Breast Pump Advice

Mums are using breast pumps at home than ever before and the benefits are clear to see.

In fact, we have seen a considerable increase in breastfeeding during lockdown especially, with the number of mothers breastfeeding their baby nearly doubling in Ireland. Breastfeeding has many benefits for both mother and baby, and it can be made more efficient and less time-consuming by using a breast pump.

To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, we asked Mums, midwives, and more from all around the world to speak about their experiences in using breast pumps, electric breast pumps, double breast pumps, why they did so, and some of the benefits.  

Why are Breast Pumps Used? 

If you’re regularly away or separated from your baby, or if there is a delay in breastfeeding after birth, your midwife may recommend using a breast pump to assist in expressing milk – you may also have to use a breast pump if your baby is unable to attach to your breast. Also, it offers Mom a level of freedom that they may be lacking, a level of independence so they can go back to work or make more time for personal engagements.  

“I went back to work (part-time) when my baby was six months. There is no way I could have continued breastfeeding without a pump. Having a pump not only made it possible to store breastmilk for my baby, but it also provided me with great relief during working hours as milk production builds up. Having breastmilk available for other people to feed my baby meant great freedom for me. I did try formula, but she never took it.” – Siliva Borges, Mums Delivery.  

Baby being held

“Breast pumps made life easier for me during my breastfeeding days. The convenience of pumping out breast milk and storing it for later use allowed me to return to work earlier, while still being able to provide my baby with breast milk, and alleviated the mum guilt you feel when wanting to still hold onto your career and have babies!” Carly Knowles, Bella Pelle Body Clinic.

“As a mother of 3 children, I found breast pumping gave me some additional time to sleep, head to the grocery store alone or re-start my exercise journey. I had peace of mind that my husband could give my babies a bottle with breastmilk so I wouldn’t have to rush home or roll out of bed for the next feed.” Dahlas Fletcher, Body Fabulous.

What are the Benefits of Breast Pumps? 

Baby being bottle fed

Many Mums can struggle whilst breastfeeding. Stress, anxiety amongst other things have been proven to reduce breastmilk supply causing a vicious circle. When adopting a breast pump into your breastfeeding routine, you can alleviate some of these issues. A breast pump can also be a vital tool for Mums struggling with mastitis – 

“I used a breast pump for both of my babies. I bought myself a small electronic one after my first bout of mastitis and I never looked back. At the beginning of my breastfeeding journey, it enabled me to control and prevent mastitis because I produced so much milk. When my boobs were overly full and rock hard, the baby wouldn’t attach to the nipple so I would pump off half a bottle of milk, and then they would latch without a problem. It really helped my breastfeeding journey.” – Anna Meyer, Anna’s Attire.

By introducing a pump into your usual routine, you can give yourself an opportunity to catch up on some of that lost sleep – “Pumping allowed me to sleep longer in the mornings, I would handle feeding at night alone, and then in the morning, I would sleep in and my husband would feed our baby pumped milk. It was the perfect solution for us because those first few months are extremely tiring! Our baby is allergic to cows’ milk protein so regular formula wasn’t an option as a supplement to breastmilk.” Notes Mum, Lucy Sherwood.

Pumping can also be useful for mums of premature kids –  

“For my first baby (born a little early) it helped me to increase my milk supply, maintain supply while I was at work, and donate breastmilk to other mums. For my second baby, it was really helpful for keeping my breasts clear of blockages and mastitis, managing my oversupply, and again donating breastmilk. For my most recent journey, the pump has been brilliant for helping me maintain milk supply when away from my baby and again, donating milk to other mums.” Aimee Sing, Birth Aims.

woman holding a baby

It’s important to note however that every case differs and that circumstances change for different Mums.  

“I would not recommend pre-buying a breast-pump prior to the baby arriving unless there are definite plans for the woman to return to work (in which case I’d recommend getting an electric double pump. Not all women find they need a breast pump. For some women, using a breast pump can assist with stimulating their full milk to arrive (particularly after C-Section deliveries), and to avoid Mastitis with an initial over-supply, in which case simply hiring an electric pump can work very well.” Stated Senior Midfwife & Best-selling maternity author, Kathy Fray

Are Breast Pumps Painful? 

Breastfeeding, in general, can be quite sore and there is a common misconception that breast-pumps can also be painful to use, however that is not the case – 

“Breastfeeding is no doubt a challenging journey and many people experience pain due to sore nipples, swollen breasts, cracked skin, etc. I have experienced those things, but I don’t think that happened because of the pump. Quite the opposite, I used my pump many times when looking for pain relief – for example, when my breasts had an uncomfortable oversupply of milk.” – Silvia Borges, Mums Delivery.

It’s important to note that if you are experiencing pain when using a pump, it could be down to an incorrect fitting – 

“I experienced some discomfort while expressing using a breast pump with my fourth child.  I resolved the issue by using a better-fitted flange size.  It is important to have the breast pump flange size appropriate for your nipple size.  An incorrectly fitted flange can cause nipple trauma, pain, blocked ducts, mastitis, and poor milk yield, decreasing milk supply from inadequate breast stimulation.” – Josie Plant, Registered Nurse, Thrive Lactation.  

“if women are experiencing pain that is typically a sign of an incorrectly fitted flange, suction that is too high, prior nipple or breast damage or underlying nipple sensitivity.” Aimee Sing, Birth Aims.

90% of the Mums we were in contact with recommended the use of breast pumps. They allow mums to have more free time, aid stress relief, and contrary to popular belief, actually alleviate pain.  

Should I Invest in a Breast Pump? 

If you’re a mum looking for a bit more freedom or a working Mum, a breast pump is a great option. Here at O’Flynn’s we have makes and models suitable for everyone. From double breast pump kits to custom-fit breast flanges, we strive to make this part of your journey as painless and stress-free as possible.  

ameda elite breast pump

Ameda Elite Double Breast Pump

Is it Better to Rent or Buy a Breast Pump? 

If you’re wondering if a pump is right for you, we offer a breast pump rental service that allows you to see if it works for you. Our rental pumps are medical-grade, which ensures you’ll have durability and comfortability. If you were to purchase a breast pump from a high street retailer you’re oftentimes going to be left disappointed, or worse, in pain. These are usually ineffective models, whereas our medical-grade breast pumps are just as efficient as the ones you will find in any hospital ward.