Pumped about Breast Pumps
Breast pumps come in handy for a variety of reasons, whether you're headed back to work after maternity leave, you can't breastfeed directly due to medical reasons, you are away from your baby travelling or running errands, or if Dad wants to participate in feedings. Whatever the reason, it's important to check out all the available options out there for breast pumps.
There are different levels of breast pumps, according to Consumer Reports. The first one we'll talk about is the hospital-grade, electric pump. This one is pricey, so you may want to check out renting one from the hospital or a specialty store if purchasing one doesn't fit your budget. You'll still have to purchase accessories if you rent, so be mindful of that when planning for your budget. Hospital-grade costs more than other pumps because it is much faster (takes approximately 15 minutes to pump, on average, for the dual pump), and it has multiple settings for speed and pressure for your comfort. The hospital-grade pump weighs anywhere from five to 11 pounds and is generally about the size of a shoebox.
The next level is the personal-use, electric pump. You can find these for around $200 to $350. Still pricey, but if you're planning on keeping up with breast milk and you're returning to work, these pumps are pretty nice to have. These pumps also come with multiple settings and are fairly fast, especially if you get the dual pump. It generally comes with all the necessary accessories, including a handy carrying case for when you need to bring it to your place of employment.
There are also small, electric pumps. These are smaller and lighter than the personal-use electric pumps and generally run between $65 and $130. There are fewer options than the previously mentioned pumps, meaning you don't have a choice when it comes to speed and pressure. So, plan for a longer time pumping. But they are compact and very portable, and they are perfect if you're just pumping occasionally.
Lastly, there is the manual pump. These are fairly affordable, between $35 and $50. These are quite a bit slower. And, usually these come with singular pumps, and that adds to the amount of time you'll be spending pumping. Some pros are that it is portable, great for travel and camping (if you don't have an electrical source), and you can still somewhat control the pressure because of the manual pumping.
All in all, your choice really depends on your budget and the time you are willing to spend pumping. Also, if you have sensitive breasts and/or nipples, you may want to consider buying a pump with the multiple settings for comfort. Consumer Reports recommends a few different brands, such as Ameda, Medela, and Whittlestone.