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Subject: misc.kids FAQ on breastpumps, Part 2/2

This article was archived around: 23 May 2006 04:24:18 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: misc-kids/breastfeeding/breastpumps
All FAQs posted in: misc.kids.info
Source: Usenet Version

Archive-name: misc-kids/breastfeeding/breastpumps/part2 Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-modified: 1995/03/01
Misc.kids Frequently Asked Questions Breastpumps ===================================================================== Collection maintained by: Beth Weiss bweiss@cs.arizona.edu Last updated: 1 March 1995 To contribute to this collection, please send e-mail to the address given above, and ask me to add your comments to the FAQ file on breastpumps. Please try to be as concise as possible, as these FAQ files tend to be quite long as it is. For a list of other FAQ topics and how to get the archived discussions, tune in to misc.kids or misc.kids.info. ===== Copyright 1994, Beth Weiss. Use and copying of this information are permitted as long as (1) no fees or compensation are charged for use, copies or access to this information, and (2) this copyright notice is included intact. ==== ############################################################ This FAQ file contains several parts, separated by lines of ## signs. When posted, parts I-V are in part 1 part VI is in part 2 I. Logistics A. Summary of replies about the logistics of pumping B. How long can I store the milk II. How to encourage a let-down III.General pump-buying and getting started advice IV. Encouraging success A. General advice B. Survey of Successes C. Nipple confusion survey V. Supplies A. Carriers B. Suppliers VI. Which pump should I buy? A. Manual options ** by hand ** Medela manual ** Sears ** Kaneson B. Battery operated pumps ** Evenflo ** Mag Mag ** Gentle Expressions C. Small electric pumps ** Medela mini-electric D. Fish tank pumps ** Nurture III ** Gerber Precious Care ** Double Up E. Rental pumps ** Ameda Egnell ** Medela Lactina ** Medela (classic) ############################################################ VI. Which pump should I buy? ----------------------------- There are no absolute answers to a question like this. Some women have been very successful with every available pump. For just about any pump, you can find some women who think it was great, and others who weren't successful with it. Many lactation consultants recommend electric pumps (either the "fish tank" pumps or the rental pumps) for women who are returning to work full-time, or pumping for a premature baby. The following is a compilation of women's comments about various pumps. Since this FAQ file originated several years ago, please understand that any and all prices are likely to be out of date. VI-A. Manual pump options --------------------------- ** By-hand manual pumping ------------------------------------------------------------ REALLY MANUAL: Finally, I strongly recommend that anyone considering expressing milk learn how to manually express with no pumps -- just your own hands. Even if you're sure you're only going to be using a pump (as I was), it's really nice to know how to get your milk to let down manually. Frankly, pumps just don't feel the same as a baby, and I find they don't always trigger a good let-down. On those occasions, a combination of using the pump and manually expressing works really well for me. I learned through a video at my HMO; I imagine La Leche or other support groups could recommend books, videos, or workshops. If you want to use manual expression as your only means, they make specially-designed funnels to catch the milk that attach to a bottle. I've seen them in the Motherwear; they're probably available elsewhere as well. They say it comes with "complete instructions for hand expressing". (Mar 95: $9) ------------------------------------------------------------ When my daughter was born 5.5 years ago, I tried one of those cheap manual pumps. Ouch! Maybe I didn't stick with it, but I just couldn't find a comfortable, non-messy way to do it. I finally found that I could express by hand much faster and easier. Still pretty messy! Anyway, I only nursed for about 4 months and only pumped occasionally. I would be surprised if a motorized pump would be much easier on you than your own hands. ------------------------------------------------------------ I didn't really dedicate myself to learning this method until my 3rd child, and wish I'd started earlier. You can use it anywhere you have a little privacy, there is virtually no clean up, it doesn't require anything more than a bottle or cup, it is quiet, and you can get as much or as little as you need. A great method, but more tiring and sometimes slower than is practical at work 2 or 3 times a day. Very effective - the only way I got better emptying was direct nursing. It definately takes practice. ============================================================ ** Medela manual pump ------------------------------------------------------------ Excerpt from Motherwear catalog: For occasional or short-term pumping, lots of moms choose this economical, manual pump. The "Spring Express Pump" from Medela has a unique spring action that assists you on the return motion. Built-in air vents automatically control the vacuum to simulate a baby's suction and protet your nipples. A cushion pads the palm of your hand. Includes two size adjustments for different nipple shpaes, three levels of suction, and a feeding bottle with Nuk nipple. Requires two hands. (Mar 95: $32) ------------------------------------------------------------ Not for serious use, but it works for occasional/emergency situations (and works well for pulling flat nipples out. ------------------------------------------------------------ I found it to be a lot of work and never could get very much. I did much better with manual expression. The Medela can be disassembled and put thru a dishwasher if you have one of those little "cages" for the small parts. ------------------------------------------------------------ After both kids, I tried a variety of pumps to try to figure out which was best/easiest for me... I kept coming back to the simplest one: the medela manual (yes, manual) pump sold through the La Leche League leaders. Here's why: 1. Control: Manual pumps give you MUCH better control over suction, speed, and your own comfort 2. Drip/Spray: The straight piston-style pumps (i tried several) had a real problem with spraying breastmilk all over the place... it could really get messy, no matter how hard I tried. 