Breastfeeding: Breast Pumps

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Episode Transcript

Good morning and welcome back to First Breaths to First Steps. I’m Bev Garrison, your host this morning. If you’re a first time listener. Welcome. And if you’re returning welcome back. Today, we’re going to talk about breast pumps. You’re ready to buy a breast pump, but not sure where to start so many different options on the market.

Hopefully in this podcast, I outline different types of breast pumps, including electric, battery operated, hand or manual pumps. As well as the new wearable pumps. I want to try to identify what’s out there to help you figure out what fits your needs. All pumps come with pros and cons. So let’s outline some of the features and why they might be helpful for you and your particular situation.

My first introduction to breast pumps with a personal nature and five years into my medical career. You just plug it in and turn it on. Right? Wrong! Could not be further from the truth. My first son, now 21, was born a few weeks early and jaundice, was downright a difficult feeder. He was so sleepy from the jaundice, it took quite the effort to get this kid, just to nurse at the breast and getting a pump was truly a blessing.

Introducing my sister, what a savior. She jumped in and gave me breast pump 101 class. And I have got to admit just in time. If I only knew all that information before I needed a pump. Wow. That would have made life so much easier.

So let’s talk about pumps themselves three basic types, electric or battery operated, manual or what we call hand pumps, and then there’s newer pumps called wearable pumps. So let’s start with electric. Electric can be battery operated. You can plug them in. Some of them even have adapters to the car.

I’m going to review two that are probably most common. In the us. First one being the Spectra brand. There are to modesl the S1 and and the S two. The S one just means that it does have a rechargeable battery. So if you don’t have a place to plug in. There is a battery backup that will hold a certain amount of time. Of charge and that cost just about $200 us. The S two. model of the Spectra is without a battery and it’s about $160. It’s really known to be a quiet pump. There are many separate modes for section and strengths, so you can really personalize that. And definitely a bonus of having that rechargeable battery as an option.

The second electric pump then I’d like to talk about is the Medela Pump In Style Advanced. Also, it is a pump that costs around $200. There’s three carrying options, tote, backpack, or Metro bag. The Metro bag is the only option that you can really separate the pump from the bag. The Medela pump is sometimes noted to be a little bit louder and maybe bulkier. But it does offer different breast shields size. So sometimes you can achieve a better fit. Medela is super easy to find replacement parts. Madela is sold in many common stores, some primary care as well as pediatrician offices. Even have those parts for you. So it can be easy to fix if needed.

The next type of pump that I’d like to talk about is manual. So that means just like it says, it’s all hand powered. This is probably not something that you would want to do if you really need to. Pump quickly and efficiently. And, or you’re going to pump on a regular basis just because you’re going to get very tired . There’s three different types that I want to talk to you about.

First one, the Medella Harmony. Very reasonably priced around 15 to $25 US. The nice thing about the Medela Harmony is that the handle swivels. And so it makes it comfortable for a lot of different users as far as with hand grip to physically pump and press that lever. Again, reasonably priced.

Second one I want to talk about is the Advent Comfort Manual. There is no swivel handle here. So some people have complained that it’s not super comfortable, but it does have a removable silicone liner that may provide a better fit and more comfort.

The last option that I want to talk to you about. And I put it under manual is what’s called a haka. So it’s H a K a it’s a hands-free option that uses suction only. It’s not electric it’s silicone, and basically collects the dripping milk off the side that you’re not feeding. So if your baby feeds one side and, you know, you tend to leak and let down out of both breasts at the same time, you can capture that milk instead of it being absorbed into a nursing pad or towel or whatever you have. And use it for later. It’s fairly easy , you sterilize apply to bare skin, squeeze it to create a suction. And then typically that suction adheres and makes the product hands-free.

The last type of pump I’d like to talk about as a wearable pump. They are also hands-free and they sit in a bra. The nice thing about these is that they are cordless. So you’re not really tied to the wall. You can move around with them.

But there are really expensive in the United States. They usually cost around $500. The two most common brands or an ElVie and a Willow. Both of them have an app type technology where you can monitor production and control.

