Manual Breast Pumping: A Cost-Effective Method to Boost Milk Supply

by Johnny Jacks
Manual breast pumping is a popular method among mothers due to its affordability and user-friendly operation. So, what exactly is a manual breast pump, and how do you use it? In this article, Goodheathplan.com invites you to discover the answers to these questions.

What is a Manual Breast Pump?

Manual breast pumping involves using a hand-operated mechanical breast pump to stimulate milk production. These pumps have a straightforward design, typically consisting of a hand squeezer, a breast funnel, a milk container, and other essential components. They are easy to assemble and use, and their uncomplicated structure makes cleaning after use a breeze.

A manual breast pump is a mechanical device operated by hand force.

A manual breast pump is a mechanical device operated by hand force.

Manual Pumping in 5+ Steps

Here are the steps to effectively perform manual breast pumping:

Step 1: Clean Your Breasts and Equipment

Before you begin manual pumping, it’s crucial to clean and disinfect your breasts and all related equipment. Properly disinfecting your breasts and tools ensures that your baby receives the cleanest and most nutritious milk. Neglecting this step may lead to contamination and pose health risks for your baby.

Clean the tools with a specialized solution before expressing milk.

Clean the tools with a specialized solution before expressing milk.

Step 2: Position the Breast Funnel Correctly

Once your hands and equipment are clean, place the breast funnel on your breast. Ensure a snug fit to prevent the funnel from becoming loose during pumping. A loose fit can allow outside air to enter, compromising the pump’s suction power. When purchasing a manual breast pump, select one with a properly fitting funnel for your comfort.

Adjust the milking funnel to fit the breast properly to prevent air from entering.

Adjust the milking funnel to fit the breast properly to prevent air from entering.

Step 3: Apply Pressure to Stimulate Milk Flow

Once the breast funnel is correctly positioned, use your hand to apply consistent pressure to the plunger, stimulating milk release. Adjust the suction to your comfort level, ensuring that it doesn’t cause pain or discomfort in the breast area. After milk secretion begins, gradually release the plunger to allow milk to flow out slowly. Continue this process for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Utilize your hands to continuously squeeze the lever in order to stimulate milk flow.

Utilize your hands to continuously squeeze the lever in order to stimulate milk flow.

Step 4: Maintain Manual Pumping for 15-20 Minutes on Each Breast

Mothers should continue manual pumping for a continuous duration of 15-20 minutes on each breast to allow ample time for milk gland activation. It’s important to avoid pumping for too short a period, as this can result in delayed milk release and incomplete milk expression. Conversely, excessively long pumping sessions can lead to back pain and sore nipples.

Each breastfeeding session should last for 15-20 minutes.

Each breastfeeding session should last for 15-20 minutes.

Step 5: Feed Your Baby or Store the Milk and Clean the Equipment

After expressing milk, mothers have the option to immediately use the bottle to feed their baby or store the milk in the refrigerator. Here are some recommended storage methods:

  • Milk left at room temperature (between 26 degrees Celsius and 28 degrees Celsius) can be safely stored for 4-6 hours.
  • Milk stored in the refrigerator (below 4 degrees Celsius) remains safe for 2-3 days.
  • Freezer storage (between -18 degrees Celsius and -20 degrees Celsius) will preserve the milk for an extended period, up to 6 months.
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Note: Mothers should adhere to the recommended storage times for breast milk to maintain its quality. Extended storage can lead to spoilage, degradation, altered taste, and potential health risks for the baby.

Furthermore, after pumping, it’s essential to clean the equipment either with warm water or a specialized solution to ensure the breast pump’s durability and hygiene for future use. Here’s how to clean a manual breast pump:

Step 1: Disassemble all machine components after use.

Step 2: Utilize cleaning tools and specialized milk bottle washing solution to remove any residual milk.

Step 3: Thoroughly rinse all disassembled parts with clean water.

Step 4: Sterilize the manual breast pump components by placing them in a bottle sterilizer, microwave, or boiling them in hot water. The recommended sterilization temperature is between 80-100 degrees Celsius.

Step 5: Allow the sterilized breast pump parts to air-dry on a clean towel before reassembling and using them.

Cleaning Notes:

  • Avoid using strong detergents of unknown origin to clean the breast pump.
  • If immediate cleaning is not possible after pumping, soaking the breast pump in warm water can help prevent milk fat from adhering and making it harder to clean.
  • It’s recommended to sterilize breast pump components once a day to maintain hygiene.
  • For newly purchased breast pumps, sterilization before initial use is advisable.
Unfinished breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator.

Unfinished breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator.

Important Considerations When Hand Pumping Milk

Before proceeding with the manual breast pumping steps, it’s crucial to take note of a few essential considerations:

Thorough Cleaning Before and After Pumping

Cleaning and disinfecting the breast pump both before and after pumping are vital tasks that mothers should not overlook. Ensuring proper cleaning of the machine is essential for removing dirt and bacteria, ultimately ensuring the safety of both mother and baby. Some safe and commonly used methods for sterilizing and cleaning manual breast pumps include:

  • Washing the specialized breast pump with hot water and soap.
  • Using a mixture of hot water and lemon to clean the machine after pumping.
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In addition, mothers should wash their hands thoroughly with soap before commencing pumping to prevent bacteria from entering the suction cup and potentially affecting the quality of breast milk.

