Using a Medela Breast Pump
If you are using a Symphony Rental Pump:
- Place the pump on a hard surface, such as a table or nightstand, not on a soft chair or sofa.
- Plug the short cord into the back of the pump and the long cord into an electrical outlet. Do not overload the electrical circuit or the pump may not function correctly.
- Assemble the kit parts. Make sure the small white membrane is attached and flat against the yellow valve and the dome caps under the pump lid are securely in place. It works best to position the valve so the white membrane faces the same direction as the breast shield. Check that the dome caps under the pump lid are securely in place.
- The pump control settings are all on the front of the pump. The left button turns the pump on and off; the knob in the middle controls the suction (turn clock wise to increase suction). The right button (with the milk drop symbol) allows the user to toggle between the stimulation phase and the expression phase. It is programmed to automatically switch from stimulation to expression after 2 minutes.
- Place the breast shields against your breasts with your nipple centered in the opening. If desired, you may pump only one breast. Turn the pump on (button to the left).
The following also applies to the Pump In Style and Freestyle Personal Use Pumps:
- The suction rate for the first 2 minutes is faster and lighter to encourage your milk to start to flow. Adjust the suction (knob in the middle) to the highest comfortable setting for you. If it starts to feel uncomfortable, lower the suction until it is comfortable. After 2 minutes, the suction automatically changes to a slower, stronger rate. Again, if necessary, adjust the suction to a level that feels strong but not uncomfortable. This change in suction mimics how a baby suckles after the milk “lets down.” If your milk starts to squirt out before two minutes, go ahead and push the right button to change the suction to the second phase.
- Pumping should not hurt. Increasing the suction to the point of discomfort may make you sore and may keep your breasts from releasing milk (“letting down”).
- Medela breast shields come in 5 sizes (21, 24, 27, 30 and 36 mm). For comfort and efficiency, nipples should NOT rub the sides of the tunnel of the breast shield; only the nipple (not the areola) should enter the tunnel. For more information, see Correct Fit of a Breast Shield.
- The assembly and use videos on the Freestyle or Pump In Style pages on the Medela website demonstrate how to put the pump kit together and how to clean the parts. If you are using a Symphony, the set up for the kit is the same as the Pump In Style Advanced except that the tubing attaches to the dome caps under the pump lid.
How do I clean my pump parts?
If you boil the parts, or put them in the dishwasher, the plastic may discolor. Please watch the Medela videos or contact us at MilkWorks if you have questions. All the parts should be removed and separated for washing except the tubing and the Symphony dome caps. If possible, after each use, wash parts in warm soapy water, rinse and set out to dry. If you aren’t able to do this after each pumping, separate and rinse the parts, thoroughly washing them later in the day. You may also clean the parts in Medela microwave bags or with wipes that are specifically designed for cleaning pump
Make sure the membrane is clean, dry and securely in place when you re-assemble the parts. This part may need to be replaced after about 3 months of use.
The tubing does not normally come in contact with your milk. You may wipe down the outside of the tubing periodically with a clean cloth. If you notice condensation (moisture) in the tubing after you pump, leave your pump on for a bit after pumping. This will dry the tubing. If moisture builds up in the
tubing, squirt isopropyl alcohol through the tubing and hang to dry.
How often should I pump?
If your baby is not going to breast:
Pump at least every 2-3 hours during the day and every 3-4 hours at night, or at least 8 times in 24 hours. You may pump more often if you need to increase your supply.
If you are going to be separated from your baby temporarily:
Pump whenever you would be feeding your baby, or whenever your baby gets fed from a bottle
in your absence.
Baby is going to breast but is not gaining well and you need milk for supplementation:
If you think that your supply is low, pump about 30 minutes after your baby nurses. This break before additional removal may stimulate more milk production. If you think that your supply is good, but your baby is not gaining weight, pump after your baby feeds at the breast and schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant.
How long should I pump?
We recommend that you pump for ~10-15 minutes. Pumping for more than 15 minutes may result in nipple pain. Pumping more frequently, rather than for a longer time period, may help to build your milk supply.
Please call us if you have any questions about using a breast pump or to renew your rental pump by your renewal date – 402-423-6402 (LINCOLN) or 402-502-0617 (OMAHA).
We provide expert help from international board certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs), including a comprehensive feeding assessment and follow up care until your baby is feeding well. It's what we love to do.
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