Manual Breast Pump
The need to use a manual breast pump depends on each mother, each circumstance and each child. The usual thing is to use this device when the baby is premature or for example if the mother breastfeeds her child and must soon enter the labor market. There are many reasons why a mother decides to buy a manual breast pump. In this guide we will give you some guidelines so that you can choose wisely the best manual breast pump and at the best price.
Expressing with a manual breast pump is very practical for specific occasions, compared to electric breast pumps that are more recommended for repetitive pumping. One of the most appreciated and sought-after characteristics by mothers is that the breast pump is easy to extract and that it can be used with one hand so that the baby can be breastfed on the other breast with the arm that is free.
Think that the main difference between a manual pump and an electric one is who performs the extraction function. Although also depending on the model, the extraction will be more or less comfortable. One of the most common complaints of mothers who use breast pumps is that the machine hurts them and that it takes a long time to express the milk that is because, as we will see later, each breast is different and the manual breast pump must be chosen carefully. Depending on the shape of the funnel and its size.
What is the best manual breast pump?
Before buying a manual breast pump, we recommend that you look at the extraction technology with which it is designed, so that it resembles the natural suction of your child as much as possible. It is also very important to look for one that has an ergonomic format so that it fits well in your hands and you can operate the lever without much force and without problems.
Without a doubt, breastfeeding is the best food we can offer our baby at least during the first months of life. However, when time passes and you need to enter the job market or your breasts simply need a break, the breast pump can become a great ally to keep your breastfeeding under control.
How to choose the best manual breast pump?
The need to use a manual breast pump to empty the breasts will depend on each woman; there will be mothers who are not separated more than 2 or 3 hours from their children and others who will not feel a very strong rise in milk. On the contrary, there will be women who have to work or for any reason are separated from their children for more time and may have the need to express their milk manually.
Millions of mothers express milk on a daily basis; in fact more than 90% of these mothers with premature or underweight children use expressed milk to breastfeed them. These devices are generally very easy to use, you just have to place the nozzle of the breast pump on the nipple and squeeze the lever. Although it is true that the nipples are a very delicate part, so it is very important to know how to choose a good breast pump. In this guide, we will offer you all the guidelines to know how to choose a good manual breast pump.
The first question that surely comes to mind is do I really need a manual breast pump? If you are not sure if you need a device like this, it is best to ask yourself the following questions and if you answer yes to any of them, then the answer is yes:
- Do you want to express milk to relieve engorgement, any symptoms of mastitis or nipple pain?
- Are you planning to go back to full-time or reduced-time work in a short time?
- Are you interested in expressing milk so that the father or another person caring for the baby can give it in your place?
- Do you have a premature or special needs baby for whom you need to express milk?
- Do you want to increase the amount of milk you generate?
- Do you plan to be separated from your baby for a few hours at a time from time to time?
The first question that any mother thinking of buying a manual breast pump should answer is, what am I going to use it for? This question, although it seems simple, encompasses many others, because it also responds to frequency aspects and if you need to buy one that is double or single, we will talk about that later.
If you have in mind to buy a breast pump to increase the production of breast milk and you want to use it while the baby suckles from the other breast, it is advisable to buy a simple breast pump and to be able to be manual so that it does not bother the baby.
Differences between purely manual milk expression and using a breast pump
First, remember that there is no better or more effective extraction than the natural one, that of a breastfeeding baby. For the technique used by the baby and the emotional bond with the mother can never be overcome by any machine or device. However, for personal or professional reasons mothers sometimes need help to relieve the pressure on the breasts that milk produces. When you start using a technique at first it costs more and you don’t get as much milk as you want and as fast as you want.
There are mothers who prefer to opt for a purely manual expression of milk, as many find it more natural and also helps them to stimulate the breasts. This method usually requires more practice and at first, it is quite normal that you do not express a lot of milk, but with practice, you can express a lot of milk in less time and with less effort. The biggest drawback of this practice is that not all mothers are skilled enough or do not have the strength or coordination to do it.
A manual or automatic breast pump can express milk more slowly or more quickly but at least it does not depend on the strength or ability of the mother. You simply adjust the nozzle of the breast pump around the nipple and in case it is manual, you have to press a lever gently or if it is automatic, the machine will do the function of extracting the milk.
