With so many options available, choosing a breast pump can be a challenge for new or expectant parents. We asked the experts at Renown Health’s Lactation Connection for some helpful tips on selecting the best pump for you and your baby.
Breast pumps provide a huge convenience for nursing mothers. These pumps allow you to collect milk when you’re separated from your baby, and helps maintain your milk supply. Plus, pumping allows you to build up a milk supply you can freeze and store if you’re returning to work or traveling without your baby. But what type of pump should you chose?
First and foremost, consider your needs when selecting a breast pump. Take into consideration things such as the baby’s age, economics, if you’re pumping to establish an initial milk supply or augmenting a supply if you are away from baby, as well as how long you would like to pump.
Many breast pumps come with a lot of accessories and extra parts, which may not be used. Conversely, having multiple options for different occasions might be helpful for mothers.
In general, there are three types of breast pumps: manual, personal pumps and hospital grade.
Choosing a Manual Breast Pump
A manual pump runs without electricity and can be labor-intensive, which makes it most suitable for mothers who only pump occasionally and whose babies are breastfeeding well. A newer silicon pump is ideal for an overabundance of milk and for preventing leakage.
Personal Breast Pumps
Personal breast pumps, which extract milk with the aid of a motor, are the most popular. Many insurance companies are now providing these pumps as a benefit and requirement of the Affordable Care Act. Personal breast pumps offer the benefit of being able to “double-pump” (express both breasts at once) and can be very effective if you’ll be spending time away from your baby, such as going back to work. They are not recommended in the first weeks of an infant’s life if there is difficulty breastfeeding. Affordability is a concern if the cost — typically $200-$400 — isn’t covered by insurance.
Hospital-Grade Breast Pumps
Hospital-grade breast pumps are generally the most reliable and efficient, and are provided to mothers who are trying to establish and maintain their milk supply if full-time breastfeeding had not yet been initiated. They are often used in neonatal intensive care units and on the postpartum hospital floor if a mother is having difficulty establishing breastfeeding while in the hospital.
Knowing what type of breast pump is best for you and your baby can be important in determining the length of time you are able to breastfeed. After your baby is born, talk to your nurse about your options. Postpartum nurses are specially trained to help every mother and baby at the very beginning of their breastfeeding journey.