If you’re breastfeeding, it helps to build a little stash of breastmilk for when you may need to be away from baby.
One of the newer ways to do this is to use a silicone breast pump or breastmilk collector. It can be a super-simple method of collecting some extra breastmilk – without the hassle of pumping!
Is a silicone breast pump right for you? Let’s take a look at what it is (and what it’s not) and how it works.
What is a silicone breast pump?
It is a small silicone device that collects breastmilk from one breast while baby feeds on the other. A silicone breast pump uses your body’s natural response to breastfeeding to help you collect more milk. You simply breastfeed as you normally would and attach the silicone breast pump to the opposite breast. The silicone breast pump will create gentle suction to help extract milk while you focus on bonding with your baby. Bonus: It’s perfectly silent and completely hands free.
How does a silicone breast pump work?
When you breastfeed, two hormones work together to make it all possible: prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin helps your body make milk, and oxytocin helps release it. When your baby suckles on your breast, it’s Oxytocin that tells the milk secreting tissue to contract and push milk out of your milk ducts when baby sucks. This is sometimes referred to as a let-down. If you’ve breastfed before, you know milk is often released from both breasts – resulting in leaks and wasted milk on the side baby’s not feeding on. A breastmilk collector takes advantage of the let-down reflex, plus some extra suction, to extract that extra milk. You save the milk in a bottle or storage bag, depending on how soon you’ll use it.
When should I use a silicone breast pump?
Start slow to find what works for you. How you use it will depend on your goals for your supply and freezer stash. Using it multiple times a day could boost your milk supply or even lead to oversupply. Check with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.
How is a breastmilk collector different from a pump?
It’s important to know that a breastmilk collector shouldn't replace an electric or manual pump. If you’re going to be apart from baby when he or she would normally eat, a double electric breast pump is probably your best bet. Why? A pump uses repetitive suction to trick your body into thinking that a baby is feeding, which is key to maintaining your supply. Some pumps, like the Lansinoh Smartpump 3.0 and Signature Pro, even have special settings to help stimulate milk let-down and help mimic your baby’s feeding style. A breastmilk collector doesn’t create repetitive suction, so it won’t be as efficient at removing milk from the breast as a pump, but it is great for collecting a little extra milk.
Is this “let-down” milk nutritious for baby?
Yes! Breastmilk, in all its forms, is the most amazing superfood we can offer to our babies. Using a silicone breast pump in combination with breastfeeding and/or pumping will help baby get a healthy supply of breastmilk over time. If baby is drinking a lot of milk gathered from a breastmilk collector, consider mixing it with pumped milk to ensure he or she gets enough of those healthy fats.
Will a silicone breast pump work for me?
Everyone is different, and results will vary from mom to mom. But because silicone breast pumps are such a simple way to collect some extra milk, it’s worth a try!
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