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If you read my Philips Avent breast pump reviews, you will know that I am using Avent and Medela Swing simultaneously.
But since I trust my Avent breast pump so much, usually I don’t make full advantage of my Swing. Every pumping session, I simply attach Medela Swing to one breast, turn on the pump, and at the same time working harder (and paying more attention) to the other side where I pump with Avent.
Until last week, when suddenly my Avent suction got weaker and it was unable to extract a lot of milk as usual. It turned out, the diaphragm has torn out, and I didn’t bring any spare!
What to do? Hand expression is certainly not my expertise, and my Swing has been performing poorly. I began imagining that my milk supply would dwindle down quickly and I would no longer able to pump enough milk…
But I bit my lip and told my self that I shouldn’t give up. I decided to give my Medela Swing a new, higher trust. Please, help me to empty my breast.
I tried doing all techniques that I did with my Avent manual pump. Including things that I thought would only work with manual pump.
I massage all over the breast, reposition the flange to focus on various parts of breast (this is difficult to do on electric pump, because you need to wait until it releases the auction), recreate the vacuum, and all the stuff.
It took me much longer time to pump, but hey, I can see that it began to work. I can see more and more milk being accumulated. I was relieved.
That pumping session, I was able to pump approximately 2 ounces. Not bad, even though I know for sure, Avent would give me at least 30% more than that. Well, at least, I won’t be coming home with a hard-rock breast. I am still yielding something.
That day I learnt three important tips about pumping with a new breast pump (or at least, another one that you are not familiar with). Here they are..
3 breast milk pumping tips…
(when you recently switch to another breast pump)
- That every breast pump model performs differently, and certainly there’s a learning curve to learn how to best utilize the breast pump. Don’t quickly say ‘this thing doesn’t work simply after you used it once’. Perhaps you missed something? Perhaps you simply don’t know how to use it… You NEED to try several times, figure things out, before uttering your judgment. If it STILL doesn’t work, well.., too bad. But, you know that your judgment is given after you gave your best effort to make it work. I think this concept also applies to any products or services, not only for breast pump.
- You cannot solely RELY ON your pump to give you milk. Previously, I always assumed that electric breast pump would alleviate all the pumping effort from your shoulder. You just need to sit back and relax, and voila…you get one bottle of milk. You know, just like the ads showing a mom pumping while checking email in her laptop. WRONG!! Your pump helps you to extract milk out, but YOU should work to make sure your pump gives what you want.
- As consequence of point no 2, say NO to hands-free pumping, and YES to hands-on pumping. Do you think that by just attaching the breast-pump to the hands-free pumping bra and multitask your pumping routine, you will get most of your milk? Come on ladies, get rid of this multi-tasking right away… That hands-free gear is supposed to free up your hand. Yes, I agree…, but NOT for multitasking. Rather, use your hand to massage and compress your breast firmly. Focus on one breast after another. And you will be surprised with how much more milk you will get. Check the video here for the proof.
These are three important lessons that I learnt from my pumping session. I hope these breast milk pumping tips will benefit all of you, especially when you are new to pumping breast milk or just recently switch using a new breast pump. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section. I’ll be happy to help.
Have you learnt any new tips while pumping? Don’t be shy! Leave me a comment below to share your lessons!
One of my daughters, Mariela, is breastfeeding my youngest granddaughter and I overheard while she was talking about “no enough milk for the little one”. I’m sure she’ll benefit from your thorough article and I’m sending her the link right away. Thanks for the information, I’m sure she’ll give you some feedback.
Dear Oscar, I sincerely hope that your daughter will benefit from reading my article. I’ll be happy to help her in any ways that I could.
Great blog post! I used to try AventÂ´s manual pump, too. But found it quite harsh and painful on my nipples, unfortunately. It was hard to keep the pressure on long enough, so I just decided to skip the pumping and continue with a regular way. Would you recommend me to try Medela, if I had that kind of problem with Avent before?
Hi Jess, when your nipple feels hurt, it can be due to two things: (1) the suction is too strong or (2) you are using incorrect breast shield. You can read this article to see whether you have used correct size breast shield.
If you are leaning towards manual pump (whether it is Medela Harmony or Avent), you can actually adjust the suction by pulling the pump handle just mid-way, not all the way until it hits the bottle. If you feel that it’s hard to keep the pressure long enough, perhaps you could try an electric breast pump. Typically, an electric breast pump allows you to set the suction level you are comfortable with and the suction cycle (i.e. how many suctions do you get in a minute).
I heard that Avent Comfort single electric has pretty gentle suction (though I’ve never tried by myself), closed system (more hygienic), but it only has two options for breast shield size (normal and large, where normal one has ~24-mm diameter).
Medela Swing, on the other hand, has 10 levels of suctions (so plenty to choose from), has great selection of various breast shield available in the market (from 21 to 32 mm), but it is an open system (less hygienic, the milk may come in contact with the motor, accumulating dirt).
There are even a higher-end range, which is the dual electric breast pump, but I don’t think you need it because it seems that you can directly latch your baby and not in the need of accumulating a large amount of expressed breast milk. Hope this help!
I take it the pump that broke was a manual pump? I always preferred a manual pump over electric! I could get much more out every time.
Thanks for these great tips for moms that pump breast milk. I breast fed two babies and had to pay attention to anything and everything I heard. I found breast feeding and especially pumping did not come naturally to me.
Yes, the one broken was manual pump which I loved so much. Different moms respond differently to various types of pump and brand. So it is possible that manual pump works better for you.
Hey I have a lady friend who really curious about this. The whole breast feeding thing is really looked down upon these days. But she’s pregnant and is going to have her child soon. She says she wants to breast feed but didn’t really know anything about it. I will be glad to share this article with her. Thank you so much
Please feel free to refer your friend here. We have a lot of breastfeeding-related articles. Since your friend is now preparing herself to welcome and breastfeed her baby, I’d recommend her to read these two articles:
– how milk is produced in breast: 5 important things every nursing mothers need to know
– 5 tips to prepare for breastfeeding: get your milk supply a good start