Breast Pumps offer a Formula for Success
Many women are surprised at how much they enjoy being a mom. They realize that life is precious and they start preparing for the new-born from the early stages of pregnancy already. Pregnancy is an exciting time, and if you’re a new mom there are calendars that help you know exactly what stage of growth and development your baby is at. Any concerns you may have about your baby’s development should be discussed with your doctor.
And what about you? Your stomach will be expanding to accommodate your growing baby. In fact your entire body is changing because of the new life within you. Your breasts will experience dramatic changes during pregnancy. They are preparing for their role of providing nourishment for your baby. Breast is still best because the milk comes with nutritional goodness that the baby needs. Most mothers try to exclusively feed their baby, but there are those who must return to work and there are those who battle to get their baby to latch to the breast. This is when mothers ask themselves, what type of breast pump do I need? We have tried to make it easy for you by summing up everything in one article.
Breast Pumps are Nothing New
You can’t always be ready and available to breastfeed your baby. Returning to work may cause you to wonder about your ability to see that your baby’s nutritional needs are met. This is when you start realizing what a useful tool the breast pump becomes.
Breast pumps are nothing new, and in fact, engineer Edward Lasker patented a mechanical breast pump in 1927 already for the many premature babies who were too weak or sick to nurse. Later a more effective, mechanical pump was created. Mothers returning to work with well established milk supplies will be relieved to know that a breast pump will effectively withdraw milk from the breasts so that they can fill a baby bottle with breast milk.
The technology with these pumps hasn’t changed much over the years, and in fact the most significant improvement is that the pumps are smaller and lighter, making them much more portable. Today’s breast pumps are a good investment and can make life a whole lot easier, whether you prefer the electrified version or the manual variety. Whatever type you invest in, they all work along the same basic principles.
A glass or plastic breast shield allows a vacuum to be applied to the breast. The cone-shaped part of the breast shield is known as the flange, and it fits over the nipple and areola to create a seal. Air is pulled into the breast shield and the breast nipple is suctioned into the tunnel. With a manual pump, the mother will squeeze a lever to create and release suction. These pumps imitate a baby’s nursing rhythm so that milk eventually flows. Storage bags and ready-to-feed bottles attach to the pump to collect milk.
Which Breast Pump is for You?
There will always be decisions to make when selecting the right breast pump to use for yourself. There are many excellent breast pump review sites that don’t endorse any particular products. They just give useful information on a variety of pumps.
The fact that there are so many pump types is indicative of the many individual needs of lactating women, and what worked well for your sister may not work well for you. While these breast pumps all have a common factor – to withdraw milk from the breasts – they come in different varieties and are also priced differently. To figure out which breast pump will slot into your lifestyle best of all think about your needs surrounding the pump –
●where will you be using the pump?
●how frequently will you be using it?
●what is your budget for buying a pump?
●what features are important to you?
●is the breast pump easily transportable? Is it lightweight enough and does it come with a carrying case that holds the pump and its accessories?
If you’re thinking of your hectic lifestyle, then maybe a double electric pump will suit you best. This is because it allows you to pump from both breasts at the same time.
Why do Woman use Breast Pumps?
There are actually quite a few reasons –
●many mothers want to continue allowing their infant to receive breast milk when they return back to work. They use the breast pump to express their breast milk. The milk is then kept in a baby bottle so that the caregiver can feed it to the child in the absence of the mother.
●for women with a low milk supply, a breast pump can stimulate lactation.
●the breast pump can also be used to relieve something known as engorgement – a painful condition when the breasts are overfull and the infant isn’t able to latch onto the breast properly
●a mother may also choose to use a breast pump if the baby is hospitalized after birth and can’t nurse for different reasons
●the mother may also be taking medication that affects the breast milk. The medication in the milk could be harmful to the infant. The mother can use the pump to ‘flush out’ the milk with medication, and return to breast feeding once she is off the medication. Pumping is desirable in a case like this as as it allows lactation to continue. The beauty about these breast pumps is that they can actually help with maintaining your milk supply.
Federal Law Requires a Quiet Breast-Pumping Spot
If your baby is premature or even if it is a special-needs baby and isn’t able to drink from you from the start, you can already be pumping so as to build up your breast-milk supply. If you’re planning to return to work soon, start with pumping a few weeks ahead of this just to get the hang of it. There is no need to stress about returning to work and getting used to a breast pump.
Did you know that in America, Federal law actually requires employees to provide a private place for moms who need to use a breast pump. These facilities must be separate from the usual bathroom facilities. They are used for women to express breast milk for up to a year after the baby’s birth.
