There are a variety of reasons why a mother might want or need to pump: for preemie or sick infants; to increase her milk supply; to maintain her supply; for when she goes back to work, to name some. The purpose of this article is to address some of the situations when Mom may need to pump for her babies, and to offer pumping tips.
Most Neonational Intensive Care Unit’s (NICU) have procedures in place for storing and handling expressed breast milk. If your babies are in the NICU, you will need to acquaint yourselves with their regulations. Ask the staff if the hospital provides sterile containers for expressed milk. Your hands will need to be thoroughly clean as will all parts of the pump that come in contact with your milk. Sterile containers will need to be clearly labeled with each baby’s name, date of expression, and perhaps a hospital identifying code prior to being placed in the refrigerator. If you are on any medications at all, you may need to also note what they are on the container label.
Frozen breast milk takes no time at all to thaw in a saucepan filled with warm water. Do not heat breast milk on a stove or in a microwave. Do not refreeze breast milk.
If nipples become sore during pumping, make sure that your nipples are properly centered within the suction cup. It is easy to become distracted during pumping and inadvertently shift the equipment. Some mothers report that applying a small amount of modified lanolin cream is helpful. If problems continue, contact a Lactation Consultant or La Leche League member. Don’t wait for the pain to become severe.
Medela double pump, lactina, the Avent is is a good manual pump for double pumping.
Some considerations: Find out about the level of suction of the pump. Some can be very strong and some inefficient. Are the instructions for using it clear? Does the company have a 1-800 number if you need to ask questions? Some drugstores and hospitals rent pumps, which can be quite expensive. Some Lactation Consultants offer rentals. Check out the Yellow Pages. Do your homework to find out what works for you.
With input from: Erin Shaheen, Child Birth Educator and Mom of 4 breastfed babies, including twins; and Valerie Lavigne, Chiropractor and Mom of 3 breastfed babies, including twins.
*Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding & Caring for Twins or More!!! by Karen Kerkhoff Gromada, La Leche League International
Multiple Births Canada, Breastfeeding Support Network,www.multiplebirthscanada.org
Multiple Births Canada’s Breastfeeding Multiples Fact Sheet Series
-Guidelines for Transporting Breast Milk to NICU
-Breastfeeding Multiples: Fathers/Partners
-Breastfeeding Multiples: Nipple Pain & Vasospasm
-Are My Babies Getting Enough Breast Milk?
-Breastfeeding Multiples: Resources
-10 Tips to Successful Breastfeeding
La Leche League International, www.lalecheleague.org
The Pump List, www.pumpingmoms.org
Lactation Consulting Services Canada, www.breastfeedinghelp.ca
Canadian Paediatric Society, www.caringforkids.cps.ca/babies/Breastfeeding.htm
Multiple Blessings, Betty Rothbart, Hearst Books, 1994
Your Premature Baby, Nikki Bradford, Firefly, 2003
The Joy of Twins and Other Multiple Births, Pamela Patrick Novotny, Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1991
Feeding Your Baby the Healthiest Foods: from breast milk to table foods, Louise Lambert-Lagacé, Stoddart, 2000