Pumping Your Breasts: Building and Maintaining Your Breast Milk Using a
Quality Electric Breast Pump
Purpose: To stimulate the production of colostrum/breast milk and to
build and maintain an adequate supply of breast milk for:
Premature or hospitalized baby
Mother needing to pump and bottle feed long term
Types of Electric Breast Pumps
Hollister/Ameda/Egnell Electric Breast Pumps
Medela Electric Breast Pumps
Medela Lactina Plus/Medela Lactina Select
Pumping Equipment Needed
Hollister/Ameda/Egnell or Medela electric breast pump
Compatible double pumping kit
Hollister/Ameda/Egnell Dual HigieniKit
Collection System with Flexishield Areolar
Medela Universal Pumping System
Storage containers and breast milk labels:
5 cc to 10 cc sterile plastic syringes and caps
(if collecting very small amounts during baby's
Sterile polycarbonate or polypropylene breast
milk collection and storage containers and lids
Sterile Breast Milk Freezer Bags and freezer
Baby's hospital generated identification labels
Method: When the breast pump does all or most of the work to build and
maintain your milk supply.
Wash hands and have available electric breast pump and dual set
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 a lactation consultant for advice.
Plan to pump each breast every 2 hours during the day hours and
every 3-4 hours at night. Write your schedule down each day and
follow it as closely as possible. Some days you may be able to
pump only every 3 hours or less, often if time is a problem. Do
the best you can for your baby and yourself.
Initially plan to pump your breast every 3-4 hours at night. As
your baby's nutritional needs increase, it may be necessary to
pump every 2-3 hours during the night. Continue to be aware of
your breasts. 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.
Place your nipple centered in the breast shield (flange) Hold
the shield (flange) snugly to your breast, maintaining a firm
seal. Hollister/Ameda/Egnell soft 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. Hollister/Ameda/Egnell and Medela have extra large custome
flanges (shields) that may help you build a large milk supply
for your baby. If interested, ask your baby's staff nurse or the
lactation staff for the custom flanges.
Practice relaxation. Listen to soothing music. Minimize stress.
Stress inhibits letdown. Breast massage and the use of moist
warm compresses prior to pumping can be helpful. Meditate about
your baby. Visualize your baby breastfeeding while you are
pumping. Look at snapshots of your baby. Tape and listen to the
sounds your baby makes while sleeping or crying. "Practice makes
perfect". Pump with your baby close beside you if possible.
Pumping is a learned experience, and will take you at least 1
week to feel comfortable and confident.
Save all (every drop) of colostrum/breast milk that you are able
Pump your breasts together for 15 minutes with your double
pumping kit. Use the large custom flanges for maximum results.
Breast massage for a few minutes and applications of moist warm
compresses for 5-15 minutes prior to pumping can be relaxing and
encourage letdown. You may pump straight for 15 minutes or
divide the time into 5 minute sessions with breast massage and
moist compresses after each session. Some women prefer to pump
each breast separately. Your double pumping kit will function as
a single kit if preferred. Follwo the manufacturer's directions.
As your milk volume builds, pump for a few minutes aftger you
milk flow stops. Try all the suggestions and use which plan
works best for you and your breasts.
When your breast milk supply is fully established, pump both
breasts for a few mintues after your milk flow stops.
If your baby is hospitalized, contact the lactation staff
through your baby's nurse if you have any questions about your
breast milk volume. Your goal should be to expect between 25-35
ournces each 24 hour period by 2-3 weeks of pumping.
Care of Your Double Pumping Kit
Obtain the pumping kit that is compatible for your electric
breast pump. Read and follow 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 the tubing. Warm/hot
water and any mild liquid soap are recommended. bottle br5ushes
are recommended to get deep inside the collecting bottle and
nipple flange. Do not use the bottle brush inside the white
valve. Avoid using antibacterial soaps. Bring a small bottle of
a mild liquid soap with you to use while visiting your infant in
the hospital. Rinse parts in warm/hot clean water and completely
air dry on a clean towel or drying rack. Cover between uses with
a clean, dry towel. You may also clean your pumping kit in your
dishwasher (top shelf, small pieces in a closed nipple basket).
If you are pumping with the Medela Universal Pumping System
inspect the tubing carefully after each use for accumulated
moisture. Any moisture in the pump tubing can contaminate your
breast milk. if any moisture or breast milk is found, read and
follwo the manufacturers directions for cleaning the tubing or
replace with new tubing immediately. The Hollister/Ameda/Egnell
diaphragm barrier (silicone cup) will prevent moisture from
entering the tubing during pumping. Choosing to wash the white
cap or the white pump connector can result in moisture
collecting in the tubing. Do not wash or dishwasher the
Hollister/Ameda/Egnell tubing, white cap or white connector
unless moisture is present.
Purchasing a second dual set up will allow you to have one set
up soaking in warm/hot soapy water while you are pumping with
your second set up.
Collecting and Storage Breast Milk for NICU/Pediatrics Babies:
These methods for storage of pumped breast milk are recommended.
