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What is a Double Breast Pump?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 07 September 2016
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A double breast pump is considered by many to be an extremely useful apparatus when pumping breast milk. Instead of having a cup to collect milk that sits on one breast at a time, the double pump extracts milk from both breasts simultaneously. This can be of benefit because it prevents milk waste, often halves times it takes to pump, and may help with greater milk extraction due to dual stimulation of the nipples.

There are different types of the double breast pump. A few battery-powered or even manual pumping types exist. These tend to have a lower suctioning strength and particularly with manual pumping they can get tiresome to use if a woman must pump regularly. Plug-in sturdier models that can cost a few hundred dollars are typically most reliable. Of the pumping machines, hospital pumps tend to be most reliable and effective and can be converted to a double breast pump model.

In most cases, it’s not really the breast pump that is doubled. It’s the number of cups. What people need to be able to obtain is suctioning equipment that uses two cups. If a model doesn’t come with this, it typically has some form of conversion that will allow the change to a double pump. It’s important to verify there is a way to convert from single to double, but usually there is. If double pump equipment isn’t available locally, it might be purchased from the manufacturer or at online stores.

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Especially in early nursing, when one breast begins to spray milk, the other breast also releases milk. This is often lost unless a person collects it on the spot. A double breast pump takes advantage of this tendency. Since both breasts are in cups attached to milk collection apparatus, any milk leaked from the breasts is automatically saved.

Along these same lines, the double breast pump tends to be much more efficient. Both breasts are stimulated simultaneously, resulting in quicker milk flow. Not only is milk waste much lower, but also time it takes to pump is greatly reduced.

One potential disadvantage of the double breast pump is that frequent use that stimulates both breasts at once may cause breasts to be more reactive even when only one breast is pumped or is used to nurse. When moms switch from double pumping to nursing the baby, both breasts may have a greater tendency to leak. This problem is usually resolved with a little time. Another potential pitfall is that double pumping equipment may be slightly more expensive.

The other complaint about the double breast pump is that it can be a little difficult to use, and hard to engage and disengage from. This really depends on model of pump or cups; there are hands-free models that can be of great use. Shopping around and getting some recommendations can help women decide which pumping apparatus is considered easiest to use.

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