The transition into motherhood brings huge changes. Trying to work out what baby needs, what you can do without and what is essential can be bewildering. More and more mums are adding a great breast pump to their ‘must have’ baby list. But do you really need a breast pump? And if buying a breast pump, which one is right for you?
Hopefully this guide will help you work out whether or not you want to buy a breast pump, and if so, which the best breast pump for you will be. If you still need help, just get in touch.
What is a breast pump?
A breast pump is a device that’s designed to mimic the way that a baby draws milk out of its mother’s breasts. The milk can then be stored and fed to the baby at a later time. This should never be painful, and should feel comfortable. The breast shield is a part like a funnel which sits over your breast, and the expressed breastmilk will be drawn out of your breast into the bottle attached to the breast shield. The breast pump motor will provide rhythmic suction, like how your baby suckles, and you can adjust the strength of this suction to suit your comfort level. Some breast pumps also allow you to change the speed of the suction, as some women find that a faster or slower speed suits them best.
See down below for more information on types of breast pumps, and how to choose which one.
Why use a breast pump?
Breastfeeding your baby directly is always the simplest way for most mums and babies, but sometimes situations arise that make using a breast pump a necessary or convenient choice.
A breast pump can help in some medical situations
Sometimes there can be an issue that either prevents baby feeding effectively, such as prematurity, a cleft palate, tongue tie or baby not being well. Some mums find that they need help with milk production, and a breast pump can be used to tell the body to make more milk.
In these cases, a breast pump can be used to support or establish milk production so that breastfeeding can continue and baby can receive milk from mum.
Tip – if you’re relying on a breast pump to pump exclusively or improve milk production, make sure you choose a hospital grade breast pump, such as the Spectra Dew 350, S2 or S1.
Some mums need a breast pump because they’re going back to work
If you know that you’ll be going back to work when you are still breastfeeding your baby, then a breast pump will allow you to express at work so that you can maintain milk supply and provide milk for your baby. Remember, your rights as a breastfeeding mum at work are protected by law – your employer must accommodate your need to express milk during your time at work. Continuing to breastfeed after you go back to work is a great way to reduce the risk of baby picking up bugs while at daycare.
Some mums just want the flexibility and convenience that a breast pump can provide
If you can, then breastfeeding your baby directly is always best in those first intensive weeks. Put some good apps on your phone, record some good tv shows and be prepared for time on the couch feeding, feeding, feeding! This is all a normal part of establishing breastfeeding, as your baby works to crank up your milk production and say hello to mum.
But if you need or want, for whatever reason, to be able to take a break from breastfeeding your baby yourself, then a breast pump will allow you to express breast milk and have a stock of milk in the fridge so that your partner, a grandparent, or another carer can feed your baby while you attend appointments, go to the gym, take time out or catch up on sleep!
Tip – remember that if you’re away from your baby for any length of time in the early months, make sure you express so that your milk supply isn’t impacted.