7 Simple Tips To Use A Manual Breast Pump

7 Simple Tips To Use A Manual Breast Pump

Image: Shutterstock

You would want to be with the baby and breastfeed them regularly. But that may not be practical as you have other responsibilities too or you may have to join back in work after the maternity break.

But that shouldn’t deprive the baby of their privilege – the mother’s milk. And they don’t have to miss it thanks to the breast pumps.

MomJunction shares with you the best rated manual breast pumps you can choose from. Before that, we tell you what a breast pump is, their various types, the points to consider while buying them.

What is a breast pump?

Breast pumps are devices designed to extract (express) breast milk from a mother’s breasts and supplement or replace breastfeeding. Some pumps even mimic the suckling action of a baby.

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Why do you need a breast pump?

As a new mother, you might need a breast pump for several reasons. A few of them are:

  1. The baby is not able to breastfeed directly or has medical complications.
  1. The baby is born premature or cannot latch on to the breast.
  1. You have to return to work or study and do not have the chance to breastfeed several times in a day.
  1. You are unable to sit for long to breastfeed the baby.
  1. You need to open the plugged milk ducts or pull out the flat or inverted nipples.
  1. Get relief from the pain and pressure of engorged breasts.

There are different types of breast pumps.

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What are the types of breast pumps?

There are three basic types of breast pumps:

1. Manual breast pumps:

Manual breast pumps usually have a lever or handle, which needs to be operated manually in order to express the breast milk. The milk is then collected in a container.
These pumps are usually small and handy and can be carried everywhere. But they may not be as efficient as battery powered or electric pumps. Also, the suction capability is limited.

2. Battery-powered breast pumps:

Battery-powered breast pumps

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A battery powered pump uses batteries to power a small motor that creates suction to express the breast milk. The powered pump can also control the degree of suction, hence varying the amount of milk collected.

3. Electric breast pumps:

Electric breast pumps

Image: Shutterstock

An electric pump is similar to a battery powered pump except that it has a cord that plugs into an electrical outlet.

Breast pumps can also be classified based on the pumping type:

1. Single pumping:

Single pumping type devices can be used to extract milk from only one breast at a time. Manual and most of the battery-powered pumps are single pumping types.

2. Double pumping:

Double pumping type devices are designed to extract milk from both breasts simultaneously. These consist of two breast shields with tubing connecting to the container. Most electric breast pumps are double pumping type.

Though all types of breast pumps might work, we will be focusing on manual breast pumps in this post.

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What are the parts of a manual breast pump?

Any basic manual breast pump consists of the following parts:

  1. Breast shield: A cone-shaped cup meant for fitting over the nipple and the areola.
  1. Pump: The component that creates a vacuum to express or extract the milk from the nipple. The pump can either be directly attached to the breast shield or through a plastic tube.
  1. Container: Collects the extracted milk. It can be either a bottle or a bag.

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Best Manual Breast Pumps For You to Choose

We have put together the list with pros and cons, to help you choose the best one.

1. Medela Harmony manual breast pump

Medela Harmony manual breast pump

The product is safe for you and your baby as it is BPA-free.

What users like in it:

  • The device is durable, easy to assemble, and clean.
  • Perfect for traveling and occasional pumping.

What users do not like in it:

  • Cannot withstand extensive pumping sessions.
  • The swivel action of the lever may not work properly.

Buy here.

2. Lansinoh manual breast pump

Lansinoh manual breast pump

Lansinoh breast pump is suitable for occasional pumping. The travel-friendly pump comes in two sizes.

What users like in it:

  • The pump is easy to assemble and the container is easy to remove.
  • There is minimal sound during usage.
  • Easy-express design to reduce hand fatigue.

What users do not like in it:

  • There is occasional leakage around the breast shield.

Buy here.

3. Nuk manual breast pump

Nuk manual breast pump

Nuk pumps are popular for their bright, easy-to-use and travel-friendly designs.

What users like in it:

  • Users can control the amount of suction.
  • Lightweight and easy to use.
  • Faster milk extraction than many other manual pumps.

What users do not like in it:

  • Suction decreases on prolonged use.
  • Occasional leakage from the breast shield.

Buy here.

4. Evenflo manual breast pump

Evenflo manual breast pump

Evenflo has an easy-to-use and basic design. The pump is BPA and phthalate free.

What users like in it:

  • Easy to use and assemble.
  • Lightweight.

What users do not like in it:

  • Difficult to clean.
  • Excessive suction might hurt and leave breasts sore.

Buy here.

5. Haakaa breast pump with flower stopper

Haakaa breast pump with flower stopper

Haakaa is handsfree and the breast pump is small, lightweight and easy to carry.

