Breast pump is a device that is used by mothers who want their baby to be fed mothers milk even when they are not around. In the 21st century, a large number of mothers are working, especially in metros. When we discuss about newborn babies, mother's milk is strongly recommended by doctors. But when it comes to working mothers, they are not available every time for the baby so that they can feed breast milk to the baby when required. In such conditions, mothers can store breast milk in a bottle or flask through breast pump which can be fed at the appropriate time to the baby by care takers, or father of the bay or any relative who is taking care of the baby.
Breast pumps are broadly sub-grouped into manual and electric breast pump. The purpose of both these pumps is same, and they differ only on the basis of their mechanism. The manual pumps are a simple mechanism that is operated by a piston which in turn is operated by hand while the electric pump runs on a motor. Hence, the manual pump is relatively cheaper and lighter due to absence of pump and a preferred choice of mothers who know to use it. The practical difficulty comes with mother who are not properly trained and end up getting very less or no milk. Also some mothers may end up with tired hand as it has to be operated by hand. If not trained properly, all this factors may combine to leave some amount of milk in the breast which is not advisable as it affects the supply.
The electric pump scores over the manual pump when it comes collecting milk. Some higher end models also provide facility of pumping both the breast at same time and hence saving more time as compared to manual pumps. The disadvantage is the cost and the noise which prevents this machine to be used when mothers are in close vicinity to sleeping baby. Also, if the parameters are not set properly, some women may feel that the electric pump hurts their breast. Using the pump with right setting ensures complete drainage of the milk in the breast and hence mothers may experience that the milk supply increases.
The basic operation of the breast pump is almost the same. The breast cup is placed in the breast and the pumping mechanism is provided by hand operated piston in manual breast pumps. In the electric pumps, once the breast cup is placed, the suction setting is set as desired. It is advisable to use the lowest suction setting in the beginning and once comfortable with the setting, it can be gradually increased. It is strongly recommended to clean the kit (parts that come in contact with milk) regularly before every use. The choice between and electric and manual pumps depends on the amount parents can pay, the ease with which they can understand and operate and the condition in which they have to use most.
Pediatric Oncall Journal
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