3. Storage: This particular manual pump is very well designed for breastmilk storage. A small bottle (with a standard-size screw mouth) "hangs" from the bottom of the pump (which also provides a handy holding-place), and it is into this bottle that the milk flows. When done pumping, simply unscrew the bottle, screw on the top and put in the fridge, or screw on a nipple and feed the baby. It's sanitary, since you're not having to pour into another container or anything. Since it takes a standard size bottle opening, you can use a variety of bottles, too -- not just the one that comes with it. 4. Cleaning was simple, as well. ------------------------------------------------------------ MANUAL: The other pump I have is a manual Medela pump. Although I've found it's not as efficient as the electric pump, I find it really useful on occasions when I'm required to be away from my baby and away from electricity. It's light, quiet, and compact. ------------------------------------------------------------ I used the Madela manual pump with no problem for the 9 months I expressed, but I was then a student with a flexible schedule and access to my husband's office. It lasted for 7 months, until, in my infinite wisdom I forgot it while I was sterilizing it (on an open stovetop)... Ah, the smell of melted latex... ============================================================ ** Sears ------------------------------------------------------------ I own a manual breast pump and use an electric pump at work (the electric "base" is provided at my workplace!). I actually like my manual pump, though I have never used a battery operated pump. When I have a good letdown, I can get 3.5 oz (the capacity of the container) in just a few minutes. Normally, however :), it takes closer to 10-20 minutes. I have a model from Sears that only cost $11, so I ended up buying two. It looks like a tall, thin, beaker with a close- fitting tube (topped with a breast cone) inside of it. My advisor from nursing mother's council recommended against getting any manual pump with a flexible "breast cone" (because it makes it harder to get a good seal) or with "bicycle horn" pumper (because it's hard to get really clean and it can physically harm you).... For me, I need to pump regularly in order to maintain my "skill" with it. I used to use my manual pump every night (when my son gave up his 2am feeding, I used to still wake up, so I started pumping that milk). When I started sleeping thru that (and woke up with very full breasts, but also, an accomodatingly hungry baby!), I didn't have to use that pump any more. When I *wanted* to use the manual pump, it took me some time to become used to it again (and, consequently, to get a "regular" amount of milk from pumping). Also, when I first started pumping, I only got a miniscule amount (< 10 ml) and it hardly seemed worth it. In reality, I was not getting a letdown; with practice, I can now get 3-6 oz per pumping session. Your mileage may vary. ============================================================ ** Kaneson ------------------------------------------------------------ I started out with a Kaneson manual pump, which I like a lot. It requires a fair amount of arm strength/endurance, since you have to pump for 10-15 minutes. I've done well with mine, pumping for about 10 months with each of two babies and 6 months with the third. It's quiet and easy to carry around. ------------------------------------------------------------ As the Kaneson cylinder becomes full of milk, the suction of the pump gets stronger. You can compensate for this by not pulling the cylinder out as far as the pump becomes full. Pumping should never hurt your nipples. ============================================================ VI-B. Battery pump options (some also available with adaptors) --------------------------- ** Evenflo Soft Touch ------------------------------------------------------------ I'd like to cast my vote for the Evenflo Soft-Touch Ultra that I used. It's battery operated (optional plug-in) with 5 suction levels (low to high), a suction release and 3 nipple size options (S/M/L). It is light weight and has the suction release right at your thumb-tip so it's pretty easy to simulate natural sucking. It uses regular 4 oz. Evenflo bottles so it's easy to buy extra. This was the only slight disadvantage I found since I'd have to change the bottle when pumping 6-8 oz on one side. It comes with a pretty peach carrying case which I didn't use very much since I didn't need to pump at work or anything. I purchased the pump at Toys R Us for around $30 (with a coupon, of course :). [note: price is at least 2-3 years old] ------------------------------------------------------------ I have had an Evenflo and a MagMag pump. The Evenflo died right after the warranty ran out. The MagMag felt better, had a better design, worked better and I'm really sorry I wasted my time (and money) with the other. ------------------------------------------------------------ I use Evenflo's battery powered pump (optional AC converter available). It cost around $38 and uses 2 "C" batteries. It will use most 4-oz plastic bottles, but works best with Evenflo bottles. I find it relatively easy to use, and convenient. It is VERY easy to clean and discreetly portable. I simply close my office door and pump for about 20 minutes each morning and afternoon to provide enough milk for my 4 month old son to use at daycare. ------------------------------------------------------------ I originally bought an electric Gerber ("Precious" Somethingorother) and I didn't like it at all. The breast cone was made of a hard material, and the suction was too intense (it hurt).w The one I have now is an Evenflow and it can be used with batteries or a 3V DC adapter. It has a flexible breast cone and a pretty good suction adjuster, so I'm happy with it. The HOME show displayed many electric version several weeks ago and I remember seeing an electric pump that had two hoses (one for each breast). The Evenflow is also good because it doesn't have moving parts (except the button you press if you want to simulate a sucking motion). Many of the ones on the HOME show had pumps that moved in and out. A LLL friend of mine recommended the Health Team "Gentle Expressions" but I couldn't find that one in any stores. ============================================================ ** Mag Mag ------------------------------------------------------------ I have friends who've used the MagMag. I think it comes with its adaptor (Gentle Expressions didn't) and as far as I know is quite satisfactory, and I think is more comfortable as it comes with a soft piece that fits to the breast (Gentle Expressions has a hard plastic piece). Be warned that some people seem to find pumping very painful (I didn't) and therefore don't do it. ------------------------------------------------------------ I used the Gerber breast pump for the first few months, and then when I returned to work, I rented a Medela pump (that did both sides at once) for $1 a day. The Gerber one was fine. When people talk about Gerber and MagMag they seem to think that they are comparable. You may want to consider the Gerber because it can be bought at discount stores like Toys R Us (they are cheap for non toy items). ------------------------------------------------------------ Definitely go with the MagMag--I have one and it works great--if you think you will use it for awhile, also order at least one spare of each of the parts (except for the motor and adapter) because they wear out with time--plus you will always have a clean set if you're in a rush. I have also found that some plastic bottles can double as the collection bottles--but you have to make sure they fit OK onto the pump so there is no room for air to escape...good luck. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ I'm sure you'll get lots of replies on this one. But, since you asked specifically about the Mag Mag, I can at least give you my opinion on it. I used it sporadically for about 5 months, just to freeze some milk for emergencies and to let my husband feed Dylan once in a while, too. The first time I used it, it hurt like hell. My nipples swelled up incredibly and were very sore for two nursings afterwards. Subsequent pumpings were tolerable, but I never was able to simulate a let-down response with the pump alone. I would then have Dylan nurse on one breast while I pumped the other. At least then, I would be assured of a let-down. But, he then objected to the sound of the motor (not *really* loud, but apparently loud enough to annoy him). Apparently, there are much better pumps on the market than the MagMag. Next time, I'll probably just rent a Medela. I think the key is that if you find a pump that you like, or at least don't find too uncomfortable, you're more likely to have a successful pumping experience. If you end up with one you don't like, or one that is a bit of a pain (like my experience with the MagMag), you might eventually give up on pumping. For me, as a stay-at-home parent, it wasn't a big deal since Dylan always got the "fresh" stuff on demand. If you're planning on returning to work, the issue is much clearer. My understanding is that the Medela is the closest thing to simulating the actual sucking of a baby, which is quite different from the Hoover style of the Mag Mag :-) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ I used the MagMag with the AC adaptor. I was just great! I never had any problems with it. In fact I bought two to make quick work of pumping at the office! None of the pumps work *great* with batteries but they're good to have for emergencies (like when we were stuck in the car for 4 hours with no where to stop and *plug in* ;-). The MagMag has a "pressure" valve so that you can keep the suction comfortable. It has two sizes of nipple shields, too. You can use it with one hand and the bottle is 2-3 oz. larger than most pump bottles (only 4 oz) and I needed the larger capacity! I got the bag that's in the catalog to go with it. I just used the old Playtex 4oz. nurser bags with twisties to seal them. Don't go for the larger bags cause some days, the kid won't finish and there you are stuck with half to put down the drain! Other pumps that I investigated were either too awkward physically, not powerful enough, or had no AC,etc. Good luck in your search (and with the pumping)! ------------------------------------------------------------ I have heard that the magmag is effective but painful. ------------------------------------------------------------ Ok, I'm going to name names here. I've compared the Medela Lactina (with double pump kit) with the MagMag battery pump. Expressing takes me about 20-25 minutes with the Lactina, while the MagMag took 35 minutes to empty one side only. The little motor on the MagMag takes a good 2-3 seconds to make a good vacuum, so the pump cycle was about twice as long (and in fact, I was almost as fast using the Medela manually). Medela's claim of "faster pumping with a dual system" sure holds true in my case. ------------------------------------------------------------ We used rechargeable ni-cad batteries. My wife liked this because she could use it anywhere, without having to find an outlet. We went through two MagMags in about a year's worth of pumping. I could probably build one from scratch, I've been inside of it so many times to clean it out. It seems very sensitive to any milk which makes it inside. Most times when it stops working, I open it up, and can't even see anything, but a good cleaning of the pump diaphragm with a Q-tip and soapy water makes it work again (both had this problem). We also tried a cheap manual bicycle-pump-type model (don't remember the brand) during the interim between MagMags (A drop destroyed the first one). That was more trouble than it was worth. Near the end, she just started hand-expressing, because it seemed less of a bother than getting the pump out. What do MagMags cost? I think we paid about $30 at one of the local discount stores. So I'd say we paid about $30+$15+$30 for the different pumps. If you get a good recommendation for a reliable pump that's a little more expensive, remember that we spent about $75 going the "cheap" way, not to mention the hassle of the periodic dis-assemblies. Good luck! ------------------------------------------------------------ I used three different types of pumps (Magmag, Gerber, and Madela). The all pumped the milk directly into bottles, and all three used a the standard bottle thread. You dont need to use the ones they include. The magmag bottle had a wide rimmed cup, but the lid had a smaller opening that you attached the pump too. A standard bottle will fit it. ------------------------------------------------------------ I used a MagMag; it was ok. But if (or rather when) I'm in that situation again, I'm going to rent a Medela -- faster, more powerful, and can express both sides at once. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- I bought the MagMag. It was no fun. I really sweated for 1/2 hour to get out 4 ounces. Battery or AC, I tried them both... I ended up renting a Medela electric pump. It pumps out both sides at once, no sweat. In 1/2 hour I'd get 8 ounces. ------------------------------------------------------------ I liked my mag-mag OK. Off batteries it wasn't too strong, but I only used them in the car or other times when wall current wasn't an option. This time I'm thinking of renting a Medela. I hear that they're worth it (faster, easier) if you're pumping regularly, which I was and expect to be again. They're definitely not portable, though, so I'd think about buying the mag-mag as well if I didn't already own it. ------------------------------------------------------------ For my first pregnancy, 3 years ago, I bought the MagMag so I could have the A/C ad battery options. The pump was awful. It hurt, got almost nothing out for your effort and was hard work. ------------------------------------------------------------ I broke my right arm when my oldest was 5 months old, so I bought a MagMag since I thought I wouldn't be able to use the Kaneson. The MagMag just didn't work for me at all. It didn't have enough suction to induce my letdown reflex. I ended up using the Kaneson with my left hand. Mine cost about $15 on sale 4.5 years ago, so it's relatively cheap to try out. ------------------------------------------------------------ I had a Mag-Mag pump which I thought worked pretty well (although it took some getting used to!) but which broke down after about six months ------------------------------------------------------------ I found a $40 Mag mag at a garage sale barely used for $8!!! I really liked it alot. Be careful if you get it tho to release the suction when it gets to be too much. The thing is pretty powerful. I didn't like namuals but then again you could probablly say I'm lazy. I wanted the manual at first, to work on my upper body strength but when you're whipped from the first months of motherhood..... I guess it just wasn't for me. :-) ============================================================ ** Gentle Expressions ------------------------------------------------------------ Since my daughter is 6.5, I don't have any recent info for you. I had a gentle expressions battery operated pump and a manual. I liked the battery operated one because I could use it 1-handed and pump directly into the bottle. But, the manual had better suction, so if I was having a hard time with let-down, the manual worked much better. The industrial strength ones are the best (Medela). I used one when I was in the hospital for an operation when my daughter was 3 mo. They can be rented, but I don't think they are very portable, if you need to take it to work. ------------------------------------------------------------ I used a Gentle Expressions pump, which was fine, though part of it wore out after about 8 months (the seal was leaky, so there was an imperfect vacuum which made pumping a problem) and I had to replace the pump. At this time I noticed that Gentle Expressions was no longer being made with a socket for an adaptor - i.e. it was batteries only - but I did manage to buy one that could be used a/c. I would now NEVER use a batteries-only pump, as batteries get used up too quickly. One thing though, I found when I used a/c at 3V, the pump was weaker than with 3V worth of batteries. I just nudged the transformer to 4.5V and luckily the motor could withstand the extra power! It worked pretty well. ------------------------------------------------------------ i am appropriately typing this while