Medical Devices

Breast Pump Basics - Text Description of Movie

This is an animation showing how a breast pump works. First, the drawing shows examples of the three types of breast pumps: manual, battery-powered, and electric.

The next drawing shows the manual breast pump in detail. The pump consists of a plastic tube with a cone-shaped cup, called a breast-shield, which screws onto the top of a plastic baby bottle. When in use, the breast-shield is centered over the woman’s nipple. Attached to the plastic tube is a handle that is squeezed and released to create suction that extracts milk from the breast. The baby bottle collects the breast milk as it is extracted.

The animation next shows a battery-powered breast pump in detail. This pump closely resembles the manual breast pump. The pump consists of a plastic tube with a cone-shaped cup, called a breast-shield, which screws onto the top of a plastic baby bottle. When in use, the breast-shield is centered over the woman’s nipple. Attached to the plastic tube is a small, battery-powered motor which is turned on to create suction that extracts milk from the breast. The baby bottle collects the breast milk as it is extracted.

The next part of the animation shows an electric breast pump in detail. The pump consists of a plastic tube with a cone-shaped cup, called a breast-shield, which screws onto the top of a plastic baby bottle. When in use, the breast-shield is centered over the woman’s nipple. Attached to the plastic tube is a piece of flexible tubing that connects to an electric motor that powers the pump. The motor has a cord that must be plugged into an electrical outlet for the breast pump to work. The baby bottle collects the breast milk as it is pumped.

The next drawing is the first in a series depicting the basic assembly of a breast pump using the manual breast pump as an example. The plastic tube with the breast-shield and handle is screwed onto the top of the baby bottle.

The next drawing shows a woman using the manual breast pump. The woman holds the breast pump below the handle with her left hand, brings the breast pump to her left breast, and adjusts the breast-shield so that it is centered comfortably over the nipple of her left breast.

In the next drawing, the woman supports her left breast with her right hand and uses her left hand to squeeze and release the handle of the breast pump. As she squeezes the handle, suction is created by the pump which gently pulls her nipple into the breast-shield and extracts milk. When she releases the handle, the suction is released. As she pumps her breast the baby bottle fills with breast milk.

The next part of the animation shows the same woman using an electric breast pump. Using her left hand, she positions the breast pump on her left nipple much as she did with the manual pump, and supports her left breast with her right hand. The breast pump is already plugged into an electrical outlet, so the motor is switched on. The motor creates suction in the plastic tubing that is connected between the motor and the breast-shield. The suction applied to the nipple of the left breast causes it to elongate and be sucked into the breast-shield, extracting milk from the breast. The milk flows into the baby bottle attached below the breast-shield.

In the next drawing the woman has finished pumping her breast milk. The electric pump is switched off. To remove the breast pump, the woman gently slides her index finger between the breast-shield and her left breast to break the vacuum seal that was formed when the breast pump was in use. She then removes the breast pump from her breast. A caption on the drawing indicates that a manual or battery-powered breast pump would be removed from the breast in the same way.

In the next part of the animation, the baby bottle is unscrewed from the plastic tubing and breast-shield in preparation for storage. Because this bottle of milk is intended for storage rather than for immediate feeding, it is sealed with its plastic lid to protect the breast milk inside. The bottle is then labeled with the date and time of pumping in preparation for storing it in the refrigerator or freezer.

(Return to Using a Breast Pump)

Page Last Updated: 04/17/2009
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