Breast Pump 101 – What’s The Best For You
Picking the best breast pump isn’t a one-pump-suits-all.
I won’t lie – I hate pumping more than just about anything. It is one of the most annoying things I’ve ever done. But, I went back to work when my older son was 6 months old and my younger son was 3 months and was still breast-feeding. So my supply didn’t fall, I pumped at work. I dreaded every minute of it, but it was a necessity for me.
Some moms pump to increase their supply, some to maintain it, while others pump to offer breast milk instead of breast-feeding entirely.
Some moms pump to increase their supply, some to maintain it, while others pump to offer breast milk instead of breast-feeding entirely. Whatever your reason, it’s best to be well informed and buy or rent the best pump for you.
For moms introducing a bottle, I recommend doing so by 4-6 weeks, once breast-feeding is well established. This timing will make it more likely your baby will take a bottle while not interfering with successful breast-feeding, which can happen if you introduce a bottle too early.
If you’re having trouble breast-feeding
Consider a hospital-grade double electric breast pump
Why: These remove milk from your breasts as closely to a baby as possible. They are most efficient. Pumping both breasts at once means half the pumping time. Also a great option if you are unsure if you will be pumping long term. Minimal commitments for a rental fee versus an expensive personal pump you own.
If you’re planning on pumping often
Consider a good quality double electric breast pump
Why: same reasons as above for efficiency and time saving, but cheaper than renting a hospital pump if you will be pumping for several months. They come with carrying cases so you can take to work or around town. They run on batteries, car chargers and/or AC adaptors.
If you’re pumping infrequently
Consider a good quality single electric breast pump
Why: you may not want to spend the money on a double electric if you wont be using the pump often. Just know it will take you twice as long to pump if pumping one breast at a time.
If you are pumping very occasionally
Consider a manual single pump
Why: these are the cheapest but also the least efficient and most cumbersome. For those moms who pump very infrequently this is a reasonable solution to maintain supply, though many women will become frustrated very quickly with the inefficiency and hand cramping that results.
CAUTION: A note on sharing pumps:
In general we don’t recommend sharing pumps. Most breast-pumps don’t operate on a ‘closed system’ and some milk can get trapped inside the system, harbouring bacteria and viruses. This can then be transmitted in your pumped milk to your baby. Because the bacteria can get inside the pump mechanics, using new phalanges and tubing may not sterilize it. Rental pumps have a ‘closed system’ and don’t have this issue.
Dina is a wife, mother of 4, and adrenaline junky. She loves to share children’s health information from her professional and personal experience. More About Dr Dina.