In addition, another advantage of a breast pump compared to manual expression is that the first allows you to store the expressed milk in bottles or bags to later feed your baby. In this way, not only does it relieve the pressure caused by overload of milk in the breasts, but you can use the milk to feed your baby, you do not have to give it immediately but you can store it to give it at another time.
Make sure you store it correctly, that is, in a suitable bottle and in the fridge, and it cannot be stored for long.
How much milk can I get?
At first, it does not depend so much on the device used to express the milk; it does not matter if you use a manual breast pump, an automatic breast pump or if you express the milk manually because in the first few times it is rare that more than a few drops come out. However, do not despair because little by little and with practice the amount of milk expressed will be greater until you manage to empty the breasts completely. Keep in mind that milk expression is both a physical and psychological process that is why the first few times it is not common for a lot of milk to be expressed, it is best not to get overwhelmed and go little by little. At the beginning, every drop counts and is very important for both you and the baby.
Factors that depend on the time of expressing milk in a mother
As we have already mentioned, it is very important that the mother feels comfortable when she is expressing her milk, as it is not only a physical process but also an emotional one. There are many tricks to help the “milk rise”, for example a garment with the baby’s scent or humming the favorite lullaby. A hot water compress or massage around the nipples may also help to dilate them.
If the mother already has experience in caring for children, it is natural that she feels more comfortable and calm when using a manual breast pump. Think that she has already gone through all the mistakes of a new mother and has learned from them. An advantage for those mothers who already have children is that they know their body more thoroughly and know how often they should express milk and how much. Experience is a degree in all respects.
If the mother has gone through a stressful situation for any reason, because either the baby was born prematurely or for any personal or professional reason, this is most likely reflected for milk produced and extracted. Therefore, in these cases it is best to have the support of your partner, friends and family.
The breast pump itself also affects the time and amount of milk expressed. Not all models are the same nor are all the same for all mothers that is why before buying a manual breast pump, it is important to know what type and model is the best for you.
Factors on which the amount of expressed milk does not depend
Just as there are factors that affect when expressing breast milk, many others are not and have run like hoaxes. Here we will take care of uncovering them so that the truth comes out.
It has always been thought that drinking more fluids would improve the amount of milk produced by the mother during breastfeeding. The truth is that the mother should drink as much as she needs to quench her thirst, but not by drinking more will she produce more milk as previously thought.
No food will affect the production of breast milk; it is possible that the taste of the milk varies according to the food that the mother has consumed but never the amount.
There is a popular belief that certain foods increase the amount of milk a woman produces during her lactation period. If we look at it in a positive way, if a mother by consuming a product is going to produce more milk, the psychological aspect will work in such a way that the mother trusts the properties of this food and eventually ends up producing more milk.
Aspects to consider when choosing a manual breast pump
In this section, we will tell you what things to look for when choosing a good manual breast pump. Thanks to the huge offer and this buying guide, it will not be difficult for you to find a breast pump that meets your needs.
If you need the breast pump to feed, the little one when you are not at home, then one aspect that will surely make you opt for one model or another is the capacity of the bottle. If you are going to be away from home for at least half the day, you will need either a manual breast pump that comes with different containers or one with a larger capacity.
Not all storage cups are the same there are plastic and glass. There are also manual breast pumps that have the nozzle adapted to the nipple of certain brands of bottles, so you only have to adjust the nipple and feed the little one.
Naturally, one of the most important aspects to take into account when looking for the best manual breast pump is the extraction system it uses. In general, mothers look for the system that most closely resembles that of the child’s suction. If we are determined to make a comparison between different manual breast pumps, there are two fundamental systems when it comes to expressing milk:
- Manual pumps: it works with a lever system that imitates the suction of the child on the chest. The advantage of hand pumps is that we can adjust the operation and it is usually not painful. In addition, there are some brands of children’s products, which have managed to imitate the suction of the child with an adjustable lever; in this way, it has managed to divide the suction system into two phases just as the baby does. The first suction is faster and is done to stimulate the milk to come down and the second suction is slower so that the milk flows.
