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Breast Milk Expression - Helpful Equipment

Which breast pumps are best to use?

In most cases, mothers will need to rent or purchase an appropriate breast pump to help empty the breasts and maintain adequate milk production. It is important to use the right kind of pump when frequent milk expression is necessary. Also, not all breast pumps are alike. Hospital-grade, electric breast pumps are the only pumps built for frequent and prolonged milk expression to maintain full milk production. These pumps automatically cycle suction with release of suction - similar to a baby's sucking action.

Although there are many good, mini-electric, battery-operated and hand (manual) breast pumps on the market, none of these pumps was designed for frequent and long-term use. These pumps were designed to obtain milk for an occasional "relief" feeding - not for frequent or long-term milk expression. Most of these smaller pumps require a mother to invest more time and effort to obtain an adequate amount of her milk. Many do not cycle suction automatically, which often lead to complaints of breast soreness or tenderness. The motors of mini-electric pumps can burn out with frequent use. Frequent replacement of expensive batteries are necessary when battery-operated pumps are used frequently, and this type of pump becomes sluggish and less effective at milk removal as the batteries wear down.

What are milk collection kits?

Use a double collection kit so you can pump both breasts at once. Double pumping is often recommended because it cuts pumping time in half. Usually the total pumping time for each session is only 10 to 15 minutes. This may make it easier to schedule breaks at work. Double pumping also appears to boost the release of the "milk-making" hormone prolactin, which is beneficial for the maintenance of milk production.