Pump and dump; it’s one of those expressions that conjures up all kinds of mechanical activity of expressing breast milk and rushing off to work. For some, that’s a reality close to home.
Expressing breast milk divides people like semi-skimmed and full-fat does. You’re in one of the camps and unlikely to move!
In a world where ‘breast is best’ is ingrained in the national psyche and rammed down the proverbial throat of mothers, we have come to ask – is it really? Many new parents will tell you that whatever keeps mother and baby happy is best. After all, breastfeeding doesn’t come easily to everyone and some don’t have the time with going back to work.
This is where our good friend the breast pump comes in!
Ask any woman what using a breast pump feels like and they’ll likely tell you it’s noisy, fascinating and makes you feel a bit like a cow being milked! It’s important to have a sense of humour about these things after all.
The benefit of using a breast pump is that it allows you to express breast milk without having to breastfeed, and at your convenience. So, if you’re going on a night out, or if you are returning to work and want to carry on breastfeeding, it’s a great way to continue producing.
Experts recommend that once established you may need to express “every 3 hours to maintain your supply,” although this may vary from woman to woman.
Choosing a Pump
There are various pumps available on the market for expressing breast milk, but they all do the same job. The most popular, which can be rented or bought, are:
- Manual pumps – keep it old school and do it yourself, this means you have some control over the method, although it may take more time in the process.
- Electric pumps – these are more commonly used and can be plugged in or used with batteries, especially handy on-the-go. However, the downside is that they can be noisy. There’s usually different modes for adjusting to suit your needs. A bit pricier, the double-pump can reduce the time it takes, since it expresses breast milk using both breasts.
Ready to Dump!
Freshly pumped it’s ready to dump. Here’s the beauty of expressing breast milk, it’s good to go for hours. You can give it to your baby immediately, or at a later date. So, if you’ve got a rare night on the razzle planned, you can pass on feeding duties to the babysitter.
According to experts La Leche, pumped breastmilk retains its goodness and antibacterial properties, meaning that it can be safely stored for “up to 4 hours, and in the fridge for up to a week.” It can even be frozen for up to a year.
Finding the Right Place
Breastfeeding is a natural thing to do, and expressing breast milk should be considered the same. While it’s an entirely personal choice on where you chose to do it, there are nursing rooms in many baby-friendly stores like Mothercare and John Lewis.
On the other hand, what if you’re at work? Well, it’s best to have a discreet chat with your boss about supporting your decision to breastfeed at work. They may offer a private room and storage facilities for your milk, don’t be afraid to ask.
Here’s some kit you might find useful for pumping on-the-go;
- A nursing bib
- Bottles for transferring the milk
- Wet wipes
- A cooler bag
- A good sense of humour!