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How to use a Breast Pump

Your new Freemie Breast Pump will become much easier to use after your first experience. Mothers wanting to know all about how to use Freemie Breast Pumps for the first time share many of the same questions, so we have a Frequently Asked Questions page that we hope has the answer you’re looking for. If not, please email our team with your questions.

Tips for beginners

Assemble the clean Freemie breast pump kit using the enclosed instructions. There will be written instructions with the kit, but you can always watch a tutorial video or contact us here at Freemie.

Try to start your milk let-down by relaxing or following some helpful tips. When putting on the milk collection cup, make sure the nipple is in the centre and that the cup has good skin contact all around to stop air leaking in. If your nipple hurts when you start expressing, stop and check to make sure the nipple is centred in the breast cup and the suction is low.

For the first few times you may find it helps to keep the session short, then lengthen the sessions gradually. Some mothers find it useful to change breasts several times during the session. If you use a double breast pump kit, the session will be shorter than expressing with a single breast pump kit. Once you are comfortable with using the pump, you can increase the suction speed or setting. Make sure it is still comfortable for you. Keep the kit upright while you are expressing to prevent milk from going into the tubing. If milk does go into the tubing, stop the pump and rinse the tubing with water.

It is best not to use the pump when the tubing is wet, particularly in electric pumps where the tubing connects to the inside of the pump. It can draw moisture into the pump and cause damage. In pumps with a closed kit, slight dampness or moisture in the tubing should not be a problem. However, after expressing with wet tubing, take the kit apart to allow all parts to dry.

In the first few days or so after the birth, you will make only small amounts of first milk, called colostrum. It is usually best to express this by hand. You will find that you will have a lot more milk a few days later, once the milk comes in. The milk supply settles down within a few weeks to be the right amount to meet the baby’s needs. The mother of a premature baby makes slightly different milk to the mother of a term baby, because her milk is more suited to her baby’s level of maturity. Be guided by your medical advisors for your baby’s feeding needs. You will be able to express more milk as you get used to expressing.

While you still have colostrum in your breasts, the milk will have a yellow colour and may look rather creamy and will form layers on standing. The colour of colostrum from different mothers can vary a lot; so don’t be surprised if yours looks quite different to another mums – this is totally normal. As your milk supply increases, the colour of the milk becomes more bluish-white. It still forms layers on standing, with the creamy layer at the top. Milk may look different at different times of the day and this also depends on how long it has been since you have expressed or fed your baby.

Some mothers find that after expressing for many weeks their milk supply decreases. This is because a baby is better at getting the milk from the breast than a pump. When you are able to feed your baby at the breast, you will find that with frequent feeds, your supply will soon increase. If you are unable to feed your baby at the breast, expressing more often will help to increase your milk supply. After a week or so, you may be able to return to your previous expressing schedule. It can be helpful to finish off each session with a few minutes of hand expressing. This will help to empty your breasts and help increase your milk supply. If your supply is decreasing despite your attempts to increase it, you may wish to contact your a lactation consultant to discuss other ideas.

how to use a breast pump

Find out how to use a breast pump with Freemie Electric and Manual breast pumps