You have made the wonderful decision to breastfeed your baby, but now you may be wondering if you need a breast pump and if so, what type you will need. Deciding whether you will need a manual or electric breast pump will depend greatly on your lifestyle and how often you anticipate needing to pump.
While both options will produce the same end result, each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Read more about each type of pump below to determine which is best for you and your baby.
The Manual Breast Pump
A manual breast pump is a wonderful breastfeeding accessory for every new mother to have regardless of employment status. Most manual breast pumps are small, light weight, and easy to assemble and reassemble.
Some operate on a lever principal that allows you to pump with one hand while others use a piston mechanism that requires the user to hold the flange (portion that covers the breast) in one hand while using the other to operate the pump. There is a wide variety of styles available and some do work better than others so it is a good idea to read user reviews before making a decision on any particular model.
Manual breast pumps are best for mothers who stay at home or are able to go to their child for feedings during the work day. If you only foresee having the need to pump for the occasional date night or a day out shopping with baby, there is really no need to invest in anything more elaborate than this. These pumps can also be used for a short period of time if you and your pediatrician feel your supply is in need of a boost, though it is best to let baby take care of this for you if possible.
The Electric Breast Pump
Electric breast pumps are exactly what the name suggests. These pumps also vary widely in style, design, and efficiency. Electric breast pumps are available in single, double, hands-free, and discreet backpack or purse models.
A single breast pump is relatively inexpensive and is best used by mothers who don’t need to pump often but do not like the mechanism of a manual pump. For working mothers, however, a good double electric breast pump is practically a necessity. When you have gotten the hang of things and are comfortable with your pump, a double pump can effectively empty your breasts in 10-15 minutes.
The biggest drawback to higher quality electric breast pumps is the expense. Those who do not pump often will find it difficult to justify paying two to four hundred dollars on a good model. Because of the nature of breast pumps, it is not recommended that you purchase a used pump due to sanitary issues, however you may be able to do so if you purchase new tubing, valves, and flanges.
Nevertheless, always exercise caution when it comes to your baby’s health. When you have determined your needs you will have a better idea of exactly what type of breast pump is right for you.