i pump milk so i am not going to capitalize. I have a battery gentle expressions pump. i think it cost about 30 dollars. i like it fine but it does use a lot of batteries if you are going to do more than occasional pumping. when i got it i thought i would just uyse it for nights out and things like that and wean doug when i went back to work. well, i wasn't ready to wean yet, so i pump about twice a day at work and need batteries every few days. so i would suggest the ac adaptable type if you are going to use it every day. other than that i like the gentle expressions. ------------------------------------------------------------ I used Gerber, Medela, and Gentle Expressions with my first child. Of those three I liked Gentle Expressions best because of small size and battery operated - portability. I purchased two at Toys R Us for ~$30 each, because I just couldn't spare 1/2 hour at a time at work to pump. Two pumps cut it down to about 15 minutes. I picked up an extra Gentle Expressions at a Baby Needs warehouse sale for only $5.00, which is good since one of the battery terminals got some oxidation on it and got bent back and wasn't making too good of contact with the battery any more. I never had to take them apart an clean out the pump diaphragm though. ------------------------------------------------------------ The Gentle Expressions has it all over the Precious Care in this regard. I borrowed a PC once, while visiting a friend and needing a little milk to mix up rice cereal when a visit was going longer than planned (the friend's daughter is 2.5 mo younger, so she provided cereal, bowl, bib, spoon, etc and even lent me the pump -- not bad eh?). Anyway the stupid little tube kept falling off and when I *did* get the hang of it I couldn't let down because the suction wasn't strong enough (I kept my GE cranked to full suction at *all* times, gentle ha!) and when I put Beth on to get things going she kicked the tube and the ruddy thing fell off again... exasperated sigh. I can't remember if I finally got my ounce or if the cereal was mixed with juice in the end. But it put me off the PC, I will say. The GE is totally utterly one handed. You hold it on and work the suction release thingy all with the same hand. And it will stay on, and pumping, through some quite determined kicking by a 7 or 8 month old who is annoyed at the buzzing sound during her nursing session. :-) ============================================================ VI-C. Small electric pumps --------------------------- ** Medela Mini-electric ------------------------------------------------------------ I have been using the Medela mini electric since August and manager to pump 8-10 oz at work. I used a hospital grade for 6 weeks prior since my baby was premature. It is definately not "industrial strength". You can adjust the suction. I have it rigged with a rubber band so I don't have to hold the trigger. It was worth the money. You should call Medela to find a lacation consultant in your area (1-800-835-5968). She can demonstrate their product line. ----------------------------------------------------------- The Medela mini-electric is the best of the handheld breastpumps, mostly because of the automatic suck/release cycle. It is fine for occasional (no more than once a day) use. So, for a woman who is working part time or pumping so she can attend aerobics classes, it's a perfectly adequate pump. It's not a good pump for daily use because the motor is small and will wear out over time. It is the best of the battery pumps that I have seen and is quite comfortable and effective. They are quite loud, however (about like a blow dryer), and some women report that they are not as effective as the Lactina (Medela claims that they are as effective as the Lactina). Our testers report the Minielectric to be more effective than the MagMag, Gentle Expressions or Gerber pumps. ------------------------------------------------------------ I believe you are right about the Medela Mini-Electric and the Nurture III being the only ones worth considering if you don't need to rent an expensive one. I have the Mini-Electric and recommend it - I rented a Lactina for a while and didn't really see the big advantage to it except that you can double pump. I love my Mini-Electric - it works really well and my La Leche League friends say it's much better than any other inexpensive pump. If your wife works outside the home full time though, she still might want to get the Nurture III because it can dump-pump, which really saves a lot of time. Since I work at home and cadoubleeastfeed during the day sometimes, I am perfectly happy with my Mini-Electric. I actually might like it better than double pumping because I have a way of tying it to me, so I can type (and read netnews) with two hands while pumping. I got my Mini-Electric for only $59 plus tax at Baby Superstore, so $80 sounds high (though that's what LLL and Right Start charge). I believe Baby Club of America sells it by mail, and they usually have good prices too. ------------------------------------------------------------ I assume you are refering to the Medela mini-electric pump (bright yellow-orange color). I used these for pumping while at work for over a year. I can't compare to a Medela Lactina or Classic as I have never used one but a friend who tried both thought the mini-electric was almost as effective. The suction is somewhat adjustable (actually, I think what really adjusts is the cycle time). At the time I purchased the pumps last year, Medela was having problems with the AC adaptors and said they tended to burn out the pumps, recommending batteries for longer pump life. I used batteries as electricity was not available in my usual pumping situations. The pump is quite noisy if that is a consideration. Using two pumps at once is much more effective than sequentially using a single pump. Overall, I was pretty satisfied. If you decide to purchase, you might check around. I saw $20-$30 price variations on this pump. If stores in your area don't carry breastpumps, you might want to compare Right Start's price with the price for buying directly from Medela. ------------------------------------------------------------ I've heard that the portable, inexpensive Medela is quite similar to other small pumps, and nothing like the Medela Lactina or Medela Classic. ------------------------------------------------------------ I heard at LLL that Medela has a battery pump out now that is very effective and comfortable, but I dont know anyone who has used it. IMO, a very inportant feature is the valve between the pump/breast adapter and the collection bottle. The valve closes when suction is applied so only a small volume of air must be evacuated by the pump. The rental pumps have this feature, as do the medela and avent manual pumps. Most of the battery ones I have seen do not. ============================================================ VI-D. Fish tank pumps ------------------------------------- ** Nurture III Excerpt from Motherwear catalog: Pump both breasts at once, or pump one side while nursing on the other. The Nurture III Electric Pump is easy to use and simple to clean. It combines the portability of a small pump with the performance of a large rental pump. A fast cycle time means breasts are exposed to less suction and milk is expressed quickly. Suction is controlled by rolling your finger on and off the top of the bottle. Ideal for moms who pump oftne. (Mar 95: $99) ------------------------------------------------------------ I loved my Nurture III. I used it through nursing two babies before handing it down to one of my little sisters. It was quiet, small, and worked great. It has a couple of different suction settings. I was always able