Test-Driving The "Comfortable" Breast Pump
You know you’re a hardcore mom when opening a brand new breast pump that’s guaranteeing you maximum cushion and "comfort" plus dramatic increases in milk yields feels more exciting than Christmas morning as a kid. Though every breast pump on the market promises to "mimic" a baby's "gentle suckle," my experience has been that they tend to more closely "mimic" an industrial vacuum cleaner. The setup is generally two hard conical flanges, some tubing, the electric pump itself, and a dial that allows you to turn the discomfort up or down, depending on how desperate you are to endure the ungodly tug of a motor on your nipples/fill your fridge with the all-important liquid gold.
As an exclusively breastfeeding mom to an already mobile and energetic 6-month-old, as well a 4-year-old, finding time to pump is just as hard as finding the time to brush my teeth or use the bathroom alone. So when I was given the chance to try a new pump, I jumped at the chance. I was super excited that the Phillips AVENT Double Electric Comfort Breast Pump claims to give “more milk and more comfort in less time,” because, let’s be honest, pumping could hardly be less comfortable than it is currently. And until my son is old enough to start eating chicken nuggets, I need more milk than I am currently able to pump.
Best of all? In place of the hard flanges, this pump came with "a soft cushion with five textured petals intended to gently help stimulate milk flow." The cushion was supposedly a game-changer, and also had a function to massage your boobs to stimulate the milk flow. My mood going into this?
Clear eyes, open hearts, can't lose.
My plan was to pump right after the morning feed when I was most likely to have a good result. I’ve pumped at this time on a few occasions and was able to get about 1.5 to 2 ounces total using a regular (hard) breast pump, which for an exclusively nursing mom, I found pretty successful.
My first thought was that I loved the compact design of the pump. It can sit comfortably in the palm of my hand! It comes in a nice small black carry bag and you pump directly into Avent bottles, which is great if your baby isn’t as picky as mine and will actually take these bottles. In theory, there is less to clean up when you can just pop the bottle right into fridge.
What I Liked About The Philips Avent Comfort
The soft petals. I assembled the parts (there are many) and got to work. I will agree with the “more comfort” aspect of the design; the cushioned "petals" fit into the hard flange and feel like mini pillows while you pump. However, I felt that this extra piece interfered with the suction somewhat. Perhaps it would work better if rather than being detachable, the hard and soft parts were all one piece.
The noise level. I also loved how quiet this pump is — only a gentle hum was noticed. I was able to pump and have a conversation without having to yell — important for a multi-tasking mom of two!
What I Thought Needed Finessing About The Philips Avent Comfort
The massage function. Although the design was very comfortable, it needs finessing if it is to become a soft suction system that also removes as much milk as the oppressive hard flanges I have used in the past. I also love the idea of the pump being able to massage you to encourage flow — many online tutorials will suggest you massage yourself during pumping to get more out, so to speak, and the closer we can get to truly hands-free, the better.