Most breastfeeding moms will need to express their milk at some point, and using a breast pump is the most convenient way to do it. If this is your first time breastfeeding, there are a few things to look for in a breast pump so that you don't waste your money on something that ultimately won't suit your needs.
Most new moms aren't sure how they will be pumping. Some stay-at-home moms are able to feed their babies round-the-clock, only occasionally having to pump and store their milk. Moms who work outside of the home may need to invest in a portable pump that they can take and use while in the office. Mayo Clinic suggests waiting to get a pump until after your baby is born, when you will have a better idea as to how you'll be using it.
Buying the wrong kind of breast pump can impact your milk supply. With my first child, I had no idea what to look for, and made the mistake of buying a cheaply made breast pump that immediately lost suction. It would take me an hour of pumping to express two ounces of milk. I then purchased a manual pump which was better, but so exhausting. By the time I figured out that these were the wrong pumps for me, my supply had radically decreased.
There are a few things you will definitely want to look for before investing in the wrong breast pump or risking your milk supply. Here are a few things to look for when shopping for a breast pump.
If you will be pumping at work, and need something fast, Mayo Clinic recommends a double breast pump. A good electric breast pump allows you to pump both breasts at once, shortening pumping time by half. Always seal the second pump when using a double pump on only one breast to maintain suction.
If your breast pump needs require a pricey pump, you can look into renting a pump from your hospital or medical supply store, or talking to your insurance company to determine whether the cost of your pump is covered. Mayo Clinic warns against borrowing a used pump, however, likening it to borrowing someone's used toothbrush.
If you are only pumping once or twice a week, there are manual pumps designed for very occasional use. Mayo Clinic recommends these only for moms with an established milk supply. Some moms find manual pumping difficult and time consuming, but they may be a more affordable option for someone who only pumps once in a while.
4. Hospital Seal Of Approval
If you are a new mom without an established milk supply or your baby has a condition that may prevent breastfeeding, Breastfeeding USA recommends renting a hospital-grade electric pump. Hospital-grade electric pumps are specially designed to bring in and maintain a mother’s milk supply.
5. Adjustable Suction
Not every woman requires the same amount of suction to express her milk. Looking for a pump with adjustable suction will ensure that you are comfortable while expressing the most amount of milk.
What To Expect warns that battery-operated pumps may be cheaper, but they burn through batteries and pump slowly. Look for an electric pump that plugs into the wall. They may be more expensive up front, but you will save in battery costs.
7. Offers Different Sized Breast Shields
If you feel like your breasts are still full after pumping, or have sore or damaged nipples, you may need a different shield size. According to Baby Center, women often need to go up a size over what comes with the pump.