- Vacuum levers: this system is somewhat more painful since milk extraction is done as if it were a corkscrew. You pull a lever to create a vacuum inside a tube and this in turn creates the suction of the breast for the milk to come out.
Since it is a product, that you will use continuously, it is very important that it have a simple cleaning system, without forgetting the health of the little ones. Generally, the fewer parts the pump has, the easier it will be to clean it and the more hygienic it will be for the baby.
When we talk about cleaning the breast pump, we refer, of course, to its sterilization. That is why before launching to buy a model we must make sure that all its parts and accessories can be sterilized with effervescent tablets with hot water, with cold water or using traditional methods.
It is not a question of looking for an expensive or cheap manual breast pump in this sense, but rather that the parts can be separated well to be easy when cleaning and sterilizing it correctly.
These aspects should apply not only to the breast pump itself but also to the breast pump and its accessories. Remember that these children’s products are the ones with the highest risk of contamination, so it is extremely important to be able to clean them thoroughly.
Having to express milk when we are not at home or at other specific times, we also have to think about what accessories are best for us and what we need for our manual breast pump.
In general, the more accessories it includes, the higher the price of the product, but many times we do not think whether we really need the accessories that our manual breast pump includes. So first we must think about what accessories we will need in the future. The next thing would be to analyze the quality of these accessories and if it is about accessories for milk storage, you have to look closely at the capacity of the bottles and baby bottles.
Following in the line of bottles and baby bottles, it is important that these have a good hermetic seal to be able to store it without problem in the fridge or freezer and take it out when we need it to feed our baby. It is also advisable to opt for those bottles that have the possibility of directly connecting the bottle glass to a nipple so as not to go around making changes from a bottle to your bottle. Not only is it more comfortable, but it is a cleaner and more practical system.
It is a big mistake to think that all breast pumps are the same; it is true that the function of expressing milk is the same for everyone, but with great differences between them. There is no good or bad breast pump, as it depends on the personal preferences and needs of each mother.
There are many types of breast pumps: double, single, automatic, manual etc… the most important thing is to know what you are going to use it for and how often you think you are going to use it.
In addition, each model is different from each other, so in addition to choosing a type, it is convenient to think about other factors such as type of extraction, storage capacity of the bottles, the type of suction of the manual breast pump and much more. The most important thing when choosing the best manual breast pump is to consider your personal needs and find the model that is most comfortable for you to express breast milk.
We have already discussed the need to choose a breast pump that allows you to clean it comfortably and that the parts are easily disassembled. However, it is not necessary to sterilize the breast pump after each use, what the manufacturers recommend is that it be sterilized before the first use and in case it has been stored for a long time.
It will be enough to clean the breast pump regularly and maintain proper hygiene in the same way as we do with other kitchen appliances.
Do not worry because the milk that you express manually is not the same as the one that your baby drinks directly. No matter how good a manual breast pump is, it will never have the same suction capacity that a baby has.
There is no reason to be alarmed, because with practice you will be able to get more milk and in less time. Although these machines are to help express milk, the only perfect machine to express breast milk is the baby himself.
Don’t think of the amount of milk you express as an indicator of how much milk you make or the amount of food your baby takes.
After analyzing these three manual breast pumps, we cannot say that there is one better than the other is because it fully depends on the needs of the mother. What we can say is that if you know what you are going to use this device for, it will be very easy for you to choose the one that is best for you.
Thus, if you need a small supplement to relieve breasts, increase your milk capacity or if you know that you are going to use it sporadically, we recommend the Medela manual breast pump. Well, even though it is ergonomic and easy to use, it is somewhat slower when it comes to expressing milk.
On the other hand, if you have more Chicco brand products, you have gotten used to them and you like how they work, we recommend the Chicco brand breast pump. Not only because you can use has it like any other bottled of the same brand, but also because the brand itself gives you a certain guarantee of quality and safety.
Finally, the Philips breast pump is perfect if what you need a more regular extraction and a device in which you can store the expressed milk and preserve it, as it comes with 3 storage glasses.
We hope that this buying guide will help you when choosing the best manual breast pump that best suits your needs.