Breast pumping is a common step for any new mother. And while it has its benefits, this process can sometimes get a bit uncomfortable. Breast pumps are specifically designed for mothers who cannot always breastfeed their babies. Ever since it was invented, this device has been making motherhood easier for a lot of women.
Even though the procedure is quite simple, it can cause trauma and other injuries. Hence, knowing what is happening in your body is very important, especially when a child is dependent on you.
In this article, we will unravel the mystery behind the use of breast pumps. We will see which conditions are normal and which ones need your attention.
The Normal Conditions
When you are using a breast pump, it is normal to feel a tingling and heavy sensation. Many mothers complain that they feel pins and needles on the breast while pumping, but this is ordinary. It happens because it takes time for the tissue to release milk. Once the milking starts, this feeling goes away.
If you are new to the world of breastfeeding, you might experience sharp pain when trying to use a breast pump. It may seem like something is wrong, but unless you experience any other symptoms of inflammation, there is nothing to worry about. Just be attentive to any changes and be cautious with the hygiene of your breasts and the breast pump.
When to Worry?
When on the one hand, new mothers panic at even the slightest inconvenience; on the other hand, some completely neglect their health. Following are some signs that may cause trouble for you:
- Excessive dryness on the nipple, areola, or even the skin.
- Continuation of pain, after you have removed your breast pump.
- Bleeding and sharp pain when using a breast pump.
If you dread using a breast pump, maybe you need to get yourself checked.
What to Do If You Have Inflammation?
Inflammation is quite common in breastfeeding mothers. The constant leaking and breast pump add to the already present soreness. If you have an inflammation of breasts, take the following measures to help relieve it:
- Do not use the breast pump excessively as it will irritate the tissue.
- Use ointments and antibiotic creams to combat the infection.
- Make sure you never touch your skin with dirty hands as it will aggravate the infection.
- After using the breast pump, clean the skin with a soft clean cloth. You can also use a baby wipe, but it may burn a bit.
- Apply a little olive oil to soothe the skin.
- Do not use a heavily scented moisturizer or any cream as it can irritate the tissue.
Engorgement and How to prevent it?
Engorgement is a phenomenon that occurs when your milk production is higher than your baby’s requirement. In such cases, because your ducts do not empty properly, you can feel heavy. If left untreated, it leads to pain and sometimes pus formation. The pain can radiate to hand, back, and even chest. Many new mothers find great difficulty in this issue, but it is completely normal.
If you face this problem, just use a breast pump. It will pump out all the excess milk that is causing pain, leaving you pain-free. You have to understand the difference between engorgement and inflammation; once you do, this won’t worry you afterward.
How to Maintain Your Hygiene?
Frequent breast pump users often find it hard to maintain their hygiene. The pump itself can also get dirty, causing infections. To avoid that, you should adapt to the following measures:
- When using a breast pump, make sure to sanitize it.
- Do not use harsh chemicals to wash your breast pump.
- Make sure that you wipe your skin each time you use it.
- When you are done with the process, wipe yourself with a clean cotton cloth.
- During showers, make sure to waste a little amount of milk so that you don’t face any trouble later.
- In the bath, use a gentle cleanser to wash your breasts. It is a sensitive area, so make sure you don’t irritate it.
- If you use a breast pad, throw it away as soon as it fills up. Do not wait for it to leak as the moistness can induce fungal infection.
Common Mistakes Breast Pump Users Make
New mothers often need time to adjust to the appliances of motherhood. Sometimes it takes a while to get used to everything. In the process, they also make some honest mistakes. Out of many, the following are some of them:
Wrong Flange Size
First and foremost, they choose a small suction cup. It causes soreness and pain. If you feel tightness and excessive pressure, invest in a bigger pump. On the other hand, if you are having trouble extracting, maybe you should invest in a smaller one.
Sometimes, mothers use the breast pump on high settings. It causes a lot of pressure, and later on, causes pain in the ducts. The best way to avoid this is to start from a low setting, and once you get the milk flowing, you can work your way up to higher suction power.
Dirty Breast Pads
It is crucial to change breast pads as soon as they get heavy; many mothers don’t throw them away. This causes fungal infections and rashes. It is not healthy for both mother and the baby.
Instead of pumping from one side, it is recommended that you switch sides each time. If you don’t, you face problems like engorgement. If you cannot remember which side to pump from, make a small note on your phone so that you have all the data on hand. It may seem weird, but it works.
Ideal Breast Pump
New mothers tend to have a problem deciding which breast pump to invest in. Some prefer mechanical ones, while others like electric ones. But this is not something you should worry about.
Essentially, it is a trial and error process, and you have to figure out what works best for you. Maybe you won’t get something good in first purchase, but you will surely find something that works for you.
The Bottom Line
Breast pumps are one of the most important products every mother has to invest in. From relieving engorgement to supplying your baby’s food requirement, this device serves a lot of functions. But like anything, this blessing also comes with some problems. Due to its build and structure, it sometimes gets uncomfortable for a mother to use a breast pump. Some difficulty is normal, but if you face a lot of pain while pumping, you should visit a doctor.
Another important aspect that every mother should consider is to ensure proper hygiene. You must keep both yourself and the breast pump free of germs. Also, you should discard all the dirty breast pads as soon as you can.
For the health of your child, and to protect yourself from any infection, you should take extra care of this sensitive area. Get a breast pump of optimum size, and if you ever feel like something is wrong, reach out to your doctor.