In a perfect world, we would never need to use a breast pump, but life circumstances may require that you need to pump breast milk bottles for your baby. Whether you need to go back to work, give your breasts a rest or want to pump a bottle for a family member to feed the baby, you will want to have the best breast pump for you.
I have personally tried 3 types of breast pumps:
Manual Breast Pump
I used a manual breast pump with my first son because this is what they gave me at the hospital. As with most 1st time moms, I took all of the classes that my hospital offered about having a baby and did pay attention during the breastfeeding video, but I didn't consider nursing until the nurses encouraged breastfeeding after childbirth. It was a little awkward for my 1st son and me. Regardless, the lactation consultant gave me a manual breast pump similar to or maybe it was the Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump, so that I could pump milk until my baby and I were more comfortable with the nursing. It worked great (even help build up my breast milk), but it was time consuming and the manual hand pumping became annoying to me. Manual breast pumps are more affordable than electric breast pumps.
Hospital Grade Breast Pump
I used a Medela Lactina Select Hospital Grade Breast Pump with my 2nd son. I was on WIC at the time and I guess that I lucked out because they loaned it to me even though I was not working full-time (I was a PT nanny for a boy my older son's age). It was fantastic!!! There was the option to pump one or both breasts at the same time. There were different power settings, too. I didn't use it as much in the beginning because he liked to nurse, but I did use it to increase milk and when I had to take him to work with me. By his 4th month, I started using the hospital grade breast pump at least once a day to pump and freeze breast milk. My second son started weaning himself around 6 months (when he started standing and walking around via furniture). He was very active and liked having his bottles. By his 7th month, my son drank more than he ate while teething / growth spurts, and did not like formula. I really appreciated the powerful suction, dual cups and speed of the Medela Lactina Select Hospital Grade Breast Pump. The disadvantage is that it is much larger than the other types of breast pumps, therefore I only used it at home.
Battery / Electric Breast Pump
I used a Medela Swing Breast Pump with my 3rd son. It was a gift from a friend and I sure did appreciate it. Although it was not as powerful as the Medela Lactina Select, it served it's purpose of providing bottles for baby Max's father and brother to feed him when they felt the need or I had an appointment. The Medela Swing Breast Pump was comfortable and had several different suction settings. The disadvantage was that it was ot powerful enough to extract breast milk between let downs, so I would have to stop and pump more later, or let it pump until I let down again. Keep in mind that I overproduced milk, so it was not an issue of not having enough breast milk. It is just not as strong as the hospital grade breast pump; none of them were the same as when a baby nurses.
I have only used the Madela products and I don't plan on having any more children. If you have tried other products, I am sure that my blog readers would benefit by knowing which is the best breast pump for you.
In Motherly Love,
Mother Baby Child