Follow the method that works best for you and your family.
Discuss the benefits of fresh versus forzen breast milk with
your baby's staff nurse or physician.
Hospital supplied sterile polycarbonate or
polypropylene breast milk collection and storage
containers and lids (5 cc to 10 cc syringes and
caps if collecting very small amounts).
Parent purchased sterile Breast Milk Freezer
Bags placed in a sfreezer self-sealing bag and
stored upright to avoid leakage.
Fill the container up to 3/4 full, leaving air space for
expansion if freezing. Attempt to store in the amounts that your
baby is consuming per feeding or per 24 hours. Using your baby's
hospital generated identification label obtained from your
baby's nurse, label each container with the date and time of
pumping. Affix the baby's hospital generated identification
label to the storage container immediately after pumping. To
avoid smearing of the label, place a later of transparent scotch
tape over each approved printed lable prior to storage. Use a
separate container for each pumping session. Place the container
in your refrigerator or the back of your freezer. Do not store
frozen breast milk on the door of your freezer (too warm).
Follow these strict directions for storage of breast milk while
your infant is hospitalized:
Fresh breast milk at room temperature: 4 hour @
79 degrees F / 26 degrees C; refrigerate in 1
hour if warmer
Fresh breast milk refrigerated: 8 days @ 39
degress F / 4 degrees C or cooler
Frozen breast milk: 3 months @ 0 degrees F / -20
Previously frozen breast milk that is thawed in
the refrigerator (not warmed or used): up to 24
hours after thawing; do not refrigerate or
Previously frozen breast milk that is thawed in
warm water: discard after 1 hour; do not
refrigerate or refreeze. Thaw only amounts to be
used within 1 hour.
Send collected fresh or frozen breast milk to your baby daily.
Use a cooler bag and freezer gel packs (not ice) to maintain the
fresh or frozen state of your precious breast milk during
transport to the hospital.
You may contact the staff nurse who is caring for your baby any
time of the day or night. Calls and visits are welcomed. Visitng
hours for baby's parents are unlimited. Baby's siblings,
grandparents, and family members may visit according to
restricted hours. Discuss these restricitons with your baby's
Remember to wash your hands before each pumping and pouring of
your expressed breast milk into your sterile storage containers.
Thank you for keeping your baby's breast milk as clean as
Rental of the Electric Breast Pump:
Hollister/Ameda/Egnell and Medla electric breast pumps are
available for rental and purchase through local neighborhood
rental depots. Search the internet for cost savings. Double
pumping set ups are recommended to stimulate your full
production of breast milk and are recommended if your baby is in
the hospital. Remember, larger custom flanges (shields) may help
build a large milk supply for your baby. Rental pumps are
recommended while baby is hospitalized.
Rental costs range from $1.10 to $3.00 per day, $45 to $90 per
month 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.
Hospitalized babies: Rental costs are covered by some
insurance plans only while your baby is hospitalized. Recently,
some insurance plans are covering part of the cost of purchasing
a breast pump. Also, some insurance plans will arrange for your
pump's delivery to your home, your hospital room or the NICU or
Pediatrics. Costs for purchasing a second pumping set up will
not be covered. Your baby's physician can write you a letter of
medical necessity which may help your insurance company's
decision to cover the costs of rental of an electric breast pump
while your baby is in the NICU or Pediatrics. For your records,
save any information given to you by the Case Manager about your
Remember, that only you, the mother, can provide breast milk for
Suggestions for Parents of Premature (NICU) Babies:
Skin to Skin or Kangaroo Care (KC)
Begin as soon as you and your baby are ready.
Ask your baby's nuse when and how often you can do skin to
skin/Kangaroo Care with your baby.
Hospital gowns and privacy screens are available for your use.
Bring a special blanket in from home to wrap around you and
Kangaroo Care video is available in NICU library to view.
If You Plan to Ultimately Breastfeed...
Discuss with your baby's nurse about having your baby's first
several nipple feedings to be at your breast not on a bottle.
Breastfeed your baby as often as your baby can tolerate. This
will depend on baby's age, underlying illness, respiratory
status, rate of weight gain, developmental maturation and other
Breast Milk Volume
If any concerns with volume obtained with your breast pump, have
your baby's nurse leave a message for the lactation staff to
contact you. Aim for 120 minutes/24 hours of pumping.
Breast milk volume should be well established by 14 to 21 days.
expect the goal of 25-35 ounces each 24 hours.
Wash separate pumping pieces (not tubing) after every use with
very warm.hot water and mild non anti-bacterial liquid soap.
Remember to wash your hands before handling your breast pump,
pumping equipment and storage containers.
Breastfeeding After Discharge
When your baby is getting close to discharge, meet with the
hospital lactation staff to assess your latch and positioning.
Consider renting a Medela BabyWeigh scale for home use to help
you measure how much your baby is getting with each
breastfeeding, determin if supplements are needed and monitor
your baby's weight gain.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.