Archived Q&A and Reviews
- Choosing a breast pump - I'll be on the road a lot
- Medical supplier in the Anthem Blue Cross network for breast pumps
- Breast Pump Tune-up
- Lifespan of a Medela breastpump?
- Earlier Recommendations
I'm interested in getting a breast pump for when I return to work. I'll be on the road quite a bit and won't always have a great place to pump, so the most efficient, quiet and lightweight option would be best. Pretending that money was not an issue - what would people recommend and why? MB
You need to get a double electric pump (a hospital grade one if you can afford it). I've had great luck with the Medela Pump in Style. I'd also highly recommend getting a hands-free breast pump bra, or making one out of an old bra by cutting holes around the areola. Good Luck and congratulations! L
I work mostly from home so I didn't have to pump as much on the road as you will, but due to low-supply issues, I pumped after every feeding for many months and pumped away from home a fair amount. I used two pumps during 16 months of nursing: a borrowed Meleda Freestyle and when that one broke, a Pump in Style Advanced (PISA).
I liked the Freestyle because it was small, lightweight and allowed me to do other things (make a meal, get up and attend to baby, etc.). I was not tethered to an outlet and I liked that very much. It was easy to recharge. Washing the parts was more fussy and it took a long time for them to dry because of all the little nooks and crannies. By the way, don't count on being able to sterilize on the go - I was told by Medela customer service that those microwave sterilizer bags were not good for the parts. Definitely a good idea to have at least one extra set of parts, as any residual moisture on the parts can be bad for the pump. I couldn't ever get the hands-free feature to work for me, but I just bought a nursing bustier, which I **highly** recommend. Everything stays in a place with the bustier, which I would just zip on when it was pumping time. The pumping unit is small (you can wear in on your belt) but I found it to be definitely noiser than the PISA (it has a more growly sound).
After a few months, the Freestyle began to lose its suction (it was used by another working mom and so had already had some 'miles' on it). I was ready to buy another Freestyle but my lactation specialist said the most people found that the PISA pumped better and the suction felt smoother. I would agree. The PISA is a larger pump and it was definitely a more comfortable pumping experience. If you are pumping a lot, comfort is a factor. It is quieter, though the sound is very different. I bought the one in the tote, but as you probably know, the same pump also comes in a backpack. I hesitated to buy the PISA because it was corded (it does have a battery option, but it requires a lot of big batteries and you can't exactly wear it on your belt). The lactation specialist argued that feature would force me to sit down and relax, which helps ensure you are able to get the most out of your pumping session. That was true, but after having the freedom of the Freestyle, I was annoyed at having to sit down and just pump. I really missed that feature. The PISA parts were much easier to clean and dried faster. Bottom line: the PISA is quieter, more efficient (i.e. better yield with less suction), more comfortable, and easier to use/clean. The Freestyle (plus accessories) is a smaller package, more portable and gives you freedom to move around and not always need an outlet.
I'm not sure you will find everything you are looking for in one pump so you will have to decide what factors are most important to you. Even though the PISA was (in my opinion) a better pump, I wished I had bought another Freestyle because I missed being able to get up while pumping. Good luck to you as you set out on this adventure! Leslie
I highly recommend Medela Freestyle. It's super compact and great for travel. It is expensive but I think really worth it. You can attach it to your belt and easily walk around to multitask. I know some friends who even pump while driving with a nursing cover (I've never tried that myself).
Insurance now covers some breast pumps and usually doesn't cover the freestyle, but it does cover part of cost. You can also occasionally get 20% off at buy buy baby. Working mama
I would buy an Ameda Elite off ebay (I've seen them as low as $100 and as high as $600 for working used). It's the hospital version of the Ameda Purely Yours so it's FDA approved for use by multiple people and you can have Healthy Horizons in Burlingame clean it up for you and check the suction before you start using it (they are WONDERFUL by the way). I found it to be super efficient and much better for me to get milk than with the Ameda Purely Yours. The sounds the pump made were distracting and I found the Elite I rented to be less distracting than the sounds from my Purely Yours.
I chose Ameda because your milk NEVER goes into the tubes or into the pump which is an issue with the Medela. That just grossed me out; cleaning the bottles was hassle enough, trying to clean a long length of tubing just wasn't appealing.
Because the Elite is a hospital grade pump, it doesn't have a car adaptor. I'd imagine if you bought a converter you could plug it into your car, but it's not something you could purchase from Ameda. It's also heavy and comes in a eye- catching teal plastic carrying case (but there are black fabric ones you can buy). But even with those negatives, I would still buy it. If we decide/are able to have another child, I'll be stalking ebay for one as soon as I see two lines because it was that helpful to me.
Plus once you're done, you can just as easily sell it again on ebay and get a fair amount of your money back.
I also had good luck with the Lasinoh Manual Breast Pump (bought it at Walgreens) when my daughter was older. It was quick, effective, and mostly quiet (sometimes it would get a squeak). I actually used it over my Purely Yours (after I had to return the Elite) on a trip because the hotel room had really crappy outlet placement so I was too much in my head to get letdown because of how awkward and uncomfortable I felt.
As a side note: Make sure that the flanges for the pump, whichever you get, fit you properly. I found lots of ways to tell/show that the flanges were too small, but not that they were too big and the too big ones can cause plugged ducts. I was a mess until I got that figured out and resolved (again I can't recommend Healthy Horizons highly enough). Get an Ameda!
