Medical devices

Breast Pump – Use & Health Benefits

Breast pump

A breast pump , also called a breast milk pump, is used to express breast milk when there is no opportunity for normal breastfeeding . The reasons for this can be varied. Pump breastfeeding has both advantages and disadvantages.

What is a breast pump?

The breast pump can help bridge the baby’s breast milk supply in situations where normal breastfeeding is impossible. There are often health reasons for the mother or child. But time restrictions, such as work, can also affect the rhythm of breastfeeding.

The breast milk pump is used to suck breast milk from the breast by stimulating and creating negative pressure. The mother’s ability to breastfeed is maintained even when she is not breastfeeding because the stimulus is still present.

Technically, the breast pump, like the baby, creates a sucking reflex through negative pressure, which stimulates the flow of milk via the natural milk ejection reflex. The breast milk is then bottled and can be stored under refrigeration. The baby does not drink from the breast, but from the bottle.

Another advantage of pumping milk is that no substitute milk has to be used. The baby gets all the nutrients it needs from breast milk.

Shapes, Species & Types

There are different types of breast pumps on the market. Both manual and electric breast milk pumps are available. Depending on the design, one-sided or two-sided pumping is possible. There are also pumps that can be operated by hand or hands-free.

Electric pumps have the option of adjusting the suction pressure, the suction rhythm and the suction frequency. Electric pumps that can pump from both breasts at the same time are particularly suitable for stimulating milk production. This creates a stimulus that maintains lactation for a long time. Various sizes are available to adapt the pump opening to the size of the nipple .

If there is a medical indication, pharmacies or hospitals can also lend the breast pumps with a prescription. Breast pump accessories also include milk bottles with teats, bottle warmers, a sterilization device and special freezer bags for freezing breast milk.

Structure & functionality

For pumping, the breast pump is placed on the breast using a glass or plastic attachment. During the pumping process, a negative pressure is initially created, which then sucks the breast milk out of the breast. The attachments are made of skin-friendly and food-safe materials to prevent allergies .

The pumping process is divided into a stimulation phase and a pump phase. In the stimulation phase, the milk flow is stimulated by the milk ejection reflex. The milk ejection reflex, also known as the ejection reflex, refers to the reflex produced by sucking to stimulate milk release. In this case, the sucking reflex is produced by the negative pressure of the breast pump. In a second phase, the actual pumping of the breast milk takes place.

A stress-free environment is necessary in the milk pumping process. Unlike breastfeeding, pump breastfeeding has to be learned first. The presence of the baby, gentle breast massages, adequate nutrition and fluid intake and much more are factors that can positively support the pumping process.

Rhythmically fast pumping imitates the sucking phase of the baby and thereby stimulates the milk flow reflex. After about three minutes, the milk can be pumped out. In order to stimulate milk production, the entire process should take about ten to twenty minutes, even if no milk flows in the meantime.

It is advisable to pump milk during stress-free times, to cool the milk and, if necessary, to heat it up again. It is also necessary to match the amount of milk expressed to the baby’s drinking needs. The average infant needs to drink between 600 and 1200 ml of milk. However, this is only a very rough guideline. Basically, the amount depends on the child himself, on his age and weight.

For continuous milk production, pumping more frequently is more effective than increasing the pumping time. This way the stimulus will take effect more quickly. The double-sided pumping process promotes milk. Therefore, if you pump on one side, you should change your breast more often. In the longer term, it makes sense to repeat the pumping process every four to six hours.

For weaning , the pump duration and pump frequency are gradually reduced. The weaning process can be better controlled with pump breastfeeding than with normal breastfeeding.

Medical & health benefits

The use of breast pumps is necessary for certain illnesses in the child or mother. In children, pump breastfeeding is indicated for cleft lip and palate , premature babies, general weakness or infant breastfeeding strikes.

For example, mothers can suffer from frequent sore nipples, with the inflammatory process being exacerbated by breastfeeding But problems with time or stress also often play a role in a disrupted breastfeeding process.

Pump breastfeeding with a breast pump offers the opportunity to feed the infant with the mother’s own milk despite breastfeeding problems. The composition of the milk is best adapted to the needs of the baby and there is no need to resort to milk substitutes. This has a strengthening effect on the baby ‘s immune system .

Pump breastfeeding also maintains lactation. Later breastfeeding is possible again more quickly. Pumping out the milk also makes it easier to avoid engorgement and weaning can be regulated more easily than with normal breastfeeding.

A disadvantage is the lack of physical contact between mother and child, which is again present during the breastfeeding phase and plays an important role in bonding and the child’s security.

The breast pump and its accessories are also purchased and require regular sterilization. In the case of breastfeeding problems, however, pump breastfeeding via the breast milk pump is the significantly better alternative for the infant compared to milk substitutes.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.