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Why Use a Breast Pump? Benefits of Pumping Breast Milk

  • August 17, 2023

Since humans walked the earth, breastfeeding has been a beautiful and essential part of motherhood, providing numerous benefits for baby and mum. For some mothers, breastfeeding comes naturally and for others, it can be more challenging. Sometimes a manual or electric breast pump can ease some of the challenges that mothers face in their breastfeeding journey, and their babies can continue to thrive on breast milk even when their mother is not there.

In the modern world, more and more mothers crave the flexibility and ease a breast pump can offer. Portable breast pumps and wearable breast pumps are often popular features that mothers go for so that they can pump more discreetly when out in public. It can also be said that societal attitudes towards breastfeeding in public can make it uncomfortable or inconvenient for many mothers. Manual or electric breast pumps offer a solution to these challenges by allowing mums to express and store breast milk for later use.

Advantages/Benefits of Using Breast Pumps

A breast pump is a manual or electric device that helps nursing mothers pump and store breast milk so that their babies can enjoy the benefits of breastfeeding, even when the mother is not around. This is especially helpful for working mums who want to give their babies the nourishment they need and helps them to manage their milk supply. But breast pumps are not just for working mums; all nursing mothers can use a breast pump to relieve engorgement, increase their milk supply or give others the opportunity to feed the baby and build their own bond.

Breast pumps also come in handy if your baby can’t latch well but the mother is lactating enough to produce good-quality milk. Pumping enough breast milk can also help feed premature babies round-the-clock who might need more attention. Premature babies often haven’t fully developed the skill to suck on the breast and can have trouble latching. Therefore, having pumped milk to hand will ease the transition from bottle to breast as they become more skilled at nursing.

In general, using a manual or electric breast pump offers several advantages for both mothers and babies. Here are some of the benefits we love about them!

Benefits of using a breast pump

1. Flexibility

Portable breast pumps, for example, allow mothers to provide breast milk to their babies even when they are not physically present. This is particularly beneficial for mums who want to return to work or who may need to be away from their babies for extended periods.

2. Maintaining Milk Supply

Regular and exclusive pumping schedules help stimulate milk production and maintain a healthy milk supply, even when direct breastfeeding is not possible.

3. Involving Other Caregivers

Breast pumps enable other caregivers, such as partners, family members, or childcare providers, to feed the baby with breast milk, fostering bonding opportunities and allowing mothers to take breaks.

4. Relief from Engorgement

Breast pumps can provide relief from breast engorgement, a common issue for lactating mothers, by effectively removing excess milk. Hospital-grade breast pumps are often recommended in this circumstance for their powerful, yet comfortable, suction features.

5. Feeding Premature Babies

Breast milk is vital for the healthy development of premature babies. Breast pumps allow mothers to establish a milk supply and provide the necessary nutrition for their preemie babies. If you’re not sure whether you should bring your breast pump to the hospital, you can sometimes rent a breast pump from the hospital instead.

6. Extended Breastfeeding

Mothers can continue providing the benefits of breast milk to their babies even after they have returned to work or faced other circumstances that limit direct breastfeeding. This in turn means you’re not forking out extra money for formula milk and saving some pennies too.

Understanding your breast pump options

Breast pumps come in different styles and set-ups to suit various needs and preferences. The following are the most common types of breast pumps:

1. Manual breast pump

Manual breast pumps are operated by hand and require the mother’s physical effort to express milk. They are affordable, portable, and ideal for occasional pumping. Mothers who prefer simplicity and convenience often choose manual breast pumps because they provide precise control and are easy to clean. This type of pump would be better for occasional use rather than for a mum who’s choosing to exclusively pump.

2. Electric breast pumps

Electric breast pumps are powered by electricity or batteries and offer automated pumping. They provide adjustable suction strength, multiple pumping modes, and faster milk expression. Mothers who pump frequently or exclusively often choose electric breast pumps because they offer efficiency, comfort, and hands-free features. Some newer models now come with rechargeable batteries so you can charge them on the go and then pump freely without wires!

3. Single breast pumps

Single breast pumps are designed to express milk from one breast at a time. They are compact, lightweight, and cost-effective. Single breast pumps are beneficial for mothers who occasionally pump or prefer pumping one breast while nursing on the other. You can also couple these with a manual pump such as the Haakaa cup to put on the other breast if you’re not nursing, to collect your milk during letdown.

4. Double breast pumps

Double breast pumps allow simultaneous expression of milk from both breasts. They save time and are a great option for breastfeeding mothers who want to introduce an exclusive pumping schedule. Double breast pumps stimulate milk production and are especially useful for working mothers or those who require a larger milk supply. You could also purchase two single breast pumps and double them up if you’ve already got a favourite!

5. Hospital-grade Breast Pump

Hospital-grade pumps are the most powerful pumps out there, and they are what are offered to breastfeeding parents at the hospital who are having trouble bringing their milk in or who are pumping for premature or medically vulnerable babies who aren’t able to breastfeed directly yet.

Hospital-grade pumps are often also recommended for any parent who must exclusively pump and is usually considered the best pump for increasing milk supply when it is low. Hospital-grade pumps can be used to induce lactation and to relocate, says Schwartz. Some working parents end up preferring hospital-grade pumps as well because of how comfortable and efficient they tend to be.

These types of pumps are very expensive, costing several thousand dollars, and most parents end up renting them from a local hospital or other provider. Hospital-grade pumps can be rented because they are multi-user pumps. “A hospital-grade pump is meant to be used by many people and has a bacterial barrier,” explains O’Connor.2 Lola&Lykke’s electric breast pump has been awarded for its hospital-grade performance and customisable expression modes for a comfortable pumping experience.

