What to understand before purchasing your breast pump

The Holy Grail Post-partum Product

As wonderful as it is to be able to breastfeed your baby, there will be times when pumped milk is as valuable as a bar of gold. After all, whoever said you shouldn’t cry over spilled milk has obviously never knocked over a freshly pumped bottle. When it comes to purchasing items for your baby, you always want to make an informed decision, and breast pumps are no different. Luckily, you can boil all of the information out there about breast pumps down to a few key points. Our quick explainer will help you in demystifying the breast pump choosing process.  

The Three Main Types of Pumps

Breast pumps come in three general forms: manual; single electric or double electric; and battery-powered. Each breast pump is composed of a breast shield, pump, and milk container. 

Mothers operate a manual breast pump via a handle or lever which the mother uses to suction and release the breast. These can offer more control for mothers who can be with their baby most of the time and may not need to pump often. Many women also choose manual breast pumps for travel as they tend to be less expensive and more portable. 

Electric pumps do not require the labor of a manual pump. These pumps can aid in encouraging lactation in mothers who have just started breastfeeding or who have stopped and need to restart. Electric breast pumps are the strongest type of pump, making them the most convenient option for mothers who need to pump regularly. They do, however, require a power source. Many mothers who use these pumps, therefore, choose to have a manual or battery-operated pump as a back-up. With electric pumps, mothers have the added option of choosing a double pump, which can pump both breasts at once. 

Battery-operated pumps are similar to electric pumps in that they do not require manual labor. However, they are generally not as strong. They’re also not as effective in stimulating lactation. Like manual pumps, these pumps are generally small and portable. 

When breast pump shopping, you’ll notice one more important distinction: closed system versus open system. Closed systems have a protective barrier between the pump and the milk itself, preventing milk from getting into the pumping mechanism. Open systems do not. Closed systems are the more hygienic option, while open systems are often less expensive. 

How to Know What’s Right For You

Much like everything else on your Must-Have for Baby List, choosing the right breast pump can come down to convenience, price, and comfort. 

For mothers who will be pumping outside of the home, such as in an office or on-the-go, portability and noise may be a factor. Consider the weight and dimensions of your breast pump as well as whether you’ll have access to a power source. Many breast pumps are now so conveniently portable that you can be worn inside of your bra for a completely hands-free experience. If you won’t have a lot of time to spend pumping, consider how quickly your pump works. Electric pumps are faster and stronger than their manual or battery-powered counterparts. 

When it comes to price, manual and battery-powered pumps are often more cost-effective than electric pumps. Be sure to check with your insurance before making your purchase; insurance providers will often cover the cost. Renting a hospital-grade pump may also be an option, especially if your baby will be hospitalized for an extended period of time. 

There are a few points to consider when it comes to comfort. Breast shields may be too small or too large for you; contact the seller to see if other options are available. Some pumps also offer adjustable suction strength for added customization. 

Where to Get Your Breast Pump

It’s important to make an informed decision about what’s best for you and your baby. Spring Creek Medical Supply offers a wide array of breast pumps from several trusted manufacturers. Visit our Breast Pump Supply Page for a comparison chart featuring a list of top breast pump models, then fill out our breast pump qualification form to see what your insurance provider will cover.

For more great information on breast pumps, check out Medela, one of our favorite breast pump manufacturers. 

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