We recommend using electric breast pumps over manual or battery-powered
models. Electric pumps come in light-weight, mid-weight and heavy-weight
(hospital-grade) models. We recommend the following models manufactured
by Hollister/Egnell and Medela Electric.
Large, heavy hospital-grade pumps: Hollister/Egnell SMB, Medela
Light-weight pumps with carrying case: Hollister/Egnell Purely
Yours, Medela Pump In Style. Note that light-weight models are not
recommended if your baby is in the NICU, when you are trying to
stimulate the production and build the full volume of your
We also recommend double pumping set-ups, which can be used to extract
milk from both breasts at the same time, over single pumps. Double pumps
better stimulate your full production of breast milk and save time spent
pumping. (Note that even if you have a double pumping kit, it can
function as a single pumping kit if you decide you prefer to pump one
breast at a time.)
Additional equipment you will need:
A compatible pumping kit for your chosen pump (contains breast
shields, tubing, etc.). For double pumping, we recommend the
Hollister/Egnell Dual HygieniKit Collection System with
FlexiShields Areola Stimulator or the Medela Universal
Various sterile collection/storage containers:
plastic syringes or plastic Volu-Feed bottles with
sterile caps or nurser bags used in conjunction with
self-locking freezer bags or specially made freezer
bags, such as Hollister/Egnell Mother’s Milk Freezer Bags or
Medela CSF ("Collect, Store and Freeze") Bags
Hollister/Egnell and Medela electric breast pumps are available for
rental and purchase through your neighborhood rental depot. To find a
local rental depot call:
Hollister/Egnell local rental depots:
Medela local rental depots: 1.800.435.8316
You may also call the Main Line Health Lactation Center
at 484.476.2336. Press 2 for a few of the current
locations in Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery counties.
Rent or Purchase? Call the Lactation Center if you have
questions about purchasing versus renting a quality breast pump.
Preferred models to rent: We recommend one of
the mid-weight models for rental (the Hollister/Egnell Elite, Medela
Lactina Plus or Medela Lactina Select). Easy to carry, these models pump
both breasts at the same time efficiently, are user-friendly, and have
an available adapter that plugs into the lighter in your car. They are
excellent choices for long-term, frequent pumping. Double pumping
set-ups are recommended and are a separate purchase.
Rental costs range from $1 to $3 per day, depending on the length of
time you rent the pump. A small charge may be required to cover loss or
damage to the pump. Costs are subject to change. An initial deposit may
be required or waived depending on the policy of the rental depot.
Discuss any questions with the staff at the Lactation Center.
Preferred models to purchase: If you are going
to purchase your breast pump, we recommend one of the light-weight
models (the Hollister/Egnell Purely Yours or Medela Pump In Style). They
pump both breasts at the same time efficiently, are user-friendly, and
come with a carrying case. They are excellent choices for long-term,
less frequent pumping. Double pumping set-ups are included. They range
in cost from $180 to $240 and are available for purchase on the Internet
at reduced cost.
Insurance: Rental costs, not purchase costs, are
covered by some insurance plans. Also, some insurance plans will arrange
for your pump to be delivered to your home, your hospital room or the
NICU. Please ask the NICU/Maternity case manager to contact your
insurance carrier to check on coverage of your rental breast
pump and any specific requirements that your must follow to have your
pump covered. For your records, save any information given to you by the
case manager about your pump coverage.
Daytime: Plan to pump each breast every two
hours. Begin pumping when you wake in the morning, and pump
every two hours until you go to sleep at night. Write your
schedule down each day and follow it as closely as possible.
Some days you will be able to pump only every three hours, or
less often, if time is a problem. Do the best you can for your
baby and yourself.
Nighttime: While you are still in the hospital,
you do not need to schedule pumping sessions during the night.
When you are discharged home, however, plan to pump your breasts
every four hours during the night. As your baby's nutritional
needs increase, you will pump every two to three hours during
the night. If fullness or discomfort wake you at night, get
up and pump. This will help your milk supply and prevent
engorgement, plugging and breast infections.
Aim to pump for a total of 120 minutes in 24 hours, at least.
Steps for use:
Wash your hands and have your electric breast pump and double
pumping kit readily available.
Whenever possible, massage your breasts for a few minutes and
apply moist, warm compresses for 5 to 15 minutes prior to
pumping. This helps you relax and encourages letdown.
Place your nipple centered in the breast shield. Hold the shield
snugly to your breast, maintaining a firm seal. A Note
About Breast Shields: Hollister/Egnell silicone
FlexiShields are included in the pumping kit. Experiment and try
pumping with and without the FlexiShields. Use the FlexiShields
if you like them. If the FlexiShield causes friction on your
nipple, discontinue use. Medela has a larger nipple flange
available for purchase, if needed to accommodate larger nipples.
If interested, call Medela at their toll-free number to purchase
the Extra Large Glass Breastshield Kit.
Begin pumping with suction at the lowest setting. Increase the
suction to your tolerance. Pumping should not be painful or
cause nipple damage. If pumping is painful on the lowest
setting, call the Main Line Health Lactation Center at
484.476.2336 for advice.
Pump each breast for 15 minutes. You may pump each
breast separately, if you have a single pumping model, or pump
both breasts simultaneously, if you have a double pumping model.
You may pump for 15 minutes straight or divide the time into
three 5-minute sessions, with breast massage and moist
compresses between sessions. Try all the suggestions and use
which plan works best for you.
