If you’ve never used a breast pump, you may have little clue about what to look for when choosing one. There are some factors that you can keep in mind when picking a breast pump, and you will learn about them in this guide.
The right breast pump is one that provides all the benefits of breast milk to your baby, and at the same time feels effective and comfortable; this, of course, varies from mom to mom, because each one of us has a different breast size and shape.
In general, you’ll find that the best breast pumps are those that better mimic the natural suckling of your baby, something that allows a better flow of milk.
What to Keep In Mind When Choosing a Breast Pump
Durability – Some breast pumps are sturdier than others and this is a factor that becomes very important if you are going to take your breast pump with you at all times. Poor quality pumps tend to break easily, some because they fall to the ground, some because well… they simply break! And believe me… it’s a real hassle to have a useless pump when you practically depend on it every single day!
If you are going to pump regularly, several times a day, get a pump designed for this purpose with a strong durable motor and system.
Effectiveness – A good breast pump must have a suckling cycle similar to your baby’s. Keeping into account that babies suck in average between 45 and 55 times per minute, a pump will be more effective if it is closer to that range.
A low cycling rate will not help you express milk effectively. It will take a longer time to do so and you can end up experiencing pain and discomfort.
It is better to opt for electric breast pumps with auto-cycling settings, which vary the speed and strength of suction to mimic how your baby feeds from your breast. These pumps are much more gentle and do a great job at stimulating milk letdown.
Comfort – Having customizable speed and strength of suction is very important for a pump to be comfortable, but it also depends on the type of breast shield it includes.
There are brands that only offer one size of shield to accommodate all moms, but we all know that this is simply impossible to do, that’s why big breasted women have a harder time finding a comfortable breast pump. If you have large breasts, look for a pump that offers bigger breast shields.
Noise levels – What many moms don’t know when buying an electric breast pump for the first time, is that some motors can get loud! Even the quietest pumps in the market produce a low humming.
A quieter breast pump will help you when you want to pump discreetly or if you want to pump one breast at night while feeding your baby on the other, prior to go sleeping.
Portability – All manual breast pumps are very comfortable because they are small and fit in any baby bag. But what about electric breast pumps? The bigger ones are hospital grade pumps which are heavier and not designed to be portable.
Then in the market of single-user breast pumps we have all sizes of systems, and many of them come with a tote bag or backpack for easy and discreet transportation. If you are going to take an electric pump with you make sure it is lightweight but durable.
A portable breast pump must work by plugging it directly on the wall and also with a rechargeable battery.
What’s the Difference Between an Open System vs a Closed System?
There’s a lot of debate online and offline about the use of closed or open breast pump systems. What differentiates the two is that a closed system has a barrier which prevents milk from flowing back into the tubes, something that can lead to mold growth.
An open system is not bad though, it has been proven to be more efficient because it helps the pump compensate for different types of breasts and tissue elasticities. If you take good care of them and follow the cleaning recommendations of the manufacturer, you shouldn’t have a problem with mold growth though.
With this information you can make an informed purchase. In our best breast pump review we take a look at the features of the best brands and see how well they fare in each of these areas. It’s a great place to get started!
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