Breast pumps have been a gamechanger for women. They make it possible to express milk allowing the baby to receive breast milk anytime even if the mother is not present, giving women more freedom and flexibility. A breast pump can increase the flow of breast milk and even relieve clogged milk ducts. Expressed milk also allows for bonding between father and baby. Here are some things to consider when buying a breast pump.
There are four main types of breast pumps.
- Manual: These are hand-operated. They’re time-consuming and labour-intensive.
- Single electric: These pumps are run by an electric or battery motor and they pump one breast at a time.
- Double electric: These are operated by a motor and pump both breasts at the same time cutting down on the time needed to pump. A great option for women with a low milk supply.
- Hospital-grade: These are multi-user and most often used in hospitals by women whose babies are in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).
Electric pumps are the better option for women with a low milk supply.
Why are you buying a pump?
The reason why you’re buying a breast pump greatly influences the type of pump. If you’re looking to pump only periodically so that, for example, your partner can occasionally feed the baby, you can go for a manual breast pump. If you’ll be pumping larger quantities, for example, in preparation for going back to work, you should for an electric pump.
Where you’ll be using it
If you’ll need to use it away from home, then you want something small and portable. Sometimes even if you’re using it in the home, you’ll need to move it from one place to another. Electric pumps require an outlet and are generally larger and heavier making them more difficult to transport. If you’ll be using it in a shared space or public area like the office, it’s important to know that most electric pumps are a little noisy because of the motor.
Effectiveness of pump
The effectiveness of a breast pump is a measure of how much milk it produces in the least amount of time. This is based on the speed and suction strength of the pump. The amount of time you have for pumping matters. For women who may be pumping at work, speed matters.
Electric breast pumps are more expensive than manual varieties. Beyond the initial cost of purchase, you should consider the cost of maintenance. Factor in the electricity consumption, as well as the cost of replacement of parts and other accessories. Does the pump have a warranty? How easy is it to get replacements? It’s best to consider well-known, widely available brands because then the parts are easier to replace in the event you need it.
Does the breast pump have any special features to make pumping easier? Special features include breast pads, massagers, and cooling cases. Some pumps come with an extra set of flanges or membranes.
You need to make sure the flanges are the right size. The flange is the part of the breast pump that goes around your nipple. It draws your nipple into the tunnel of the pump where milk is extracted. They come in different sizes. If it’s too small, it will hurt your nipple and if it’s too big it will not be effective at extracting the milk.
Ease of use
You want a breast pump with clear instructions and one that’s easy to clean and assemble. Ease of use is critical. How easy is it to thoroughly clean the pump? Especially considering you will be doing this a lot. Properly washing it is important for your health and that of your baby. If you’re shopping in a store, you can try assembling and disassembling different brands until you find one that works for you. Most stores don’t allow returns so it’s best to test the products in-store.
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