Using a breast pump: Complete guide

Using a breast pump: Complete guide
Last Updated: 03 August 2021

In recent years more new mothers are deciding to breastfeed their kids rather than giving them formula substitutes. All the latest research shows that natural milk is more nutritious, and it also plays a significant role in boosting a baby’s immune system. Some findings show that children who have been breastfed have lesser risks of becoming overweight or obese or developing conditions such as diabetes and so on.

But breastfeeding can be challenging, especially in the first few weeks, and both the baby and the mother need time to get used to it. Plus, in these busy times, many mothers, especially those who are working, do not have the opportunity to nurse their kids whenever it’s required. Additionally, some women cannot breastfeed because of medical-related issues, and some kids find it challenging to eat in this way.

electric breast pump

In these cases, the breast pump comes into play. Women have different opinions about this little gadget. Some feel it changed their lives while others don’t even want to try using it because they fear it’s going to painful or for other reasons.

We have to say that we ogre with the first group. Once you figure out how to use it properly, you will understand all those describing the breast pump as a game-changer.

It is clear that to be able to enjoy maximum benefits from this little gadget; you need to understand how do breast pumps work, how to stop breast pumping and how to store breast milk. In this text, we will give some breast pumping tips hoping to provide you with enough information to be able to give your child the healthiest food for as long as possible.

After you decided to give it a try first thing you need is to figure out which type of breast pump you want to use. Most women nowadays opt for an electric breast pump as they find it more convenient and, of course, less time-consuming. Let’s see how to use an electric breast pump.

  • If this is your choice as well, then start by reading the instructions that arrived with your model because each one can have some peculiarities, you need to be aware of.
  • Make sure to clean all parts of the breast pump and your hands.
  • If possible, find a place where you feel relaxed. This is, of course, easy if you are pumping at home but can be a challenge in public space.
  • Before starting the unit, place the shields on your breasts and adjust them to be directly over the nipples.
  • Set the speed and start pumping. Keep in mind that you should be comfortable and able to do other things while expressing. If you experience any pain or discomfort, it means that the speed or something else isn’t right.
  • It usually takes about two minutes for the milk to start flowing. When it slows down, it means you are about to finish.
  • When you are done, turn off the unit, remove the shields and unscrew the bottles carefully. If you are not giving the bottles to your kid immediately, beware that you can keep them at room temperature for about 4 to 6 hours. After that, they need to be put in the fridge.

Besides electric ones, you can use a manual breast pump. They are surely less popular, mainly because it takes a longer time to express milk in this way. However, they do have advantages, especially if you are traveling and don’t necessarily have access to electricity (in the car, while camping, etc.). Let’s see how to use this type of breast pump.

manual breast pump
  • Same as we mentioned above, you need to read the manual that came with your particular model.
  • Once it is assembled, place the shield over the nipples.
  • Begin pumping. It will take a couple of minutes for the milk to start coming out. Change breast after five minutes of pumping and then express interchangeably so that each breast gets stimulated for about 15 minutes.
  • Keep in mind to adjust the speed of pumping in a way that it imitates baby’s sucking motion.

When to Start Pumping?

Because maternity leave is getting shorter many new mothers are wondering if it is possible to start expressing immediately after giving birth and when is the right time to start pumping.

When to start pumping

Ideally, you should wait for at least 3 to 4 weeks before starting to use a breast pump. In the first weeks after delivery, there is a chance that you will have more milk than your baby will need. Since expressing induces milk flow, there is a high chance that you will end up oversupplied if you start sooner. However, if you need to go back to work, then you have no other option but to start earlier. If you notice that the supply is much bigger than the need, then you have to think about storing the milk. A common question when it comes to it is how long does breast milk last in the fridge. While you can keep fresh breast milk in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, it is always possible to freeze it. Frozen milk can stay up to 12 months in the freezer.

We want to mention that one of the common questions that we hear is when can I start pumping while pregnant. This topic is becoming increasingly popular because a lot of moms want to be ready before the baby arrives, and they aren’t sure about how well the breastfeeding goes or if they wish to breastfeed, to begin with. However, there have been some discussions on whether expressing during pregnancy is safe or not. The research has shown that while it is okay to stimulate lactation by hands during pregnancy, it is not recommended to use a breast pump either electric or manual.