to collect at least 8 ounces in about 10 minutes. With my son, I collect 16 ounces in 20 minutes twice a day which was more than he could drink. I think that part of this is due to the pump and the rest to the great let down that I got while reading misc.kids. The Nurture III was highly recommended by the lacation consultants affilated with my hospital and my medical group. In fact, they told me that if I were going to buy a pump that I should buy this one first; otherwise, I'd end up buying the Nurture III AFTER having bought and disposed of other models. ------------------------------------------------------------- The Nurture III pumps and the ones like it are called Fish Tank Pumps, because that is what they are. They have two hand held bottles with breast attachments, connected by tubes to a fish tank moter (you know, those little brown moters that run the fish tank pump). They have a finger-release pressure regulator, so you control the cycling (unlike the Medela pumps which do its own cycling). ------------------------------------------------------------ The pump I purchased and am now using at work, at least twice a day (for my second son, Ben - 4/9/94), is a Nurture III. I purchased it from a local La Leche League member who is also a nurse and lactation consultant. I got her name from the La Leche "area coordinator" in my neighborhood. I like it pretty well. It takes me 7 minutes total to do both sides. It is sometimes a little particular about being put together just right - the rubber rings that fit inside the bottles have to be just so - in order to get suction, and it is not exceptionally quiet - it sounds like a fish tank motor. But it does the trick fairly quickly, and I can get on with my work. It is nice and small and weighs only about 2 pounds. (Could I do an advertisement?) It is not as quiet or simple as the huge Medela I rented, but it is portable and less expensive. Good luck! ------------------------------------------------------------ I bought a Nurture III pump, and have rented an Ameda Egnell Lite machine. I get a better letdown with the Ameda (I was starting to have problems with letdown using the Nurture III). The Ameda is somewhere in between the Nurture III and the Medela in terms of size and weight; it's fairly portable and can be carried back and forth to work easily. One advantage to the Ameda over the Nurture III is that you don't have to use your thumbs to turn the suction on and off; the machine does it for you. ------------------------------------------------------------ I used the Nurture III with my first baby and it worked great although it took about 20 -25 minutes to pump. With the 2nd, I used the Nurture III again for a few months, then a friend let me borrow her Medula Lactina and it is WONDERFUL. Pumping took less than 10 minutes plus I got MORE milk than with the Nurture III. I tried to go back to the Nurture III after that, but I'd gotten used to the stronger suction and I wasn't getting much milk out, so I ended up continuing with the Lactina. (IMO) If you need it for work, I'd rent to Lactina even though it costs more. It's less time consuming (and therefore less stressful !!!). Good luck! ------------------------------------------------------------ I sell these as well, (Nurture III) and they are popular with many mothers, retailing for about $110.00 vs a cost of about $200+ for kit/rental for 5 mos of the auto cycle pumps. The big difference is that the Nurture III does not have autocycle, but relies on the user to manually cycle by covering an air hole. Now, for those of you who groan and say that you have already tried those kinds of pumps, this one is DIFFERENT! All the other pumps on the market are truly inferior, but Bailey Medical Supply Co. did it right and used the right size of pump motor. I have found that some mothers don't want to do anything at all and prefer the autocycle of the double set-up rental pumps, but many other mothers don't mind at all, and they, too, can complete a pump session in 10-15 minutes. ------------------------------------------------------------ Most work days I use a small electric pump, the Nurture III, which I find works really well. A big bonus for me is that it's also small enough to pack in my insulated carrier so I can take it home for the weekends if I want to express at home. It's also nice and quiet (which is great for work). It adapts for double-pumping (though I found I don't really use that feature -- I like to have one hand free). It's not available in standard stores that I've seen; I got it from an RN nearby. However, I recently saw it listed in the La Leche League catalogue. ------------------------------------------------------------ I have a Nurture III electric pump and highly recommend it. I purchased it through my HMO (Kaiser), so I don't know how non-HMO members would go about getting one. Is is very compact, weighs about 3-4 lbs. and allows you to pump either breast or BOTH breasts at once. I have been using mine since I returned to work seven weeks ago (and prior to that so that I could build up reserves. I usually pump 3 times a day and it only takes about 10 min. per time (I pump both sides at once). The "funnel" portion of the container screws off, so you can store milk in the container (use regular bottle tops). The lactation consultant at Kaiser said over 90% of the people who have purchased a Nurture III from her have been satisfied. One person got a defective pump (which the company replaced) and another person just didn't like the pump. ============================================================ ** Gerber Precious Care ------------------------------------------------------------ Excerpt from "The Nursing Mother's Companion": This semiautomatic electric pump, new from Gerber, is about the size of a small aquarium upmp. Again, suction is generated by placing a finger over the vacuum release hole. Two disadvantages are the unusually shaped breast funnel and the low suction strength. (1990: about $50) ------------------------------------------------------------ I currently use the Gerber "Precious Care" electric pump and am very satisfied with it. I bought it when my now 4 1/2 month-old daughter was 2 months old (I *tried* to use a manual pump at first, but found it to be very difficult) and wished I had bought it sooner. I picked it up at Sears for $49. The parts are very easy to clean and the unit provides excellent suction, the strength of which you can control by covering or uncovering a small valve. The best feature of this pump is that the cone which fits over the breast is of a soft, malleable plastic which is very comfortable and prevents leaks. The only complaint I have is that the unit emits a fairly loud, constant drone when in use which can get on your nerves! It is possible to muffle the sound by covering the unit with a pillow or towel. I was very surprised to find an electric pump so cheap, since I had read that they can cost a couple of hundred dollars. I have never used a battery-operated pump, so I can't compare the Gerber pump's performance with theirs, but, as I said, I am very happy with my purchase. I have only been using this pump for about 2 1/2 months and don't use it every day, so I can't vouch for its longevity, but so far I have had no mechanical problems with it. ------------------------------------------------------------ I used [the Gerber "Precious Care" electric pump], too. I really liked it for small amounts of pumping, when I started back at work, I rented a Medela. The thing I really liked about the Gerber is that it came with an order blank for extra pieces. For $11 I was able to buy enough assmeblies for three pumpings. When I mailed away for it, I asked them to send it ASAP. I had it within