Using A Breast Pump: Dos And Don'ts For First-Timers

Posted on: 8 March 2016

Many nursing women--especially working professionals--use breast pumps to express and store milk ahead of time so that their babies can have the milk they need and when they need it. However, for new nursing mothers, breast pumps can be quite confusing and intimidating. By being aware of some important breast pumping tips and guidelines, however, nursing moms can pump with confidence.

DO Select the Right Pump

It all starts with choosing the right pump. These days, there are so many options that shopping for a breast pump can seem overwhelming. From single and double pumps to electric and battery-operated options, there's a lot to consider when choosing. For most women, a single pump is ideal, as double pumps require two hands to hold the pump in place during operation. Furthermore, while battery-operated pumps are convenient in the sense that they're portable, electric pumps tend to be more powerful.

DON'T Forget to Wash Hands

Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly before you pump, as you never know what kinds of contaminants you could otherwise transfer to the breast milk by handling your breast pump and its equipment with soiled hands. It's also a good idea to clean and sanitize your breast pump regularly. Some parts from the pump may be dishwasher safe, but they can also be washed and sanitized by hand. Check your pump instructions to find out what's dishwasher safe and what will require manual cleansing.

DO Store in the Right Containers

When pumping milk, always use a BPA-free container or bag (you can find these at your local baby store and even some grocery stores). Don't use a traditional zipper-top bag or any container that isn't explicitly labeled as being BPA-free. Otherwise, you could end up with BPA leeching into your baby's milk--especially when you go to reheat the milk. There are many health dangers that have been linked to BPA, including reduced immune function and impaired learning.

DON'T Microwave Breast Milk

Last but not least, remember that you should never microwave breast milk before serving it to your baby. When you microwave a liquid, it doesn't always heat consistently, so even if it feels like a safe temperature to the touch, your baby's mouth could be scalded when he or she goes to drink it. The best way to warm breast milk consistently is to submerge it in a bowl of hot water until it reaches a safe temperature, or to use a baby bottle warmer.