Breastfeeding is the best form of nutrition for your baby. The physical closeness is good for them and breast milk is the healthiest food you can provide. If you want or need to bottle feed your baby, it's best to feed them expressed breast milk. Ready-made infant formula is available for purchase, but it does not offer an equivalent substitute. If you want to buy a pump for expressing your breast milk, you learn about the different devices beforehand. It's important that you find a model that you're comfortable with. Breast pumps are also available for rent. Ask your midwife or a breastfeeding consultant where you can rent a device, or ask at your pharmacy. If you have a doctor's prescription, your health insurance will cover the cost.

A lot of breastfeeding problems can be fixed by pumping the milk. This is a good solution, for example, if your child is separated from you after birth. This may be the case if the baby first needs to be treated in a paediatric ward or intensive care unit. A very premature, small or sick newborn can receive the pumped milk via a bottle or tube. This is a feeding tube that goes through the nose into the stomach. Pumping stimulates your body to make milk. As soon as the baby is strong enough, it can get used to nursing from your breast. If you have breast engorgement, pumping should provide relief. A pump can also help with other difficulties with giving your baby the breast. You should get detailed advice from a midwife or lactation consultant. Pumping is also a good way to let someone else look after your baby for a few hours. For example, so you can go to work or keep an appointment without your baby. For many women, the idea of pumping breast milk is strange at first. However, most people get used to it quickly and are happy to have this option.

There are different types of breast pumps. There are pumps that you can operate by hand, and there are also small electric pumps. Both are suitable for occasional use. They differ in price and handling. Some people prefer the hand-operated version, while others prefer an electric device. If you're pumping for a medical reason, you can borrow a heavy-duty pump for regular use from the pharmacy. Your health insurance will cover the cost of renting the device, as well as for the nipple attachments. For hygienic reasons, these cannot be rented and must instead be purchased. Ask your doctor to write you a prescription for both. You can choose between a pump for one-sided pumping or a double breast pump. For twins, almost every health insurance plan will pay for a double pump set. However, it is worthwhile for everyone who pumps continuously to take a double pump. Then the breast produces more milk and you save time pumping.

Make sure that all parts of the pump that come into contact with the breast and milk are clean and germ-free. After use, clean them first with cold water, then with hot water and detergent, and then again with clear hot water. Once a day, you should clean the parts in the dishwasher at 60 degrees Celsius or in an electric steam steriliser for breast pumps, which you can get from electrical retailers. The containers in which you store the milk must also be clean. You can use all kinds of milk bottles to store breast milk. There are also breast milk bags that are already sterile when purchased. They are particularly suitable for freezing breast milk.

If you store the expressed breast milk at room temperature, it will keep for eight hours. In a normal refrigerator, it stays fresh at 4 degrees Celsius for more than 72 hours. However, you shouldn't put it in the refrigerator door. It's warmer there. You can store breast milk in the freezer section of a refrigerator for up to four weeks. In a real freezer with a temperature of at least -18 degrees Celsius, it can be kept for up to six months. You'll probably get an information sheet at the hospital with recommendations for storing breast milk. The information given therein may differ slightly from that given here. That’s fine. When in doubt, follow the hospital's instructions.

If you want to thaw milk, it's best to take it out of the freezer the night before and put it in the regular fridge overnight. It's faster if you put the bag or jar in the bottle warmer. It is important to know that thawed milk can only be kept in the refrigerator for 24 hours. If you want to warm the milk, you should do so carefully. A water bath is best. You can also get the milk ready to drink in a bottle warmer. It should be body temperature - about 37 degrees Celsius. As soon as the milk is warmed up, you have to use it quickly. When the meal is over, you need to dispose of the rest of the milk.