a week. I was impressed by that. People may want to shop around. I have seen it for $3X, at discount stores. (Fedco for people in S. Cal), and at Kids R us. This was 2 years ago. When Jeffrey was a newborn we went thru a few weeks of evening fussiness. He wouldnt nurse, so I would pump the milk, and give it to him later. Then I noticed that he would quiet down when I pumped. The sound of the pump relaxed him. I then went all out, and used the Vacumm cleaner. Since the noise of the pump and vacumm cleaner made him relax, it was music to my ears. :-) ------------------------------------------------------------ I used Gerber, Medela, and Gentle Expressions with my first child. [...] One time I did take apart the Gerber Precious Care pump though when it was losing suction, then I found out the problem was not inside at all, but that gasket at the top just wasn't making good contact with the bottles. ============================================================ ** Double Up ------------------------------------------------------------ Summary of responses to my questions on the Double-Up Breast Pump offered by Right Start follows. Of those familiar with the pump, I had positive feedback. No one mentioned any problems with the pump (granted, we didn't have a large pool of responses, though). One person told me it looked exactly like the Nurture III that they got for around $90. Another told me she had the Double-up and her friend had the Nurture III and that they were basically the same, with a different hose configuration. There were positive comments about the Nurture III, and one positive report on the Double-Up, and one absolutly glowing report on the Double-Up. The Double-Up was more expensive, but it did come with a cooler kit and I wasn't sure what difference the "different hose configuration" might make. So I went for the Double-Up. I actually ended up ordering from One Step Ahead rather than Right Start. OSA advertised the entire kit for 149.95. When I called RS they said they didn't sell the cooler kit, just the pump. In retrospect, seeing how the pump was packaged and the video, I bet the service rep at RS just didn't know his product.... RS advertised price was $149. Results: I *LOVE* it! I'm getting just as much volume as I did with the Lactina in the same amount of time. I even tried an 8oz bottle single pumping this morn and that worked fine. I've also done the single pump with 4 oz and the double pump with 4 oz bottles. If anything, I'm getting *better* results than with the Lactina. It's also easier to lug around. I didn't know how much I'd appreciate that until this morning when my boss sprung a day trip to Houston, planes and all, on me by surprise -- tomorrow! I'm sure glad I have the Double-Up to deal with instead of the Lactina on the plane! My husband will be returning the Lactina tomorrow. And for the person who thought $150 was outrageous to spend on a pump -- well for me it's worth it. Yes, I can manually express. But it does take time. I went back to work part-time, with no additions to office staff. So I'm getting five days of work done in four days. I take two breaks to pump during the day, and have got to get it done quickly. I'm working my tail off at work to spend an extra day with my daughter, so forgive my indulgance of $150! All in all, the Double-Up is a great pump, easier to transport than the Lactina, and definitely more affordable. ------------------------------------------------------------ For my 3rd child I bought the Double Up pump from the Natural Choice Company. I bought it through a catalog (Right Start, I think). It comes as a complete kit - the pump, tubing and caps to double or single pump, 2 bottles, 2 flanges, 2 gaskets, 2 cold packs, a video, a pair of washable nursing pads, an outer tote that holds it all and an inner tote that holds two 4oz bottles with the cold packs. You can use any 4oz bottle. So far I've used it for over 3 months. One cold pack got a leak which I patched with tape, and I've had to buy extra filters and gaskets (cheap and the service was outstanding). I'm extremely impressed with the pump; it is the only one other than a full sized that has ever worked for me. It does indeed seem to have as much power as the big pumps, and it really can double pump with ease. It can be used either as a single pump or a double pump, and I usually switch off in the same pumping session - about 10 minutes of double pumping, then 5-10 minutes per side of single pumping, and sometimes a little double pumping again at the end. It has worked flawlessly for me so far and I'd recommend it to anyone. The user controls the suction in two ways - by presetting a dial (2 levels of suction for double pumping and 3 for single pumping), and by covering a hole in the cap of one of the bottles. I always need the dial on the top suction setting, and then can cover the hole a lot or a little depending on just what I need, and what is comfortable at that moment. One thing I've found to be a huge time saver with this pump - once my milk starts flowing at the beginning of a pumping session, I can leave the suction hole covered, or mostly covered and "stream" the milk out. I usually can do this for 3-5 minutes, and if I'm going to let down, it almost always happens during that time. I can't do this with the big electric pumps because they cycle the suction for you. I don't know if this would work for others, but it is great for me! I love the small size and light weight of the pump; packed in its tote it is easy to carry anywhere. Since I am at work M-W-F and telecommute from home on Tu-Thurs, being able to carry the pump back and forth is very important to me now. ------------------------------------------------------------ |> Has anyone purchased the breastpump offered by The Right Start |> catalog? It's only $150, but they claim it's a medical |> grade pump as good as the rental units. I've got one and I'm happy with it, but I think this claim is a little exagerated. The motor is basically the same as a fish tank pump. You need to manually create and release the suction every couple of seconds (by covering and uncovering a hole) -- my understanding of the Lactina is that this happens automatically. I've got a friend with a Nurture III -- this is basically the same pump with a slightly different hose configuration. I pump about twice a day and get 5-10 ounces in 10-15 minutes. I've already saved money over what renting a Lactina would have cost (and I'm glad not to have a financial incentive to quit), but my bet is that you've got a significantly better pump. I'd say, order it and try it -- If you don't believe that it lives up to their claims, return it. ------------------------------------------------------------ Well, since no one else seems to be going to answer your question, I will! Yes, I bought it (fortunately, on sale) and I LOVE it! I have used most of the major brands of pumps, from manual right thru the big rentals. I am currently nursing my 3rd child. I have never had good success with anything less than a full sized plug in model, and it isn't because I don't know what I'm doing - it is just harder for some than for others. I can and do manually express, and agree it is a great skill, but it doesn't work for me as a day to day way to handle daytime pumpings. I bought the "Double Up" pump from Right Start last spring, and have been using it 2-4 times a day since mid-July. I adore it. It is everything they say in the ad (I don't know what "medical grade" means, but it really does have plenty of suction to double pump, and easily converts to single pumping as well). It is a very complete kit for that price - you get 2 bottles, 2 flanges, one pump, tubing, filters, 2 cold packs, an outer case for everything