Choosing the Right Breastpump For You
When I had my second child, I decided to breastfeed. This included the need to purchase a breast pump, though why, I'm not sure. For me, I think that this was counter-intuitive, as I will explain in another hub in the future. There were so many incredible and confusing options that I felt overwhelmed by the decision of which pump to choose. For us, money was a factor at the time of her birth and we were limited in our resources to the purchase of a hand pump. That is, however, until a friend gave us a second hand pump will all new parts!
I'm going to talk about the pumps that I have used in order to give you a good idea of the price variations that are available to you and to help you to make the choice that best suits your lifestyle. The products themselves will be available directly from this page along with some other items that are helpful for catching and storing breastmilk.
Manual Breastpump: Avent Isis
The Isis was the first breast pump that I ever tried. At the time that I was using the pump it was one of the only models available commercially and I was sure that it was going to be a good choice. The Isis includes a comfort "let down" cushion and I expected great things out of this pump.
The fact of the matter is that I was very disappointed with the Isis pump. The "let down" cushioning didn't initiate let down for me and I struggled with the pump. I found it difficult to get a good position and the cushion actually caused a loss of suction on the pump's apparatus. This is also one of the more expensive options in terms of manual breast pumps and I would personally not recommend it to new mothers.
That being said, the bottles are fantastic and I would suggest purchasing several of the Avent bottles for your baby!
Lansinoh Manual Breastpump
The Lansinoh Manual Breastpump was my favorite of the manual pumps that I tried. The shape of the handle helped me because I have arthritis in my hands and it made for a significantly more comfortable grip. I had no let-down problems with this pump (with my youngest daughter) and found that it was a comfortable pump to use. I very rarely had positioning or suction problems with this pump as well.
I would like to add about the Lansinoh Manual Breastpump that this pump allowed me the most comfortable pumping position of any of the pumps that I tried. With many I had to sit leaning forward instead of in a natural position. With this pump, provided there was a pillow behind my back (as how I nursed), I was able to express a reasonable amount of milk without spending an hour doing so.
This pump's price is also attractive! It is nearly half the price of the Avent Isis!
Lansinoh Bottles (for storage and feeding) on Amazon
The Medela Harmony comes in two different styles. I have shown the style most available from hospitals and which is more classic on the right. The other style looks remarkably similar to the Lansinoh pump and I have not used it.
I found that this style of pump expressed more milk in less time which is what a busy new mother is looking for in her breast pump. It is, however, very tough on the hands and can be exhausting because of the pulling motion that must be done in order to work the pump. The good news is that the style of the pump itself forces a good position for expressing breast milk and that may be helpful to someone who is just learning to pump!
A Breastfeedinb Book Every New Mom Should Read!
Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump on Amazon
Medela Pump in Style Electric Pump
I loved my Pump in Style! This electric pump allows you to adjust the settings while you express your breast milk and comes in a convenient shoulder bag that is discreet. The pump itself is relatively quiet (relative to hospital grade pumps that I have used) and is fairly quick. The pump itself is exceptionally comfortable to use and isn't complicated. It requires no more cleaning than a manual pump.
Please note that an electric pump should never be purchased second hand and Medela itself discourages this. If, however, you are given a second-hand electric pump, ensure that you purchase the "kit" (which is the bottles, pump apparatus and the tubing) new from a hospital for sterility reasons. This is very important!
Is an Electric Pump Worth the Price Difference?
One word: Yes.
Especially if you are going to be returning to work after the birth of your baby, I highly recommend the Pump in Style. It is convenient and as stated, it's very discreet. It looks just like a hand-bag when it is packed up, and the bag is useful for cold storage when you are returning home from work with your expressed breast milk. It's easy to take with you and I feel that it is much easier to "pack up" than the hand-pumps that are available on the market.
If you are going to be returning to work after your baby is born and you will be expressing breast milk to be fed from a bottle to your baby, the Medela Pump in Style is the best way that you can go in order to take care of yourself and your little one.
If you have a limited budget, perhaps ask family and friends to go in together to purchase this pump for you. It's worth it!
Is it Worth it to Rent a Hospital-Grade Breast Pump?
I believe that depends on your circumstances. If you are going to be a stay-at-home mom who, for some reason, needs to pump (perhaps you're very active and out of the house quite a bit with your baby or maybe your baby needs supplemental bottle feeding or perhaps you even don't want to nurse but want the benefits of breastmilk), then the hospital grade breast pump might be the right option for you.
At the time of writing there are two models available. The first is the Medela Lactina, pictured at right, and the Medela Symphony.
I have used the Lactina, and I have to say that the results are phenomenal. The machine itself is intuitive and changes the pressure in order to help to produce a letdown reflex. This actually works and my experience with the Lactina was absolutely incredible during a time I had to pump.
If your baby is premature, you will probably have the opportunity to test drive one of these pumps if you are expressing breast milk while your baby is in the NICU. Often, if your child is in the PICU you will also have the same opportunity. But the best case scenario is that you talk to your lactation consultant and get her (or rarely, him) to give you a go on the Lactina.