Not only experts, but every mom knows that breast milk is best for growing babies. You’re suggested to breastfeed for the first six months. However, many moms want to continue even later as breast milk gives so many benefits like boosting the babies’ immune system and promoting their brain and physical developments. If you’re planning to breastfeed, then you’ll need to own a breast pump. It’s better if you look for one that matches your needs before your baby arrives. Check out how to choose a right pump for you!
Will I need to buy a breast pump?
Breast pumps can be indispensable in the following circumstances:
- Your baby can’t breastfeed directly under some health conditions.
- You’re going back to work but don’t want to stop breastfeeding.
- You occasionally must be apart from your baby.
- You have to formula-feed your baby for a short term because of a medical reason but want to resume it when possible.
- Your milk supply outpaces your baby’s demand and you need to soften your breasts by emptying them.
- Your milk supply is low and you want to stimulate the production.
- You have difficulty to get your baby latched on well for any reasons. (inverted nipples, developmentally delayed baby, etc.)
What type of breast pump should I buy?
You must take into consideration various factors before you can decide which pump you should buy. Since breast pump is a personal object just like toothbrush, many stores don’t give you the possibility to return it. Therefore, you should be careful and learn important details of each type before buying. There’re numerous models available these days but they can be categorized widely into 4 main types: Hospital grade breast pumps, Mid-weight automatic breast pumps, Small electric or battery-operated units and Manual breast pumps. Each of these types is suitable for different uses. Read on to find which one among the following types is best for you.
1. Hospital-grade pumps
They’re typically bigger than other types and require electric power. They’re specifically designed for the use in hospitals but can also be rented to use at home from hospitals, lactation consultants, drugstores and medical-supply stores. This’s possible because they can be sanitized and can be used properly and safely by more than one mom. They usually have more sensitive controls than other types. You’ll be able to regulate the suction cycle, intensity and pressure in the way that comes very close to those of a baby’s suction. In other words, they’re more effective and stronger, comparing to other types of breast pumps. They’re also designed to pump both breasts at once, taking you only half time while allowing you to drain your breasts quickly. All these advantages would lead you to increase breast milk supply while feeling comfortable as well. However, hospital-grade pumps may not be convenient to bring with you in the office or while travelling although some of them provides a battery since it’s quite big and bulky to carry. They’re ideal for moms who have difficulty in nursing for first few weeks or who have insufficient milk supply and want to build it up.
2. Mid-weight automatic breast pumps
This type of electric pumps is generally similar to the hospital-grade type but it has a lighter weight and seems to be a little less efficient. Many of them are designed to be used on both sides contemporarily too. They usually have powerful motors and great suction. Like hospital-grade pumps, most of them has the capacity to mimic the baby’s natural suction pattern. This means that the suction begins rapidly to stimulate milk flow and then becomes slower. They also provide various cycle and vacuum settings in the way that you can try and select the setting that works best for you. Many of them come with a bag or backpack, an adaptor, a battery pack and may include some other accessories like removable cooler carrier, bottles or containers and stand. You can carry the set in the bag and carry it with you everywhere. They’re ideal if you’re pumping multiple times per day or if you’re going back to work and have to pump outside your house. They express quickly, helping you store enough milk for missed feedings and maintain your milk supply. However, they usually have many parts to assemble. If you don’t plan to pump often, you may not need this type of breast pumps. They’re for personal use, so you can’t sell or pass them to other moms later.
3. Small electric or battery-operated breast pumps
This type of breast pump is widely used and may be the most sold in stores. They operate on household electric current and many of them can also work on AA batteries. They’re typically compact, lightweight and easy to assemble and to use. The suction may be not as good as that of mid-weight automatic pumps but can sometimes come close. Some models offer a few settings: from minimum to maximum speed. They’re simple, handy and convenient for the price but the efficiency can vary from one to another. The top-ended ones also provide the letdown feature which mimics the natural baby’s suction pattern. Small electric or battery-operated units are best for moms who pumps only once a day or who already go back to work and have to pump in the workplace. They’re also a perfect to bring with on holidays. If you’re pumping several times per day, you may not be satisfied as it’s slower and may be much comfortable for your nipples. You may find it annoying because it’ll take more time for you to collect a good amount of milk. Not every model can guarantee the increasing breast milk production. If you’ve a problem of insufficient milk supply, you should buy the mid-weight automatic pumps or rent a hospital-grade one as they’re more effective.
4. Manual breast pumps
Manual breast pumps are more portable and more affordable than electric pumps. In general, they’ve a lever that allows you to squeeze in order to stimulate to milk to flow. Some models come with a cylinder or a piston instead. You’re suggested to prefer a one-hand operated model. It’ll be quite difficult for you to hold the pump by one hand and pump by the other hand. Manual pumps obviously require more effort and more time to collect breast milk. However, some moms prefer this type of breast pump just because they can control the suction by themselves and this makes them feel more natural. If you’re staying at home with your baby and rarely have to pump, this type is fine for you. Since they’re small, doesn’t have many parts and doesn’t require any source of electricity, they’re best for occasional uses or for travel purpose. Some moms buy a manual pump as a second choice to use in only some circumstances while using mainly an electric one.
What should I look at when choosing a breast pump?
- Safety: The parts of breast pumps should be easy to wash and can be sterilized in order to kill bacteria. You should wash carefully every possible part once a day if you can’t wash it between feeding sessions.
- Suction settings: If you’re going to invest on an electric pump, look for a model that features the patented 2-phase expression that mimic the baby’s natural sucking pattern. Most of best electric breast pumps allow you to select the setting that you like most by one-touch button. The available settings should show clearly on the digital display. Some model is able to remember the preferred setting too.
- Size of breast shields (flanges): It can be painful if you’re not using the right size of breast shields. You should check if there’re different sizes of shields sold separately. If the shields that come with the pump don’t fit your nipples, switch to a more proper size.
- Double pumping: If you’re a frequent pumping mom, you won’t regret to spend on an electric double pump that make you save half time in every pumping session. It really makes your life easier.
- Battery option: If you want to buy only one breast pump for every occasion, look for a compact electric pump that can also operate on batteries. Think about an emergency too! You’ll be able to use it even when you run out of electricity.
- Pump weight: If you must bring the pump back and forth in your daily life, get a lightweight one. Some moms end up with buying the second breast pump to avoid carrying a heavy and bulky pump.
- Storage bag: Imagine if you must always carry one bag for the office, one bag for breast pump and may be another for your personal belongings. Choose the type of bag that allow you to organize your stuffs wisely. Some models offer a briefcase, some others a backpack or metro bag with shoulder strap.
Choosing a breast pump may be tough as there’re so many models on the market. What type did you buy and why?