I had to get my head around breast pumping because I was going back to work, but most of the mothers I see who are needing to use a pump are having trouble either with low milk supply, poor latch or failure to thrive for their little ones.In my experience, the type of pump I would recommend to a mother returning to work would be just a small electric or manual pump (I had both the Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump and the Medela Swing Breastpump which is their single electric pump).
Click here for my breast pump reviews of manual and small electric pumps.
You need a far stronger pump though if you have low milk supply or are needing to keep your supply up while your baby learns how to breastfeed better (say due to a tongue tie release or just a really bad latch) or recovers from a heart operation or something similar where they're too tired to breastfeed or not feeding efficiently. A hospital grade pump will make your life so much easier, double pumping is sooooo much more efficient!
They are more expensive but they will save you so much time because you can get so much more milk out so much more quickly!
The Spectra brand is a lot cheaper than some other brands for the hospital grade strength pumps. There are three main ones to look at. The S1 has both battery and mains power capability, as well as the other features the S2 model contains including speed variability and suction variability. The Dew model is at the cheaper end of the high suction models and doesn't allow for speed variability like the S2.
I notice really frequently at work that lots of mothers seem to go out and buy a breast pump before their baby is even born. Some of the hospitals even encourage mothers towards breast pumping because their baby is not getting enough and yet they haven't even given the baby a few days after the mother's milk has come in and the colostrum is gone.
Ultimately, I think takes quite a lot of time to pump and you really shouldn't do it unless there's a great need for it like you being away from your baby or your milk supply really being low and your baby failing to thrive and dropping down the percentiles, or your baby being unable to breastfeed for long enough (like a premature baby or one with a hole in their heart for example).
Another excellent time to pump is if your baby's latch has been so bad that you are dreading feeding, your nipples are bleeding or you are in so much pain that you would give up if you didn't have a break.
In my opinion though, if you need to pump you also definitely need to see a lactation consultant to make sure you get the best result possible.
The majority of mothers who I see using a pump end up then worrying that their baby is not getting enough at the breast and this makes breastfeeding a lot more stressful. Make sure you get the support you need from your family and friends, but primarily from a lactation consultant.
Tell the people around you what you've been recommended to do so that they can support you in your journey.
Above all, good luck. Breast pumping is a decision that's made because you are truly committed to giving your baby breast milk and it takes guts and determination, so well done :)
For some other excellent information about breast pumping, storing milk and using it have a look at iVillage's Exclusive Breast Pumping page.
Do you have some great tips for other breast pumping mothers? A funny story about finding a quiet place to use your breast pump while at work? Does your baby look at you strangely when you use your breast pump at home? Or maybe you're having trouble getting a good routine to get everything sterilized?
Share your story and help other mothers who are embarking on their own breast pumping adventure.
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At two and a half weeks old, and having lost 10% of her birth weight, our baby girl was struggling to regain any weight - and dirty nappies were not all …
I've pumped exclusively for 8 months now
When my son was born he wouldn't latch on. Lots of midwives came to try to help us get our breastfeeding relationship started and it didn't work. I got …
Diana West, the author of the book above - The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk - is an international speaker for breastfeeding conferences. She is spectacularly knowledgable and has been working as a lactation consultant for decades.
If you are having trouble with failure to thrive or low milk supply This is the book for you.
Having a hard copy book rather than an internet page is so much easier to physically market the parts that are relevant to you and make sure you get all the information you need in one place.