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Pumping. Part Two. Selecting a Breast Pump(s).

Hillary Sadler | February 9, 2021

Let’s talk about breast pumps.

There are SO MANY breast pump options out there. Which one is the BEST pump? It depends on your needs for the pump. Here are two things to consider…

  1. How often will you be pumping?
  2. Is it important to you to have a hands-free pump?

If you’ve heard me talk about pumps before, you know that I love the Medela brand. It’s the brand I’ve used for all three of my breastfeeding/pumping journeys. I am probably a little biased. I work with Medela pumps very regularly in the hospital. I also love their brand and how they really try to support breastfeeding/pumping moms. In addition to, their website offers a lot of free education and support. If you have questions about breastfeeding/pumping, they are a reliable source to go to for quick answers that are better than Google.

Let’s Look at Pumps.

Freestyle Flex™ Double Electric Breast Pump

It’s Medela’s cordless, use anywhere pump. I really like this pump because you can still do the “hands on” pumping technique when using this pump. With some of the other cordless pump options,  you can’t do hands on pumping. This would be a great pump for someone who is planning to pump regularly in places outside of your home or office. Planning to return to work? The Freestyle Flex is my # 1 pick for you!

 

Pump In Style® with MaxFlow™ Breast Pump

This pump is a great option for the Mama who plans to pump mostly at home. It’s a portable pump if necessary, but it’ll be easier to keep this pump stationary. It’s your standard pump.

Let’s talk about the Spectra.

I want to mention two major differences between the Medela and Spectra breast pump.

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First, there are two different modes when pumping. Massage mode and Express Mode. When you turn your Medela pump on, it’s going to automatically be in massage mode. This is GREAT! You always want to start in massage, and once your milk starts flowing (or about two minutes later), you should switch to express mode. Every Medela pump I’ve ever had my hands switches to express mode around the two-minute mark automatically. Spectra does not. Spectra starts in express mode (ouch!), and you have to turn it to massage mode, and then once milk starts flowing (or after two minutes) you have to switch it back to express mode. This isn’t a huge issue WHEN you understand you need to start in massage. I have helped so many Mamas who have started in express mode with the Spectra. Yikes!

Second, Spectra does have an on-screen timer AND a nightlight on their pump. Yay! Major bonus. The Medela pumps have neither. The Spectra pump is a great breast pump. Consider the differences I mentioned, decide what’s important to you, and go from there! You won’t lose using either of these pumps.

Hands Free Pumping Options

Okay, let’s wrap this pumping discussion up with two other pump options. The Willow and the Elvie. If you’re planning to bottle feed and breastfeed, one of these two pumps might be a smart investment for you. Or, if you’re planning to exclusively pump and bottle feed breastmilk, this set up could be really helpful. If you have a breast pump tucked in your bra, you would be able to easily give your baby a bottle while also pumping. The other pump options may be a little cumbersome to try to pump and bottle feed at the same time (although not impossible).

I haven’t personally used either of these pumps. However, I have helped Mamas in the hospital with setting up these pumps. I’ve pulled them out of their box to figure out how to put all the pieces together. They really weren’t too complicated to figure out. On that note, I liked the Elvie Pump Single Silent Wearable Breast Pump with App – Electric Hands-Free Portable Breast That Can Be Worn in-Bra the best. I found it to be the simplest to put together. If you’re planning to purchase more than one pump, and you want to be able to pump discretely, either of these pumps would do the job.

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An Important Note About Handsfree Pumping

Personally and as an IBCLC I would not consider the Elvie or Willow IF I were only going to buy one pump. Neither of these pumps would be ideal for a Mama in the initiation or transition stage of breastfeeding/pumping. For example, if your baby required a NICU stay. Or, if you needed to supplement your baby early on, I’d recommend you use a breast pump like the Spectra or Medela in the first few weeks.

Why? Because I want you to be able to do “hands on” pumping and massage while your milk is transitioning. You’re likely to experience some engorgement. You might have some clogged ducts. These pumps aren’t doing to be ideal to use for this situation. My recommendation would be to wait to use this pump after your milk has fully come in, and you’re in the mature stage of breastmilk production.

Next week, I’ll be sharing more about what you need to know about all things pumping!

 You’ve got this Mama!

Hillary

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