If you have never used a breast pump, they are fairly simple to use. The nursing staff at the clinic will be more than willing to show you how they work. Even if you don’t intend using it from word go, you might be interested to look at it, especially if you’ve got plans to return to work. Breast pumps are different to some extent, but they all come with detailed instruction manuals with diagrams and are no trouble to use at all.
What is a Breast Pump?
A breast pump can be a manual breast pump- battery operated breast pump- or electrical breast pump. Their job is to extract milk from the mother’s breasts. You may even have seen them while you were in the nursing home. These hospital grade pumps are particularly useful for those new moms having difficulty with breastfeeding. These particular pumps are able to collect milk from both breasts at the same time. Mothers battling to get their baby to latch might appreciate one of these pumps as will mothers of premature babies.
Some of the leading, most respected names in breast pumps –
●Avent – they’ve enjoyed great success with their Isis breast pump, although it is no longer in circulation now.
●Medela – a major manufacturer of breast pumps for many years
●Ameda – a trusted name for more than 50 years. This brand was the first to introduce a closed collection system to consumers. Their patented HygieniKit is approved by the FDA to preserve the purity of expressed milk
●Hygeia – a new brand offered to hospitals. Their electric pumps are FDA approved to be safe for multiple users.
Other good brands are Playtex and Dr Brown’s among others.
The Breast Pumps We Love!
- Philips Avent Manual Breast Pump
- Medela Pump Style Advanced Metro Bag Breast Pump
- Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump
- Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump – Carry All
- Medela Pump In Style Advanced Backpack Breast Pump
What can you typically Expect?
Most manufacturers of breast pumps put in a useful informational brochure with their pumps. You’ll find a customer-service number printed on the brochure, and you can call this for assistance if you’ve got any queries. Your breast pump is bound to have a warranty too that will allow you to replace it.
Let’s just look at a typical example of a breast pump from Evenflo. The Evenflo Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump for instance is an attractive closed-pump system option because it is easy to clean and affordable too.
Reviews about this particular pump will tell you that with a motor that isn’t particularly powerful, the pump may not be able to fully extract your milk. The breast pump comes with 2 bottles and 3 different size breast shields. When you do research you’ll find that Evenflo is a brand with the poorest customer reviews. People complained about them causing nipple pain, expressing milk inefficiently and not have adequate warranties.
Electric- or battery breast pumps are useful for moms who pump about once or twice a day and are mostly with their babies. They want to know there is extra milk available. These top-end electric pumps are fully automatic with different cycling times. Their suction levels can also be adjusted which is useful because this helps to avoid nipple discomfort.
Most electric breast pumps pumps are what is known as double pumps. This means that they can be used on both breasts at once. These modern breast pumps are lightweight, weighing about 5lbs and coming with nifty carrying cases.
For the best convenience, these pumps come with a built in battery pack. This is a useful option, particularly if you need to pump and you discover that there has been a power failure or there aren’t any electrical outlets available. There are pumps which also run on a car’s power outlet. This is made possible with an adapter which is sold separately and is of particular use for moms who need to pump in their cars.
You can adjust an electric pump’s speed and suction levels, but if you’re a freelancer mom with flexible hours, you may find that an inexpensive manual breast pump does the job just as effectively. Whatever model you choose, however, use it a few times during your maternity leave so that you’re well acquainted with it when you get back to work.
Manual – wonderful simplicity for budget moms
Manual breast pumps are great for those moms on a budget. They are a lot cheaper than their electric counterpart, possibly because they are a lot slower. You have to manually do all the pumping yourself. It requires you using both hands although there are some one-hand models. These manual pumps are nice and simple to use and are particularly useful for pumping on the go and in places where there may not be electricity.
Once you have done some research and found the right pump, it may take a little bit of time to master the entire process. Check the manufacturer’s website
Electric, battery or manual?
The idea with these breast pumps is to avoid pain. It should never hurt, so if you do experience discomfort, lower the suction setting or also try to buy different-size breast shields that fit more comfortably onto your nipples. Many pumps are sold with one size breast-shield. Before buying a breast pump, make sure to check the manufacturer’s website. You’ll want to know if it is possible to replace the breast-shields with a different size or maybe even a different texture that will be more comfortable for you.
Find out the good and the bad
When it comes to actually selecting a breast pump, do some research on the different brand names and see what they say in support of their product. It is also a good ideas to read customer reviews because this is they way you’ll find out the negative and positive aspects of the different breast pumps. These reviews are found on the manufacturer’s website. The reviews will come from mothers who have already used these pumps and what they now have to say about them. Once you decided on one, you’ll be able to shop online or in retail stores for the product you think will benefit you the most.
