Breast pumping is a great way to feed your baby breast milk at any time (by anyone!) and maintain your milk supply. There are many pumps out there on the market varying by style- single or double breast, single breast, electric, battery, or manually operated, and of course by price.
Electric pumps are easy to use and the fastest way to pump your breasts. Most electric pumps also provide two pumps, enabling mom to pump both breasts concurrently which is a HUGE time saver! Also, pumping both breasts at the same time increase prolactin levels (the hormone involved in milk production) allowing you to pump more milk in a shorter period of time. These pumps are your best bet if you will be pumping often and want to save time. These can be bought in stores and in hospitals. Hospital grade pumps (which also come portable) will be on the pricier side, but will eventually be worth the investment. Electric pumps are the most effective and time saving method to pump.
Battery operated pumps are also very effective however, are less powerful than the electric pumps. To make up for the decrease in power is the price (except for constant battery changes). the portability and the fact that it is a hands free system is extremely convenient, making them a popular choice among mothers.
Manual pumps are a great option if you don’t mind operating them by hand. Manual pumps are also easier on your wallet. The length of time is takes to pump will be longer, and you can only pump one breast at a time however, they will stimulate milk let down and be as effective as electric and battery operated pumps.
If you choose to pump do so as often as your baby would feed- every 2-3 hours therefore pumping at least 8 times a day. Pumping time will vary depending on your pump, if you are pumping 1 or 2 breasts, and the volumes that you are pumping, so be prepared to pump between 10 and 40 minutes. Storage of breast milk is also important to note. Milk should be stored in specialized storage containers and can remain in the fridge for 48 hours, in a freezer for 3 months, and in a deep freezer for 6-12 months (Use your milk in the order you pumped it because the components change as your baby gets older- so a date on each bottle is important!). When thawing or warming milk do NOT put the milk in the microwave as it warms the milk unevenly potentially burning your baby, and it also changes the components of the milk. Alternatively, thaw milk by defrosting it in its bottle submerged by warm water until ideal temperate is reached. Remember, once you thaw milk, it has to be used 24 hours and it CANNOT be re-frozen.
So do a little research into the different types of pumps and choose one that fits your lifestyle and budget! And remember, hand expressing is always an option to express ones milk- it is easy and free!