What users like in it:

  • Extracts more milk than other breast pumps in the market.
  • Easy to use and comes with a travel pouch to carry the pump and spare parts.
  • The flower stopper makes the product relatively hands free
  • Suitable for emergencies.

What users do not like in it:

  • Suction too tight for occasional usage.
  • Not suitable if you want to pump a large quantity of milk.

Buy here.

6. Philips Avent manual breast pump

Philips Avent manual breast pump

Philips Avent’s manual breast pump is one the most popular products in the market.

What users like in it:

  • The device is compact and lightweight.
  • It suits during traveling.
  • The parts are also compatible with the electric pump variant of Philips Avent in case you want to upgrade.

What users do not like in it:

  • The user manual is not clear.
  • There is occasional leakage of the pump.

Buy here.

Things To Remember While Buying A Manual Breast Pump

You can rely on this checklist while buying a manual breast pump.

1. Usage of the pump

  • How many times you will be using the pump
  • If you want to use the pump in addition to breastfeeding or replace breastfeeding
  • How much milk you can pump in one session

2. Duration of each pumping session

  • If you are using the pump at home and time is not a factor, you can opt for a manual pump that takes a reasonable amount of time.
  • If you plan to use the pump at work or do not have much time, look for an electric or battery pump that extracts milk faster.

3. The instructions on the manual pump

You need to understand the instructions to assemble, use, and clean the device. Review the instruction manuals of various pumps online or at the store to check their user-friendliness.

4. Place of use

Buy a smaller one if you intend to use it at your workplace.

5. Portability

If you intend to carry the breast pump while traveling, look for ones that are portable, do not take up a lot of space, and are easy to assemble and handle. Manual and battery pumps are easier to carry than the electric ones.

6. Breast shields of the pump

Make sure the breast shields match your breast size. Check the manufacturer’s website for the breast shield sizes and pick the one that fits you.

7. The suction of the pumps

The amount of suction of the breast pump should be just right for your milk supply. Excessive suction can leave you with sore and painful breasts after each pumping session and less suction will end up in engorged breasts even after a session.

8. Design of the pump

You will want to look for a manual pump that is easy to hold and handle. Pumps with bulky designs can be difficult to use and transport.

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How To Use A Manual Breast Pump?

Here is how you can use a manual breast pump. You may also follow the instructions given on the product label.

  1. Place the breast shield on your nipple. Your nipple should easily go inside the breast shield.
  1. Hold the breast shield in place with one hand and hold the lever/handle with the other hand.
  1. Begin squeezing the lever. Doing so will begin pumping milk into the container.
  1. Move around the handle of the pump until you find an appropriate suction level. This will make the pumping easier.
  1. Continue pumping until the flow of the milk slows down. Depending on your breast composition and the breast pump, it can take about 10-15 minutes per breast.
  1. Gently insert your finger between your breast and the shield to break the vacuum seal and remove the shield from your breast.
  1. Repeat with the other breast if and when required.

Note: Every manual breast pump is accompanied by a detailed instruction manual on how to use the pump. Follow the manual because detailed instructions change from pump to pump.

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General tips on using a manual breast pump

Follow these tips when you are using a manual breast pump.

  1. Read through the entire instruction manual even if you have used a breast pump before.
  1. Wash your hands with soap and dry them thoroughly before using the pump.
  1. Wash your breasts before pumping, if you have been using any cream or ointment on them.
  1. Find a clean and comfortable place where you are not likely to be disturbed.
  1. Keep yourself calm and be relaxed during the pumping session. Time your session well so that you don’t have to rush through it.
  1. Pump as long as it feels comfortable and productive to you.
  1. Wash all the breast pump parts such as the tubing, container, and breast shields, after each use.

Next, let’s see the various breast pumps available in the market.

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Breast pumps are the best alternative to breastfeeding because breast milk is the best food your baby can get in the first year. But use the pumps only when breastfeeding is not possible or if you have to stay away from your baby for a long time.

What is your take on breast pumps? Let us know in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: MomJunction may earn a commission when products are purchased through affiliate links given in the article. However, this partnership does not influence the editorial content featuring in our list.

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Sweha (M. Optom)Sweha has a Master's degree in Optometry and Vision Sciences from the University of Hyderabad and a year's clinical experience from the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, She is proficient in subjects of allied medical and ophthalmic sciences like Ocular Diseases, Systemic conditions, Genetics and Pharmacology. Apart from writing articles on parenting and pregnancy full-time, she is a published poet working on her first book. She swears by Harry Potter, a cup of hot chocolate and funky retro music. Her LinkedIn profile is given below https://www.linkedin.com/in/sweha-hazari-242b1166/
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