14 Nov What You Need to Know About Choosing the Right Breast Pump
Selecting a breast pump is a big decision, and not one that can be undertaken lightly. Here’s what you need to know, to ensure you’re equipped to make the correct choice for you and your baby.
It’s a big decision, choosing the right pump
For breast-feeding mums, a breast pump is as much of an essential as wet wipes and car seats. Regardless of whether you’re headed back to work soon or you’re just looking for the flexibility of a pump, the choices you’ll face can be a bit overwhelming. So here’s what you need to know to be equipped to choose the right one for your needs.
Getting the choice right the first time is essential, as most stores do not allow returns on breast pumps for hygiene reasons. If you’re worried about choosing the wrong pump, it is advisable to postpone selecting your breast pump until after your baby is born, as you’ll have a better idea of how you’ll be using it. Here are some things for you to think about, before you make your selection:
How often will you need to use the breast pump?
If you’re only going to be away from your baby occasionally and your milk supply has already established itself, you might only need a simple hand pump. In this case, all you need to do is place the cone-shaped shield on your breast and squeeze the handle to express your milk.
However, if you’re going back to work full day, or you have to be away from your baby for more than a few hours a day, you might find that an electric pump makes life easier.
Will you need to pump as quickly as possible or is time not an issue?
Best case scenario, a pumping session can last between 10 – 15 minutes per breast. So if you’ll be pumping at the office or in other situations where you’ll feel pressed for time, it might be worthwhile spending a little more and getting an electric breast pump that allows you to pump both breasts simultaneously. Not only does this reduce your pumping time by half, you’ll also find that a double pump helps to stimulate your milk production.
Does the manufacturer offer customer support?
Should something go wrong with the pump you choose, it’s important to know whether you’ll easily be able to get spares or customer support if you need it. Do your research on their websites and investigate their contact methods and support channels, and take careful note of things like whether the manufacturer has a 24hour cellphone number listed or not, and how often their social media pages are updated to respond to customer queries. You’ll want to choose a breast pump manufacturer that offers tangible local support on your breastfeeding journey.
Is the pump easy to transport and can it be quickly assembled?
If your pump is a hassle to disassemble and reassemble, or it’s difficult to clean, this can be frustrating and time-consuming. This can have a negative impact on your enthusiasm for pumping. Be sure that you can remove any parts of the pump that come into contact with skin or milk, for disinfection after use. If you’ll be taking your pump along to the office, or taking it along on holiday, it’s best to look for a lightweight model. There are options available with a carry case that has an insulated storage section to stow away expressed milk.
Another thing to consider is noise levels. Some electric models are quitter than others, so if it’s important to you to be discreet (i.e: you’re pumping at the office and you don’t want the whole building to know what you’re doing at your desk) make sure the pump’s noise level is tolerable for you. It’s important to read reviews on the pump you’re considering, to learn what other women have experienced personally, when using the same product.
Is the suction adjustable on the breast pump you’re considering?
What’s comfortable for one woman might be agonising for another. That’s why it’s advisable to choose a pump that allows you to control the degree of suction as well as the cycling speed, if you’re going for an electric pump.
Are the breast shields the right size for you?
These are the cone-shaped cups that fit over your breasts and nipples. If you are worried that the standard breast shield will be too small or too big, you’ll have to do your research as to which is best for you, as replacement shields in different sizes is often an option. If you’re thinking about pumping both breasts simultaneously, make sure that the pump comes with two breast shields.
What if there’s a power failure?
Obviously an electric pump needs to be plugged in to be powered. If you’re not near a power outlet, or there’s a power failure or loadshedding, you’ll need a rechargeable battery pack. If you really want to be prepared for a power-related emergency, you could keep a manual pump handy.
If you’re still not sure, ask for advice
If you’re still undecided after all your research and review-reading, ask for help. A lactation specialist can help you to make the right decision as to which breast pump is best for you and your baby. They’re also there to support you as you begin using your pump, or if you’re finding it challenging.