Both wearable pumps also have varying size breast shields to adjust the fit. As well as hold about a two to a two and a half. Our church. Both have strong learning curves. Mainly because you can’t see the placement of that, the container is somewhat clear, but the pump tends to sit on top and kind of can obscure that view of getting your breast into the proper place.

Each type of wearable pump also has advantages or disadvantages to it. The LV you must be upright. It will leak if you obviously are moving around or tend to put your head down.

The Willow is noted to have a bag system, in which case, there are moms that have amazingly enough, put this pump on and they’ve been able to work out, do yoga all these things and it doesn’t leak. So there is an option with a wearable pump, in particular the Willow, that would not leak if you were really active or moving.

The ElVie only pumps into a bottle does not have any bags. But it does come with some great accessories. It has two chargers. It comes with a nice bra extenders. So when you’re placing the pump in your nursing bra, There’s a little clip that we’ll hope to extend, so that it’ll fit a little bit better. Some people do say that the pump strength of the LV is known to be a little bit more comfortable.

In research. Looks like they both Have a pressure. Of about 40 to about 240. Millimeters of Mercury, as far as pumps, strength that’s for both. The El Vie and the Willow. So the Willow nice things about it. It does. Have a USB charger. You can pump into a bottle as well as a bag. But you do have to buy the bags and if you wanted extra bottles separately, so that it is a little extra. Charge. I have heard that the 3.0 model, which is what’s available now. Does have a much more comfortable pressure of pumping. That was probably its biggest complaint initially was that it was super strong and somewhat uncomfortable. So that’s the three types of breast pumps.

So electric the thing you want to think about is whether or not you want a battery backup. And or maybe how loud it is in the fit. There’s also a manual type of breast pump. I think you should consider this for short-term use nothing that you’d want to use on a regular basis. A Haakaa just because it is fairly reasonable in price may not be a bad idea to have on hand mainly because why waste milk? If it’s dripping out of the other side, while you’re feeding, you can recapture that and use it at a later date. The wearable pumps are interesting. They definitely are expensive. That’s probably their biggest downfall. But I think that they can really outline some freedom for some people that are on the go and, or just don’t want to be tied to a wall or a plug. So something to consider there.

A few last points on breastfeeding. The Centers for Disease Control really does recommend that you wash the pieces after each use and sanitize with boiling water at least once a day when you’re using a pump, no matter what type. Electric pump manual pump or wearable pump, some of the wearable pump parts are dishwasher safe. So that sometimes is an easy option for sterilization.

The American Academy of pediatrics recommends that we’re offering breast milk for the first six months of life. And so I think pumping sometimes can offer a little bit of freedom for moms and dads that someone else can feed their baby while they’re away. You can prepare for that and feel reassured that they’re getting your milk. So it’s a nice option.

It’s also good to be thinking about. If you’re getting a pump, it might be because you’re going back to work or you have some obligations where you’d be separated from your baby. You know, maybe more than three to four hours at a time. You’ve got to prepare for that when you return to work or that situation, make sure you schedule time to pump. And make sure that you come up with a good place to pump. I think that pumps that offer double capacity, meaning that you can pump both breasts at the same time are definitely more efficient and the way to go.

The outside of the pumps, we didn’t really talk too much about them. Most of them can be wiped down with isopropyl alcohol, 70 to 90% to kind of sterilize them, but always read the manufacturer recommendations.

There is also an option that you can rent pumps. There are hospital grade pumps that are meant to be cleaned and sterilized, and then you buy an accessory kit, which would have the tubing, the nipple shields and the milk containers that are separate in your own. And that may also be another option for someone who isn’t quite sure.

Lastly, what I want to leave you with is check into your insurance coverage. At least in the U S or some part of the affordable care act. That kind of translates and, or mandates pumps being covered. So ask your OB or your primary care provider.

As to when the best time would be for them to write you a prescription for your pump. And when it will arrive timely to be able to play around with it and get familiar with

So that’s the down and dirty on breast pumps. I hope this has been helpful for you and until next time stay healthy.

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