What You Need to Know About Breast Pumps

Woman Carrying a Baby Are you planning to pump? If you’re not sure where to start or what you need, take a look at the top questions to ask before you choose a breast pump.

What Are the Top Pump Options?

More specifically, what types of pumps can you choose from? You don’t just have one type of pump for one type of mother. Your individual needs mean you’ll select a breast pump that matches your nursing goals, baby’s feeding routine, and your comfort level. In some cases, price is also an issue (if your medical insurance won’t pay for your pump of choice).

The most common types, or general categories, of pumps are:

  • Manual pumps. As the name implies, this pump requires a manual effort on your part. These often lightweight and inexpensive hand-operated devices are ideal for the occasional pumper.
  • Battery-operated pumps. If a handheld manual pump is too much work, but you don’t need to pump for every feeding session, a rechargeable battery-operated pump is an option to explore.
  • Electric pumps. Whether you’re returning to work or will need to solely pump for another reason, these more expensive models save time and energy.
  • Hospital-grade pumps. These electric pumps help some women to start and maintain the milk supply. Mothers who’ve had breast reduction surgery, have medical conditions that decrease milk supply, or have premature infants may need this type of pump.

If you’re not sure which pump to choose, read on for more information on the selection process and how to assess your needs.

What Is Important in a Breast Pump?

The answer to this question varies between women. Your criteria for a just-right pump may look dramatically different from what your sister or best friend wants in their device. To assess what’s important in a pump (specifically for you), ask:

    • How often will you pump? Exclusive pumpers typically require an electrical option to handle the need.
    • Will your pumping needs change? Some women will only pump occasionally at first. But they may need to pump more often when they return to work. If you’ll start slow or aren’t sure of your needs, a lower-priced manual or battery-operated pump may work better for now.
    • What features do you need? Do you need a double pump? Do you want a pump that’s lightweight and comes with a carrying case? Think about what extras you might want before you buy.
    • How much time do you have to pump? According to the La Leche League International, a double pump usually only takes about 15 minutes while a single can take over 30. If time is of the essence, you may want to invest in a double electric model.
    • Where will you pump? If you can’t plug the pump into an outlet, an electric model won’t do.

Along with these considerations, think about your budget. Some insurance companies will pay for a breast pump depending on your medical needs. If your insurance won’t pay for a pump, set a realistic budget or ask close friends or family members to pitch in on the cost as a baby shower present.

Where Should You Get a Breast Pump?

You have no shortage of retailers who sell breast pumps. To choose the right place to purchase your pump, you need to consider:

      • What type of pump you need. If you need a hospital-grade or fast electric pump, a medical supply company is your best option.
      • What your budget is. A variety of pumps are available at many different price points. A medical supply company or web-based retailer may have the most options for moms at any budget.
      • Where you live. If you don’t live near brick and mortar medical supply or mother-baby retailers, consider an online option.

When you do choose a retailer, make sure the store or website also carries the accessories you need. As a new mother, you won’t have the time to go from store to store (or site to site) looking for bags, bottles, breast pads, or other accessory options.

Do you need a breast pump? Contact Corner Home Medical for more information.