When I was 10 months pregnant, I went out to buy my first ever breast pump. I had no idea what to get, so I relied heavily on online reviews and the knowledge of the staff at the baby store. The kind sales ladies would walk me around the store and explain the pros -- only pros -- of each and every breast pump available. It was really overwhelming, and in the end, I went with my gut and…made my husband choose!
We had gone for an electric breast pump, but I grabbed a manual pump as well. My experience with the latter didn’t go well -- it brought me to tears on most occasions. The manual pump was the most awkward, discouraging thing I could do as far as pumping went. I could never get it in the proper position, and sometimes I would hold it too close and literally cry when I squeezed the handle. I was glad that I already had an electric breast pump and quickly made the switch.
When buying a breast pump, it is always best to take a look at your lifestyle. Do you expect to do most of your breast pumping at home? Or do you plan to pump in the office? Do you travel often? Do you need a quiet pump or is noise not an issue? Most women who pump have two “go-to” pumps, one for home use and the other when they’re on the go.
Sometimes the sales person doesn’t know what it is you are really looking for, and they themselves may not have had any experience expressing milk with a breast pump. So my advice is to research based on your needs, and don’t be shy to ask friends who have breastfed for advice.
To give you a head start, I asked friends of mine what they and their friends have been using, and these were the four brands that came up. (What brand do you use and prefer? Share with us your experience and drop us a message at Facebook!)
Medela Swing Electric Breast Pump Available at Rustan’s Department Stores
Many lactation nurses will recommend a breast pump from Medela, and I have heard many reviews on them as well. The Medela Swing is lightweight and inexpensive compared to many other electric breast pumps that really break the bank. Be sure to speak to one of Medela lactation consultants when you buy. They help you find the perfect fit for your nipple, a comforting detail that a lot of other brands miss.
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The only con I’ve heard is some ladies have to take apart and clean the tubing and motor unit because some milk would get sucked into it.
Spectra Breast Pump Available at BabyMama and Rustan's Department Stores I have two girl friends who love this brand. One of them even donates breast milk regularly by pumping with Spectra S1, which I find truly amazing! Spectra pumps also have a unique suction, where it vibrates first before the deep suction, but not everyone finds this comfortable.
Spectra S1 is a great pump if you are looking to build up your milk supply, and pumping to store or donate milk.
The Spectra Dew 350 is a more heavy duty electric breast pump made for home use, and I’ve heard that it’s quiet, easy to clean, and really gets all the milk out of you!
The Spectra 9 Plus is a portable pump meant for occasional or travel pumping, and it has the best reviews for being the perfect ‘handbag’ pump on the go! One caveat though: one friend said that she could only use this five times a day.
Philips Avent Comfort Electric Breast Pump Available at Baby Company
After my experience with the manual pump, this was the brand I tried and I loved it. This pump has a ‘let-down’ setting and massage cushions for nipple and breast comfort, and it was so easy to clean in between pumps. All the parts just clicked on and off, and it was super petite, making it the best for travel! The only con was it was a little bit noisy, but it wasn’t a problem for me. But I discovered that in my network of moms at least, I was the only one who uses this brand, which came as a surprise because of my good experience.
I didn’t have a good experience with a manual pump, but I had to check this one upon hearing my friend’s ecstatic review. First off, it is a beautiful looking manual pump made from 100% food grade silicon, makes absolutely no noise, and needs no batteries, cords, or any type of assembly at all! Perfect for travel, which I do often so to be honest, it made me me think if I wanted to have another baby! But a few cons: if you don’t have a strong letdown*, you’d be hard-pressed to get the milk flowing with this pump.
*If you want having milk flow issues, direct feeding, not pumping, is the way to go, according to lactation experts. Abbie Venida-Yabot, a lactation counselor certified by the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), emphasizes the importance of establishing your milk supply first, above all else.
“The first 6 weeks is key to a stable milk supply as it stabilizes at this time,” she explains to SmartParenting.com.ph. “Latch baby 24/7 so your body feels the actual demand of the baby.”
She adds, “So, if and when you return to work, latch before you leave, upon arrival, all throughout the night, all through weekends and holidays. Direct stimulation should never be lost.”