It’s World Breastfeeding Week!
It goes without saying that breastfeeding is hard! Before I gave birth I envisioned my child automatically latching and everything being so easy. Of course it didn’t pan out that way and I only realised a few weeks before I was due to give birth the world of hand expressing, pumping, swollen breasts and the notion of waiting for your milk to come through! Pumping featured heavily in my breastfeeding journey and I thought this was the perfect week to share my thoughts.
Pumping can have a way of making us ladies feel a little like milk machines. But we all want to do whatever we can for our babies and there are a few ways to make the process a little easier.
Even if you plan to exclusively breastfeed (often referred to as “EBF”), it is helpful to have a breast pump on hand. Why? It can help to increase your milk supply, especially in those early days. Breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis, so pumping for a few minutes after nursing or adding in a pumping session an hour or so after baby finished can up your supply.
You’ll also want to pump so your family members can bottle-feed the baby, especially handy for those middle-of-the-night feedings, hopefully your partner will be willing to help with this! And if you ever want to be away from baby for a night out with your partner or an afternoon with friends, a breast pump gives you the freedom to do so.
Of course, if you’re planning on breastfeeding after returning to work, you’ll want a breast pump so you can keep your supply up, have a stash in your home freezer and relieve engorgement when you’re at the office.
A great tip if your thinking about pumping – once you have a rhythm going, try pumping at the same time as you’re feeding so you’re not giving up any extra time, because lets face it, once you have a child in your hands you’ll feel like you have no time to do anything.
Types of breast pumps
There are four main types of breast pumps:
- Double-electric breast pumps: These powerful electric models let you pump both breasts at once, important if speed is a concern.
- Single-electric breast pumps: You’ll only be able to pump one breast at a time, which can take longer. On the plus side, these cost less than a double-electric pump.
- Battery-operated breast pumps: These can be slower and run through batteries pretty quickly. The advantage of a battery-operated pump is that they’re portable and helpful if you don’t have access to an electrical outlet (such as when you’re commuting to work or traveling).
- Manual breast pumps: These are lightweight, portable and inexpensive. The downside? You’ll be doing a lot of the work yourself and you may not get as much milk as a result.
Closed-system pump or open-system pump?
Once you start shopping for pumps, you’ll also start noticing these two terms.
- Closed-system pump or hospital-grade breast pump: Also called “overflow protection,” a closed-system pump is one that is sealed off from the milk by a barrier. This is the most hygienic type of pump, as the barrier prevents milk from getting into the machine, which can make tubes and small pieces difficult to sterilise. They also tend to be more expensive than open-system pumps.
- Open-system pump: These don’t have a barrier between the milk and the pump mechanism, so milk flows through tubes and other small pieces into the bottle, and therefore may come in contact with the pumping mechanism. Open-system pumps are usually less expensive than closed-system pumps.
What to look for in a breast pump
As you start shopping, you’ll want to find a breast pump that meets your specific needs — what works for one mum might not be the right choice for you. When researching the best breast pumps, other important factors you might want to consider include:
- Weight: If you’ll be commuting to the office or traveling often, it can be helpful to have a lightweight pump.
- Sound: Some pumps are quieter than others. If you’ll be pumping around other people, you may want one that’s as silent as possible.
- Hands-free: Some newer models allow you to pump completely hands-free and without any obvious tubing or wires. Some hands-free pumps can even be worn under your shirt!
What’s the best breast pump?
All these different terms can be a little overwhelming, and there are a lot of breast pumps on the market to choose from. So, how do you decide which breast pump makes the most sense for your situation?
Here we’ve listed the best breast pumps on the market right now:
- Medela Swing Flex Premium Electric Breast Pump
- Elvie Single Breast Pump
- MAM 2-in-1 Single Breast Pump
- Medela Freestyle Flex Double Electric Breast Pump
- Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone Electric Breast Pump
- Tommee Tippee Made For Me Electric Breast Pump
- MAM Manual Breast Pump
- Lola & Lykke Smart Electric Breast Pump
- Lansinoh Compact Single Electric Breast Pump
- Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump
Whether you exclusively breastfeed, pump, do a bit of both or choose to formula feed you are doing great! A fed baby is the ultimate goal and whatever works for you and your baby is the best option. What was your experience? Did you use a pump? Let us know in the comments!
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