Save all (every drop) of the breast milk that you are able to
collect for your baby’s feeds.
Relaxation Tips: Practice relaxation when using your
pump. Listen to soothing music. Meditate about your baby. Visualize your
baby breast-feeding while you are pumping. Look at snapshots of your
baby. Tape and listen to the sounds your baby makes while sleeping and
crying. Do anything that you find helps to minimize stress, as
stress inhibits letdown. Massaging the breast and applying moist, warm
compresses prior to pumping can be helpful. Do not worry about the
amount of milk that you are able to collect—practice makes perfect.
Pumping is a learned experience, and will take you at least one week to
feel comfortable and confident.
Obtain the pumping kit that is compatible for your electric breast pump.
Read the manufacturer’s directions included in the kit.
Double pumping kits must be completely taken apart and each part washed
separately after each use, except for the tubing. Do not wash the
tubing. Warm to hot water and any mild liquid soap are recommended.
Rinse parts in warm to hot clean water and completely air dry on a clean
towel or drying rack. Cover between uses with a clean, dry towel. Larger
pieces may be cleaned in your dishwasher on the top rack.
If moisture collects inside the tubing, detach the pumping set up from
the tubing leaving the tubing attached to the motor and run the pump
with only the tubing attached until the moisture clears.
If tubing is washed accidentally, pour rubbing alcohol through the
tubing to remove all the water and allow the alcohol to completely
evaporate before using the tubing for the next pumping.
Obtain sterile plastic syringes or sterile Volu-Feed bottles and
caps from your maternity nurse or your baby’s NICU nurse.
Save all the breast milk that you are able to pump. Every drop
is precious and valuable to your baby’s health and nutrition.
Fill syringes or Volu-Feed bottles ½ to ¾ full and leave a small
amount of air for expansion before sealing closed.
Label with tape. Write your baby’s name, the date and time of
pumping, and any medications you have taken within the last 24
Send the collected ilk to your baby immediately. The NICU staff
will refrigerate or freeze the milk until needed and will use
the oldest milk first.
Three types of storage containers for pumped breast milk are suggested.
Choose the type that works best for you and your family:
Small 4-oz. plastic baby bottles, sterilized in your dishwasher
or boiled in a large pot for 15-20 minutes prior to each use
Small 4-oz. Gerber or Playtex sterile nurser bags, placed in a
self-sealing freezer bag (check with the NICU staff to see if
your freezer bags are acceptable)
Sterile freezer bags, such as Hollister/Egnell Mother’s Milk
Freezer Bags or Medela CSF Bags, available through the local
pump depots or the toll-free phone numbers
If you have any questions or concerns about which type of container is
best, discuss them with your baby’s neonatologist or pediatrician. Once
you have selected your preferred storage method, follow these steps:
Fill the container ½ to ¾ full, leaving air space for expansion
during freezing. If using sterile nurser bags, fold the top down
3-4 times and seal tightly with tape. Place the nurser bag in a
self-sealing freezer bag.
Label each container with your baby’s name, the date and time of
pumping, and any medications taken within the last 24 hours. Use
tape for labels, do not write directly on the container, as ink
may leach through into the milk.
Place the container in the back of your freezer. Do not store
frozen breast milk on the doors of your freezer, as it will be
Send collected frozen breast milk to your baby at the hospital
NICU daily. Keep the breast milk frozen during transport
to the NICU by use of picnic-type cooler bags and freezer gel
Breast milk storage times for premature or ill babies:
Fresh breast milk at room temperature: 1 hour
Fresh breast milk refrigerated: 48 hours
Frozen breast milk: 1 month
Frozen breast milk at 0°F (-19°C ): 6 months
Thawed, refrigerated breast milk: 24 hours
Thawed, warmed breast milk: 1 hour
Breast milk storage times for full-term, healthy babies:
Fresh breast milk at room temperature (79°F): 4 hours
Fresh breast milk refrigerated 32°-39°F (0°-4°C ): 8 days; if
uncertain of refrigerator temperature, store for only 2 days
You may contact the NICU staff nurse who is caring for your baby any
time of the day or night. Calls and visits are welcomed. Visiting hours
for baby’s parents are unlimited. Grandparents, siblings and other
family members may visit according to restricted hours. Discuss these
restrictions with your baby’s nurse. Ask your baby’s nurse for a parking
pass to help with your frequent visits.
Follow these basic care instructions. Call the Main Line Health
Lactation Center at 484.476.2336 if you have any questions or concerns.
Do not use soap on your nipples. Wash only with warm water as
needed and daily in your shower or bath.
Avoid the routine use of breast creams or lotions. If your
nipples become tender or sensitive, apply a few drops of breast
milk after each pumping session by hand, rubbing gently into
your tender nipple and areola. Air dry for a few minutes. Breast
milk contains enzymes to soothe your nipples and heal damage
from friction. If needed, ask for instructions in learning how
to hand express. Lansinoh is a safe cream to use if breast
creams are needed.
Air dry your nipples for a few minutes after each pumping.
Use of a nursing bra is optional. You may leave your bra off
until your milk supply builds and your breasts need the support.
Use a few layers of towels on your bed at night to absorb any
leakage and keep your bed dry. Avoid underwire bras.
Nursing pads are optional. If needed, use only 100-percent
cotton pads. Quality nursing pads may be purchased at the breast
pump rental depots or local maternity shops. You may also make
your own by cutting up old, soft, cotton tee shirts or folding
men’s cotton handkerchiefs inside your bra.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.