Pumps for mothers who breast feed or nurse their babies can be purchased with more features and conveniences than ever before. There are many innovations that have been added to this invention in recent years. For the most part, pumps still work essentially as they always have: they stimulate the let-down reflex in the breast so that milk can be collected in bottles or bags to later be fed to the baby. They do not actually suction the milk from the breast though they use a vacuum to pull the nipple in a shape that is supposed to imitate infant mouth action when nursing.
We have categorized the most reviewed breast pumps into three electric groups and one group that is all the non-electric pumps, also called manual. Weigh your choices carefully and carefully take note that returns to the store are not usually allowed on any piece of equipment that comes in contact with your milk, and usually the entire box if it has been opened, with a few exceptions.
For your information, you should be aware that expressed (or pumped) breast milk can be fed to a baby in a bottle, cup, spoon or by other means. Some mothers and lactation consultants have definite opinions on how bottles (even those containing expressed milk) should be given to a baby to circumvent breast feeding problems. A Medela Supplemental Nursing System or Lact-Aid Nursing Training System may be helpful in some situations. Many lactation consultants sell and rent breast pumps as well as impart much helpful information specific to your situation.
The number one choice of mothers who go back to work full-time. The only disadvantage of these devices may be the price, but one of these pumps can easily pay for itself when compared to the cost of formula at $100 a month. Most mothers will need to have a private room at their place of employment for pumping, while some have made use of a restroom or car, although that situation is less than ideal.
This category is mostly known for its single electric breast pumps. They are called single pumps because they only pump one breast at a time. Be aware that a pump that only expresses from one side at a time can take longer to finish the job. Some people find they can pump on one breast while they feed their baby on the other. Some mothers find it is too much to manage at once.
The Hospital-Grade Breast Pump (details) $1000+
Lactation consultants and physicians usually agree that these devices are the only serious choice for women establishing a milk supply for a newborn baby who cannot nurse immediately and frequently after birth. These are the highest quality equipment available. Usually when one rents, one will be required to purchase one's own set of tubing, funnels, etc. to connect to the motor which is the component that is actually rented. The major disadvantage is their weight and size makes them less portable.
The Manual Breast Pump (details), under $75
The manual breast pump is recommended only for occasional use because most mothers do not get the same quantity of breast milk from one of these as they can get from an electric pump. They are small, quiet and quick to assemble. Some users like the "hands-on" control and say these devices feel more natural. Others find their hands get tired. They sometimes pack well in a purse for errands away from home. You could purchase two if you want to double pump to save time and take advantage of the typical dual let-down in both breasts. For moms who do not need the power of the higher rated equipment, these can do just fine.
These models may be manual or electric and most consumer reviewers agree that they were not satisfied with their performance. Some of the pumps that fit this category are the Comfort Select and SimplyGo (Evenflo), miPump Double Electric and Natural Transitions (The First Years), Gerber Massaging, and the Gentle Flow Single Electric or Manual (Nuk).
These are other pumps that may be found on the market, but they have not received enough consumer reviews online for us to form an opinion on them: the Limerick or PJ's Comfort Electric Breast Pump, Lumiscope Gentle Expressions, the Whittlestone Breast Expresser, and Simplisse.
Why Medela, Ameda, and Avent Breast Pumps?
The Clandestine Acquisition Of A Breast Pump
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Breast Pump Adverse Events Reported to the FDA
The Elusive Milk Ejection Response - Mind Over Matter
Ten Things No One Told Me About Pumping
Breast Pump Forums and Message Boards
Hygeia EnJoye Breast Pump by Matia Bryson
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Avent Breast Pumps
Breast Pumping More Conveniently by Matia Bryson
Breast Pump Glossary and Breastfeeding Terms