your healthcare provider.
Watery breast milk indicates "foremilk," the first milk that flows at the start of a pumping session. Foremilk is usually thinner and lower in fat than the whiter milk you can see at the end of a nursing session.
Hindmilk is the milk your baby gets at the end of a feed, and hindmilk has a higher fat content. Hindmilk often appears thick and creamy and is richer and more calorie-dense than foremilk.
Breast milk changes over time-based on the growing needs of your baby. However, these changes are rarely due to breast pumping. You may experience a growing breast milk supply, as your body will adjust your milk supply according to your baby's feeding patterns.
Even with a closed breast pump, there's still a small chance that breast milk may get in the tubing. Here's what you can do if milk gets in your breast pump tubing:
- Turn off the breast pump;
- Disconnect the tubing;
- Remove the milk from the breast pump tubing;
- Rinse the tubing with cool water;
- Air-dry the tubing;
- Wait until fully dry before using your breast pump again;
There are many actions you can take to increase your breast milk supply when pumping. Here are some of the most common tips:
- Take good care of yourself with a balanced diet, enough rest, and plenty of fluids;
- Pump more often to increase your milk supply;
- Use a double electric breast pump, as many times your milk supply differs from breast to breast;
- Try skin-to-skin contact with your baby;
- Use a picture, a recording, or any item belonging to your baby to increase the amount of breast milk you're able to pump;
- Pump for 10 to 15 minutes on each breast;
- Try lactation cookies and supplements;
- Take it slowly; the more you rush, the harder it will be for your body to produce enough breast milk;
All About Storing and Serving Breast Milk
Yes, you can, especially if you don't have time to clean your pump parts between pump sessions. “Although refrigerating used pump parts between uses might be okay if the pump kit is not contaminated,” said Dr. Anna Bowen of CDC.
But we still recommend washing your breast pump and its parts after each use and sanitizing them at least once a day. If you want to put your breast pump parts in the refrigerator, place them in a large resealable zip-top plastic bag or a cooler filled with ice until your next pump session.
Here's what you can do with your freshly pumped breast milk:
- Keep your milk at room temperature for up to 4 hours;
- Place your milk in the refrigerator for up to 4 days;
- Place your milk in the freezer for six months;
- Use cooler packs to keep your milk cool on the go;
Yes, you can combine milk from different pumping sessions in one container, but only if you have a generally healthy baby. Ensure to cool the freshly expressed milk in the refrigerator or a cooler with ice packs before mixing it with previously pumped milk. Clean your hands, pump, and collection containers thoroughly before and after each pumping session.
Yes, you can combine stored milk with freshly pumped milk and milk pumped from different days. Remember to always add a date to the first milk expressed. Breast milk is not spoiled unless it smells really bad or tastes sour. The key here is to store breast milk correctly to use it even after some time. Don't mix breast milk from different days together if your baby already has a weakened immune system.
Yes, you can add freshly pumped breast milk to frozen or refrigerated milk. Before mixing the two breast kinds of milk, make sure that the frozen breast milk has completely thawed.
Yes, you definitely can. Make sure to refrigerate breast milk as soon as possible after any pumping session.
You can store freshly pumped breast milk in the refrigerator for up to 4 days each time.
Pumped breast milk can be stored in the freezer for a maximum of 12 months, even if it's best used within six months from its first expression.
Freshly pumped breast milk can stay at room temperature (77°F or colder) for up to 4 hours and in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
No, you can't either microwave or boil pumped breast milk. You'd destroy all the good nutrients of your breast milk. You're also at risk of burning your baby's mouth, as both heating methods can create hot spots.
Breast milk doesn't need to be warmed, considering that when babies take milk from the breast, it's at blood temperature too. For this reason, it can be served at room temperature or cold.
Here's how to warm breast milk on the go:
- Let the milk sit at room temperature for 2 hours;
- Use hot water and a bowl to heat your breast milk naturally;
- Carry with you a thermos filled with hot water;
- Ask a restaurant for hot water in a bowl or cup;
- Warm the bottle under hot running water;
- Use a portable bottle warmer;
Yes, theoretically, you can. In particular, you may lose some of the weight gained during pregnancy when you're exclusively pumping. The reason is that pumping mothers burn up to 500 extra calories per day. Consider, however, that you need to keep a healthy diet to fill your body with all the nutrients for your baby. You can take more time to exercise and slowly go back to your pre-pregnancy body size.
You may feel tired when pumping, and this is completely normal. Most of the fatigue is related to sleep pattern changes and the metabolic demands of producing breast milk. Prolactin is another hormone involved in milk production that makes you feel exhausted and tired when you're done pumping or breastfeeding.
Yes, you can. Nipple piercings don't damage milk production, but they could slightly interfere with your milk flow. You can remove the bar during suckling and pumping to get a better latch.
Yes, you can burn calories when pumping breast milk. If you produce the same amount of breast milk pumping as you do nursing, you can burn the same amount of calories.
You can burn up to 500 extra calories a day by pumping breast milk regularly. The exact amount can vary according to your lifestyle, metabolism, and other factors. Stick to a healthy diet with enough daily calories to keep up your milk supply.
No, pumping doesn't cause breasts to sag. Greater breast droop can be caused by pregnancies, sudden weight loss, and smoking. If used correctly, breast pumps can make your life easier while giving you more time to take care of your body and yourself as a whole.
