Do the lines and lines of writing on the packaging of a breast pump look like Hebrew to you? You're not alone! Most mothers we know came back empty-handed and with a splitting headache after their first attempt to buy a breast pump. We tried to simplify the choices for you. Hope this helps!
How it works
A breast pump works to create suction on the breast so as to pump out the milk and then releases it. Good electrical models have a controlled count of suction, similar to a healthy baby's pace of suckling, which is about 45 to 55 times a minute. The pump's suction strength should mimic the baby's suckling speed as closely as possible, so that the mother doesn't feel any unnatural or additional discomfort. An effective breast pump should ape the baby's suction strength, which is about 200-230 mm Hg negative pressure.
The different types
There are essentially two types of breast pumps-electrical and mechanical. In both you must attach the flange, which is the cone-shaped part of the pump, to your nipple and areola. In the mechanical one you need to move a piston to pump milk, while in the electrical one you simply need to turn on the machine and let it collect the milk. The electrical works faster than the mechanical one, which is why working mothers generally opt for the former. Dr Uday Nadkarni, paediatrician at Seven Hills Hospital, Mumbai, recommends, "Electrical pumps are the preferable breast pumps as they are easy to use and they empty the breasts completely of the milk. Also, I have seen many mothers struggle with the manual pumps, so I suggest they go for the electrical ones to make expressing milk easier."
There are essentially three types of pumping actions: single, alternating and simultaneous.
- A single breast pump can pump only one breast at a time. So, it takes a lot of time to express milk from both the breasts. These kinds of pumps are best-suited for the mothers who express milk just once a day and aren't really pressed for time.
- An alternating double pump creates suction pressure on one breast, as it releases pressure on the other, and thus is relatively quicker than a single pump. These pumps are advisable for mothers that express milk more than once a day.
- Simultaneous double pumps are the fastest breast pumps and busy working mothers' best friend. These are professional-grade breast pumps that express milk from both breasts simultaneously. They not only take the least amount of time, but they are known to stimulate the milk production hormones, thereby leading to better milk supply.
The noise factor
Many mothers tend to overlook the noise factor while selecting their pump. Depending on your usage and lifestyle, it is important you keep in mind the amount of noise that a breast pump may create. Manual pumps, by their way of functioning, are essentially pretty quiet. Electrical pumps, on the other hand, tend to be noisy. However, larger and good quality pumps usually generate less noise. This might be a major consideration if you're expressing milk in your cabin at work and are trying to stay inconspicuous.
Check out the different kinds of breast pumps available in the market, weigh their pros and cons depending on your usage and make your decision. We hope this piece helped. Do share your breast pump experience in the comments tab below.