Friday, February 8, 2013

How to Select a Breast Pump That’s Best for You

Leaving our children, whether for a few hours or all day, is not an easy thing. Add in breastfeeding a baby and it becomes even more challenging. Breastmilk depends on supply and demand, which means if you are apart from your baby for a prolonged period, you need to pump to keep up your supply and feed your baby. While it is possible to express milk by hand, most moms find it more efficient to use a breast pump.

Manual vs. Electric
The choices for breast pumps fall into two main categories: manual and electric.

  • Manual pumps - allow moms to express milk using one hand to pump milk from the breast. They are very portable and designed to pump one breast at a time. Because they are operated by hand, there is no tubing or motor base. Manual pumps are perfect for moms who don’t need to express milk often, but want to be able to give baby a bottle if they are going out for dinner, need to run errands or baby isn’t feeling well and not drinking enough from the breast.
  • Electric breast pumps - work by using a pump connected to tubing and a motor to extract milk from the breast. Single electric pumps are available, however, many moms using an electric pump prefer a double electric breast pump, which allows them to pump both breasts at the same time.
Key Features to Consider in Electric Pumps

There are a wide range of qualities and features to consider when selecting an electric breast pump, not all pumps are created equal.
  • Single or Double – Electric pumps come in two forms – single or double. Single allows you to pump one breast a time, while a double allows you to pump two. Single electric pumps tend to be less expensive and lighter – so they are easier for traveling – but again, you can only pump one breast at a time. Double electric breast pumps allow mom to express milk at the same time from both breasts, and often have a feature that allows you to pump only one breast if desired.
  • Variety of Suction and Speed Settings – one of the most valuable features of breast pumps we’ve heard about from breastfeeding moms is the ability to customize the level and speed of suction to meet their own personal needs. Just as every baby and feeding style is different, so is every mom and every breast. With more options for customization to meet your body’s own  needs, the more milk you will be able to express through the pump, the more milk you will be likely to produce, and the greater success you will have overall in breastfeeding.
  • Portability - How and where you need to pump will affect how important portability and size are to you. For moms who are on the go or need to return to work, the way you commute might play a role in the weight, size and overall portability of the pump you decide to purchase.
  • Special Features – many pumps now offer special features such as digital displays, functions that help you track your time, and backlit LED displays to help you see the pump data in low light (important when pumping at night in a dimly lit room). Some also come with carrying totes, bottle stands, breastmilk storage bags, coolers and ice packs.
  • Price – What’s your budget? The most expensive pumps are in the $300-$400 range, but there are many options in the $100-$250 range that offer very good performance.
  • Closed System - When choosing a pump, it is important to look for a closed system pump, such as our new Lansinoh® Affinity Pro™ Double Electric Breast Pump. This means that milk and condensation never enter the tubes or the motor thus eliminating the chance for mold and bacteria to grow. An open system has the potential for bacteria and mold growth because milk can back up into the tubing and motor, and, if not cleaned properly, could cause mold and bacteria to grow within them and can also cause issues with the motor.
If you’re considering a pump purchase and need some additional personalized advice or help with pumping in general, contact a local lactation consultant or feel free to reach out to us on Twitter @GinaAtLansinoh. For basic tips on how to get started, check out Lansinoh’s breastfeeding and pumping basics for some quick answers.

Feeding your baby breastmilk is one of the greatest gifts you can give him, and pumping allows you to continue breastfeeding even if you aren’t with your baby all day. We wish you all the best of success!
Thanks and have a great week,

Gina

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