WANTED: Electric Breast Pump Advice (Update! And More Advice Wanted!)

About a week ago, I asked for advice on electric breast pumps.  I had been doing some research, but I wanted to hear from the front lines–the ladies currently or recently pumping and feeding.  I received many tips and bits of advice as a result, and I thought it would be appropriate to share these on my blog for anyone interested.

For all those that offered advice on specific pumps (this includes votes from the non-bloggers in my life) with the thought in mind that I will be exclusively pumping, there is a clear winner.  The stats are…

1.  The Medela Pump In Style received 8 votes

2.  The Medela Symphony (hospital grade) received 2 votes

3.  The Medela hand pump received 1 vote

There were a couple women who purchased an Ameda pumps that didn’t make it more than a couple of months with these pumps before needing to purchase/rent a better pump to bring their milk supply back up.  One of these women had nothing but trouble with the pump motor and battery from beginning to end, requiring replacement parts to be overnight shipped to her on three different occasions.  She finally went to see her lactation specialist who set her up with a hospital grade rental pump instead.

Now, 4 women suggested to me that I rent/purchase a hospital grade pump if it is available/affordable to me.  Of those 4 women, 2 very specifically recommended the Medela Symphony.  It retails somewhere in the area of $1,500 so I don’t see a purchase in my future.  I will research the rental possibility to see if it can be covered by my insurance, but from what the insurance lady told me and sent me I won’t be able to upgrade to a hospital grade rental unless it is deemed medically necessary by a doctor.  Now, I also received a few tips.  Here they are below:

1.  Buy a pumping bra so I can pump both breasts hands-free at the same time,

2.  Be prepared for sore nipples no matter what you do,

3.  Buy and use lanolin on my sore nipples,

4.  (from two ladies) Don’t buy lanolin or use it because my nipples will never toughen up,

5.  Keep spare tubing, valves, and flanges on hand for whatever pump I purchase,

6.  Be prepared to buy different size flanges for a better fit,

7.  Decide on a storage system and invest in an attachment to directly pump into the storage container, and

8.  Don’t settle for a pump that doesn’t completely empty my breasts or I run the risk of mastitis and losing my milk supply.

I was also reminded time and again that the best way to bring my milk in is skin-to-skin contact (feeding directly from the source–da boobies).  So, I will try while in the hospital to breast feed without pumping.  This has opened another can of worms which entails researching things like latch and cluster feedings.  I purchased a book, Ina May’s Guide To Breastfeeding, which I am hoping will help enlighten me a bit and I am asking for any other breastfeeding reading recommendations.

The paperwork sent to me by my insurance has listed a Medela Advanced Personal Double Pump as an available option.  It comes with a shoulder bag and cooler, a battery pack, and a double pumping kit with standard size breast shields and 4-150 mL breast milk storage bottles.  From the Googling I have done, I think this is the same as the Medela Pump In Style Advanced.  Anyone have anything to offer up on this?

Thank  you again to all the women that took time out of their very busy day to offer up their experiences and opinions!

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12 Replies to “WANTED: Electric Breast Pump Advice (Update! And More Advice Wanted!)”

  1. Sounds like Medela is your brand of choice – and it’s a good one – but if you’re still looking around, I used the Avent electric and manual pumps, and found it as effective as the hospital grade Medela. And way cheaper. I’d used my pumps to build supply, so was pumping after breastfeeding – something to consider if you need to build supply, and still want to maintain skin-to-skin contact. Lanolin is fine to get you through the healing, and your nipples can still get conditioned to breastfeeding with Lanolin, so don’t worry too much about that. Sounds like you’re very well researched! Fabulous job. 😀

    1. Thanks for reading and taking time to comment! I will have to check out the Avent, too! Thanks for your take on the lanolin. I’m really not looking forward to nipple pain. They are so sore already just during pregnancy I’m dreading it!

  2. I wouldn’t worry too much about latching and all that. You’ll have a lactation consultant with you when baby is born. They will teach you everything. And you really can’t read how to do any latching until you actually do it. Don’t worry too much or research too much because they will help ya 🙂

  3. You’re definitely doing a great job looking into this ahead of schedule! I didn’t research pumps before I had my baby and I was very fortunate that my insurance happened to offer the pump in style which I bought while I was in the hospital. I had no idea if I would like it but yes, it was a good pump.

    My opinions on the things you mentioned…
    1.I would say yes for sure on the pumping bra. I didn’t have one before and I really wish I had. I am planning to get one this time!!
    2. Yes, you will be sore no matter what but it should never be unbearable. And pumping doesn’t generally hurt as bad.
    3. I used lanolin like it was going out of style. I used it for weeks. But another great tip that my lactation consultant gave me and really helped was to rub milk into my nipples after feeding/pumping. It heals and protects your nipples. I had no problems with my nipples not toughening up….
    5. Yes, yes and yes!! You will absolutely need spare parts especially the valves! Those boogers threatened to go down the sick while I was washing them several times. Plus they rip. The pump will come with at least 2-4 spares though. It will also come with 2 sizes of flanges. I was weird and needed a large for one side and a small for the other. (inverted nipple…tmi? lol)
    8. Absolutely!! You have to get ALL the milk out. I learned that. 😦
    Also, even if you don’t actually breast feed, you can still do skin to skin and it will still help your supply. But yes, baby will empty and increase production the best. As far as latch, you simply can’t learn that from a book. I went to a breast feeding class and it was like greek to me until I actually experienced it. It’s a learning thing for both mom and baby. I would definitely ask to see the lactation consultant at the hospital while you are there. See her right away so you can get that latch perfect from the beginning so you never give your nipples a chance to get too sore. Most sore nipple issues are because of improper latch so it’s very important. I could never tell if he was on there right. I kept asking the nurses to check all the time. 😉

    1. Thank you! I’m a planner.
      1. Someone mentioned just cutting holes in a sports bra. Any opinion on that?
      2. Unbearable means bad latch, right?
      3. Good to know and thanks for the tip!
      5. Anything else I should keep on hand? There is no tmi here! Ha!
      8. I don’t see me sitting around topless holding my baby for no reason other than to be skin-to-skin. Ha! Eva would be so confused. Lactation specialist is on duty and I plan to make use of her right away!

      Thank you again! Write me a book anytime!

      1. 1. I didn’t try cutting holes but I read that it might not be the best idea. I think because the sports bras are kind of compressing and that could hinder milk flow. I think I want to buy this one. http://www.amazon.com/LactaMed-Simplicity-Hands-Free-Bra/dp/B00GDJRQPY/ref=sr_1_3?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1416178243&sr=1-3&keywords=pumping+bra
        I like it because you can put it on without having to take off your nursing bra and put on the pumping bra. You can just wear it over.
        2. Yes, usually. It never was unbearable for me. Uncomfortable at first but it would go away after the first couple minutes.
        5. I can’t think of anything at the moment but if you are in the states, Walmart often carries spare pump parts in the baby section.
        8. LOL. You made me laugh!! Yes, that would be awkward.

      2. 1. Thanks for sharing! I will check it out. 2. I’m glad to hear that! 5. Wal-Mart is my friend. I live in Missouri, and we have about 3 inches of snow right now (sorry, Eva and I are excited about this)! 8. That probably wasn’t what you meant, but I couldn’t resist!

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