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How to Choose a Breast Pump: What You Need to Know

Posted by Kathy Borkoski on

How to Choose a Breast Pump: What You Need to Know

Looking for the perfect breast pump but feel overwhelmed and don’t know which one to choose?  

We’ve all been there! There are so many options out there that it’s hard to know which options and features should be a priority. No fear, mama! We’ve mapped out several tips and suggestions just for you.

 

There are two main types of breast pumps.

  • Dual Electric Pump - Quick, easy, and pumps both breasts simultaneously to save time. A great primary pump.  
  • Manual Pump - This second type of pump is great to keep around as a backup.  It’s quite handy when you have little space, no electricity, or only need to pump a small amount.  

  • In addition to a quality pump, you will also need storage bags for the pumped breast milk. Following every pumping session, put the milk into the bags. They can be kept in the fridge or freezer. Make sure to label the bags so that you can better control times between pumping and feeding to baby according to CDC guidelines. 

    As a first-time mom, taking care of a baby is a major learning curve. You don’t want to make things even more difficult with a subpar breast pump.   

    When choosing a breast pump, you want to be sure you are choosing the best option for you and your baby. Think about efficiency, comfort, budget and sizing. Easy to transport and clean, as well as modes and batteries are also important based on where you will usually be pumping.

    What is the best breast pump for first-time moms?

    Here are some of the most popular breast pumps for first-time moms. As reviews for each of the pumps show, you can't really go wrong picking a breast pump from one of the major brands. I personally used Medela for my first baby and Spectra for my second. I was very happy with both and only switched due to another mom's recommendation.

    Medela Pump

    • Comes with a tote bag. 
    • Quiet and comfortable.
    • Multiple models with varying degrees of portability and battery configurations. 
    • Controls for suction duration and speed.
    • Flanges can be removed from the bottle top making it compatible with all pumping bras.

     

    Spectra Breast Pump

    • A generally larger base unit than Medela. Spectra sacrificed smaller size for greater power and longer battery life.
    • Quiet and comfortable.
    • Includes a nightlight, a timer, and an adjustable suction.
    • Speed and rhythm can be set according to personal preference.
    • Flanges are connected to the top part of the bottle lid which makes it difficult to use with some model pumping bras.

     

    Philips Comfort Breast Pump

    • Dishwasher safe parts make it easy to clean.  
    • No rechargeable battery.
    • Softer breast shields than other brands.

    These are some of the most popular breast pumps that many insurance carriers will cover, but these days new models, like Willow and Elvie, that combine the breast collection and the pump have been entering the market. These models are especially helpful for moms that need to be discreet when pumping. 

    What is the best breast pump for exclusively pumping?

    When breastfeeding just isn’t working for whatever reason, many mothers resort to exclusive pumping (EPing). This sole reliance on pumping to provide nourishment for your baby requires a reliable pump that performs well. Some of the pumps are more comfortable or have a stronger suction that works better for different moms. If you are exclusively pumping and you aren't in love with your pump, it may be worth trying a different brand.

    Is it OK to use a used breast pump?

    It might be tempting to buy a cheaper, used breast pump. You might even know another mom who offered to give you her old breast pump for free, but please consider the health concerns of using a used breast pump.

    If the other mother carries a virus that you don’t, your baby will not have been exposed to it. This lack of exposure makes your baby more vulnerable to it.  

    This becomes an issue if milk particles come into contact with a pump’s motor.  When the pump is passed on to someone else for further use, the virus might also get passed on. The risk increases if the previous mother did not properly clean and sterilize the pump.

    It’s better to err on the side of caution and just buy a new pump.

    Choosing a breast pump is a very important decision for new moms. Carefully consider all your options before deciding on the right one.


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