Pumping

Use the drop-down menu under PUMPING (above) to navigate to specific topics.
On this page, you’ll find information about pumping in general.

How many of you have been asked why you’re not breastfeeding?
It can be an awkward and shameful conversation and IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE! It can be as simple as the exchange in this picture. Practice it and see how it feels. Say it pleasantly and confidently. Don’t feel like you have to give ANY further explanation, unless you want to! A simple exchange like this will make a world of difference to both of your mindsets.
I encourage exclusive pumping moms to make that point whenever they can, in order to normalize pumping as a valid form of breastfeeding! The more we talk about it, the more opportunities we have to educate and normalize.

Types of Pumps

Hospital Grade

PRO– Quality pumps, strong suctions. Efficient removal of milk. Adjustable settings. Closed-system pumps. Ideal for heavy use by multiple users.

CON– Expensive, usually rentable. Large and heavy.

Single or Double Electric

PRO– Efficient removal of milk, adjustable settings. Often covered by insurance in the U.S. Ideal for heavy use by an individual. (Double pumping is recommended)

CON– Single pumps take longer to remove milk than double. Some electric pumps need to remain plugged into the wall.

Portable

PRO– Lightweight and small. Can be worn or carried easily. Rechargable. Mommas can often multi-task while pumping.

CON– Often more expensive and not always covered by insurance in the U.S.

Wearable

PRO- Discrete and quiet. Can be worn under clothing/scarf. Mommas can often multi-task easily while pumping.

CON– Can be less efficient at milk removal. Fewer flange sizes available. Holds a limited amount of milk.

Manual

PRO- Extremely lightweight and portable. Does not need charging or electricity. Helpful for extracting colostrum and relieving clogged ducts.

CON– Hard on hand and finger joints with heavy use. Learning curve- I suggest watching a demonstrational video

Suction

PRO– Great for attaching to the breast not currently being nursed on. Extremely compact, light, and only one part to wash.

CON– When passively suctioned on, it does not cycle like a pump or like a nursing baby. May get knocked off by nursing baby.

Pumping Basics:

LET-DOWN BUTTON

Some electric pumps begin in let-down mode. This is usually a quicker cycle speed. Pumps use a quicker speed with lower suction to initiate your body’s let-down reflex. If your pump doesn’t automatically start in this mode, you may need to press a “massage” or “let-down” button.(Exclusive pumpers often joke that it’s “bacon mode” because the Spectra button looks like a bacon icon.)

If your pump doesn’t automatically switch to expression mode, you may need to manually switch after you experience let-down or approx. 2 minutes.

CYCLE

Cycle means how many sucks-per-minute your pump creates. Typically, mommas need a quick cycle for let-down and a slow cycle for expression. Try it yourself and see which your body responds best to! Different pumps may also have different cycle speeds. With a manual pump, you create the speed of suction.

VACUUM

Vacuum is how intense the suction is. Greater suction does NOT mean greater volume of milk! You want pumping to feel strong but comfortable. Some mommas increase the vacuum gradually as they pump.

Instructions for YOUR pump

Every pump functions differently. I suggest reading the user manual that came with your breastpump from the manufacturer. I also suggest watching tutorials on youtube for your specific pump.