Lola&Lykke smart electric breast pump

How to choose the right breast pump?

Choosing a breast pump that will work best for you and your baby’s feeding pattern is specific to your own circumstances. To help you narrow down the features you would find most beneficial, we’ve listed some pointers to bear in mind.

Frequency of Use

If you’re not sure how often you should pump, or how often you plan to use a breast pump, start with a manual pump. These are cheaper and still effective devices to use for occasional pumping. However, if you intend to pump regularly, especially if you're returning to work or increasing your milk supply, an electric or battery-powered pump will provide greater efficiency and convenience.

Duration of Pumping Sessions

Consider the amount of time you can allocate for pumping sessions. Some pumps offer single pumping, allowing you to express milk from one breast at a time, while others provide double pumping, enabling simultaneous expression from both breasts. Single electric breast pumps are a great option if you want to nurse your baby at the same time. Double pumping can save time and stimulate milk production effectively and be a better option for mums who are pumping for one or multiple babies.

Portability and Convenience

If you anticipate pumping on the go or in various locations, choose a portable breast pump that is lightweight, compact, wireless, and easy to assemble and disassemble. Portability is particularly crucial for working mothers or those who frequently travel. Some pumps also come with a compatible breast milk storage bag or carry case so that you can store your breast milk safely if you don’t have access to a fridge.

Ease of use and cleaning

Opt for a pump with dishwasher-safe parts and easy disassembly for cleaning. Time is valuable as a new mom, so a quick-to-assemble and clean pump can make a big difference. A breast pump that is easy to clean will reduce how often you need to replace breast pump parts over time.

Noise Level

If you’re planning to pump at night or on the go, a quieter pump may be a better option if discretion is important to you. Typically, wearable, and portable pumps are built to have quieter motors because this feature compliments the type of pump that it is.


Breast pumps usually come with different size flanges so that you can get the best fit, suction, and pump comfortably. If you’re not sure how to size the flanges for your breast pump, the retailer will have a measurements guide with the product.  


When choosing a breast pump, the easiest way to find high-quality and tested products is to look out for pumps that have been nominated for and won awards, such as “Made For Mums” Gold, Silver and Bronze awards or other peer-reviewed studies. It gives you, the buyer, peace of mind that what you’re purchasing has been used by people that are looking for the same product as you and can recommend it due to its features and design.

MadeForMums best breast pump award 2023

Budget Considerations

Breast pumps vary in price, depending on their features and functionality. Set a budget and explore options within that range. Remember that investing in a high-quality pump may provide better performance, durability, and comfort. It’s also best to consider how often you will be using the pump to gauge what investment you’re going to make in buying one. 

Overcoming challenges with breast pumping

Using breast pumps may come with certain challenges that can be addressed with the right strategies and support. Here are some common challenges mothers experience and ways to overcome them.

Latching Difficulties

Some babies may struggle with latching directly to the breast, even if the mother is producing milk. Working with a lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist can help improve latch technique and ensure effective feeding. A breast pump can help to keep up the milk supply whilst your baby learns to feed directly.

Engorgement and Discomfort

Breast engorgement can occur when breasts become overly full and uncomfortable. Regular and proper use of a breast pump can provide relief by emptying the breasts and maintaining milk flow. A breast pump also comes in handy to place on the other breast while your baby feeds on one side, so you can collect and store the milk without wasting it.

Supply Issues

If you experience difficulties with milk supply, consulting with a healthcare professional or a lactation consultant can help identify potential causes and offer advice on how to overcome them. Techniques such as power pumping or using a hospital grade pump may be recommended to increase milk production. On the other hand, if you are producing too much milk, a breast pump can be used to gradually reduce your supply to meet your baby’s needs and relieve any discomfort.

Woman breastfeeds a newborn baby

Tips for pumping success

To enhance your pumping experience and maximise milk production, consider the following tips:

  • Find a relaxing and comfortable environment for pumping sessions.
  • Use breast compressions or massage during pumping to increase milk flow.
  • Stay hydrated and maintain a healthy diet to support milk production.
  • Take note of how you’re feeling and look after your mental health and wellbeing.
  • Have realistic expectations.
  • Seek support from a lactation consultant or breastfeeding support group for guidance and encouragement.
  • Establish a consistent pumping routine that mimics your baby's feeding patterns. For exclusively pumping mums, here is a pumping schedule you could try:
Baby age Newborn 4-6 months  6+ months
Sample pumping schedule

4 AM

7 AM

10 AM

1 PM

4 PM

6 PM

9 PM

12 AM

6 AM

10 AM

2 PM

8 PM

12 AM

7 AM

11 AM

3 PM

8 PM

10 PM

Choose the right breast pump for you

Breast pumps provide valuable support to mothers, enabling them to nourish their babies with breast milk even in challenging circumstances. Understanding the uses, advantages, and limitations of breast pumps empowers mothers to make informed decisions about their breastfeeding journey. By choosing the right pump, following proper techniques, and addressing challenges with support, mothers can continue to provide the numerous benefits of breast milk to their babies.



2. Meier P, Patel L, Hoban R, Engstrom L. Which breast pump for which mother: an evidence-based approach to individualizing breast pump technology. J Perinatol. 2016;36(7):493-499. doi:10.1038/jp.2016.14

4. Bartick M, Hernéndez-Aguilar M, Wight N, et al. ABM Clinical Protocol #35: Supporting breastfeeding during maternal or child hospitalization. Breastfeeding Med. 2021;16(9). doi:10.1089/bfm.2021.29190.mba

    by Lola&Lykke Team