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Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Breast-Feeding: Choosing a Breast Pump
If you plan to
breast-feed and use a breast pump at times, research
your equipment options while you are pregnant. When evaluating the different
types of breast pumps, think about how often you will need to use the pump.
Whichever pump you choose, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use the pump safely and how to clean the pump parts. Always wash your hands before pumping and before handling milk that will be stored.
Expressing breast milk by hand (manual expression) is one collection
method. But it takes a long time to completely empty a breast, and it is
rarely practical if you plan to return to work. Pumps can be operated manually,
with batteries, or with electricity.
Before your baby is born, ask for information from someone who is
experienced and knowledgeable about what brand and type of pump to buy or rent.
Pick up different styles of pumps and feel how heavy they are. Evaluate each
pump for practicality, ease of use, and how it will meet your needs.
You usually can rent electric pumps from a hospital or breast-feeding
specialist. Renting a pump may be a cost-effective option if you only plan to
pump temporarily (for example, if you are away from your baby for a few days).
Some electric models pump both breasts at once (double electric
pumps). These often are preferred by working mothers because they are efficient
and fast. These may also be recommended for preterm infants to stimulate your
For more information about selecting and using a breast pump, talk to
a lactation consultant. Most hospitals can refer you to someone who can discuss
the options with you.
April 13, 2011
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Mary Robbins, RNC, IBCLC - Lactation Consultant
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