Buying a breast pump may seem overwhelming at first glance because there are so many options to consider. However, once you know what is out there and determine what you plan on using one for, the choice is much simpler.
There are two basic types of breast pumps to choose from, which are electric and manual.
Electric pumps are great for the mom who also has to go to work, because they come in one breast or two breast models. This means you can pump whenever you are away from your baby for an extended period, which also helps your body know to keep making milk. They are very gentle when they suck your milk out, so don’t be scared of them, even if the device looks daunting to you.
These pumps can get rather expensive, but generally the quality improves with the price. They are designed to work for many years, so they could last through more than one pregnancy. Furthermore, they may need to be plugged in or run on a battery, depending on the model. This aspect also dictates how portable the gadget is.
Another type of electric pump is the hospital grade pump. These are often very expensive, so they are not usually purchased. However, they can be used while you are in the hospital, and in some cases can be rented, so you’ll be able to learn how to use a pump.
Manual pumps do not run on electricity. There is a bulb that you press so the machine can pump your milk out for you. These are not considered to be as efficient as electric breast pumps, but as a whole, they are less expensive. These devices are designed to be used for moms that may be away from their children for only a short period of time a day or rather infrequently.
When you buy a breast pump, most of the necessary items you will need come standard with the machine. This includes breast shields, which are the cone shaped protectors that you sit your breast in so the milk can come out. Many also come with carrying cases as well.
Other accessories that you will definitely need when using a breast pump are a cooling bag and storage containers. The cooling bag is to keep your milk cool after you pump it. This mainly comes into play if you are on the go or don’t have access to a refrigerator. If you do have access to one, you can simply place your pumped milk in there to ensure that it lasts longer. However, in order to store it, you will need special storage bags or containers to keep it in. These are not regular plastic sandwich bags; they are designed for this purpose. You can also place the milk in bottles to keep it protected.
Read the directions of the machine to make sure you are using it right. The directions will also probably tell you how to wash the device. It must be washed thoroughly after each use, so keep that in mind when you are deciding how often to pump.
Many women have more than one type of breast pump, so they have one at home and work, or an extra in case one stops working. Don’t feel bad if you can’t choose which type you want.