If you plan to breast feed your babyâ€”and we hope you doâ€”you may be wondering if you will need a breast pump. A lot depends on you, and your baby.
If you are a stay at home mom, you may not need a breast pump. Most stay at home moms only need a supply of milk if they are going to be away from their baby at feeding time. If this is the case, you may be able to hand express enough milk for a feeding.
If you need a bottle for your baby more than occasionally, or you have difficulty hand expressing milk, a breast pump may be a good idea.
Under these circumstances, a good quality manual breast pump will probably meet your needs. You can even feed your baby on one breast while pumping milk from the other.
If you are a mom who will be working outside the home, chances are you will need to step up to an electric breast pump. You could still hand express your milk, or use a manual pump, but the more feedings you need to prepare for in advance, the more time consuming that will become.
If you are going to be regularly pumping your milk, an electric pump will not only make the process more efficient, allowing you to pump both breasts at once, but it will help you keep up your milk supply.
There are essentially two types of pumps, manual and electric. When you are using a manual pump, you either depress, squeeze or pull a lever to create suction. The manual breast pump should fit comfortably in your hand, and your nipple should fit comfortably inÂ the nipple shield.
The most popular manual breast pumps are the Advent Isis manual pump, and the Medela Harmony. Medela also offers a pedal operated pump that allows you to manually pump both breasts at once, and uses your leg muscles to provide the pumping power. If you need a small manual pump, you may wish to consider the Ameda one hand pump.
Electric breast pumps are usually adjustable in terms of suction strength and frequency. This allows you to vary the pumping to more closely resemble your baby’s nursing patterns. You can rent a hospital grade electric breast pump from most hospitals, birth centers, and lactation centers.
If you plan to return to work, however, you will probably want to purchase a good quality electric pump of your own. The most popular electric pumps are the Ameda Purely Yours, and the Medela Pump in Style.
Both are available in convenient carrying cases and a variety of supplies and accessories designed to making the pumping experience easier. Some electric pumps offer the option of operating on batteries or even using a car’s cigarette lighter or power port.
Breast pumps should be cleaned after each use. Do not purchase or use a used pump, with the exception of a hospital grade pump rented from a reliable provider.