A breast pump becomes an accessory for every breastfeeding Mum. Many new Mums are often left confused/unsure as to what to look for and that is after you navigate the mindfield of terminology and gadgets. So lets break down some information relating to breast pumps to give you the best start of where to look.
Pumping can have a way of making us human mamas feel a little like milk machines.
Even if you plan to exclusively breastfeed (often referred to as "EBF"), it is helpful to have a breast pump on hand. Why? It can help to increase your milk supply, especially in those early days. Breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis, so pumping for a few minutes after nursing or adding in a pumping session an hour or so after baby finished can up your supply. Some woman have attachment issues or their newborn has difficulty feeding, or they are placed in a neonatal unit so it becomes necessary for the Mum to pump to generate a supply.
Having some expressed breastmilk on hand can also mean that someone else can do the feed giving Mum a break through the night or alternative an escape during the day- a breast pump gives you the freedom to do so.
Of course, if you’re planning on breastfeeding after returning to work, you’ll want a breast pump so you can keep your supply up, have a stash in your home freezer and relieve engorgement when you’re at the office.
There are basically four types of breast pumps:
- Double-electric breast pumps: These powerful electric models let you pump both breasts at once, important if speed is a concern.
- Single-electric breast pumps: You’ll only be able to pump one breast at a time, which can take longer. On the plus side, these cost less than a double-electric pump.
- Battery-operated breast pumps: These can be slower and run through batteries pretty quickly. The advantage of a battery-operated pump is that they're portable and helpful if you don’t have access to an electrical outlet (such as when you’re commuting to work or traveling).
- Manual breast pumps: These are lightweight, portable and inexpensive. The downside? You'll be doing a lot of the work yourself and you may not get as much milk as a result.
So the decision then comes down to answering these questions in relation to the pump and financial outlay:
- Manual vs electric
- How many hours a week do you think you'll be pumping?
- Will you be pumping occasionally or regularly, short-term or long-term?
- Quality versus price
- Suction and speed control
- Product support and Warranties
- Nipple Size
- Ease of cleaning
Here are a few options to consider: