There are several breast pumps on the market today. Choosing the right one may be confusing. Some women know how to manually express breast milk by hand and may not need a breast pump. Although, a lot of women find it easier to use a breast pump for milk storage. Having a breast pump also helps working moms, especially if you need to pump several times a day. If you are planning on staying home with your baby until after he is weened a simple manual pump may work fine. If you are planning on returning to work you might want to invest in an electric pump.
Make sure you talk to your doctor or lactation specialist before you go out and rent or purchase a breast pump.
Renting a pump is a great option for women who are plan on pumping for a short time. If you decide to rent a pump you can get a high quality one from a medical supply store, hospital or your local WIC program. If you rent you might have to purchase cups that fit your breasts, tubing and collection bottles. If you plan on nursing for longer you might want to compare rental prices with purchase prices. It may be in your best interest to purchase a pump instead.
If you are still concerned about the high cost of breast pumps consider this. It will cost more in the long run if you continually purchase formula for your baby. Also breast milk is better for your child‘s health.
Breast pumps that attach to both breasts at once are great because they cut your pumping time in half. You may also want to choose a pump with automatic cycling. This mimics your baby’s natural sucking rhythm as it draws milk out of your breasts. Other things to consider when choosing a breast pump:
1. Find a pump with quick cycling times. The more often your pump cycles or “sucks” the less time it will take to empty your breasts and the more milk you will pump.
2. Look for a pump that lets you adjust the suction level. If you are unable to adjust the suction level the pump may be too weak or so strong that it hurts.
3. If you are going to take your pump to work find one that is lightweight and easily portable.
4. If you would like to purchase a manual pump avoid the kind with a rubber bulb at the end. These pumps can cause your milk to flow into the bulb. They are also hard to clean and can lead to bacterial growth.
Choosing the right breast pump is a very important decision for new breastfeeding moms. If you follow these tips the process will be easier and rewarding.
*This article first appeared on the Healthy Moms Magazine in 2009.