What Type of Breast Pump Should I Get? Pumping Breast Milk
I recently found myself in a circumstance where I was glad to have a good electric breast pump and a manual pump. I was scheduled for outpatient surgery, and since I am still exclusively breastfeeding my son, my main concerns involved how to get enough milk stocked up for him to make it through that time without supplementing with formula and how to keep myself from getting painfully engorged, a discomfort that I did not want to add to post-surgery pain. I started pumping extra milk about two weeks before the surgery. With my busy schedule, I could only freeze about one bag of milk a day, each bag containing about 4 ounces. Still, my little stockpile ended up being plenty to get my baby through the recommended 12-24 hours post-anesthesia. I have my electric pump to thank for that, as it made pumping quick and efficient during baby naps.
As for keeping my engorgement down, the surgery center let me nurse my son just before I was prepped for surgery. I was under anesthesia for about an hour and spent another hour or so in recovery. My son is still nursing about every 3 hours, so I was ready to pump by the time I was fully awake,. I did not take my electric pump to the surgery center since it is pretty bulky, but I did take my manual pump, which fit right in my purse. Having that allowed me to relieve some pressure until I could get home and use the good pump.
How to Pick the Right Pump? for Breast Milk Pumping
You could be considering pumping breast milk for a variety of reasons. Most likely, you are returning to work and want to continue giving your baby the benefits of breast milk. Other reasons to pump may be to let your partner or other family members bond with the baby by assisting with feedings, having to stop breastfeeding for a while if you are on certain medications that should not be passed to your baby through breast milk (like pumping and dumping after anesthesia, like I had to do), to maintain your milk supply, or to provide breast milk to a preemie who can not get the nurse.
Like nursing, pumping takes some practice, and some techniques will make it much easier for you. The most important thing is deciding which type of breast pump you will need. First, consider your reasons for needing to pump. How often will you need to use the pump? If you are taking a short break from nursing for medical reasons, an inexpensive manual pump should be fine. However, if you are returning to work and would like to continue feeding your baby breast milk for as long as possible, a good electric pump will make your life much easier.
With my first baby, I purchased an inexpensive electric double pump. I knew I would be staying home with my daughter, so I did not have to worry about keeping up a daily supply for being away for extended periods. I did, however, want to keep a pretty good supply stocked up in the freezer for when other people watched my daughter while I was in appointments or when my husband and I got the chance to take a night out. The pump I had was slow and inefficient, but it did its job for what I needed.
Since I still work at home, I do not need to keep up the constant supply for my son. But I am a lot occupied now than I was with my daughter. I find myself running around to more frequent appointments, meetings, and school activities where it is necessary to leave the baby home with dad or with another relative. Now, the electric pump has made pumping so much easier and faster. I am a big believer in making thrifty purchases to save money whenever possible, but this is one area where I believe spending a little more money for a better pump can be to your advantage if you do need to pump often.