What Is a Breast Pump?
While direct breastfeeding is still best, some mothers may also consider using a breast pump. Some say pumping breastmilk is beneficial as it allows you to have more control of your time. It also allows you to store breastmilk for a good number of days, ensuring that your child has access to breastmilk when other caregivers are taking of your baby.
Breast pumps consist of the three main parts:
- Breast shield that fits over the nipple
- Pump that creates a vacuum to express milk
- Detachable container for collecting milk
There are two different types of breast pumps depending on the mother’s preference:
- Manual breast pumps. These are hand-operated small but inexpensive pumps that you can use to express and store milk. Many mothers have this as a backup in case they don’t have access to an outlet for their electric pump.
- Electric breast pumps. Electric breast pumps can either be battery-operated or plugged into a power outlet. It is relatively easier to use this type of pump as it doesn’t require any physical effort for mothers. However, they are significantly more expensive.
There are many reasons why a mother may want to use a breast pump. For some mothers, it can help relieve discomfort if they are producing excess milk. Other times, mother and child may have difficulty latching. Many mothers consider a breast pump when they return to work. Or mothers may want to express and store milk if they have to be away from their child for a number of days.