In most cases, mothers will need to rent or purchase an appropriate breast pump to help empty the breasts and maintain adequate milk production. Many types of breast pumps are available. Some are simple hand pumps that are useful for very infrequent pumping. These are operated manually. Several good mini-electric or battery-operated breast pumps also can be purchased. If you need to express your milk frequently, or if you are separated from your infant for a prolonged period of time, you may need a hospital-grade electric breast pump to maintain full milk production. These pumps automatically cycle suction with release of suction--similar to a baby's sucking action. Hospital-grade pumps express milk from both breasts most efficiently and don't burn out from frequent use.
Milk collection kits include the flange, a funnel that's placed on your nipple or areola, valves, bottles to collect your milk, and tubing that connects the kit to your pump. If you have a double electric pump, you can pump both breasts at the same time. Double pumping is often recommended because it cuts pumping time in half. Usually the total pumping time for each session is only 10 to 15 minutes. This may make it easier to schedule breaks at work.