How Breast Pumps Work

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Some pumps feature a diaphragm, which helps create a suction and release. Most hospital grade breast pumps have a diaphragm that acts as a barrier that separates the mother from the suction source. This helps in preventing contamination of the breast milk. A detachable membranous valve then joins with the pump body to help maintain proper suction. Since the pump imitates a baby’s nursing rhythm, milk finally flows. You can then attach ready to feed bottles or storage bags to the pump to collect the breast milk.

After examining how breast pumps work, it is important to take a look at the different types of breast pumps. The following are the different types of breast pumps available today:

    • Manual breast pumps:How Breast Pumps Work Manual Breast Pump

This type of breast pump requires squeezing a lever or pumping a cylinder shaped tube to create suction. There are other manual pumps that rely on lower body strength to create suction. These pumps are known as foot-pedal breast pumps. Once let down has take place, milk collects in the attached containers and later transferred to other containers for storage. Most manual pumps are affordable, discrete and small in size. Unfortunately they much slower than other breast pumps in the market. Additionally, they are strenuous as they require continuous squeezing to work effectively.

    • Battery powered pumps:

This pump relies on a small motor, which usually uses AA batteries, connected to the breastshield by plastic tubing. These pumps cycle up to 10 times per minute to achieve optimum vacuum. This can take between 10 to 50 seconds. It is important to note that a normal baby nurses about 50 to 90 time per minute, which means that this breast pump is not as fast as the baby. Battery-powered pumps are portable, they are affordable and above all can be used anywhere without a problem. With a hands-free pump, which usually fits inside a bra and comes with an AC adapter, the milk will slowly travel from a flexible valve stem into your bag.

    • Electric pumps:

Among the three types of breast pumps, the electric pump is the most efficient and the most expensive. A cable connects the motor to an electric outlet, which allows enough power to drain breasts quickly and efficiently. A lactating mother can achieve total efficacy by double pumping both breasts at the same time. You can pump up to 40 to 60 cycles per minute. Additionally, you can customize the suction rhythm by adjusting the pump’s settings. There are powerful hospital grade automatic pumps available for hire especially by mothers who do not plan to breastfeed more than three months. But if you are planning to breastfeed for more than three months, you may consider using personal-use automatic pumps that feature individualized settings.

      • Closed systems:

How Breast Pumps Work Closed System Since bacteria and viruses can be transmitted through breast milk, breast pumps, except the hospital grade types, are viewed as one woman devices. Most rental and some latest personal-use pumps are designed to have barriers and filters that prevent breast milk from entering the motor or tubing, which can lead to cross-contamination and the growth of molds. This is what is considered as a closed system. Women who use or rent the hospital grade pump are usually required to buy an accessory kit, which includes the breastshields, tubing and containers that may come into direct contact with the breast milk.

    • Open systems:

The pumps that use this system have no barrier. This allows milk to come into direct contact with the tubing or motor. Depending on the make and model of the pump, breast milk can sometimes overflow into the tubing this can compromise the diaphragm. Since the diaphragm cannot be removed or be sanitized, if a breasting mother shares an open system pump, she puts herself at risk of exposing her milk to the other mother’s milk each and every time the motor is turned on. Therefore all pumps must be disassembled and thoroughly cleaned accordingly. You can find instructions on how to clean your breast pump here

In summary, just like parenting, breast pumping has its criticisms. Some people argue that breastfeeding has an advantage over the use of breast pumps because it creates an emotional connection between the mother and her baby. Nevertheless, depending on your daily schedule, work type or lifestyle, using a breast pump is essential in ensuring that your baby gets adequate supply of the nutritious breast milk. Therefore, understanding how breast pumps work is very important.

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