Hydration with Warm Water or Milk

Another important consideration for effective pumping is staying hydrated by drinking warm water or milk before the pumping session. Since breast milk is composed of approximately 80% water, adequate hydration can significantly contribute to increased milk production. It is advisable to consume around 500ml of water or warm milk about 15 minutes before pumping. Furthermore, after pumping, mothers should replenish their fluid intake by drinking a glass of warm water to remain hydrated and enhance overall comfort.

Drinking warm water or milk before pumping helps stimulate a faster milk flow.

Drinking warm water or milk before pumping helps stimulate a faster milk flow.

Enhancing Effectiveness with a Combination of Suction and Breast Massage

To promote a faster and more efficient milk flow when using a breast pump, it is advisable to combine breast massage with pumping. This combined approach effectively stimulates the milk glands, increasing milk production. Moreover, breast massage serves as a preventive measure against blocked milk ducts, breast engorgement, and breast cancer.

Before initiating the pumping process, mothers can enhance milk stimulation by first soaking a towel in warm water and then applying it around the breast area. Subsequently, gently massaging the breasts for approximately 5 minutes will further stimulate milk production.

Combining breast massage while pumping milk stimulates the milk follicles.

Combining breast massage while pumping milk stimulates the milk follicles.

Adopt the Right Seating Position for Pumping

Choosing the correct seating position is essential to ensure a comfortable and efficient pumping experience. To maintain the proper posture, mothers should sit upright with their back against a chair or bed at approximately a 30-degree angle, as opposed to lying on their side in bed. Sitting incorrectly during the pumping process can hinder milk expression and potentially harm the breast. Additionally, prolonged incorrect posture can have adverse effects on the bones and joints.

Sitting in the right position helps mothers express milk comfortably and get more milk

Sitting in the right position helps mothers express milk comfortably and get more milk

Benefits of Manual Breast Pumping

Manual breast pumping offers several advantages, making it a popular choice among mothers:

  • Cost-Effective: One of the most significant advantages of a manual breast pump is its affordability, allowing mothers to save money.
  • Compact and Durable: Manual breast pumps feature a compact and simple design, making them highly durable and long-lasting.
  • Ease of Cleaning: The straightforward structure of the machine makes it easy to disassemble and clean.
  • Portability: Manual breast pumps are highly portable, as they do not rely on electricity, providing mothers with the flexibility to use them anywhere.
  • Adjustable Suction: Users can adjust the suction force to their preference, enhancing comfort and control.
Low cost manual breast pump suitable for many mothers' finances

Low cost manual breast pump suitable for many mothers’ finances.

Drawbacks of Manual Breast Pumping

Manual breast pumping has some disadvantages to consider:

  • Discomfort: Manual pumps may cause slight discomfort in the mother’s breasts since they lack a massage mode.
  • Hand Fatigue: Prolonged use can lead to hand fatigue because manual pumps require manual squeezing to express milk.
  • Lower Pumping Efficiency: Manual breast pumps generally have lower pumping efficiency compared to electric or battery-operated machines.
The efficiency of manual breast pumps for milk expression is relatively low.

The efficiency of manual breast pumps for milk expression is relatively low.

Should You Choose Manual or Machine Breast Pumping?

Criteria Manual Pumping Pump Milk by Machine
Cost The price is quite cheap, ranging from 10 USD to 120 USD depending on the features and utilities of the device. The price is high, starting from 100 USD for basic machines and going over 500 USD for models with many modern features.
Efficiency Relatively slow Faster
Does it cause pain? The machine causes slight pain in the breasts after pumping because there is no massage mode. It still causes some discomfort, but it’s less painful because there is a massage mode after pumping milk.
Convenience High convenience, can be easily transported anywhere. The machine requires a power source (except for battery-powered machines). Electric machines are often heavier than manual ones, making them less portable.
Good for health Manual pumping helps effectively unclog milk ducts. The machine operates safely and does not harm the breasts because the suction can be adjusted by the mother. Expressing milk with an electric pump can potentially damage the nipples and breast tissue if the pump has strong suction.
Time The operation is relatively slow, taking about 40 minutes when expressing from both breasts. Faster with a single machine, taking about 20-30 minutes, and even faster with a double machine, taking 10-20 minutes.
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Conclusion: The choice between an electric or manual breast pump depends on your economic circumstances and your intended use. These two types of machines come with distinct advantages and disadvantages.

If you’re seeking an affordable option that is sufficient for basic use and easy to carry around, a manual breast pump is a suitable choice. On the other hand, if you desire a machine with massage features and efficient milk expression, opting for an electric breast pump is recommended. However, in comparison to manual breast pumps, electric counterparts offer several advantages such as reduced discomfort, time savings, simultaneous pumping from both breasts, and more. Therefore, if mothers have the financial means, it’s advisable to choose an electric breast pump for their breastfeeding needs.

An electric breast pump is superior to a manual breast pump.

An electric breast pump is superior to a manual breast pump.

The above article offers information about manual breast pumps and their usage. It is our hope that this information helps you understand the product, the necessary steps for its use, and important considerations while using it. We wish all mothers a speedy and successful milk expression, ensuring a fresh and nutritious milk supply for their babies.

For mothers who have recently given birth and wish to explore more related information on postpartum topics, please visit our website here.

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