Once you have made the choice to breastfeed, you may find the need for expressing your milk from time to time. If you work outside the home during the day, it will be very important for you to have a good breast pump to make the process quicker and easier.
But even moms who stay at home can benefit from a breast pump if they need to express milk for a day out on the town or a night out away from baby. The type of pump you select will depend a lot on your lifestyle and what your own unique needs are.
Manual Breast Pumps
Manual breast pumps are best suited for those mothers who only need to express milk every once in a while. Quality models can be quite efficient for the occasional pumping and are much less expensive than electric double pumps. The trick is finding a model that is both comfortable and easy for you to use.
Options include a cylinder type mechanism in which you create suction by pulling the piston out, a lever action where you squeeze, often with one hand, on a lever to create suction, and bulb styles where the suction is created by squeezing the bulb. You may need to experiment with a few to find one that is comfortable for you, but since they are generally not terribly expensive, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one you like.
Electric Breast Pumps
Electric breast pumps make up the rest of the pumping world and these pumps are broken down into several subcategories. They start with very small, occasional use electric or battery powered single pumps and go all the way up to large, hospital grade double pumps. If you choose in favor of electric powered pumps over the manual variety, you’ll need to decide how powerful of a pump you need.
Small electric pumps are best suited for mothers who might also choose the manual breast pump. They are not made for daily use. The suction on these pumps tend to be a little weaker than what you would need for more frequent expression, and trying to use them too often will likely burn the motor out. They are good to have on standby as they are much easier to use than manual pumps, but don’t try to rely too heavily on them.
If you plan on pumping more than a couple of times a week, you are probably better off to go ahead and invest in a mid-weight pump. These pumps may be either single or double, and can handle pumping several times a week. They are best for breastfeeding mothers who have to be away from their baby for multiple feedings. Most models are small and discreet, easily portable from home to work. You can find both single and double pumps as well as pumps with automatic features for stimulating letdown and then transitioning to slower, stronger suction that mimics baby’s feeding patterns.
Finally, there are hospital grade pumps. These pumps are generally reserved for mothers of premature babies who desire to establish and maintain their milk supply while baby is in NICU. The milk can be given to the nurses to feed to baby and mom will be ready for nursing when baby is strong enough. These pumps are very expensive and are usually rented from medical supply stores or hospitals.
Top Medela Breast Pumps
In the world of breast pumps, no name is more reliable or of higher quality than Medela. They have a long standing reputation for producing quality breastfeeding supplies that are also easy to use. Because of this, a Medela breast pump has become a breastfeeding necessity for most moms. Medela makes some of the best breast pumps and offers a wide range of options for breastfeeding mothers who need to express milk. Here we are going to review the top 4 Medela pumps to help you determine which breast pump is right for you.
The Medela Pump In Style Advanced
The Pump In Style Advanced is by far the most popular of all of Medela’s breast pumps and for good reason. This is a double pump that can be converted to a single in about 5 seconds and is highly portable. It comes with all you need to express and store up to 4 bottles of milk safely. The letdown mode switches automatically to regular pumping after 2 minutes, but you can override that manually if you want, like if your letdown happens very quickly or you need more time in letdown mode. This pump also lets you adjust the suction level to what is comfortable and most efficient for you.
The Medela Swing
The Medela Swing is similar in two-phase suction technology to the Pump In Style, but is designed for maximum portability. This is a single pump that can be used either on a tabletop or by clipping it to your belt so you can go about your day while pumping. It also comes with a Softfit breast shield that some women find more comfortable than the hard plastic shields. It will take about twice as long to pump with the Swing since it is a single pump, but many find this not to be an issue at all given the flexibility of pumping while continuing to do other things.
The Medela Harmony
The Harmony by Medela is a single manual breast pump that is operated with one hand by a lever. What makes the Harmony different from most other manual pumps, however, is the two-phase expression technology that you typically only find with electric pumps. This makes for one of the most efficient and comfortable manual pumps on the market and is an excellent pump for using around the house or while traveling. The Harmony also features the Softfit breast shield.
The Medela Free Style
The Free Style breast pump by Medela can be best described by taking the pumping power of the Pump In Style Advanced and putting it in a highly portable package like the Swing. This is a double electric pump that is designed for super busy moms who simply do not have the time to be tied down every few hours to a pump. The Free Style comes with a hands free kit so you can pump both breasts at the same time while doing whatever else it is you need to do. Like most other Medela breast pumps, the Free Style offers the two-phase expression for maximum efficiency.
There is truly a Medela breast pump for everyone, no matter what their lifestyle may be. Most women find the investment to be well worth the money spent, especially given the high quality of Medela breast pumps. If you need a pumping solution that enables you to continue breastfeeding even while away from baby, Medela is sure to have one that is right for you.
The Medela Swing is a top-rated single electric breast pump. And if you know anything at all about breast pumps, you know that Medela is a name synonymous with quality and commitment to breastfeeding mothers.
Right out of the gates, the Medela Swing Breast Pump has an edge if for nothing but the reputation of the company. But there is more to this pump than just a name, and there are many features that will make the Swing the perfect choice for some mothers.
Medela Swing vs Pump In Style
Medela compares the Swing breast pump to the features of their Pump In Style, but owners who have used both the Pump In Style and the Medela Symphony, a hospital grade pump, declare that the quality and efficiency of the Swing is more comparable to the Symphony. There is a two phase pumping system, one setting for letdown mode and one for slower, deeper suction once the milk flow starts.
