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Have something to drink ready before you start pumping. Sit on a comfortable chair with good support for your back.

Hold the pump sets with your thumb and index finger, support your breasts with your palm.

How long to pump:
Each breast for 15 minutes at least up to approx. 40 minutes
For storing breast milk: 1 hour after the end of a breast feeding session For feeding breastmilk with a bottle only: After each feeding session.
To enhance milk production: 2 to 3 times daily one hour after the end of a feeding session How much to pump Divide the weight of the baby by 6 = daily amount in grams Divide the daily amount by the number of feeding sessions, results in amount of milk
Room Temperature:
4-6 hours at 19 to 26 °C
(66 to 78 °F)
3-8 days at 4°C
Thawed Breastmilk:
In refrigerator for 10h max. Do not freeze.
6-12 months
-18 to -20°C (0 to 4 °F)


Are you pumping to have milk in stock or to increase milk supply? If you are breast pumping with the aim of having milk in stock, pump one hour after the end of a morning session. Pumping in the morning is suggested as you are not as tired as you will be in the afternoon or evening and your milk flows more easily.

If your goal is to enhance your milk supply, pump after every second breastfeeding session for about 15 minutes, even if there is only a little milk being expressed. This additional suction stimulates your body to produce more milk. How to increase your milk supply with a breast pump While frequent pumping stimulates milk production, ‘power pumping’ is intended to boost your progress by replacing one regular pumping session with a strategically designed alternative in which you are repeatedly emptying your breasts. By doing so, you can mimic the frequent feeding of a baby experiencing a growth spurt, which in turn sends a signal to your body to make more milk.

To power pump, pick one hour each day or night – for example, seven o’clock every morning – and use the following pumping pattern: Pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes. Pump for another 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes. Pump again for 10 minutes. During the rest of the day, use routine pumping. Some women find that implementing power pumping for three consecutive days or nights is sufficient, while others may power pump for up to seven consecutive days to get results.

Whether you hand express or use a breast pump, wash your hands before you start
expressing and follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning the pump and the pump set.


Pumping in the morning is suggested as you are not as tired as you will be in the afternoon or evening and your milk flows more easily, consider your needs when establishing a pumping routine. Chat to a lactation consultant for more info.


Expectant parents find themselves in a whole new world of experiences, learning and expenses! Hearing your baby’s first heart beat fills you with excitement and wonder and can often start your heart racing while your head fills with questions and concerns; “will we have a boy or a girl”, “what must we do to keep Mom and baby healthy” and of course “how are we going to afford all this?” Having a baby can be expensive and there are lots of new things you will need to buy – never mind the medical bills! Thankfully friends and family are often there to offer their slightly used baby goods. While many nursery items like cots, prams, compactums, blankets and clothes can be shared and even welcomed a used breast pump should not be shared.

Second-hand breast pumps could potentially expose both you and your baby to several health risks, these health risks far out weigh the small amount of monetary savings associated with buying or borrowing a used breast pump. What Are The Risks? Breast pumps are personal hygiene products and come into direct contact with body fluid, any of the pump parts that are exposed to the previous mothers milk could harbour viruses that were in that mothers system. Your baby could be infected by these viruses! Some common viruses that could be transferred in breast milk are; Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Hepatitis and Human T-cell Leukaemia Virus type 1 (HTLV-1). Of particular concern to us in South Africa is the HI Virus being able to survive in a droplet of milk being stuck in a tubing or the pump motor. Health risks would also be increased if the previous Mother had Thrush (fungal infection), cracked or bleeding nipples – often the reason a breast pump was recommended for that Mom. What If I Replace or Sterilise the Pump Parts? Breast pumps sold in retail outlets directly to consumers are personal hygiene products for use by a single user.

 These pumps use suction to extract milk and the motors are not sealed which makes it possible for milk to enter the motor unit. Medela product packaging states: “Breastpumps are personal care items. Use by more than one woman may present a health hazard. For hygienic reasons, they cannot be returned once the packaging has been opened.” Medela instructions for use state: “This is a single user product. Use by more than one person may present a health risk and voids the warranty.” The individual user should wash and sterilise all parts that come into contact with breast milk after every use, for the safety of her baby. Buying new parts for a new user does not get around the problem of viruses or pathogens that may be present in parts of the pump that cannot be seen, cleaned or sterilised such as the electric pump motor.


Pumping works best when you are relaxed

 The following list of tips may help you find your own routine. Pumping can even provide you with welcome breaks from everyday stress. Following a routine may help you to stimulate a good milk flow. If you establish a fixed time of the day to pump, your body can prepare for the extra demand on your milk supply. It is easier to express milk when you are relaxed. Take your time. Feeling rushed will impair your let-down. You may also try deep breathing exercises, relaxation exercises from your antenatal class or positive visualisation. Seek privacy and avoid distractions. Have everything you might need within reach.

Apply warm compresses to your breasts to enhance let-down and milk flow. Some women prefer to massage their breasts before pumping to encourage the let-down reflex. Relax your shoulders and make sure your back and arms are well supported. Hold the breast shield from your pump set between your thumb and index finger. Use your palm and the other fingers to support your breast. This helps to maintain a good seal between the breast shield and the breast and avoids pushing the edges of the breast shield into your breast tissue, which can cause blocked milk ducts. Many mums find it easier to express their milk in front of their baby. If you are separated from your baby, you could look at a picture of your little one, listen to a recording of their voice or smell a piece of their clothing. Have a nice drink and a healthy snack handy before and during the pumping session. Get as much rest as possible. Using your breast pump Find a comfortable place to express your milk. Select the correct size breast shield (the part of the pump that is shaped like a funnel) for your breast. The breast shield should closely surround your nipple but leave enough space so that your nipple does not rub against the wall of the shield and can move freely back and forth.

Medela provides breast shields in different sizes. Pump at Maximum Comfort Vacuum. The Maximum Comfort Vacuum is the highest vacuum a mother can tolerate and still be comfortable. You can determine your own Maximum Comfort Vacuum by increasing the vacuum until pumping feels slightly uncomfortable (not painful), then decreasing the vacuum slightly. The key for successful milk expression is stimulating your let-down reflex. Discomfort or pain will hamper your let-down. Massage your breasts before and occasionally during pumping to encourage your let-down and milk flow. Double pumping cuts your pumping time in half. Your prolactin level is higher when you use a double pump, so you may produce more milk over time. When you pump one breast at a time, switch from one side to the other several times. Milk expression should never be painful. If you feel any pain, stop pumping immediately and ask your lactation consultant for advice. Do not risk damaging your sensitive breast tissue by using your breast pump incorrectly!


Hygiene during breast pumping

Whether you hand express or use a breast pump, wash your hands before you start expressing and follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning the pump and the pump set. Good hygiene is mandatory if you want to give your expressed milk to your baby.

All parts of the breast pump and the containers used to collect and store your milk should be cleaned and disinfected before use. If your baby is sick or born prematurely, follow the hospital guidelines strictly.


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