Are you feeling a little overwhelmed trying to choose the right breast pump?
You’re not alone!
With such a wide range in the market, deciding which one to buy can be daunting. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to choose the best pump for your needs.
WHAT FEATURES SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN A BREAST PUMP?
Choosing a breast pump is a personal decision and there are lots of features to consider when weighing up the pros and cons. Traditionally, you can choose between single or double breast pumps, electric or manual, hospital-grade or commercial breast pumps. Here are our top 4 features to consider when choosing the right pump for you:
1. Closed/Open System
As breast pump technology has developed, there are far more positives to a closed system on a breast pump than those with an open system. A closed system prevents milk from ‘backing up’ into the tubes and motor because it has a barrier to stop the milk from reaching those parts. It also stops any leakages during pumping sessions and provides a sanitary route for the milk to flow.
With an open system breast pump, the tubing needs to be cleaned often and sterilised. Failure to do so could lead to mould or bacteria growing inside the motor of the pump, which cannot be cleaned, and therefore your expressed milk may be compromised.
2. Suction Level
Most electric breast pumps have varying degrees of suction. The Lola&Lykke Smart Electric Breast Pump, for example, has 6 stimulation settings and 9 for expression to help Mums pump comfortably and efficiently.
It’s important to find a setting that is right for you. In the past, some Mums have assumed that pumping on a higher suction level means you can express more milk, but this is more likely to have the opposite effect! Using a suction level that is too high can damage the skin around your breast and nipples.
When choosing a breast pump, the easiest way to find high-quality and tested products is to look out for pumps that have been nominated for and won awards, such as the UK’s prestigious awards Made For Mums or Mother&Baby. It gives you, the buyer, peace of mind that what you’re purchasing has been used by other Mums and can recommend it based on their experience.
Traditionally, breast pumps plug in at the wall and the flanges/bottles are connected to the pump with tubes meaning you’re sat down in one spot for your pumping session. Some pumps are battery-powered but still have the tubes connecting to the rest of the equipment which makes moving around equally challenging. This can feel quite limiting when you’re expressing daily being stuck in one place for a majority of the day!
We recommend a breast pump that is lightweight and easily transportable. Keeping this in mind will make it much simpler to express milk whether you’re in your own home or out and about.
WHAT TYPE OF BREAST PUMP SHOULD I CHOOSE?
“I’m breastfeeding and only want to pump once in a while”
If you’re not going to be pumping every day, you may want to look into using a single electric breast pump and/or a manual breast pump. In the early days when you are establishing your milk supply, pumping on the odd occasion won’t change this drastically. It just means that you can create a small milk stash that you can use whilst you are away from your baby. It’s helpful too if you’re only using a single breast pump, to have a cup for the other breast so you can collect the milk from both if you wanted.
“I want to pump exclusively”
For Mums who are going to be expressing milk several times a day or pumping exclusively, an electric pump is more suited to this need. Electric pumps have more functionality in terms of suction strength. Manual pumps would require a lot more work from you and you would need both your hands to pump correctly.
When you’re expressing multiple times a day, your first priority is going to be convenience. How can I spend as little time as possible pumping and doing bottle prep? Some breast pumps you can pump directly into the bottle (or storage bag) and others you will need to pump and pour out.
“I have an excessive breast milk supply”
If you pump or lactate more milk than your baby drinks over a 24-hour period, then you have an oversupply. In most cases, if you have a strong letdown or an excess supply, it will settle down within the first few months of feeding. You can’t put a number on it as it will differ from one woman to another.
Especially if you are exclusively pumping, using a breast pump to gradually pump less milk will reduce the risk of mastitis and blocked milk ducts.
“I have a low milk supply and I want to increase it”
Don’t worry if your supply is low! Babies are extremely efficient at bringing on your breast milk and helping your body establish a supply. Sometimes, your supply can be affected by your baby latching poorly, premature birth or medical/health reasons.
Hospital-grade pumps would be an ideal choice in this scenario to help you establish or increase your milk supply. They are designed to be used multiple times per day and are usually more powerful than personal use electric pumps.
“I’m coming back to work and need something compact and discreet”
If you are still planning to breastfeed throughout your return to work, you need to choose a pump that is convenient and portable, whilst not compromising its efficiency to express milk.
A wearable or wireless breast pump is a popular choice for Mums in the workplace due to its discreet nature and compact design. With a breast pump like this, you might also want to consider the noise level and which pump is best for a leak-proof pumping session.
THE BOTTOM LINE!
You don’t necessarily need a breast pump if you’re planning to breastfeed, however, they do come in handy for many different reasons. If you are struggling to establish your supply or engorgement, investing in a good pump can be very beneficial.
Every breastfeeding journey is different and it doesn’t always work out for everyone. No matter how long you have breastfed your baby for, be proud of your accomplishments and cherish the special bond you built because of it.
This is a guest blog from Lola & Lykke - award winning products for mums, by mums. You can also download their Breastfeeding 101 guide here. Onoco Premium receive a special discount as part of their Premium Partnership Perks; simply subscribe to access!