Feel like you need a Ph.D. in engineering to figure out how to use that new breast pump? Call up an expert friend (i.e., a mom with a couple of kids) when you're still preparing for baby to arrive, and get a little tutoring before the big day. When your boobs swell up to Goodyear blimps, the last thing you're going to want to be doing is craning your neck over them to read directions.
Choose which type you want to use: There are manual and electric breast pumps. Some pump one breast at a time, while others pump both breasts at the same time.
If you read the pump's directions now and take notes of what you need to do when you're pumping, you'll be able to prepare for baby now. Here are some tips on using the breast pump.
Sterilize the pump before use: Clean the tubing and the breast shield (the cone-shaped thing that goes on your breast) with warm sudsy water.
Attach the tubing from the breast shield(s) to the pump.
Place the breast shield or shields on your bare breast(s).
Turn on the pump. (Only after your milk comes in! Pumping before the baby arrives can hurt.) If it's an electric pump, flip the switch on. If it's a manual pump, push down on the plunger. If you feel pain, stop and reposition the shields so that there are no air pockets. It helps your milk let down if you relax and think of your baby while pumping.
Pump for five minutes on each side. Note that some lactation specialists recommend pumping one breast until you reach the thicker hind-milk before you switch breasts. Consult your doctor or lactation expert for advice.
Close and store. Cap the bottles with your breast milk and refrigerate if you don't use them immediately.
Clean the tubing and wipe down the breast pump.