PURPOSE: To determine whether exclusively pumping mothers of preterm infants could achieve full milk production while using the Ameda Platinum breast pump the first 14 days postpartum.
SUBJECTS: Twenty-six mothers who delivered infants between 26 and 32 weeks' gestation at 2 Intermountain Healthcare hospitals completed the study. Mothers could not take milk-enhancing or milk-reducing substances, feed directly at the breast, have had breast surgery, or use any other breast pump during the study.
DESIGN: Nonexperimental, descriptive study.
METHODS: Mothers were instructed to use the Ameda Platinum breast pump exclusively 8 times daily, for 14 days. They recorded milk volumes, suction pressures, cycle speeds, and time spent pumping. A “Performance Questionnaire” was completed at the end of the study with questions about the ease of use, preferred speed and suction settings, and overall performance of the pump.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Full milk production was defined as 700 mL/d. Speed and suction settings, as well as average pumping session length, were analyzed in relation to categories of maximum milk volumes expressed.
RESULTS: The average maximum daily milk volume for all mothers was 817 mL/d. Sixteen mothers produced milk volumes more than 700 mL/d and 9 of these mothers were able to express more than 1000 mL/d. Those with daily milk production more than 700 mL/d used lower suction pressure settings to stimulate the milk ejection reflex and to empty the breast. These higher-producing mothers also chose ending speeds of 50 to 60 cycles per minute, similar to the nutritive sucking pattern of a healthy newborn. Mothers producing less than 500 mL/d used higher suction pressures, faster ending cycle speeds, and longer pumping times. Suction pressures varied widely among all of the mothers and were influenced by the mothers' nipple or breast sensitivity, which varied from mother to mother and day to day. Mothers reported liking separate controls for speed and suction and used them to achieve maximum comfort and milk volume.
CONCLUSIONS: The Ameda Platinum breast pump is an effective hospital-grade pump for exclusively pumping mothers to establish full milk production by 14 days postpartum. Separate control of speed and suction allows mothers a wide range of options to achieve greater comfort and multiple milk ejections, both of which contribute to optimal milk expression.