Breast Pump Reviews
Having a bagfor all the bits and a specifically designed cooler bag for the bottles was awesome and really helped keep me organised.
I'd read a few breast pump reviews before starting to use one, and I'd even been to a breastfeeding meeting and seen a hospital grade pump (it was huge and definitely not easy to move around with at home, but would have been pretty impressive to use). In general I'd come away with the idea that electric breast pumps were better. I was really surprised though, when I used them (both the electric and the manual simultaneously...!) I actually preferred the manual breast pump!
I ended up with both because when I bought my first pump we were under a little bit of a money constraint and I decided to go for the cheaper option. I think the only problem with going for a manual pump initially was that I had no idea how hard it should suck (because you define that with each movement of your hand).
All the breast pump reviews I've read also talk about getting a good quality one. One of my patients talked about a cheaper electric breast pump she'd used which "felt like it was ripping my nipples off my chest"! She then moved onto a Medela pump (which is the brand I naturally ended up with after that comment!)
I've also heard some great braest pump reviews about the Ameda breast pumps and some pretty good reviews about the Avent breast pumps.
The Good Points for Manual Breast Pumps
I used the Medela Harmony
My manual pump because my favourite because:
- It was gentler on my nipples. Having a constantly changing pressure from the changing use of your hand means that you can decrease really easily if it's getting painful (because it shouldn't hurt, although I always found it to be mildly uncomfortable).
- They are lighter and smaller to carry to work with you
- They don't require you to be near a power point if there isn't one in the private place you pump
- They don't make any noise (the breast pump reviews I've read do show that the Medela Swing which is the electric pump I got is fairly quiet compared to some of the cheaper brands)
The Bad Points for Manual Breast Pumps
- You have to create a rhythm, so if you're a bit distracted they aren't as efficient as an electric pump
- Your hand gets a bit sore at times
- You don't get an idea of the quick initial phase that an electric pump does (it's to stimulate the let down - if you don't get an electric pump go at a quick rate until your let down occurs, then slow down to something more sustainable)
- Sometimes the valve isn't sitting right so the pump stops getting good suction (this was my most annoying thing about pumping. It took me ages to figure out what was going wrong - basically the little cover over the inlet to the bottle/bag needs to sit squarely over the hole or the pump doesn't work. Check this if you're having trouble! I didn't see it anywhere in any of the breast pump review I'd checked out before buying and I was quite cranky when it didn't work after quite a short amount of time)
- Another problem I kept having was that the silicone part that connected the handle to the tube part kept moving and so all of a sudden it wouldn't work (beyond frustrating when you don't realise what the problem is) so keep turning the little connector piece back to a square position and this helps (also making sure everything is really dry well so the seal is good makes a difference too!) Again I couldn't find this advice on any of the breast pump reviews i'd read.
The Good Points for Electric Breast Pumps
I used the Medela Swing
- You don't have to think or set a rhythm, so you can be more distracted whilst pumping
- Your thumb doesn't get sore from doing the pumping
- I personally got a little bit more milk out a little quicker because my hand wasn't getting tired and I wasn't getting distracted and pumping slower (some breast pump reviews I've had from people though say that they prefer the manual pump because they feel less like a dairy cow and so their let down is better because the noise isn't distracting them)
The Bad Points for Electric Breast Pumps
- They make a noise - yes it's not that loud, but it's pretty obvious what you're doing if it can be heard
- You do feel a little more like a dairy cow
- You need a power point
- It doesn't decrease the suction unless you turn it down
What I Ended Up Doing
My breast pump review would have to state to all - using two pumps (or one that goes for both sides, but they are bulky and expensive) is heaps quicker and worth the extra little bit of money if you are going to be working and pumping for a while.
Initially I used only my manual pump, doing one breast at a time. It was slow going when I was only using one. Eventually I ended up buying an electric pump and then used both electric and manual.
I used the electric on the side I didn't produce as much milk from because it did seem to get a little bit more out.
My breast pump reviews for the Medlea Swing and the Medela Harmony -
Using both at once was good because:
- It stimulated my let down reflex better
- I used the rhythm of the electric pump to set the rhythm of my manual pumping
- It was half the time spent actually pumping (because it's so tedious and all I wanted to do was eat lunch and have a bit of down time)
- The god bits of each outweighed the bad bits of each!
Some Other Points That Have Helped
Patients I've Treated
breast pump reviews often don't mention why a pump may end up hurting your nipples. Be aware that if your nipples are quite large or quite small you may need to get a different flange (the bit that sits againts your breast and looks a bit like funnel). Having the right size means that the suction is distributed properly on your breast. Talk to someone who sells them if you're having troubles.
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