There is a lot to know about breastfeeding, starting with choosing the breast pump that's right for you and your needs. It's worth doing some research before buying (or registering) for a breast pump-- helps if you want it to become your best friend instead of your worst enemy!
Questions to Ask Before Buying a Breast Pump
How do you plan to use your breast pump?
There are several reasons people want a breast pump -- find out yours. The biggest factor to consider is how often you'll be using it. Will you be pumping for occasional use like a night away or will you be pumping daily for your baby while you work, for example? The less often you'll need to use your breast pump can determine the power and versatility you choose. Of course, you may end up in a situation that requires more frequent pumping that you may not know of beforehand, like having a preemie or changing jobs.
What's your budget?
How much you have to spend on a breast pump is an easy way to determine the kind of pump you can buy. In general, there are comparable options to meet many budgets.
Where will you do most of your pumping?
Will you have access to power? At home or away? Where you pump can influence the kind of pump you buy. If travel is a big part of your life, choose a pump that's easily portable.
How many children do you think you'll have?
If you want a pump that will last through more than one child, consider its staying power (read the reviews!). Not all pumps are meant to be reused and not all will last.
Types of Pumps
A manual pump means is a breast pump that's hand powered. Manual pumps certainly get the job done, but depending on your needs, there are limitations that make a manual pump inhibiting. Choose a manual pump for infrequent and brief pumping sessions, and/or for times when you will not have access to a power source. A manual pump is inexpensive and can also be good for other uses like helping with engorgement, collecting milk from your non-nursing side, and while traveling/just-in-case moments.
The most common pumps purchased are electric breast pumps. They have an electric motor that powers the suction, making them ideal for longer and more frequent pumping sessions. Most electric pumps can be connected to car chargers as well as wall outlets.
High powered pumps
There are electric pumps and then there are high-powered electric breast pumps. You will find this kind of power in a hospital-grade pump as well as in some electric pumps you can buy retail. High-powered breast pumps can pump a greater amount of milk in shorter amount of time, as long as the fit is correct and supply is well established.
Closed vs. open system pumps
If you plan to reuse your breast pump with future children or would like to pass along your breast pump after its use, choose a closed system pump instead of an open system. A closed system keeps internal components free from bacteria.
One of the most important considerations for successful pumping is getting a good fit. How the flange fits around your nipple impacts your comfort and the amount of milk you pump. Check to see if the pump you want offers multiple fit options like different sized flanges.