Two of the biggest advantages the Swing has over the Pump In Style are the size and cost. The Swing is an affordable breast pump that will work for the occasional pumper like the stay at home mom who only needs to pump once in awhile. But even a working mom may appreciate the smaller size of the Swing pump as it is a bit more discreet. It is a very portable unit.
Single Breast Pump vs Double Pump
Because it is a single pump, pumping times may take a little longer than they would if using a double pump. However, the purpose behind the compact design was to allow busy moms on the go to carry their pump with them discreetly and easily, without a whole lot of bulk to lug around. Designing a pump any larger would defeat this purpose.
As it is, the Medela Swing breast pump can literally go anywhere you do and can be used at any time you are comfortable. It does come with a power cord if you have access to an outlet, but also features a battery pack so you can clip the pump to your belt and go about your business. Add a high quality hands-free pump bra to your wardrobe and there is almost nothing you can’t do, even while making baby lunch!
Features of the Medela Swing Pump
* 2-Phase Expression
* Weighs less than one pound
* Can be run with AC adapter or batteries
* Comes with 2 bottles and bottle stand
* Comes with drawstring bag
The one thing to consider is that if you will need a place to store large volumes of milk from the day, the Medela Swing Breast Pump can’t give you a whole lot of room like the Pump In Style backpack does. While it is nice to have all your pumping supplies in one place, this dilemma is easily remedied by purchasing a small cooler in which to transport your pumped milk. For the money, the Medela Swing Breast Pump is a sure bargain and allows you to take control of your already busy life.
On the Go? Check Out The Medela Pump In Style Backpack
The Medela Pump In Style with Backpack is designed for on the go moms who wish to give their baby all the best nutrition but would prefer not to advertise what they are carrying around with them to the world. The backpack provides a discreet housing for this high quality pump and makes transport infinitely easier.
The most obvious feature of this breast pump is the convenient backpack design. Inside the pack, you will find a top of the line double breast pump that is as close as you can commercially get to a hospital grade pump. This pump is designed to mimic baby’s natural sucking rhythms by starting with a “let down” mode followed by longer and somewhat stronger draws.
The vacuum level can be adjusted to your comfort and should not be set above the maximum level needed to maintain a good milk flow. Some women need a little more power than others, however, so this is a wonderful feature to have and experiment with. Some mother’s are also pleased to discover if they allow the pump to go back to the let down cycle when the initial milk flow has stopped, they can achieve a second let down for more milk.
The Pump In Style Advanced can also be used as a single pump by removing the tubing from one side and plugging the port with the attached plug. This feature can be used by moms who wish to nurse and pump simultaneously or by moms who are battling an oversupply.
Oversupply issues can be very uncomfortable for mom, and baby tends to get less rich hind-milk when there is too much foremilk. Pumping from only one breast at a time and alternating sides at each pumping session slows the body’s natural supply and demand system down thereby helping to regulate an appropriate milk supply.
The Medela Pump In Style is also very easy to assemble, disassemble, and clean. With a little experience, moms will be able to put their pump together, express the milk, take it apart, and clean it for transport in about 20 minutes, depending of course on how long it takes to empty your breasts.
Pump in Style Accessories & Parts
There are also plenty of replacement items and accessories available for this breast pump so moms can get the custom pumping experience they need. Larger or smaller breast shields are available if needed for comfort and more efficient expression, though most women will do fine with the standard size. You can also get a battery pack and a car power supply for pumping on the go.
Finally, the backpack comes with a cooler with a specially designed ice pack and 4 breast milk storage bottles with caps. The Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with backpack makes breastfeeding on the go more convenient than ever.
Medela Symphony Breast Pump
The Medela Symphony is a hospital-grade electric pump. It employs a 2 phase expression pumping which better mimics a nursing baby and therefore allows the pump to be more effective than a lower-grade model.
Most women do not require a hospital-grade pump but they are the strongest breast pump. But for mothers who have extreme sensitivity to pumping or low milk expression, these higher-end pumps are sometimes a necessity.
The Medela Symphony is expensive which is why many mothers choose to rent these pumps. But if you plan to use the pump for an extended time or with more than one child, investing in your own pump may be worth it.
Basic Features & Specs
– Double Pumping
– BPA/DEHP Free Parts
– Electric or battery run
– One knob operation
– Approximately 7lbs
– 3 year warranty
Why Use Hospital Grade?
You know what they say – you get what you pay for. And this adage is true when it comes to breast pumps. You can certainly get a much cheaper electric breast pump. And for most people something like the Medela Pump-in-Style will be perfectly adequate. But some women will need a more powerful yet more gentle pump.
For one, a breast pump can be tough on the nipples. Some women just cannot tolerate the pain and will be willing to buy a pump like the Symphony. Second, many women have trouble expressing enough milk to feed their babies. When that happens they can either supplement with formula or try to increase their milk output. One way to do the latter is to invest in a hospital-grade pump.
Finally, money may not be an issue for some new moms. Think celebrity moms. In that case, why not buy the best breast pump available and enjoy all the benefits? No matter what the reason, the Medela Symphony is a great choice for those women who need it amongst their breastfeeding supplies. Rent it if you can’t afford it, buy it if you can.