Pump It Up – What to Consider When Choosing Your Setup

There are many factors to consider when choosing a pump that is best for you and your baby’s needs. Size, suction, storage, sound. Electric vs. manual. Cost, perhaps at the top of the list, and if your insurance will help to cover any/all of it. 

The most important thing to think about when choosing a pump from the many, many options out there is how it will fit into your life. Pumps today are a far cry from the cumbersome, noisy behemoths of the past that your parents may have had access to. There are now pumps so discreet, you can use them under your shirt while you sit at your desk or grocery shop, and those around you are none the wiser. 

Choosing a pump is a deeply personal choice, and as a result it’s difficult to recommend what’s “best” out of the never ending choices. Instead, here are a few testimonials from breast/chestfeeding parents who’ve navigated the bounty of pump-land and found what works for them, what to avoid, and some tips and tricks they learned along the way! 

Battery Operated/Electric Pumps:

Most elect for some form of battery operated or electric pump nowadays, particularly a rechargeable pump. These are perfect for transitioning from late night pumping in baby’s room to pumping on the go. Not only that, but there are a number of high quality pumps that are partially or completely covered by insurance! 

“I borrowed a Spectra pump from one of my friends when I gave birth and it was awesome. It was hard to choose one for myself because there were so many options, I was glad to have a borrowed one to test out and then choose my own from there.” 

“I got myself a battery operated pump for work, because it was easier to use than a hand express or having to find a private place with an outlet when you don’t have much time to work with on break. I worked retail at the time, so when I was able to step off the floor I needed something quick and reliable.” 

“You want to make sure if you go with a battery operated pump that you get one with a ‘closed system’, meaning that milk won’t leak into areas in the machine it’s not supposed to and cause mold to grow.”  

*Pro tip: the type of pump you get is secondary to the fit of the flange on your nipple, especially when it comes to these powered pumps that create suction for long periods of time. You want the fit to be comfortable while still allowing for milk to flow. An adapter such as these Pumpin’ Pals may be one resource to help you maximize your pump experience!

Some highly rated battery operated/electric pump brands to check out are: 

Spectra – extremely popular, portable, and sleek. High-powered and easy to use and clean!

Medela – less aesthetic than the Spectra, but a solid pump that comes with a lot of bells and whistles like a full cooler! 

Momcozy – This is a rechargeable, wearable example of the pumps of today! Small, easy to wear, more discreet than a tag-a-long pump machine. 

Check here to see if you qualify for insurance to cover the cost of your pump!

Manual Pumps:

While powered pumps are certainly what most think of when they picture a pump, there are manual pump options as well that work just as well if not better for some folks. There are manual pumps that require some extraction/expression, or some that are what we like to call “passive” pumps, which utilize suction and gravity to get the goods. 

“I struggled with a powered pump because the suction was too much and hurt. Once I found a manual pump that worked for me, it was much easier. It definitely took longer, but was better for my body.” 

“There are some manual pumps that even come with covers or convert into bottles – game changing for storage and ease of use!” 

“Manual pumps are easier to get on and get going. When you’re sleep deprived and need to slap something on to get the milk out, a manual pump was easier for me to do half asleep instead of fighting with tubing and making sure everything was set to go.” 

Some highly rated manual pump brands to check out are: 

Haakaa – a passive manual pump that doubles as it’s own storage container. Just attach, latch, and leave it be! Gravity does the rest! 

Elvie – similar to the Haakaa, but able to be worn inside a bra/shirt and far more discreet. With one pump to get it going, this small but mighty manual pump will be your new best friend! 

Evenflo – a true manual pump, this one has a rotating handle for the ultimate positioning to make sure you’ve got the best pump for you. Bonus: this one pumps directly into Evenflo bottle bases, making storage and switch to feeding easy and hassle free! 

Tips & Tricks from Parents who have Been There:

We collected these tips and tricks from parents who have navigated and survived the overwhelming and expansive pump experience. These are the tidbits they’ve picked up along the way, and want to share their wisdom! 

“Nursing pads are really pricey. You can cut pantyliners to fit whatever shape you need and use those instead. On the other hand – nursing bras are so worth the money!”  

“Get 2-3 sets of pump parts so when you’re sleep deprived you don’t have to clean them right away and you still have a set for when you need to pump again.” 

“I supplemented with formula for both of my kids because my supply simply wasn’t robust, but that’s what worked best for me. There’s no fear or shame in using formula – a fed baby is a happy baby and a happy baby means happy parents who can rest!”

“Don’t fixate on the amount you pump – just get the milk out.”

“You are literally creating food for another human being, which is fascinating and can feel unnatural at first even though its totally natural – be easy on yourself!”

“If you want to increase your supply you need to pump A LOT – that might not be for you, and that’s okay!” 

“Don’t stress about freezing a lot of your supply until you’re about a month in, unless you’re blessed with great ducts and can produce a ton right off. Chances are the first month your kiddo(s) will be going through everything you’re able to produce!”  

“Get a pump with a NiteLite feature. It is life changing at 2am feedings/pumps!”

If you have tips and tricks, recommendations, or pumping stories you’d like to share with us, please email us at info@newlifedoulas.com – we love to hear from those who have been there, are currently there, or are about to be there and are curious what to do next!