Some breast pumps from leading brands such as Medela or Philips. These top-end breast pumps can cost anything between $200 and $250. The pumps come with different adjustable settings, a variety of accessories and operate with batteries or electricity. Then again you get the Evenflo manual pump which moms love because of its sheer ease of use. The bag allows you to simply toss it in your bag wherever you’re headed. Moms who love not splashing out on something they’re not likely to use again love that this manual breast pump which goes for less than $25.
A helpful resource is La Leche League. This is an international organization which has been in existence for many years, informing mothers- as well as legislative members about breastfeeding. They offer plenty of useful information on breast pumps and breast feeding in general. They will explain everything, from expressing milk at work to ideas on storing the milk to remembering to always wash your hands before pumping.
Leading breast-pump manufacturers such as Medela and others have excellent websites where they also feature helpful hints about their products and how to use them.
Open or Closed Systems?
When you buy a breast pump, find out first whether it has an open- or a closed system. With a closed system pump, you get this barrier between the milk collection kit and the pump mechanism. This prevents contamination. The open system pump doesn’t have this barrier. Closed system pumps are available from leading brands such as Medela, Freemie, Bailey and PJs for instance. There is a difference between a closed system pump and a multiple user pump. Most of the closed system pumps aren’t meant to be used by more than one person.
Of course there is always plenty of discussion about whether the closed system breast pumps are really better than the open system ones. The closed system pumps are certainly considered to be more hygienic because the expressed milk isn’t exposed to the pump tubing or motor. If you use an open system pump, because of the lack of a barrier, milk can seep into the tubing which has to then be washed, then sterilized and then air dried. Most pump manufacturers are now changing to a closed system design to prevent mold and bacteria forming in the tubes.
When to Stop Pumping?
How do you know when you’ve done enough pumping? Before you start, lean over and gently shake your breasts to encourage milk flow. If you’re using an electric pump, start by using the lowest suction at first. Pump until the milk starts slowing down and your breasts feel empty. Some experts recommend stopping after 20 minutes of use or to stop when you see the milk flow is reduced.
There are always tips and advice to help you make the process just that much easier. There are ways to actually help you express the most milk. The amount of milk you produce will vary from one mother to the next. Every lactating mother will produce different amounts of milk, and you may even find that one breast produces far more milk than the other.
Some Important Criteria on Which Pumps are Selected
- Type of pumping – there are 3 types of pumping actions – single, double alternating and double simultaneous. Double simultaneous pumps stimulate both breasts at the same time which is time saving as pumping time is cut in half
- Comfort level – comfort levels are determined by the breast shields provided. The pump’s cycling also affects its comfort level.
- Motor noise level – most mothers don’t want to be heard to be using a breast pump
- Cycling rates – where the cycling rate is less than 25 , you’ll find them to be ineffective at expressing milk. The cycle is longer which causes breast pain.
- Portability – this is important if you will be pumping often because you’ll be taking the pump with you so the pump should be lightweight and have some kind of carry bag or case.
Pros and Cons of using Breast Pumps
There are so many pros to choose a good brand breast pump for yourself –
- you’ll always know exactly the amount of breast milk your baby is receiving. The container where the breast milk flows into will be marked as well as the bottle that you feel your baby with.
- caregivers can feed the baby breast milk
- using a good breast-pump can relieve the breasts before they become engorged with milk
- by using a breast pump, the nursing mother is able to build up a strong supply of milk for the growing baby. The milk is relieved from the breasts so the breasts continue to produce milk even though the mother isn’t directly nursing the baby
- there’s the sheer convenience it allows. Fathers can also hold a baby while feeding it, and this can help with the bonding process
- far more time- and energy consuming than using the breast. You’ve got to wash and prepare bottles
- if you’re using an electric breast pump, if you’re ill-prepared, you can be caught off guard during a power failure
One or Two Safety Aspects about Cleaning
Never get a 2nd hand or used pump. It can be tempting to take over your best friends best pump who no longer needs it, but experts caution against this. The reason for this is that breast milk can carry viruses and also bacteria. It doesn’t matter how well your friend looked after her pump and cleaned it, there are risks. There are viruses such as cytomegalovirus for instance which can be found in the pumps if not properly cleansed, and an infection can be passed on to you and your baby.
