You have decided to breast feed your baby, good call as there are so many advantages to breast feeding. Now you have to decide what type of breast pump you need so you can have milk for your baby even when you are not there to feed him or her. Whether you are going back to work or just the occasional trip out it is important to have the best breast pump that will fit your life style and the needs of the baby. There are so many different kinds of breast pumps that the choices can be overwhelming.
Here is some information that should help you in your decision on how to buy the best breast pump for you.
• Large Hospital Grade Breast pumps: These are generally used for moms who are having trouble breast feeding in the hospital. They are also used if your baby is a preemie and in the NICU or if the mom has some medical problems that does not allow the mother to produce enough milk. These units are great because they pump at about the same speed as a baby would nurse and they pump both breasts making it easier on mom.
• Personal use automatic breast pumps: If you are a mom who will need to pump more than once a day this is the pump for you. These pumps are automatic, convenient and have the efficiency of the hospital grade model. They have suction levels that are adjustable, they have the double pumps (so you can do both breast at the same time) and they have quick cycling times. These are great for women that have a great milk supply.
• Portable electric breast pumps: This type of pump is great for the mom who is going to only leave the baby occasional, they are more portable (weighing in at about 2 pounds or less) and they are much more affordable.
• Battery operated breast pumps: These are nice for the mom who cannot find an outlet to use an electric pump with; they run off of batteries so you can use it anytime anywhere. The batteries may need to be replaced often depending on how often you use it and it is not as powerful as the electric pumps but it still does the job.
• Manual breast pumps: Manual pumps are the most affordable of all the breast pumps, but they can be a little bit more work. With these pumps you control the suction of the pump and many moms say it feels more natural. They are completely portable but usually you can only do one breast at a time and may take a little longer to do.
The first thing you need to consider is how much pumping you will be doing. If you are going back to work and need lots of bottles for baby or are you a stay at home mom and will be only gone occasionally.
Do you have the time to pump? Breast pumping usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes depending on which kind of breast pump you use. If you do not have a lot of time to pump then an electric breast pump is probably your best bet. You can get ones with dual action so you can pump both breasts at the same time, saving you lots of time.
Price: The price is always something to keep in mind. Manual pumps are of course the least expensive, with the high end electrical pumps costing the most. Some insurance companies do pay for breast pumps but you have to use the ones they choose for you.
How easy is it to transport and assemble the breast pump? Some breast pumps are easier to assemble than others and if you are taking the breast pump with you, say if you are going to work, you want something that is easy to put together and easy to transport. You will want a light model of pump and one that is quieter. The motors on the breast pumps do make some noise and you sure would not want a louder motor if you are out in public.
Breast shields: Breast shields are very important and if you have the correct size it will be much more comfortable for you. Most breast pumps come with a medium size shield so you may need to opt in for a smaller or larger shield. Read the box that your breast pump comes in and there should be information on it telling you how to order different sizes.
Is the suction of the breast pump adjustable? Some of your electric breast pumps do have adjustable controls on how much suction they have, to make it much more comfortable for moms. Other breast bumps do not have the ability to change the suction control. Manual ones depend on the use your hand to pump and if you have a steady hand then it should be no problem.
How effective is the breast pump? How often the pump cycle is how you generally figure its effectiveness. Babies suck at about the same rate which is 45 to 55 times a minute. Purchasing a pump close to this will be better for you. Breast pumps that pump slower than this take much longer to empty out the breasts and can also cause irritation to the nipples.
How durable is the breast pump? As with any product you purchase you want the best one for your bucks and not all breast pumps are created the same. The electric ones have motors on them that can wear out if you are pumping more than is recommended. So you may want to do some research and see which breast pumps are the sturdiest.
Something else to look for is the pumping action: There are three different types, double simultaneous, double alternating and single action. Double simultaneous is the most efficient as it pumps both breast at the same time at the same speed. The double alternating breast pump is different because it takes turns sucking the milk out of each breast. Then there is the single pump where you can only pump one breast at a time. Manual breast pumps use this pumping action and while it may take a little longer it can be more comfortable for moms.
How is your breast pump powered? This may seem like a redundant question but it is something to think about. Will you be somewhere with electric outlets? What if the power goes out? Should you buy one that has a battery backup, or should you keep a manual pump around just in case. Some breast pumps even come with a car adapter so in emergencies you can pump right in your car.
As you can see there are lots of things to consider when you buy a breast pump. The most important thing for you to consider is what works best for you. What are you most comfortable with? Maybe the manual breast pumps are best for you even though they are a little harder to use. On the other hand an electric breast pump may work best for you. So do your homework and some research and you should be able to find the best available breast pump for you.