Not all moms can breastfeed their children, and among the moms who can, not all have time to be by their baby when it is time for feeding. This is why the breast pump has been such a welcome invention – it lets your baby drink your milk even when you are not physically close to them. If you are starting out with pumping, and are unsure, the following guide might be of some help:Do not buy used or share – it can be compelling to use some hand-me-downs from your friends or relatives (after all, just how many baby items have you been buying in the last few months?), but never do this. Breast pumps are personal items, and no matter how well-cleaned or sterilized used ones are, they can still contain germs that, if not harmful for you, can easily be harmful to your newborn. This is also exactly why you should not share your breast pump with others. Always make sure to buy new pumps – if you are tired and do not want to go out, you can always order one from reliable shops online.
Find the one that is right for you – understand that there are many varieties of breast pumps. For example, the Medela breast pump brand features single and dual electric pumps, as well as manual pumps. If you are in need of a lot of milk, and are going to use the pump frequently, it is best to stick to electric, automatic pumps (dual pumps work on both breasts, and they are a good option if you have twins or a really heavy drinker!). Electric pumps, however, are expensive, and if you won’t be using the pump often, a manual one might do the job for you.
Practice – pumping is not easy, especially so for a new mom! You will time to practice and get used to pumping. It is a good idea to start in advance before you are called back to work (around one to two weeks prior). A good idea to get used to it is to pump according to your baby’s feeding schedule, as your body will be aware of it. If you pump right after feeding your baby, you will also stimulate your breasts to produce more milk.
Store the milk properly – once you have finished pumping, you can leave the milk at room temperature for four to six hours, but it is recommended to refrigerate it right away. Always store the milk in glass containers, BPA-free plastic containers or specialized bags for breast milk. If you are planning to use the pumped milk within a few days (five at most), keep in the very back of the fridge, but if you want to keep it for months (up to one year), you will want to freeze it.
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