Choosing a Breast Pump: Manual vs Automatic
February 26, 2016
Choosing a suitable breast pump can be a tricky affair, especially with all the different types of breast pumps in the market. The first step you need to take is establish:
1) How frequently you will be using the breast pump?
2) Where you will most likely be using the breast pump?
3) How much you are willing and able to spend on a breast pump?
Once you have the answers to the above three questions you can use the guide below to decide on whether to buy a manual or electric breast pump.
A. MANUAL BREAST PUMP
These pumps are good for occasional pumping.
They are easy to pack and very light which makes it very efficient for carrying around during an activity filled day.
They are often very cheap and hence might come in handy if you are on a limited budget.
They also provide you with full control of the milk expression session as you can control the speed and suction of the pump.
These pumps are also relatively silent hence you don’t have to worry about attracting any unwanted attention.
Most of these pump are compatible with other feeding bottles making use and storage easy.
Because of the effort used during pumping you can get tired quite quickly leading to muscle cramps especially in your wrist and hand.
Since you are bound to grow tired quickly while using this pump you are bound pump less milk than is required.
You are also bound to take much longer to extract the same amount of milk as you would with an electric pump.
You might also have to buy a storage bag and a portable cooler for the milk as they often do not come with this.
B. ELECTRIC PUMP
Single Breast Pumps
These pumps are good for regular pumping sessions, for example daily pumping if you are a working Mom.
They are often easy to use making it possible to pump more milk than a manual pump.
They also take a shorter time to complete a pumping session which is especially useful if you have a busy schedule.
These pumps come in handy for mothers looking to increase their milk supply as it helps stimulate more milk production.
They also often come with their own carry-on bag and storage compartment for the milk which comes in handy when you have to travel.
These pumps are often very expensive.
They are often bulky and might be difficult to carry around. However, with the advancement in technology, there is an increasing number of smaller breast pumps especially with the battery charged pumps which are much easier to pack and carry.
These are often noisy especially older models.
Most of these pumps, especially older models, are not compatible with other baby bottles.
Unless you are using a battery charged pump, finding a power supply in a suitable pumping location/room might be a challenge.
Double Breast Pumps:
Most of the advantages of a double breast pumps are similar to those of a single breast pump, including the fact that:
These pumps help cut the time used during pumping by almost half which can come in handy especially if you have twins.
These pumps also help stimulate milk production further.
If you use these pumps with a pumping bra this frees up your hands to do other activities, for example read a book.
Most of the disadvantages of a double breast pump are similar to those of a single breast pump, including the fact that:
These are often more expensive than the single breast pump.
They are often very bulky due to the different parts.
Some women do not to prefer these pumps stating that they made them feel like a ‘cow being milked’.
When using only one side of the pump it is important to seal the other side otherwise the level of suction might not be very effective.
As you decide which type of pump will work best for you, it is also important to remember the following:
You should choose the right size of breast shield otherwise, the wrong size could cause nipple soreness or cracking. This can be done by talking to a lactation consultant often found in most hospitals which offer maternity services.
You should always clean or sterilize your pump after each use. Almost all breast pumps come with their own instructions on how best to keep it clean.
It’s advisable not to share a breast pump with someone else since viruses such as HIV and hepatitis among others can remain in the crevices of the pump and could be transmitted to you and/or your baby during this process. In addition, hand-me-down pumps might also be worn out leading to poor suction making them less effective.
If you are buying an electric pump it is also important to make sure that they allow for suction regulation making it easier for you to tune the suction power and speed to one comfortable for you.
If you are still confused about which pump to buy you could always ask the attendant at the pharmacy how each of the different pumps work and decide from there. If you plan to use a pump later on its best to start searching early in advance to give you time to decide and adapt to using the pump.
Find the best deals on electric and manual breast pumps at our online shop.