Read below to learn the three easy steps to get ready to pump.
1. Prepare to Pump
First, read your breast pump instructions. Always wash hands well with soap and water before handling the product. Assemble the kit. Attach the kit to the pump. Center the breast flanges over your nipples. Press them lightly against your breasts to make an air seal. If you are pumping with a double milk collection kit, see the photo of double pumping with one hand. By holding the flanges this way, you will have a hand free to start your pump. (If you want to single pump, just close off one of the adapter ports as instructed in the instructions for use.)
2. Turn the pump on
Ameda Purely Yours®/LactalineTM-Turn the suction dial to the right to turn on the pump
Ameda EliteTM-Turn the vacuum dial to the right to turn on the pump
Ameda Platinum®-Push the power button on
3. Set the Dials for Comfort and Milk Flow
Set suction/vacuum for comfort
Set SUCTION/VACUUM to the highest setting that feels comfortable and no higher. The strongest pump suction does not always pump more milk. You can increase the suction as your milk starts to flow and you become used to the pump, but remember pumping should never hurt. Your body does not release milk well when you are in pain.
Set speed/cycles for comfort and milk flow
Set SPEED/CYCLES to the fastest setting when you start pumping to stimulate your breasts to release oxytocin, which causes a milk ejection reflex (let-down). This release causes milk to be squeezed out of the alveoli, into the ducts and out of your nipple into the flange.
Once the milk is flowing, slow down the SPEED/CYCLES to keep the milk flowing. When the milk flow slows to a trickle or drip, return to the fastest setting until you trigger another milk ejection reflex, then slow the SPEED/CYCLES down again. This fast/slow pattern can be repeated several times to help drain your breasts.
Keep in mind that a baby sucks like this when she is breastfeeding-sucks fast to get the milk flowing, then slows down her suck to draw the milk out and drain the breast.
Stimulate the Milk Ejection Reflex (MER) When Pumping
The Milk Ejection Reflex is the process in which the hormone oxytocin causes glandular tissue or alveoli in the breast that stores milk to squeeze, causing the stored milk to low into the ducts that transport milk, and out of your nipples.
- Some mothers feel tingling during milk ejection reflex, others feel nothing and just see the milk flow start.
- While breastfeeding, most mothers have three or four milk ejection reflexes (MER) without even knowing it. This is why it is important to try to stimulate more than one MER when you are pumping. It will help you drain your breasts.
- A milk ejection reflex can happen with a touch at the breast, hearing a baby cry, or even by thinking about your baby. Pain or feelings of stress, anger, and upset can block the milk ejection reflex. So, try to relax and use your mind and senses. One or two senses may work better than the others, so test them all to find out which work best for you.
- Mind: Close your eyes, relax, and imagine your baby breastfeeding.
- Sight: Look at your baby or at your baby’s photo.
- Hearing: Listen to a recording of your baby cooing or crying. If you’re apart, call and check on your baby.
- Smell: Smell your baby’s blanket or clothing.
- Touch: Apply a warm cloth or gently massage your breasts.
- Taste: Sip a favorite warm drink to relax you.
If you are pumping with a manual pump like the Ameda One-Hand Breast Pump, you can do the same by using both fast and slow squeezes. Again, watch your milk flow and use it as your guide. Instead of double pumping, you will be single pumping (one side at a time). Change which breast you are pumping every 5-7 minutes for a total of 20 to 30 minutes.
This is general information and does not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. If you have a problem you cannot solve quickly, seek help right away. Every baby is different. If in doubt, contact your physician or healthcare provider.