When should I start using my breast pump?

When your baby is gaining weight and keeping a healthy weight, experts recommend waiting six weeks to use a breast pump to first establish a breastfeeding routine. However, low birth weight, separation from your baby, and other factors may mean your doctor recommends you start sooner (but never during pregnancy).

How often should I clean my breast pump?

If you’re using a shared pump such as a rented medical-grade breast pump, clean it before each use. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends cleaning any breast pumpTrusted Source parts that come into contact with breast milk after each use and ensure they dry thoroughly. This is true for both shared pumps and if you own your pump.

How do I know which breast pump will work for me?

Most breastfeeding mothers do not need a pump at all. If you decide to get a pump, most lactation experts agree that a double expression breast pump is ideal, though a single expression pump can be beneficial in certain scenarios, such as when nursing and pumping at the same time.

You can also choose between manual and electric breast pumps, which comes down to preference.

If you have a low milk supply, need to build up stores, or establish your milk supply, a hospital-grade breast pump is a good choice. If your baby spends time in the NICU or is born prematurely, your doctor may recommend one. In most cases, a double electric pump will fulfill pumping needs.

How do I pump breast milk?

Always wash your hands and then assemble the breast pump parts. For electric breast pumps, center the breast shield over your breast, pressing gently. Start on a low intensity and then increase slowly if you want. It should never feel painful. Manual pumps require a slightly different process. You will want to stimulate your breast by hand first and then center and press the pump to your breast before you start manually pumping the handle.

What breast pump do lactation experts recommend?

Lactation experts all may have different favorite breast pumps they recommend, but they do all agree that a double expression pump is the best so you can pump on both sides at the same time.

Will a breast pump change my breasts?

Your breasts after breastfeeding and pumping may be different than before the baby, but many women experience minimal long-term changes. Nipples may change in size and appearance while breastfeeding, and stretch marks may intensify.

Pumping should never be painful, but breast pumps can cause trauma to breasts when used incorrectly or too often. So it’s important to choose the right size and not to overpump, which can lead to engorgement and mastitis.

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