25 February 2016
The majority of new mothers in the United States use breast pumps in the first four months post-birth in order to achieve their personal human milk feeding goals. Although these mothers seek guidance from health care professionals with respect to the type and use of breast pumps, there are few evidence-based guidelines to guide this professional advice. This paper reviews the evidence to facilitate professional individualization of breast pump recommendations using three categories of literature: the infant as the gold standard to which the pump is compared; the degree of maternal breast pump dependency (e.g., the extent to which the breast pump replaces the infant for milk removal and mammary gland stimulation); and the stage of lactation for which the pump replaces the infant. This review can also serve to inform public and private payers with respect to individualizing breast pump type to mother-dyad characteristics.