You've bought a breast pump that fits your budget and is compatible with your lifestyle. Great! While each pump comes with its own set of instructions, here's a lowdown on the right way of expressing milk, storing it, and cleaning the breast pump to make sure that the baby is well fed and the risk of infection is expunged.
Expressing breast milk
- You need to sit straight while expressing and support your breast from underneath. Place the pump funnel on the nipple and the areola.
- A mother can effectively express milk if the pump flange fits the nipple correctly. Therefore, opt for a breast pump that comes with different sizes of shields and is a good, recommended model.
- Express milk alternately from each breast till the milk flow slows down. Also, give yourself adequate breaks between each session of expressing, so that you have enough time for milk production.
Storing breast milk
- Although the expressed breast milk can stay fresh in room temperature for 5 to 6 hours, it is advisable to refrigerate or freeze it immediately.
- It can be refrigerated for about 5 to 6 days, or stored in the freezer compartment for about two weeks. In case it is frozen, you can keep it overnight in the refrigerator to thaw it.
- Before feeding the milk to the baby, the milk bottle should be kept in a bowl of warm water to heat it or bring it to room temperature. Microwaving it may kill the nutrients.
Cleaning breast pumps
- The healthy way to go about it is to regularly sterilise all the parts of the breast pump that come in contact with the milk and the baby. Dr Nadkarni, paediatrician at Seven Hills Hospital, Mumbai, points out, "Each brand comes with recommendations on the manner in which you need to clean the breast pump as well as the time frame for sterilising all the parts of the pump. These are usually mentioned on the kit box and the mother must follow it meticulously."
- After each use, the different parts need to be washed in warm, soapy water. You may leave them to dry in the open or wipe them dry with a clean cloth.