Breast Pumping and Breast Milk Storage at Home

Breast Pump Types: 

  • Manual (Hand) Pump
    • These pumps are applied like any other but the pump is done with a lever with your hand
  • Electric Pump
    • Plugged into the wall, often the kind a hospital uses
  • Battery Powered Pump
    • Uses batteries, best for travel/work


Reasons to Pump: 

  • To stimulate the breast and encourage milk let down
    • Often introduced in the hospital and first few days when baby is not feeding well, pumping can be done every 3 hours to encourage let down
  • For milk storage
    • When going back to work but wanting to continue breast milk exclusively, pumping can be done and milk can be stored for other caretakers to give to the baby,
  • For “Dumping”
    • As mentioned in my previous post, if you have glass of wine or two just before breastfeeding, pumping for twenty minutes and dumping the milk will rid it of any alcohol.
  • To prevent engorgement:
    • Some infants will stop responding well to breastfeeding after a few months, while mom’s breasts continue to produce milk. If this causes pain, a pump can be used to prevent it.

How To Pump: 

  • First and MOST IMPORTANT ask your nurses/lactation consultants when at the hospital how to use a pump
  • Read the instruction manual for how to put together the pieces of the pump. Often suction tubing is plugged into the back of each shield and then placed on top of the containers.
  • Find a comfortable spot (when at work, ask if there is a lactation room)
  • Make sure you have selected the correct size shield. Again, ask for help when at the hospital and they will give you correct sizes.
    • If you’re unsure, the shield should closely surround your nipple but leave enough space so that your nipple does not rub against the wall of the shield and can move freely back and forth.
  • Place the shield on your breasts, turn on the pump and find the Maximum Comfort level. Turn up the vacuum until it is uncomfortable, then turn it down slightly.
    • Pumping may be uncomfortable but should not be painful. Pain can inhibit the milk let-down.
  • Massage during and before to encourage let down.
  • Both breasts can be done at the same time or each separately, depending on comfort level.
    • When doing one at a time, switch back and forth a few times during pumping
  • Helpful tips:
    • Follow a routine
    • Try to make it a relaxed experience
    • Seek privacy and avoid distractions
    • Apply warm compresses to breasts to enhance let down.
    • Massage your breasts
    • Have a nice drink and healthy snack
    • Get some rest when possible!


Breast Hygiene During Pumping: 

  • Wash your hands before doing anything!
  • Follow the instruction guide for pump cleaning. This is often done with dish shop and warm water.
    • Make sure to wash ALL pieces that touch breast milk
  • Wash your breasts with regular soap and water after pumping
  • Use products for pain/comfort from your doctor


Personal Recommended Best Pumps for Situations: 

  1. Best for working moms: Medela Pump In Style Advance
    1. Portable and battery powered! Perfect for pumping at work!
  2. Most Convenient: Philips Avent Comfort Breast Pump
    1. Small, light, and very few small parts! Makes washing a breeze.
  3. Most affordable: Lansinoh Affinity 
    1. All the same features as others but with an affordable $80 price tag on Amazon!
  4. Most Comfortable: Dr. Brown’s Simplesse Double Electric 
    1. Includes soft pump pads that can mimic the movement of a baby’s tongue
    2. Causes less pain than most
  5. Best Manual Pump: Medela Harmony 
    1. Easy to use and simple set up
    2. Best for occasional use
  6. Most Hospital Grade: Ameda Elite 
    1. Best if staying at home, not planning on pumping at work
  7. Most Portable: Freemie Freedom 
    1. Hands free and can be use while wearing a shirt!
    2. Cups compatible with many different brands!


Breastmilk Storage: 

Once you have expressed the milk it can stay:

  • Room temperature: 4-6 hours
  • Cooler/Ice Pack: 24 hours
  • Refrigerator: 3-8 days
  • Freezer: 6-12 months

*If you have trouble remembering this- remember the 5 rule!

  • 5 hours out
  • 5 days in fridge
  • 5 months in the freezer


I hope this has helped anyone struggling with pumping! If you have any specific questions please email me!


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