So you’ve decided you’ll be pumping milk after baby is born, but where do you start when trying to choose the best breast pump for you? From single or double to electric or manual, there’s a range of questions to consider when deciding which breast pump to buy. Read on for advice from our Midwife Andrina, to learn what to consider when buying your new breast pump.
What is the difference between a single and double pump?
A single pump has only one breast shield and container so you can only pump from one side at a time. A double pump has two breast shields and containers and simultaneously draws milk from both breasts at the same time. A double pump can also be used as a single pump if you prefer to only express from one side.
What is the difference between a Manual vs Electrical breast pump?
An electric breast pump requires no effort once the shield is placed on your breast and the pump is started at the pace you choose. A manual pump however, requires a push and pull action to create the vacuum and express milk from your breast. These pumps require a lot of effort compared to the electric pumps which are much faster and more comfortable.
A manual breast pump is cheaper than electric models, but can be hard work (especially on your hand that is doing all the work) to use often and not as efficient as using an electric pump. Aside from budget, some people choose manual pump because they like to be able to take it out with them, but a lot of modern designs are compact and rechargeable, making them just as portable and easier to use – like the Crane rechargeable breast pump.
If you’re just looking to pump every now and then, then a manual pump could be the option for you, however if you are going to be pumping 1-2 times a day, or on a frequent basis then an electric pump would be the best option for you.
Overall electric breast pumps are an easier option and more convenient and efficient to use.
What does ‘hospital grade mean’?
Hospital grade pumps have super strong motors and a closed circuit.
Breast pumps used in hospitals are often used by women who have small or premature babies who are not feeding at all, so they need to be very effective at removing milk from the breast. If you are purchasing a breast pump that is ‘hospital grade’ or has 'hospital level performance' you can be confident that you are purchasing an excellent quality pump.
If the pump says 'rechargeable' does this mean it can be used while it isn't plugged in?
Yes, the newer and popular breast pump models have very compact and portable designs, with built in rechargeable batteries, so you can pump while out and about. Check with the breast pump brand you're looking at to ensure it is rechargeable - this is a fabulous feature to look for in a pump.
Why would I need a breast pump?
If you know that you need to go back to work or be away from your baby for extended periods while they are still young, you may choose to purchase a breast pump before your baby arrives.
Commonly, women decide to purchase a breast pump after their baby is born because they need to increase their supply, they would like to express so someone else can feed the baby while they rest, or sometimes for medical reasons such as prematurity, trouble with feeding due to tongue ties, or if your baby appears to not be putting on weight it may be suggested you use a pump for a couple of weeks to help increase your supply, using this milk to top up baby.
Common reasons woman choose to purchase a breast pump:
To increase milk supply
For various reasons if your baby is in NICU, or has been in hospital and you need to pump for your little one when there or when you return home (pumps are available for use at hospitals, but commonly you’ll need one when you leave).
If you’re planning on continue to breastfeed when you return to work
So your partner can give a bottle overnight so you can get some rest
So you can leave your baby with family during feed times
If you choose not to breastfeed for any reason, but still want your baby to receive the benefits of breast milk.
You experience latching issues, and baby won’t latch well in the beginning
It is important to note that having a breast pump isn't a necessary purchase to have before your baby arrives - so if you aren't sure if you'll be pumping or you are feeling overwhelmed, it is something you can purchase once your baby arrives.
If you’re finding your breasts engorged, and you’re pumping for comfort, it is suggested that you really try to get baby to take the milk of naturally, and avoid using a pump unless you’re very careful, as it can cause an oversupply which brings with it more problems. If you do need to express for comfort only take off the amount needed so you feel relief and more comfortable, rather than emptying the breast completely. Emptying the breast completely will feed that supply and demand mechanism and cause you to produce even more milk!
The What, Why & How of Breast Pumping – Common Pumping Questions Answered
If you’re new to breast pumping or haven’t pumped before it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the ‘how to’. How to start pumping, how to increase milk supply, how often to pump and more. We’ve got you covered with a range of frequently asked questions. Our midwife, Andrina Wilson answers your common pumping questions here.Read More