Not only that, it sounds unimportant, but if you buy a 2nd hand pump, the motor may not function well, which can effect the pump’s milk output. Most breast pumps are in any case, only designed to be used for a year or two. With a used pump, the motor could well be at the end of its expected life span.
After each pumping session, each part that came into contact with breast milk should be cleaned. It is never going to be possible to totally sterilize your breast pump in a home setting, even if you were to boil them.
Liquid dish-washing soap works very well, but check out your breast pump because some parts can even be put into the dishwasher. Also its not necessary to dismantle the entire pump to clean the breast pump tubing. If the tubing does come into contact with breast milk, wash the tubing and air dry it. You can also wipe down batteries and electrical units but never submerge them in the water.
Remember to always store your breast milk in clean glass bottles or plastic food storage containers. You’ll also need to be conscientious about labeling the bottles with the date. A good tip is to store the milk in portion sizes to what your baby drinks.
Many breast pumps come with containers that can be used as feeding bottles. The different brands all offer a breast pump accessory set which has all the essentials parts for breast pumping. You’ll get breast pump parts, breast milk bottles complete with useful information and cleaning accessories.
What about Breast Pumps and Insurance?
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 required that health insurance plans cover the cost of a breast pump. Under this Act they are covered 100% by insurance for all health care plans that begin after August 1, 2012. This applies to bought and rental pumps. Certainly nearly all plans cover some type of breast pumps if it is seen as medically necessary. If you believe that your plan also covers the cost of a breast pump but your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal. You can check out your state’s Department of Insurance for assistance.
Some insurance plans want a prescription from your doctor. Before you go ahead and purchase a breast pump, get details from your medical insurance. Each state runs its own medical aid programs so it is always a good idea to check with your medicaid provider first.
If your state’s Medicaid program doesn’t cover breast pumps, you may be eligible for a free one. This is through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or just simply referred to as WIC.
A breast pump is a wonderful help to any nursing mother who wants to enjoy all the benefits of breastfeeding, even when she’s not there to do it herself. Choosing these helpful devices will depend on the mom’s usage, their needs and budget. It may take a little while to get accustomed to the pump, but when you get the hang of it, it becomes child’s play. You’ll be calm and relaxed knowing that your precious bundle of joy has been nursed, nourished and enriched by your breast milk.
Manual Breast Pump
Manual pumps are easy to use and never require electricity or batteries. Give you the option to use this breast pump virtually anywhere. Manual breast pumps are lightweight and easy to carry around in your purse, tote bag, or diaper bag. A manual breast pump is perfect for mothers who only need to pump occasionally. Check out our manual breast pump reviews page for more information on manual breast pumps. Manual breast pumps are great for: missed feedings, occasional use, reducing engorgement, and draw out flat or inverted nipples.
Single Electric Breast Pump
Single electric breast pump are great mothers who want to pump milk while their baby eats. This type of breast pump requires electricity. Some of the models offer battery packs, rechargeable batteries, or car adapters while makes pumping on the go easier. Most single electric breast pumps are lightweight. A light weight breast pump is very portable and makes it easy to carry around in your tote bag, purse, or even your baby’s diaper bag. Check out our single electric breast pump reviews page for more information on single electric breast pumps. Single electric breast pumps are great for: missed feedings, daily use, can be used while your baby is eating, reducing engorgement, and using on flat or inverted nipples.
Double Electric Breast Pump
Double electric breast pumps allow moms to pump more milk in less time. You can pump breast milk from both breasts at the same time. Most of these breast pumps require AC power, unless you purchase a model that offers a battery pack or car adapter. Most models come with a carrying bag that stores your pump and all the accessories that you need for a pumping. Check out our double electric breast pump reviews page for more information on double electric breast pumps. Double electric breast pumps are great for: multiple pumping sessions, duel pumping saves time, latching issues, breast infections, and used to help increase low breast milk supply.
Hospital Grade Breast Pump
Hospital grade breast pumps are high quality breast pumps and are very expensive. Most moms prefer to rent a hospital grade breast pump. Hospital grade breast pumps are more effective and are often ued to build your milk supply or exclusively using a breast pump to express breast milk. This pump is recommended for mothers with preemies, babies that require long term hospitalization ie NICU, or multiple babies. The pump is bulky and isn’t very portable compared to the other types of breast pumps. Check out our hospital grade breast pump reviews page for more information on hospital grade breast pumps. Hospital grade breast pumps are great for: moms who have given birth to multiples, pumping breast milk for preemies or a baby who is still in the hospital, latching issues, breast infections, and to help establish your breast milk supply.
What type of breast pump are you planning on purchasing?