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Breast Pump Buying Guide
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What is a Breast Pump


What is a Breast Pump A breast pump is “a device that helps in extracting milk from the breast” of a lactating mother. It allows you to collect breast milk into an attached container/bottle and store it in order to be later fed to your little one. Most breast pumps imitate the action of babies suckling at the breast by using suction. These include piston pumps where milk is expressed manually by pulling handles on the breast pump to create suction, and electric pumps where the entire process of expressing milk is automatic.
 

Why Would You Need a Breast Pump

Breastfeeding is the natural and most effective way of feeding your infant. Health benefits of breastfeeding have been underscored in almost all researches, whether in India or abroad. Traditional age-old wisdom across different cultures also emphasize on the importance of mother’s milk. However, there might be many impediments in breastfeeding your beloved baby. A breast pump is a wonderful tool that can help you to overcome these obstacles. It would allow you to pump and store milk beforehand, thereby enabling you to nurse it to your baby as and when required. Enlisted below are a few challenges that you may face while breastfeeding and how breast pump could be the solution to your problems.

1. Latching Problems


Faced by Baby:

Your baby may not be able to latch on to your breasts due to any one of the following reasons:
  • Suckling Problems: Latching problems for babies can be a huge blocker when you want to breastfeed them. It may be the case in newborn babies who take their sweet time to learn suckling.
  • Cleft Lip/Cleft Palate: Some babies might have latching problems due to medical conditions such as a cleft lip or palate. You will need a breast pump if your baby is having difficulty latching due to any one of these issues. Pumping and feeding milk with the help of a feeding bottle specially developed for the cleft palate or with the help of a spoon will provide your baby with all the necessary nutrition.
  • Common Illnesses: Common illnesses such as cold, chest congestion, and ear infection may also prevent infants from successfully latching on to the breasts.
  • Tongue-tied Babies: Your baby may have trouble latching on to your breasts because of a medical condition known as tongue-tie.2
Latching Problem Baby

Faced by Mother:

Latching might also be difficult because of some medical conditions faced by mothers.
  • Mastitis: This is a bacterial infection in the breasts caused due to cracked or damaged nipples. You may be unable to feed your baby directly because of the pain. Hands-on pumping might help in feeding your baby with expressed milk and relieve your breasts of the extra milk.
  • Breast Engorgement: This is a condition where your body produces more milk than your little one needs. Pumping milk will relieve you of pain and soreness from fuller breasts.
  • Inverted/Flat Nipples: Breast pumps will prove to be useful if you have inverted or flat nipples. These devices draw out the nipples with their breast shields and express milk effectively.
  • Emptying Breasts when Breastfeeding Irregularly: Pumping milk regularly is also helpful to empty your breasts when you are not feeding your baby. This will enable you to get rid of the futile milk in your breasts as well as maintain sufficient milk for your baby when you are ready to breastfeed again.
Nipple Types

2. Completion of Maternity Leave


The need for breastfeeding, exclusively or otherwise, continues for a much longer period than the granted maternity leave. You may find a breast pump extremely useful to express milk and storing it for your baby even if you return to work after a maternity leave or are working from home. This would ensure that your child is getting enough nutrition in the first few months, in spite of your unavailability.

3. Breastfeeding in Public Places


Nursing in a public place can be very challenging for you. For all those times when you would have to go out, pumping and storing the breast milk would enable you to feed your baby wherever and whenever you want. This will save you from going through the hassles of feeding in public.

4. Weaning


Doctors suggest introducing baby to solid foods or semi-liquid foods after six months of age. Your breast milk at this time becomes complementary to your baby’s first foods. Reducing your baby’s breast milk intake or the number of times you breastfeed is the key to successful weaning. You should consider increasing intervals between breastfeeds over a period of a few days to a few weeks. Your milk supply also diminishes slowly this way, without causing much pain. Pumping and storing breast milk would serve two purposes during the weaning period.
  • Firstly, it would free your baby from the habit of direct breastfeeding.
  • Secondly, pumping the breast milk will relieve you of the fullness of breasts between feeds.

5. Feeding Premature or Hospitalized Babies


Mother’s milk has prime importance for all babies, but if you have a premature baby, it’s even more crucial, for the following reasons:
  • Your milk is full of extra calories, vitamins, and protein necessary for your baby’s healthy growth. Premature babies are too weak to suckle from breasts or a bottle. In order to provide your premature baby with breast milk, it would be necessary for you to pump the breast milk so that the doctor can administer it through a feeding tube.
  • The colostrum available in mother’s milk after the first few days of birthing has a high concentration of nutrients and antibodies proved to be essential to strengthen newborn babies and raise their immunity levels.
Some babies need to be hospitalized because of illnesses or surgery. They may not be able to breastfeed during their stay at the hospital. You may need to store breast milk for your baby using breast pumps. Also, in the absence of direct breastfeeding, breast stimulation using a pump becomes vital for you in order to increase and maintain a sufficient supply of breast milk.

6. Multiple Births


You might face a few challenges when you have to breastfeed more than a single baby.
  • You’ll have to provide breast milk for multiple kids on an as-and-when-required basis. Pumping regularly will also increase your milk supply, which can be a blessing in case of twins as they get enough milk.
  • You can pump your milk and feed both the babies simultaneously with the help of your partner, a family member, or a caregiver. This ensures that you don’t end up nursing around the clock and have some time to rest, especially in the initial weeks post-delivery.
  • You’ll have to make sure that both/all babies get sufficient milk. However, in many cases, the breast milk might not be enough for your bundles of joy, and you might have to feed them partially with formula milk.

7. Induce Lactation for Adopted Baby


It’s nothing short of a miracle to be able to breastfeed your adopted baby. Frequent breastfeeding, pumping, and baby-wearing can lead to milk supply in your breasts even if you have never been pregnant earlier. Pumps can provide sucking simulation to induce lactation in your breasts. This way your adopted child can get the benefits of your nutritious breast milk as well as bonds deeper with you.

8. Get Some Relaxation Time


Breastfeeding, especially during the exclusive feeding days, is a very demanding and strenuous activity. You can pump milk and ask help from your partner or any other family member to feed the baby. This way, you may get some ‘me-time’ to relax, sleep, and even go out for a walk or exercise. These activities will also boost your body’s milk supply and help to provide your baby with more of your nutritious milk.
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