plus an inner case for the cold packs/milk, and even a video with some tips! One aspect I particularly like is the small size and easy portability - since I telecommute 2 days a week, being able to take it back and forth was an important point; I really didn't want to have to rent 2 big machines. If you plan to rent for more than about 2 months, or plan to have more than one child, the financial aspects work out pretty well. It is a lot of money, but it is also returnable (I checked about 10 times with Right Start) and the company that makes it (The Natural Choice company) has been very helpful and quick when I've called to order spare parts. I'm very impressed and pleased with it, and still can't figure out how that little tiny pump can produce so much suction. ------------------------------------------------------------ I think it is very quiet. I do have a private place to pump (a room put in specially for pumping-moms, in one of the bathrooms with a couch, table, outlet, and locking door). One day out of curiosity I turned it on, walked out, closed the door, and listened closely, and I couldn't hear it at all from the other side of the door. It is hard for me to say just how quiet it is, but I'm certain it is much quieter than anything you'd describe as a motorcycle! ============================================================ VI-E. Rental pumps ------------------- ** Ameda Egnell ------------------------------------------------------------ There's some debate over which pump [Ameda Egnell or Medela Lactina] is better (Nursing Mothers' Counsel has been considering stocking Ameda-Egnells). Our panel of pumping moms found the A.E. pump kits less comfortable than the Medela kits. The plastic is harder and the nipple tends to get pinched in the shield. ------------------------------------------------------------ I get a better letdown with the Ameda (I was starting to have problems with letdown using the Nurture III). The Ameda is somewhere in between the Nurture III and the classic Medela in terms of size and weight; it's fairly portable and can be carried back and forth to work easily. One advantage to the Ameda over the Nurture III is that you don't have to use your thumbs to turn the suction on and off; the machine does it for you. ============================================================ ** Medela Lactina ------------------------------------------------------------ The Lactina is truly portable. They weigh about 6 pounds. You can get a rechargeable battery pack (from an AC outlet or automobile cigarettle lighter) for the Lactina. Frankly, I wouldn't consider anything else for a fulltime working mom. There _is_ a corporate rental program for Lactinas and some corporations provide Lactina pumps at work as a benefit for nursing mothers. (Women who want to lobby their corporations for this benefit can find out more by calling Medela). ------------------------------------------------------------ After I had spoken to all my friends about the pumps that they had used, and decided that I would use the Lactina, I started to price them and found out something interesting. I found out that the Medela representatives can set their own prices. Medela offers suggested prices on the rentals and purchase items, but they are only suggested prices. I called all the representatives within a 30 mile radius of my home and got prices for the purchase of a Lactina (with the double pump accessories) from $500 to $1,000+. Rentals ranged from $2.00/day to $30/month if rented for over 6 months. The rentals required you to purchase the accessories, and that was ~$20 to $50. Talk about a gap in prices! If you are serious about pumping, and still think the Lactina is a better pump/your pump of choice, you might call around, because the prices may surprise you. Like I said before, since I was planning on nursing for at least a year, and having more than one baby, and I wanted a simple pump that I did not have to do anything with, buying a Lactina was much cheaper than renting. It did require a hefty amount up front, but I think it was worth it for me. You know, the best thing about the Lactina was that I was still able to work while I was pumping. All I had to do was shut my door, plug it in, and within a few minutes, I was done. The part that took the longest was washing out the parts. Also, if you want to get your company to purchase one or two pumps, and they have a resellers license, they can purchase them at cost direct from Medella. If I recall, the pump it self is ~$350. Actually, maybe they can buy one for you. Give it a try. The general number to reach the representatives is 1-800-TELL-YOU. They can rent or sell you a pump, and if you want the Medella number, they can get it for you. ------------------------------------------------------------ The Lactina allows a woman to pump both breasts simultaneously and is the pump of choice for working, nursing mothers. It's a bonus to be able to pump in 10-15 minutes. If you will be pumping for a long time or having more than one child, you may want to consider purchasing one. They retail for about $500 and I have seen them advertised used for about $300. This may sound expensive, but the Lactina is a serious breastpump and will get the job done fast without diminishing your milk supply. ------------------------------------------------------------ The lighter one, called the Medela Lactina, is not as wonderful, but is still better than all other brands. You can get double-pumping attachments to do both sides at once, which is an important time- and boredom- saver and also increases levels of the hormone prolactin, resulting in a larger milk supply. The Lactina plugs into AC current and may be available with rechargeable batteries; the larger Medela runs only on AC current. The plastic attachments you must buy to use the rental units can also be used as a manual pump, which is less convenient than a small electric pump but as comfortable as the electric Medina, so it can be used for sore nipples. ------------------------------------------------------------ Another option: Medela has a unit called the Lactina that is sometimes used for rental but is al;so available for purchase It used to cost around $250. It can do the double pumpingbut is not as large and heavy duty as the full size models. The breast adapters can be used as a manual pump in an emergency. It may be worth considering if you were going to pump for more than one child, or if you could sell it afterwards, and if you could bring it to work. ------------------------------------------------------------ The big Medela works a little bit better than the Lactina and the Lactina is really good. Pumping bilaterally is best and that works with either pump. I pumped 2-3x/day for 6 months. Since time was a consideration I needed a good, fast, reliable pump. ------------------------------------------------------------ At work, I have access to a Medela 16 electric pump; I can use it as a double pump. I feel somewhat like a cow, but it really works well. In 5 to 10 minutes, I can empty both breasts! Plus, it uses "regular" baby bottles (I use the 4 oz size), of which I have many, as its reservoir. You can rent (I hear) the electric base, and then you buy the attachments for pumping. The attachments cost $25, which I felt was really reasonable (tubing, pumping "syringe", 2 five oz bottles and miscellaneous parts), especially since you can re-work the components to make a manual breast pump, as well. ------------------------------------------------------------------ I was very pleased with the Medela Lactina electric breast pump with double pumping attachments. I leased the pump for $150 for 5 months earlier this year. It was not uncomfortable or hard to use. With