Do I Need a Breast Pump?

If breastfeeding is going well and you don’t plan on being parted from your baby you may not need to go to the expense of buying a pump. For those occasional times you need to express, hand expression may work well for you.

Do I need a breast pump?

The following are examples where a pump may be useful (but if you can learn the skill of hand expression it would still not be essential to buy a pump in these situations).

  • If your breasts are engorged—pumping or hand expressing to comfort will help relieve engorgement and avoid mastitis (inflammation of the breast)
  • To protect and increase your milk supply if your baby isn’t yet latching or is not taking milk well from the breast
  • If you will be separated from your baby regularly or are returning to work and need to pump large volumes
  • To bring out a flat, inverted or dimpled nipple

Using a breast pump

See How to Increase Milk Supply When Pumping to get pumping working for you with answers to how often to pump, how long to pump in each session, what sort of volume to expect, and how to choose and use a breast pump.

Photo courtesy Emily Walker
Photo courtesy Emily Walker

This article should not be construed as medical advice. Information found online should always be discussed with your own IBCLC lactation consultant and doctor to ensure it is appropriate for you and your baby’s situation. Contact your doctor, paediatrician or health care provider with any concerns about your baby’s health and welfare. Read our full disclaimer.

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