I see pumps all the time in my job; I listen to mothers and how they feel about so many different brands; I watch videos, read manuals, and talk to companies’ experts… And I know choosing the right pump for you could become a real challenge. Based on my work experience, and also as a mother, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips and things to consider when you pick a pump…
1. The first thing to learn is what kinds of pumps are available in the market. The pumps are categorized by level of power and efficiency to remove the milk, in the following order, from lowest to highest:
- Manual pumps
- Electrical single pumps
- Electrical double pumps
- Hospital rated pumps (which are also double electric pumps)
2. Where to find them? Baby stores, pharmacies, and online. Most insurance companies today in the US provide moms with pumps for free.
3. WHY are you planning to pump? Are you going back to work or school, or are you staying home with your baby? The question here is how long you will be separated from your baby. Depending on how many hours you’ll be away from home, you’ll need to leave enough expressed breast milk (EBM) for him. Pumping every 3 hours is ideal to maintain your milk supply.
4. If you need to pump a few times on a daily basis, you’ll probably do well with a double electric portable pump. There’re many brands in the market, and the prices vary, but the fact that they are double and electric, make them more efficient and quicker to remove the milk.
5. Now, if you need to pump several times a day, to the point of simulating the presence of the baby (in cases when baby is not able to breastfeed and/or remove enough milk, induced lactation, or for any other reason), a double electric pump might not be enough for you, since they tend to lose power with too much use. In that case, your best option is a hospital rated pump. These kinds of pumps are very expensive, but they’re available for renting since they’re designed for frequent use.
6. On the other hand, if you plan on staying home and only separating from your baby occasionally, you’ll probably be fine with a manual or a single electric pump. They’re not as quick as the ones above, but they work very well by removing the milk.
I definitely think a pump is a great tool to have. Whether a manual or electric, they are very helpful if you want to build a milk bank, or just to relieve the swollen breast if necessary.
There are many brands. The oldest and most experienced are "Ameda" and "Medela", which present a wide variety of breast pump models. One of the newer brands is "Spectra", which many mothers report satisfactory results. Read the reviews and recommendations of other moms in online forums, and if you’re still doubting on which would be the best pump for you, don’t hesitate to contact your local lactation consultant, for a professional advice.