It can happen. In particular, you may feel brief pain at the beginning of each pumping for around 10-15 seconds. This is because the collagen fibers in your nipples stretch to leave the way to your breast milk. Your nipples can feel sore, and you might experience a tingling sensation when your milk releases.
When you choose the wrong breast pump, poorly fitting flanges, use your breast pump incorrectly, you may end up damaging your nipples and breast tissue. To avoid breast or nipple trauma, make sure to learn more about choosing the right breast pump and how to use it.
Not exactly, as this may be temporary. When you pump more milk, your breasts will produce even more milk to fulfill the growing demand. This results in larger breasts, especially if you use a breast augmentation pump. However, the size growth is modest and mostly not worth the effort if your main goal is to have larger breasts. You can rather work on improving your posture, using a better nursing bra, and following a healthier diet.
Possible Negative Effects
You may feel slight pain for 10-15 seconds at the beginning of each pumping. This happens because the collagen fibers in your nipples stretch to make room for your breast milk to be pumped. Another reason why you may feel breast pain is because of the wrong breast pump setting or breast flanges at the wrong size.
When used for inducing labor, pumping breast milk stimulates your nipples to release more oxytocin. Oxytocin then sends signals to your body to tell it to start contractions, especially during the last few weeks of pregnancy. While possible, many doctors don't recommend using a breast pump to induce labor. If you still want to try, you can use a breast pump for around 15 minutes or less on each breast and switch between each breast.
You may feel nauseous when pumping as the let-down of your breast milk releases higher levels of oxytocin. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for the milk ejection reflex and is associated with other gut hormones that can cause nausea. Keep in mind that you may be feeling nauseous also as you're sleep-deprived after you've just had a baby.
Pumping can help your breasts feel less engorged and less painful. If your breasts are very painful, you can remove just a little breast milk to feel more comfortable. To avoid this from happening again, you can apply a cold pack to your breasts for 15 minutes at a time every hour as needed.
You may experience cracked nipples for lack of lubrication and the result of the friction from pumping frequently. Nipple damage is often caused by pumping with breast shields that aren't centered correctly.
Yes, you definitely should ask for help from an expert if your breasts are painful and heavy for a long period.
To stop feeling pain when pumping, you can apply cold packs on your breasts. All you need is a bag filled with crushed ice or any bag of frozen food. You can then apply these cold packs over a layer of clothing for up to 20 minutes and repeat when needed. If this method isn't working, you can eventually opt for over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen. However, make sure to consult your doctor before taking any medicines, especially if the pain is consistent over a longer period.
You may notice bubbles in your breast pump if your breasts are full, you have a very quick let-down, and/or your milk fails to drop into the bottle.
There is no direct or indirect link between using a breast pump and cancer. Breast milk is 100% natural, and breast pumps are made to mimic your baby's natural suckling behavior. Any woman can develop cancer (especially breast cancer) at any time in her life, but you can rest assured there is no known increase in risk while breastfeeding or pumping.
Most doctors don't recommend using a breast pump only to induce labor. However, if you want to try, here's how to use a breast pump to induce labor:
- Pump for 4 minutes and then rest for 4 minutes for a total of 30 minutes;
- Rest for another 30 minutes;
- Repeat for a total of 2 hours or until contractions start;
- If your contractions haven't increased in 2 hours, rest for an hour and then start over again;
Here's what you can do with your old breast pump:
- Sell your breast pump;
- Donate your breast pump;
- Store it for a future baby;
- Recycle the pump;
Yes, you can. But you need to make sure that your breast pump is in good condition. Many nonprofits won't accept donated breast pumps, but you can donate yours to a friend or family member. If you want to recycle it, you can contact your local recycling program to ask how to dispose of your breast pump.
You can contact your local charitable organizations to see if they can accept used breast pumps. Another option is to find a women's shelter or a charity that accepts donations from other moms. Make sure that the breast pump you want to donate is clean and in good condition.
If you own a closed-system breast pump, you don't need to replace it after your first baby. Open system pumps, on the other hand, should not be used again for a second child. Clean all parts thoroughly and let them air dry before placing them in a sterile, clean, and air-tight food-grade container or snaplock bag. Once your second child is born, you'll need to replace all silicone and soft plastic parts: valves, valve membranes, backflow protector membranes, teats. You can reuse your breast pump's original breast shields and bottles if they've been cleaned thoroughly.
Having a baby around and regularly using a breast pump can result in a prolactin spike, the hormone responsible for milk production. This is true for both men and women. The prolactin levels may be high enough for some men to trigger milk production and breastfeed a baby. However, for men, this is the result of hormonal imbalance, so it's not recommended.
Breastfeeding can be challenging, regardless of if you're using a breast pump or latch your baby to the breast. If you feel overwhelmed, it's essential to ask for help.
You can get help from many different people, including your doctor, your baby's pediatrician, a lactation consultant, a breastfeeding support group, your partner, or your friends and family members who have experienced breastfeeding.
Avoid drinking alcohol before nursing your baby or pumping breast milk. Alcohol leaves your breast milk at the same rate that it leaves your bloodstream. Wait for at least 2 hours after a drink to pump breast milk or breastfeed your baby.
Yes, you can drink coffee while breast pumping. Caffeine levels in breast milk peak about 1-2 hours after you've had a cup of coffee. So if you're concerned about your baby consuming caffeine from your breast milk, you can wait some time before nursing. Try to limit your daily caffeine intake to less than 300 milligrams a day (less than 3 cups).