How Do I Pump More Milk?

If you are worried that not to express enough, keep in mind that there are ways how to pump more milk. In this part, we will give you some tips on how to increase milk supply when pumping.

  1. If you are using a breast pump for about 10 minutes per session and you think the amount isn’t sufficient to increase the time to 15 or even 20 minutes per session.
  2. Another option is to express and massage the breasts interchangeably. For example, use the unit for 10 minutes, then massage for a couple of minutes, then pump for 10 again and repeat it several times like that. It is called power pumping.
  3. Include another session.
  4. Sleep more

How Much Milk Should I Be Pumping?

Maybe you are under the impression that you aren’t pumping enough or that there is so much milk that you don’t know what to do with it. Many new mothers are wondering about the amount of milk they should express when using a breast pump.

In this case, everything is going well with breastfeeding during the first month; it is highly probable that you will have a lot of milk. But still how much you can get expressed with breast pump varies from mother to mother and doesn’t depend on milk supply or breast size. Some women express around 0.2 ounces per session, while others pump up to 7 ounces per session. It also depends on whether you are breastfeeding. For women who are exclusively pumping, the average milk production should be around 25 -35 ounces in a day.

When it comes to increasing the amount of golden liquid, one thing you can do is to pump longer. There is a lot of confusion about the duration of the pumping session, and a lot of women are wondering how long should I pump. This also varies from mom to mom but on average in the first weeks, you need to it for about 15 minutes, especially while you are figuring still out when to pump while breastfeeding newborn. As the child grows, these sessions should last about 30 minutes each.

How long does breast milk last

How to Power Pump?

Power pumping means using the breast pump in intervals with the idea to express more milk. This means that you will use the machine for some time and then take a break several times in one hour in a way that mimics cluster feeding. For example pump, 20 minutes then rest 10, then 12 minutes and rest 8, etc.

How Often Should I Pump?

Generally, it depends on whether you are breastfeeding or pumping. If you are just bottle feeding your kid, then you should try to pump 8-10 times within 24 hours because this is how many times your baby will want to eat. Some are also asking when is the best time to pump? Most women express most milk in the morning just after waking up. If your question is how soon after pumping I can breastfeed the answer is one hour after. This should enable your baby to have a proper, satisfying meal even if you expressed milk. If the kid wants to be nursed right after pumping, let them.

A lot of breast pump models allow you to express milk and nurse the child simultaneously, and if you want to know more about it, you can read about how to pump and breastfeed at the same time.

Is it Safe to Use Breast Pump

Yes, it is perfectly safe to use a breast pump. It is a great way to provide healthy nutrition to your child without having to nurse them, which is super practical for working moms. It is totally up to you to decide whether to combine nursing and bottle feeding or just use the expressed liquid. It is also your decision on how often you want to use the pump.

Is Breast Pump Using Painful?

It is possible that you feel a little pain in the first couple of seconds each time when you start to use the pump. This happens because collagen stretches every time, but this kind of pain shouldn’t last longer than 10 or 15 seconds. It is also possible to experience slight tenderness of nipples, but generally, using a best breast pump should not be painful.

How Long Does Breast Milk Last?

It depends where you keep it. At room temperature, breast milk will be used only for several hours, up to six. If you keep it in the refrigerator, it can stay for up to 5 days. But if you want to make a stash, then the best thing is to freeze the expressed milk and keep it in a freezer. Frozen milk can last up to one year.

Does pumping burn calories

Does Pumping Burn Calories?

Funny, but yes, pumping burns calories the same as breastfeeding. Of course, how many calories you will burn depends on how often you pump or breastfeed. Some say that the average amount of calories burnt this way varies between 200 and 500 per day.


As you can see, using a breast pump isn’t a big mystery. Once you figure out how to do it properly, it is pretty simple. It does make motherhood much more comfortable because you don’t have to worry whether your child will have a good meal when you are not around to breastfeed. What are your experiences with a breast pump? What kind of model are you using? We would very much like to hear your opinions, so feel free to contact us. In the meantime, we want to remind you to revisit us since has solved a lot of surprises for this year.

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