Megan Holdham

How to use a silicone breast pump

HOW TO USE A SILICONE BREAST PUMP (PLUS 8 TIPS)

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Silicone breast pumps, most commonly known by the brand name “Haakaa,” have become very popular over the last couple years.

Have you tried using one before?

Below I will tell you how to properly use a silicone breast pump, as well as give you some tips for success.

PLEASE NOTE: I am not a medical professional or lactation consultant of any kind. If you have any medical questions or questions related to your milk production or breastfeeding situation, please see your doctor or seek out a lactation consultant so that you may receive the proper care. Thanks! 🙂

What is a Silicone Breast Pump?

silicone breast pump

A silicone breast pump is a type of manual breast pump that can be attached to the breast in order to collect milk. It can be used while nursing, or in tandem with another manual or an electric pump.

How to Use a Silicone Breast Pump

First, make sure that your pump is clean.

Just like any other breast pump, you want to make sure that your silicone breast pump is clean and sterile before use.

Next, attach your pump to your breast.

silicone breast pump

In order to get the most suction and therefore maximize your milk collection, first fold the lip of the breast pump down.

Squeeze the bulb of the pump, and center it over your nipple. Make sure your nipple is not touching the sides of the pump, or you might experience some pinching or discomfort.

Release the bulb of the pump and fold the lip back up, around your breast.

Now, check your suction.

Once your pump is attached, it should hang freely from your breast once you are no longer holding it.

To see if you are getting proper suction, look at your breast pump. It should be gently pulling your nipple into the pump.

Also, the bulb portion of your pump should also remain slightly “deflated”.

Get comfortable!

Once your pump is attached to your breast, it should not be painful or uncomfortable.

If it is, try releasing the suction and try again.

Feed your baby (or pump).

While you may get a little bit of milk out with your silicone breast pump alone, in order to really see the full benefits of a silicone breast pump, you will want to use it in tandem with nursing or pumping on your other breast.

Once your baby (or pump) is producing milk from your opposite breast, the gentle suction of your silicone breast pump will encourage extra let-down from the breast in which it is attached.

This can be very helpful if you are trying to build a stash of extra milk to freeze for your baby to drink later.

This is the manual breast pump I really like.

8 Tips for Using a Silicone Breast Pump:

1. Make sure you fold down the lip.

As I mentioned above, it is SO important that you fold down the lip of the breast pump before you attach it to your breast.

You will get much better suction, and therefore really maximize the amount of milk that you are able to produce.

2. Use a mug.

This is a great tip. 10/10 highly recommend.

These breast pumps are very top-heavy and have been known to tip over from time to time.

Now, if you’re a pumping mom, you know how valuable breast milk is. It has rightly been nicknamed “liquid gold”. That is why it is SO TRAGIC for breastmilk to be spilled and therefore wasted.

Many silicone breast pumps are now being made with heavy bottoms, or suction bottoms to prevent this from happening.

HOWEVER, if you just have a regular old top-heavy silicone breast pump, try using a mug or another heavy glass to set your breast pump in after use, until you can transfer your milk to the fridge or freezer.

This has made all the difference for me. I no longer worry about accidentally spilling my milk after using my silicone breast pump.

YAY!

3. Don’t trust the measurements.

The lines on the side of the silicone breast pumps are typically known to not be super accurate.

If you are working to build a stash and want to know exactly how much you are collecting per session, I highly recommend pouring your milk into another (more accurate) container for measurement.

4. Use it in the car!

Fun fact. A silicone breast pump is great for using in the car! (Not while driving, of course!)

If you haven’t tried this before, I highly recommend it.

If you are ever in situations in which you need to pump while riding (as a passenger!) in the car, using a silicone breast pump in tandem with a manual breast pump works great!

It doesn’t require any electricity, plus you really only need one hand. This means you have a hand free for passenger duties such as DJ, navigation, or handing snacks back to your other kiddos.

This is the manual breast pump I use, and I love it.

5. Know your fat content.

When you collect milk using a silicone breast pump, the majority of the milk you’ll get will likely be foremilk.

If you don’t know, “foremilk” is the thinner, more translucent milk that you produce at the “beginning” of a feed. This is different from “hindmilk,” which is fattier and more filling and comes out at the end of a feeding session.

Because of the nature of a silicone breast pump, you are likely to get a lot of foremilk from this pump. Keep this in mind if you plan on saving your milk for your baby to drink later.

If you want to make sure that the milk you are giving your baby has plenty of fat content, you can try combining your silicone pump pumped milk with some fattier milk.

6. Incorporate massage.

If you want to get the most out of your silicone breast pump, try massaging your breast during your pumping/feeding sesh.

Just find the areas of your breast that seem firm and gently massage them to help evenly release milk from the breast.

Just be careful not to accidentally release your breast pump’s suction!

7. Take the edge off.

If you are having an issue with engorgement, a silicone breast pump can be a great tool to help take the edge off.

However, keep in mind that your body works under supply and demand.

This means that if you pump milk or your baby nurses, your body knows to keep making more. Put this into consideration before pumping extra milk.

Despite that, there are some situations where pumping a little bit of milk “off the top” can be very helpful.

8. Try different positions.

If your baby is getting bigger, or you’re just worried about him or her kicking the silicone breast pump, you can try different nursing positions to avoid this.

Obviously, you don’t want to get your breast pump kicked while you’re using it because then you run the risk of spilling your precious liquid gold.

I highly recommend trying either the football hold (if the baby is smaller) or the laid back or seated position.

You’re Doing Great, Mama!

Breastfeeding is great. Breastmilk is great. It is so nutritious for your baby, and breastfeeding really helps with bonding.

HOWEVER,

Please remember, FED IS BEST!

Whatever your situation, as long as you are taking good care of your baby and feeding them when they are hungry, you are doing a GREAT job!

Obviously, you need to be feeding your baby something that is nutritionally appropriate for their age. If you looking for formula and are unsure about what to get, please speak with your baby’s pediatrician.

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