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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CLINICAL NUTRITION IN CHILDREN

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Maternal response to two electric breast pumps

Authors
item Hopkinson, Judy -
item Heird, William -

Submitted to: Breastfeeding Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 10, 2008
Publication Date: January 12, 2009
Citation: Hopkinson, J., Heird, W.C. 2009. Maternal response to two electric breast pumps. Breastfeeding Medicine. 4(1):17-23.

Interpretive Summary: Mechanical characteristics of breast pumps influence milk extraction and hormone release in laboratory settings, but few studies have evaluated the impact of differences in pump design on long-term breastfeeding success. This study evaluated the impact of a novel pump design on milk extraction, milk fat content, maternal hormone response, maternal satisfaction, long-term milk production, and duration of breastfeeding following return to work. Healthy women intending to return to work or school and to breastfeed exclusively for less than 4 months were enrolled. Women were randomly assigned to a novel or standard electric breast pump. We found that the prolactin response was greater with the novel pump. Milk extraction efficiency was greater with the standard pump. Stimulation of 24-hour milk production did not differ between pumps. Women were equally likely to select the two pumps. Feeding behavior at 6 months was not related to pump choice. Thus, despite differences in the mechanism governing milk output the pumps have comparable impacts on lactation performance over time.

Technical Abstract: Mechanical characteristics of breast pumps have been shown to influence milk extraction and hormone release in laboratory settings. However, few studies evaluate impact of differences in pump design on long-term breastfeeding success. This study evaluated the impact of a novel pump design on milk extraction, milk fat content, maternal hormone response, maternal satisfaction, long-term milk production, and duration of breastfeeding following return to the workforce. Healthy women intending to return to work or school, and to breastfeed exclusively for less than 4 months were enrolled in late pregnancy (n = 62). Prolactin response to pumping (n = 30) and changes in 24-hour milk volume during a 2-week stimulation protocol (n = 59), were measured in women randomly assigned to a novel (Embrace, Playtex, Westport, CT) or standard (Pump In Style, Medela, Baar, Switzerland) electric breast pump. Milk extraction efficiency (n = 58) and maternal ranking of pump performance (n = 56) were measured using a crossover design. Mothers selected one pump to keep and were contacted (n = 55) at 6 months postpartum to determine breastfeeding behavior. Prolactin response was greater (p = 0.005) with the novel pump. Milk extraction efficiency was greater (p = 0.001) with the standard pump. Stimulation of 24-hour milk production did not differ between pumps. Women were equally likely to select the two pumps. Feeding behavior at 6 months was not related to pump choice. The test pumps stimulate the two arms of the homeostatic mechanism governing milk output (endocrine stimulation and degree of breast emptying) to different degrees yet have comparable impacts on lactation performance over time.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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