Breast pumps are kind of weird: the first time I saw one, I thought to myself, “What? Are you kidding?” But, after a week of expressing milk, I could talk for hours about them. The right breast pump is a game-changer. You’ll be able to get more milk, faster and with less effort than ever before—saving you both time and money!
Here’s an interesting fact: no matter how good a breast pump is, it’s never as good as a baby’s sucking motion. This is because breast pumps only suck, whereas babies suck and massage the milk out with their tongue. Maybe soon in the future they will update it.
Do breast pumps actually work?
Yes! If you’re trying to increase your supply or just want to give your baby breast milk while they’re in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), a breast pump can be extremely useful. In fact, some insurance plans even cover the cost—so check with your provider before buying one!
For moms who express milk once in a while, save your money: try hand expression. For moms who express breast milk daily, breast pumps are a must-have. In my opinion, pay the extra money and get a good breast pump. It’s worth it. There are many brands of breast pumps available but they all fall into 3 categories.
1. Electric and Battery Operated Pumps
By far, the electric breast pumps are the best. You put the funnel shaped cover over your breast, plug in the machine, and it will do all the work for you – and fast too. Results vary with different women, but you can empty one breast in 10 minutes. Some electric pumps will pump one breast at a time while duo-pumps will pump both breasts at the same time.
With battery operated pumps you need to remember to check the battery level and charge them when needed, to not get frustrated when they black out while you are trying to use them.
Electric pumps work the best but they are also the most expensive. They are over $100 and if you get one with all the accessories, it can cost as high as $500. You can often rent one from hospitals, pharmacies, lactation specialists and La Leche League (approximately $5 per day).
• See electric breast pumps here
2. Hand-Held Pumps
There are a variety of hand held pumps. They all work, but they all require a bit of manual dexterity too. The most popular one has a lever which you squeeze. This causes a suction and draws the milk out of the breast and into a container. Some women can work this type of pump with one hand while other women need both hands to get it to work properly.
The syringe-type of breast pump has two barrels, one slides into the other. You slide-out the outer barrel and this causes a suction which draws out the breast milk. This type of breast pump requires two hands to use. When it comes to breast pumps, this type is an older model, but you can still find them around.
You should not use pumps which have a squeeze-bulb as its mode of achieving suction. The breast milk can get into the bulb and there is no way to effectively wash the bulb. This type of hand held breast pump may introduce bacteria into your breast milk.
Hand held pumps are the cheapest (approximately $30), but they take a good amount of work on your part to physically pump. Some women use manual breast pumps to express milk everyday while other women recommend it only if you plan to express infrequently.
• See manual pumps here
How much should I spend on a breast pump?
Anywhere from $100-$400 will get you a quality manual or electric pump that should last for years. This depends on what kind of pump(s) you want/need, but here are some guidelines:
– This is the best price range if you’re looking for something that’s easy to use and portable.
– Some of these pumps come with a carrying case or bag so you can easily transport it from place to place.
– The pumps in this category usually have a rechargeable battery and can be used while plugged into an outlet or as a cordless pump.
– Some models come with multiple speed settings and different types of suction to allow you to find the one that works best for you.
Can I pump too much?
Yes! While pumping is a great way to increase your milk supply and get some rest, it’s important to remember that over-pumping can lead to clogged ducts or mastitis (an infection in the breast tissue) which could be very painful and cause serious problems for breastfeeding later on. Make sure you’re taking breaks while pumping so that your body has time to recover between sessions – at least every three minutes!
How do I clean my breast pump?
You should clean your breast pump after every use. To clean your pump, follow these steps:
- Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet or other electrical source.
- Remove any adapters that might be used with the pump.
- Clean all parts of your breast pump using warm water and mild soap or a bottle brush cleaner.
- Rinse all parts of the pump in warm water.
- Allow the breast pump to air-dry completely before using again