Breast pumps are medical mechanical devices which are used to stimulate and extract milk from lactating mothers. Breast pumps might be electrical devices which run on batteries or electricity or manual devices powered by hand. These devices are regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) used by lactating women to assure continuous supply of milk to their babies when they are away from home.Depending on the mode of functioning, breast pumps are characterized into four primary types such as manual, hospital grade, single electric and double electric breast pumps. In the past few years, there has been an escalated level of awareness regarding breast pumps across the world. Research on breast pump market says that depending on the design, there are two key variants of breast pumps that are widely available – open and closed systems. Open systems do not consist of an obstruction in-between the pump tubing and the milk collection kit and is more prone to contamination, whereas closed pumps do not acquire contamination owing to the presence of a barrier in-between the tubing and the collection kit. Nowadays, most of the breast pumps available are closed systems.
Components of a Breast Pump:
All standard breast pumps comprise of a few basic components such as:
- Breast shield – it is a cone shaped cup which fits on top of the nipple and the round areas surrounding the nipple, i.e., areola.
- Pump –it generates the moderate pump which elicits milk. The pump might either have plastic tubing to link the breast shield to the pump or directly attached to the breast shield depending upon the type.
- Milk container – it is a detachable container which fixes itself beneath the breast shield and accumulates the milk when it is pumped. This container is either reusable or a disposable bag and be used to store the milk.
Types of Breast pumps
Manual pumps–when the breast-shield is positioned one the nipple and areola, one has to make use of the lever to produce suction action and extract milk from the breast. The milk that comes out is then collected in an attached container. A few manual pumps have smaller sized tube that is constantly pumped in and out of a bigger tube to create the vacuum action. Another peculiar type of manual breast pump is a bicycle horn pump, which has a hollow rubber attached to the breast shield. However, this variant is not commonly recommended since it can get difficult to clean and dry.
Electric and Battery powered pumps–unlike manual pumps, these pumps have batteries or cords that are directly plugged in an electrical outlet and generates power with the help of a small motorized pump which produces the suction action to derive milk from the breast. The pump usually consist of a control panel along with a switch or dial to control the degree of suction.Some battery powered breast pumps has an option to adjust the pattern of suction depending upon the lactating woman’s comfort level. Also, a few market fabricators claim that adjustable suction dial enables the woman to determine a precise setting which is almost similar to her nursing baby, it also includes prominent characteristics with phases like let-down (a naturally occurring reflux that begins the flow of milk when thenipples are stimulated, like breast pumping or breastfeeding.Lastly, since these types of pumps are dependent on power source or batteries to function, consumers using such pumps must be prepared for any kind of emergency situations when electricity might not be available or one can run out of batteries.