Thursday, September 11, 2008

Once I decided that nursing was important enough to stick it out I found myself in need of a good breast pump. After trying a borrowed hand pump first I realized that I needed something better and considerably more expensive. Now after two years of use I have gotten my money’s worth several times over.

What to look for:

Ask to use the hospitals while you are there, see how you like it.
The hospital even gave me the parts to take home so I had kind of a “starter” kit and they showed me how to clean and care for the pieces. (Don’t wash the tubing!)

How long will you be using it?
If you are only going to pump for a few months it might be more economical to rent one from the hospital. Maybe you are not sure you want to nurse for the long run, this will give you an idea of what it takes and how wonderful it can be.

How often will you pump?
If you are dedicated to the cause and want to avoid formula at all costs I highly recommend an electric double pump. If you look at the cost of the (pump + milk bags + breast pads + a few extra poopy diapers) and compare that with the cost of (formula per month + a few more doctor visits + lots of bottles + a bottle warm for late nights) you can see the pump is a bigger investment to start, but far less expensive in the long run.

Do your homework.
Read up on the different features, ask friends, go online, maybe borrow a friends if you have that option. They are super easy to clean and sterilize the parts so don’t let sharing scare you.

Personally I use the Medela Pump In Style Advanced over the shoulder bag. I like that it works quick and has a special feature to get the milk flow going. They also have excellent phone support even for problems you might run into nursing. I have used mine at least once a day for almost two years now and it is still pumping strong.

How about a free pump?

Yeah! This is for those moms who wouldn’t mind donating a few extra bags of milk (a shipment is about 20 bags of 6oz of milk) to The National Milk Bank. You can see the link on the side. My sister and my friend from work both got pumps from them and they are excellent hospital grade pumps. The only side note to make is the one they sent my friend from work cannot run on batteries so be sure you have a good outlet if this is the path you choose. It’s great to get something so expensive for free, plus the milk you donate goes to help babies in the NICU so you can feel good about it too. I’ve been donating for over a year now and it’s great to see Emily’s extra milk go somewhere good.