How to Use a Medela Breast Pump

Learn how to use a Medela breast pump in 10 simple steps.

woman breast pumping Kathryn Gamble

Medela breast pumps, such as the popular double electric Pump in Style Advanced and the Freestyle Breastpump, mimic the sucking motions a baby makes when breastfeeding. Specifically, this leading pump is distinguished by its two-phase technology. The first phase, known as the stimulation phase, reflects the motions of the baby suckling rapidly, working to activate the mother's milk flow (aka letdown). The second phase, called the extraction phase, is a slower, more regular sucking pattern that occurs when the milk begins flowing and reflects the time needed for the baby to swallow.

Medela is aligned with the lactation program at the University of Western Australia, and because of that relationship, has developed a strong reputation for its research-based products.

Irene Zoppi, a clinical education specialist with Medela, a registered nurse, and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, says that Medela pumps stimulate the breasts so that milk letdown occurs more quickly than it does with other pumps -- and that's important for busy moms. "When you're talking about a mom pumping, going back to work or school, part-time and even full-time, time is critical, as is comfort," Zoppi says. "These are the features of two-phase [technology] that really make a difference to the mom who is pumping."

Zoppi shared the following steps on how to use a Medela breast pump.

    1. As with all pumping preparation, find a private, comfortable space where you can relax.
    2. Wash your hands.
    3. Position the assembled breast shields in such a way that your nipples are centered. If they're not placed correctly, the tugging could cause damage.
    4. Turn the machine on. It will begin in the fast-paced stimulation phase. If you're using the Freestyle Breastpump, you'll be able to continue without using your hands. With the Pump in Style Advanced, moms can hold the breast shields or purchase a support attachment that will allow them to pump, hands-free.
    5. When you see or feel milk ejection, press the expression phase button. This sends the breast pump into its second phase, which is slower than the first. If you don't press the button, this phase will automatically start after two minutes in the stimulation phase.
    6. Adjust the speed knob to a level that feels most comfortable and efficient for you.
    7. When you're finished pumping, remove the tubing from the breast shields.
    8. Carefully cap the bottles and store the milk.
    9. Don't turn the pump off until after you've stored the milk. The extra time will allow the vacuum motion to dry excess condensation.
    10. Disassemble and clean.

      The Basics of Using a Breast Pump

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