Going Back to Work:   Part 2 Breastpumps – Hand Expression & Storage containers

There are as many choices of pumps as there are bottles and nipples nowadays.  It can make it hard to figure out which ones is best for you. You start of by asking yourself this question:  What are you breastfeeding needs?  Once a day, 2-4 times a day?  Have leisure time to pump?  Need to pump according to the clock? Most moms returning to work are going to need to pump more than once a day, have limited time to pump, and would rather use an electric pump than a manual pump.

Hospital Grade Electric pump –  This pump is strongly encouraged if you are having any breastfeeding challenges.  Higher end pumps ( over $1,000) are rented out.  Some are a lot less money &   may given to you for free from your insurance company.  This double pump takes about 15 minutes to remove the milk

Personal Use Electric pump –    This pump works well for moms who are going to pump 2-3 times a day, 5 days a week, and are having no breastfeeding challenges.  These are in the low $200-$300.00 range and are may be given to for free from your insurance company. This double pump takes about 15 minutes to remove the milk.

Single electric pump –  While the above two pumps can pump both sides at the same time, the single one pumps just one side at a time.  Usually takes twice as long – 30-40 minutes.

Manual pump – Also does one side at a time and you control the milk removal not an electric pump.

Hand Expression – This is where you learn how to manually remove the milk using your own hands.  Can take twice as long, can be quite comfortable and very effective, sometimes more so than any of the electric or manual  pumps.  Obviously no cost.

*****Very Important:  Pumping should never hurt you.  If so, things to check:  proper flange size fit.  Keeping it running to long?  Too fast?  Too high suction?  Parts broken?

You have several choices when it comes to storing your milk.  Whether you choose bottles or bags, glass or plastic depends on several factors.

  1.  Are you environmentally friendly and will enjoy have the least amount of waste as possible?
  2.  Are you needing to have it be as compact as possible because you have little room for storage?
  3.  Does your baby have any health issues or born premature.

If you choose bags, you will want to make sure you purchase ones that are specifically for storing your milk in.  Do not try and save money by using regular plastic bags.  They are more  prone to tearing and leakage.  Bags are space friendly as you can put your milk in the bag, close it well, lay it flat and freeze it that was so it takes up a lot less space.  Be sure to write the date and how many oz, before freezing.  The biggest negative is that these are not reusable.

If you choose bottles, they can be either plastic or glass.  The good news is that you can purchase 24 bottles, s pend less than $30-$40.00 and never have to buy another bottle.  This is obviously less wasteful and cheaper than bags.  However, they do take up much more freezer space.  For some moms, who just have days worth stored  ( perhaps 8 – 10 bottles) and not weeks worth ( 20  or more)  this can work out quite well.

Storage Guidelines:  Helpful to remember the number “6”

Your milk can be at room temperature on the counter for 6 hours, before you need to use it

Your milk can be kept in the refrigerator for 6 d Your milk can be kept in the standard freezer for 6 months

Defrosting – Warming your milk for use

  1.   To thaw milk • Thaw slowly in the refrigerator (this takes about 12 hours – try putting it in the fridge the night before you need it).

Avoid letting milk sit out at room temperature to thaw.

  1.    For quicker thawing, hold container under running water – start cool and gradually increase temperature. Previously frozen milk may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours after it has finished thawing.
  2.   To warm milk • Heat water in a cup or other small container, then place frozen milk in the water to warm; or • Use a bottle warmer
  3.   The cream will rise to the top of the milk during storage. Gently swirl milk (do not shake) to mix before checking temperature and offering to baby. If baby does not finish milk at one feeding, it is probably safe to refrigerate and offer within 1-2 hours before it is discarded.
  4.   Use the oldest milk in the refrigerator or freezer first.
  5.  The baby may drink the milk cool, at room temperature, or warmed. Infants may demonstrate a preference.
  6.   It is best to defrost human milk either in the refrigerator overnight, by running under warm water, or setting it in a container of warm water. Studies done on defrosting human milk in a microwave demonstrate that controlling the temperature in a microwave is difficult, causing the milk to heat unevenly.

Do not let the milk sit out at room temperature and thaw.  Do not refreeze thawed milk.  Do not use a microwave to heat the milk.  Just like you notice when you microwave food If milk is not drunk all up, put in the fridge and use for next feeding.  If not use then, throw away the milk. These suggestions are again for full term, healthy babies.

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