practice I was able to pump while drinking or reading. It was very efficient. I was able to empty both breasts in less than 15 minutes. It took another 5-10 minutes to set-up, wash-up, and put away my equipment. By pumping 2 or 3 time per workday I was able to pump 12-18 oz. of milk. I leased the pump from a lactation consultant in Dallas. She also offers "pump trials" to assist and advise you in choosing a pump and to allow you to try several different pumps before deciding which to buy or lease. If you choose one which she rents or sells, her fee for the pump trial session is applied to the pump rental or purchase price. Also if you can get a prescription for the pump, she does not charge sales tax on the part of the equipment you must purchase. I'll be happy to give her name to anyone who is interested. ------------------------------------------------------------ I rented the Medela double pump from Nursing Mothers' Council. It was great. No pain, lotsa milk pumped out, no sweat. Now, 3 years later, I am renting another Medela double pump. It's a smaller, slightly less powerful version called the Lactina. It's supposed to be 95% as efficient as the big lunky one. I swear by it. It fits in my backpack. (The big pump weighed 10 lbs., so even if it fit in my backpack, I wouldn't want to carry it that way.) You don't have to sterilize the parts - just wash with hot, soapy water. ------------------------------------------------------------ The LeLeche League has reps who rent good electric pumps. I returned to work when my now 5 yr old was 2mos. Until she was 9 mos I successfully pumped and froze my breast milk for all her feedings by her babysitter. If you can afford it, I recommend renting an electric Madela pump, preferably one that allows pumping from both breasts simutanously. I used one for only two days, when my son was at the hospital for infection (at 1 week of age), and am only sorry that I did not spend the money to rent one, rather than use the manual pump. It was *FAST*, easy, no physical effort. It is expensive though. I think it is $1 per day if you rent it for four months or more. However, if you can afford it, I think this is your best bet. Call a La Leche League leader. The Madelas are rented by them. PS before you commit yourself, wait for at least a month to see that breastfeeding actually works. I know of quite a few women who could not breastfeed, even though they really wanted it and planned it. My experience was that the first few weeks are tough. If this works, try one before you rent, and start pumping several days or even weeks before returning to work, this way your breasts get "used" to this new form of feeding, your milk supply increases and you have a lot of spare milk for emergencies and for sharing feedings. ============================================================ ** Medela (classic) ------------------------------------------------------------ Okay. The Classic is a hospital-grade pump. It weighs about 20 pounds (hence not very portable). It's the pump of choice for women with hospitalized or premature babies (primarily because of letdown conditioning with the noise of the pump). It's not a good choice for working moms because it's big and heavy. ------------------------------------------------------------ The best--i.e., smoothest--of all the breastpumps is the Medela. Medela makes two types of rental units. The larger, heavy cast-aluminum one, far too heavy to carry back and forth to work (just getting it there once was an effort for me), has no other name than Medela. Anyone with truly serious breastpumping needs--those with sick or premature babies who cannot nurse, those whose nipples are too sore to face putting them in the baby's mouth again until they heal, those whose milk supply has declined and needs to be increased, and those who have stopped nursing sometime in the last 13 weeks but wish to begin again-- should get a Medela. Units may be rented from medical supply houses. La Leche League can put you in touch with a representative of the company if you wish (LLL is in the phone directory in most cities, I believe). Sometimes your hospital can supply one. Many large companies have a pump available for their employees to use while at work. The drawback to the Medinas is cost. Rentals start at $2 a day but go down to $39 (US) a month if you keep the unit for four months or more. This makes even the most expensive of the small hand-held pumps economical in comparison. It is unfortunate that you cannot predict in advance whether you will be among those who cannot use the smaller pumps. Having the larger Medina is a wonderful luxury, though, if you can afford it at all. Renting a Medina can be necessary as an emergency measure when the milk first comes in if the infant is not nursing well yet. Putting the baby onto extremely engorged breasts can cause bruising that persists for days or weeks. Be sure you have the information available on where you can rent a Medela before you have your baby, in case this happens to you. It's not a bad idea to go ahead and rent the Medela even before your milk comes in, to ease the beginning of breastfeeding. You don't want to pump much as this point, as you don't want your baby to learn to prefer a bottle to you, but relieving the pressure can be very helpful. I used a small syringe (without needle) to squirt milk into my baby's mouth at first because he wasn't getting the idea at all of how to nurse. (Bottles given him in the hospital caused him to learn the wrong way--DON'T let them give your baby any glucose water in the hospital! The sugar tastes just like the colostrum, so the baby doesn't see why he should learn how to suck properly when the bottle is easier.) ------------------------------------------------------------ Depending on your needs, you might consider renting a Medela pump. These are the big electric pumps that they use in hospitals. Not handy to carry around. But if you are doing serious pumping, it's really the only way to go. YOu can do both sides at once, without having to do anything more than hold onto the bottles, which allows for relaxation and good let down. I had very little luck with hand and battery-powered pumps but have done very well with the Medela I rent for home and the one I talked them into buying at work. ------------------------------------------------------------ I believe that the BIG Medela sells for $1000. A friend and I bought portable Medela (the Lactina) for $400 2.5 years ago. I had rented the big Medela with my first child 5 years ago and spent $200 over 6 months so splitting the cost of the Lactina seemed reasonable (plus we can sell it when we are done!). ------------------------------------------------------------ One of my co-workers rented a Medela and after dithering about the expense for a few months, I finally bought the kit last month and tried it out. I wish I'd done it sooner. It takes the same amount of time to pump (10 - 15 minutes), but I get more milk, my arms don't get tired, and I can read while pumping. There are three of us using one machine, so the rental expense is only $12.50 each per month. Depending on how much you have to pay, buying one from your co-worker might be a great deal, especially if you're thinking about having more kids. The main thing is to get a pump that works. I think being able to pump both sides at once is a good idea. The Medela kits come in single ($15) and double ($30), and the double kit is well worth it, since you get more milk from both sides at once. (By the way, if you do go with the Medela, shop around for the kit; where I live, the hospital charges over $40 for the kit that a medical supply store sells for $30.) ############################################################