What Is a Breast Pump?
A breast pump is a device used by lactating women to extract breastmilk. It works by mimicking the suckling motion of an infant, thereby triggering the mammary glands’ milk-ejection reflux, commonly known as letdown. Each completed suction and release action is called a cycle. The device allows expressed breast milk to be collected for later use. It has three components, namely: breast shield or flange, a cone-shaped cup placed over the nipple area; pump, which creates the suckling motion; and container, a detachable bottle or bag where milk is stored.
Types of Breast Pumps
There are basically two major types of breast pumps: manual and electric. Each has its advantages and specific uses.
Manual pumps are operated via a lever or handle that needs to be repetitively pulled to stimulate suction and trigger milk flow. Some models are foot-powered and use a pedal instead of a lever. A bicycle horn-style breast pump, designed with a hollow ball for pumping, is also available, but is not recommended by experts due to difficulties in cleaning and keeping dry.
Manual pumps are smaller, easily portable and typically cheaper than electric models. However, they require a significant amount of time, power and effort from the user to operate. Thus, this type is more suitable for occasional use.
An electric pump, on the other hand, is operated via a motorized pump, which in turn is powered by batteries or a cord. With a control panel to adjust the suction strength and pattern, this type is more convenient and requires little to no effort from the user. There are also models that allow pumping from both breasts simultaneously, saving time. However, because it is reliant on a power source, mothers are encouraged to bring extra batteries or alternative pumps in case of emergency where an electrical outlet is not available.
Advantages of Using Breast Pumps
The main advantage of using breast pumps to express milk is the convenience it provides to both mother and child. The device allows the infant to receive breastmilk and enjoy its various health benefits, even if the mother is not physically present. Likewise, the mother is given a much-needed rest from nursing, and can go back to work without worries.
The milk collected from breast pumps can be consumed immediately or stored for later use. This is particularly beneficial for premature babies who need an adequate supply of milk round-the-clock, or babies who cannot latch on to the breast.
Other benefits of using a breast pump include:
- increase in milk production and supply
- ability to monitor baby’s milk intake
- relief from pain and discomfort from engorged breasts
- prevention of blocked milk ducts
- extra milk supply for times when nursing is temporarily stopped (e.g. illnesses, medications, etc.)
Factors to Consider When Using a Breast Pump
When used properly, a breast pump will not only provide adequate milk supply, but will also stimulate the mother’s milk production and give relief to breast engorgements. To fully enjoy the benefits of breast pumps, here are some things to consider:
- Choice is key. Depending on your preference and need, choosing the best breast pump can make all the difference in your breast pumping experience and results.
- Size matters. Make sure that the breast shield is similar in size to the actual breast. This means that it covers the nipple in such a way that pumping will not cause any friction, discomfort or pain. Consider also the material used. Shields that are made of silicone are softer and more comfortable against the skin.
- Comfort is also a priority. Electric models typically feature various modes and levels regarding suction strength and speed, which the mother can control for her comfort and convenience. Some manual pumps also have this feature by way of a user-friendly design.
- Follow a breast pumping routine. For many, the best times to pump are in the morning and in between breastfeeding sessions, even if there is little milk being collected. Doing so will help stimulate the body to produce more milk later on. A good rule to follow is to pump close to the baby’s usual feeding times.
- Time-saving. If you want to maximize milk output and time, consider double pumping, which will work on both breasts at the same time. Currently there are several models featuring double pumps, which are designed to work simultaneously. Alternatively, a pumping bra, even a handmade one, can also function well for handsfree double pumping.
- Disinfecting is a MUST. Hygiene-wise, all parts of the breast pump should be cleaned thoroughly and disinfected before every use. Experts also suggest using a dedicated brush and basin, air drying, and boiling or steaming the components.
Other considerations apply depending on the health of both mother and baby, specifically for premature infants.
Why Choose Pigeon’s Breast Pumps?
Dedicated to bring joy and inspiration to families with products that embody love, Pigeon gives mothers the freedom to incorporate breastfeeding into their lifestyles. With an established “Pigeon Smile Cycle” featuring an “Express, Store, Feed” system, the latest line of breast pumps helps mothers express milk naturally, minus the inconvenience and discomfort. Models are designed to satisfy three main factors, which are:
- PERFECT FIT – Pigeon’s breast pumps use a silicone Comfort ProperFit™Flange, which covers the breast perfectly and prevents air leaks. Available sizes are regular (23mm) and large (27mm), for nipple sizes of 10-19mm and 20-24mm, respectively.
- GENTLE STIMULATION – Pigeon’s breast pump models feature modes for stimulating the breast for maximum letdown of milk. Slow and moderate modes are available.
- SMOOTH EXPRESSION – Pigeon’s breast pumps have an ergonomic design and comes with adjustable suction pressure and speed, allowing the mothers to control levels based on their preferences. Electric models have 7 suction and 4 speed levels.
Currently, Pigeon offers these breast pump models:
- Manual Breast Pump – This model has an ergonomic design with a one-hand and easy-grip system that helps reduce hand fatigue. It is equipped with a Comfort ProperFit™ Soft Silicone Cushion with sizes of 23mm and 27mm. Sealing Air Cushion™ and backflow prevention features are also available. Pigeon’s manual breast pumps are compact, light, and easy to clean and assemble.
- Electric Portable Breast Pump – Suitable for mothers who are always on the go, this model features 6 suction pressure levels and an LED display. Compact in size and easy to assemble, it is powered via a cable or 2AA batteries. The pump is also designed with a Comfort ProperFit™ Soft Silicone Cushion and backflow prevention.
- Electric Breast Pump Pro – Electric- or battery-operated, this model is equipped with a user-friendly LED monitor on which the status of stimulation and expression is displayed. It features 7 suction pressure levels and 4 suction speeds. The pump comes with a Comfort ProperFit™ Soft Silicone Cushion and backflow protection.
Top maternity and childcare products supplier Pigeon offers a wide selection of breast pumps in the Philippines. For more information, call (02) 990-5437.