A breast pump is often used as a popular aid for breastfeeding. However, the reasons why a breast pump is used are very different. This article explains what is actually meant by a breast pump when it is used, and what types are available.
Table of contents
What Is A Breast Pump?
A breast pump is a device that can be operated either manually or electrically. You can use it to pump milk for your baby. One reason for this is that it provides more flexibility in everyday life.
In addition, with the help of a breast pump, someone else can feed your baby. So you can also put your legs up for 5 minutes. If you use a breast pump, your baby will never have to go without nutrient-rich breast milk.
These Reasons For Using A Breast Pump
For a variety of reasons, it can make sense for moms to use a breast pump. In most cases, it is actually used to pump milk and store it.
However, there may be other reasons to use a breast pump:
- Your baby is a preemie and needs to stay in the hospital after birth, but should still get breast milk.
- Your baby has a suckling weakness.
- Your nipples are sore and need to recover.
- In case of mastitis.
- In case of flat or inverted nipples.
- If you are taking medication while breastfeeding.
How Does A Breast Pump Work?
The way a breast pump works is quite simple. The breast pump attachment is made of either silicone or latex. The attachment is placed directly on your breast. The pumping effect – either manual or electric – creates a vacuum. This negative pressure is intended to simulate the sucking of your baby so that the milk can flow out of the breast.
Electric Breast Pump Vs. Manual Breast Pump – Which Is Better?
The biggest difference is whether a breast pump is hand-operated or electric. In addition, breast pumps differ in appearance (shape, color) and price. Pumping breast milk by hand is more time-consuming – but all the more affordable.
Electric Breast Pump
With an electric breast pump, you have a clear advantage: you save time. This is particularly practical if you have an appointment or simply want to enjoy some time to yourself. If you are not eligible for coverage by your health insurance, you will have to pay for the electric breast pump yourself. Electric breast pumps are also more expensive than conventional manual breast pumps.
Manual Breast Pump
If you do not need the breast pump so often, a manual breast pump is recommended. By the way, this type of pump requires a little more effort but is easier on your wallet.
Basically, you can’t say that one variant is better or worse than the other. It’s all about the frequency of pumping. Did you already know? A breast pump can also be rented. For example, if your baby suffers from weak suction.
The costs are even covered by health insurance.
The Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Breast Pump
If your baby does not suffer from weak suction and you do not necessarily need a breast pump, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages before buying one. Here you will find an overview.
- Relief for you.
- You have a supply of breast milk.
- Milk stagnation is avoided.
- You can stimulate milk production.
- Your breast is protected.
- Inflammations of the nipples are prevented.
- Your breast is relieved of excess milk production.
- Pumping is associated with a higher effort.
- Breast milk loses its ideal temperature when stored in the refrigerator.
- You need to be informed about the correct storage of breast milk.
Where Can I Get A Breast Pump?
You can get a prescription for a breast pump either directly from the hospital or from your gynecologist or pediatrician. However, there must be a real reason for you to be prescribed a breast pump for your baby.
If your baby suffers from weak suckling or a cleft palate, you are entitled to an electric breast pump. The same applies if you suffer from milk retention.
Who Pays For The Costs?
If you receive a breast pump on prescription, you only have to pay a deposit. Your health insurance will cover the cost of an electric breast pump. If there is no great urgency, you can of course also buy an electric breast pump or a manual breast pump.
How Do I Store Breast Milk Properly?
When you go back to work, enjoy time with your partner or go to sports, it is convenient to store some breast milk beforehand. Breast milk is the best food for your baby. However, you can’t use your supply of breast milk if you don’t store it properly.
Stored breast milk tends to settle in different layers after some time. The fat accumulates on the surface. If this is the case, it is also sufficient to swirl the bottle back and forth once. This allows all the layers to mix together again.
Caution: Avoid too much shaking or stirring. This can cause important nutrients in the breast milk to become busy.
Storing Breast Milk In The Refrigerator
To properly store breast milk in the refrigerator, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Follow these guidelines to make sure nothing goes wrong:
- Put your breast milk in the refrigerator right after you pump it.
- Store it in BPA-free jars or bottles.
- The milk should always be in the coolest part of the refrigerator.
Store Breast Milk In The Freezer
In addition to the refrigerator, the freezer is also a great way to store your breast milk for optimal storage.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Breast milk should be frozen as soon as possible after pumping.
- Make sure that the containers for the milk are also suitable for the freezer.
- The frozen milk should be stored in the back of the freezer. There the temperatures fluctuate the least.
Do I Really Need A Breast Pump?
Basically, it depends on whether and how often you need a breast pump. If there are health problems and therefore conventional breastfeeding does not work, it is better to use a breast pump.
However, if you do not absolutely need a breast pump, you can continue to enjoy breastfeeding your baby.