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Blog Archive

Blog Archive

Pumps and Milk Expression

January 2016

This week, I have a great article by Dr. Anne Eglash and Dr. Michele Malloy, Breastmilk Expression and Breast Pump Technology (2015).  These authors present a terrific milk expression and breast pump primer for those who need information with which to assist the mothers with whom they work.  Let me mention several things from the article:


  • In the U.S., over 80% of mothers express their milk within the first four months postpartum. The largest proportion of this 80% are first-time mothers.
  • Breast pumps and hand expression have been noted in historical references for at least 2500 years.
  • The first electric breast pumps began use in the 1920's in the U.S. with the Abt pump.
  • The first high-quality "hospital-grade" pump was developed in Sweden by Einar Egnell and Maja Kindberg, known as the "Sister Maja Breast pump" or SMB. By the 1990's, Medela and Ameda (originally Egnell-Ameda) introduced the "home use" breast pump.
  • The mean sucking negative pressures of full-term infants range from -50 to -197 mmHg/in. Quality breast pump pressures generally achieve pressures as high as -270 mmHg/in.
  • In the U.S., breast pumps are class I and class II medical devices regulated by the Federal Food and Drug Administration. Monitoring occurs through an adverse event reporting system, and women who experience a problem or nipple/breast damage with a pump may submit a voluntary report with the FDA through MedWatch. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfmaude/detail.cfm?mdrfoi__id=4580919
  • Manual expression (hand expression) is an important skill for every mother to have. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative requires that all mothers are taught effective manual expression prior to discharge. Expressing milk by hand may change the quality of the milk, studies have found. Breast massage increases caloric content and fat in the milk expression immediately after massage.

This a very informative article, prime material to share with medical staff, ancillary staff, and those who do not work with breast pumps on a regular basis. It describes five different categories of pumps as well as their functionalities. Various circumstances for use of manual expression and breast pumps is discussed as well. This is a MUST-HAVE educational piece.

To download a free copy of this article, try this link: http://journals.lww.com/clinicalobgyn/Fulltext/2015/12000/Breastmilk_Expression_and_Breast_Pump_Technology.16.aspx?WT.mc_id=HPxADx20100319xMP



Kathy Parkes, MSN-Ed, RN, IBCLC, FILCA
Course Tutor, Step2 Education



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