More and more we get the question what to look for when buying a breast pump device. We have compiled the 3 critical success factors of pumping into one article and compared the results with the NurtureGoods Dual Efficient Smart 3.0.
Attention! It is important for each mother to find the most comfortable suction for her for the best results while pumping.
What does suction and frequency mean on a breast pump?
To explain important things like the suction power of breast pumps, we will first take you through a few terms like mmhg and CPM (Cycles per minute). When you buy a breast pump you might see mmhg on the packaging or product listing. The force of suction on breast pumps is measured as mmhg. This stands for the English term "millimeters of mercury" and is the standard unit of vacuum pressure. Breast pumps are measured with negative mmhg (pressure) and falls on average in a range of 200 to 350 mmhg, which is the maximum suction power of the breast pump. CPM or Cycles per minute is a measure of how often the breast pump sucks in a given time (1 minute). The cycles range of the most famous models on the market varies from 20 to 80 cycles per minute and often depends on the suction power with which the pump pumps breast milk.
There have been several studies done on infant suction and frequency. One study indicates that the average suction of an infant is between 45 and 55 cycles per minute. And that good breast pumps should comply with this. The Swedish Engineer Einar Egnell, inventor of the industry standards for mmhg and CPM, hereby claims precisely that a healthy natural cycle per minute is between 30-60 cpm and that this applies to suction between 220 and 230 mmhg. This is also one of the reasons why all NurtureGoods breast pumps are able to achieve a minimum of 230 mmhg to meet the unique needs of mothers and their children. (Egnell E. et al, in a 1956 study)
How hard should a breast pump be able to suck and with what frequency?
Egnell has determined that 220 mmhg is the safest maximum for automatic breast pumps. However, there are other studies that show that there are mothers who suffer from sensitive breasts and nipples at lower suction forces at much lower mmhg suction. Therefore, it is important for each mother to find the most comfortable suction for her. In fact, through Hartman's research in 2008, it has been shown that this ensures a higher milk yield. The following figure shows the required force per mother (Hartman et al., in a 2008 study)
This image is related to Hartman's research The Importance of Vacuum for Milk Expression Breastfeeding Med 3(1) (2008) and presented at the Amarillo Conference in 2009.
What should you look for when buying a breast pump?
Vacuum, cycles per minute and suction power play a central role in efficient pumping. They are the three critical technical success factors that ensure that you can pump properly. Professional medical pumps are bound by certification DIN EN ISO 10079 and may not exceed 248 mmhg. This means that the vacuum suction in expression mode should be between 23 and 248 mmhg. For stimulation mode this should be between 38 and 195 mmhg. In comparison, most babies suck with an average force of 150 to 220 mmhg. A good breast pump should be able to achieve this. (Lawrence & Lawrence, 1999).
Lawrence's research also reported that a baby's sucking rhythm in the stimulation phase of breast pumping is between 70-120 cycles per minute. Once the milk starts to flow the rhythm changes to 30-60 cycles per minute, which the original research by Einar Egnell in 1956 has already confirmed. Only 3 to 5% of total milk production is removed when pumping before the first let-down reflex in stimulation mode. Tidal reflexes cause the remaining 95 to 97% of breast milk to be pumped in the expression mode. (Kent JC et al. Breastfeed Med., 2008)
What is the suction power and frequency of the NurtureGoods Dual Efficient Smart 3.0?
NurtureGoods breast pumps have multiple suction modes and modes. This is set at 9 modes, with mode 6 being considered most ideal for the largest group of mothers. What is actually most ideal for you depends on what setting you can comfortably pump in. You need to experiment with this yourself. (Remember that pumping harder does not lead to more milk being delivered, but rather to sore nipples. Pumping should not hurt!) The Smart 3.0 has three modes. Now you're naturally wondering what these modes mean.
The stimulation mode gently stimulates the let-down reflex for natural milk release, where as the expression mode pumps more forcefully and frequently. The bionic mode mimics a baby's natural suckling rhythm. To keep the comparison between single- and double-sided as fair as possible, we assume the Expression mode. This mode provides the most powerful suction. The following table conveniently shows the suction power and cycles per minute for the NurtureGoods Dual Efficient Smart 3.0.
Suction power level: 1 to 9
Mode: S (Stimulation mode) / E (Expression mode)
Mmhg: suction power of the breast pump
rpm: cycles per minute for one chest.
Example: Single-sided (1, S) means single-sided pumping on simulation mode with suction level 1.
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