I bought a Medela freestyle and was glad I did. I picked it because it had the option of running on a rechargeable battery or plugging into a wall. My son was never able to nurse so I ended up pumping all his milk for him (probably almost 2000 pumping sessions before I quit).
I knew I would be traveling a lot during my maternity leave so I wanted the most portable option. My pump served me well when I was on the road. I pumped in cars, planes and trains in Hawaii, Yosemite and Spain. Noise was not a big issue. The pump itself is fairly small. It reminded me of my old Walkman the way it fit in my hand. Being able to run off battery power is also helpful too. I could go walk to another part of the house if I needed to while pumping. If I forgot the power cord at home when I was in the office, I could run off the battery. The pump was also fairly portable to carry on my commute on bus and BART.
Make sure you get a hands-free pumping bra too. It's one of the best purchases you can make if you have to pump a lot. Pumping on the go
Does anybody know of a medical supplier in the Anthem Blue Cross network that carries breast pumps? (Thanks to Obama care, breast pumps are now covered by health insurance.) Thanks! Suzie
When I was looking through Anthem's provider list I called a ton of places most of them were not even selling pumps, but I got a nice voicemail from the owner of this site: http://www.advancedhomemed.com/index.html
They sell Medela and Evenflo but I was looking for Ameda so I didn't go with them but they seem very helpful.
I needed to get something fast and I ended up getting Ameda from the ameda site but Anthem still didn't reimburse me even though they said they would cover out of network 70%. I have to call them about it and I hope for 100% actually under Obama care but we will see. If you are happy with Medela and must have your money back without hassle advancedhomemed seems like the better way to go.
I have Anthem Blue Cross and got my hospital grade breast pump (Medela Symphony rental) through Apria. Give Anthem a call and they will provide you with the phone number for Apria and how to obtain a breast pump. Juliann
I am expecting Baby#2 in a couple of months and have A Medela Pump-in-Style breast pump that worked very well for me the last time round. However, it has not been used for the last 2 years. I am looking for recommendations for a place that will 'service' the breast pump and make sure it will work well. I used to live in a different state when I had Baby#1 and know that there were places (lactation consultant offices) where this was done. Does anyone have recommendations for a place like this in the East Bay? Prefer Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito.
Thanks! Breastfeeding Mama
When my number 2 was born, 3 years after number 1, I took my breast pump to Day One in San Francisco. They were able to hook it up to something to test the motor. I know you're looking for an East Bay place: there's a Day One in Walnut Creek. You could call and see if they can test your pump for you. I don't know if they would have been able to fix it should it need repair, because the suction in my pump was just fine.
By the way, that pump had been handed down from a friend who used it with her two kids, I used it with my first, then passed it on to my sister for her first, and then she passed it back to me. I used it for about 8 months with my number 2 and had it re-tested before I sent it to another friend. (We all used our own tubing, bottles, and nipple shields, of course). It was in fine shape after all that use. So I would imagine your pump is going to be just fine.
Pumper no more
I have a Medela Pump in Style Breastpump that I want to give to my sister who is expecting a baby. I purchased the pump brand new in 2007 and used it for about six months with baby number one and about 4 months with baby number 2. For each kid, I used it extensively as I was trying to boost my milk supply.
What I'm wondering is...what is the life of these pumps? Does the pumping action diminish over time? I'd love to help my sister save money by not having to buy a new breastpump, but I also want to make sure she's got a pump that works really well. I was going to get her new valves and tubes. Is there a way to determine if the pump is still working at its max potential? I've heard some women say that they feel like their pumps poop out after months of use. anon.
I used a Medela Pump in Style pump for 2 kids born 3 years apart. I pumped for 8 months while working full time and between kids, 2 friends also borrowed it and another friend is using it now. So the pump was supported 5 babies. I think like some things, I'm thinking of light bulbs, some do last longer than others. Pass it on. The pumps are so expensive and some units can pumps for years to come! I did drop the power adapter and the prongs were bent but other than that, good to go. done with pumping
I got my secondhand pump checked out at Day One (http://www.dayonecenter.com/) - they can test the pumping action and sell you new parts. A good resource for all things breastfeeding-related. got milk
I have read (I think on BPN) that many breastpump motors fail. I've got one - an Ameda Purely Yours electric breast pump - that worked great and then one day wouldn't work. I bet it's a pretty simple thing to fix. Does anyone know of someone who would do this kind of thing? (I don't need it anymore) Or is there someplace I could donate all of the parts? I've got a big bag with insulated pockets for the milk, all of the tubes and the breast cups, etc. I don't want to just throw all of this stuff away if I can avoid it. Thanks in advance. Elena
Hi, I don't have the answer to your post, but it did catch my eye because I was given a second-hand Medela. At the time, my lactation nurse explained that certain parts such as the tubes must be discarded and replaced when the pump changes owners. I would contact a newborn wellness center with lactation nurses and see if they have suggestions on what can be repaired and what should be discarded. Good luck! Montclair Mommy
I don't know about donating the pump, but I do know that as recently as one year ago Ameda/Hollister had amazing customer service. They quickly replaced my pump for free when it started sounding funky, after just a brief and pleasant conversation with a representative. I found the contact name/number online somewhere - if I run across it again, I'll post it. happy Ameda camper
Manual vs. Electric breast pump
I am going to be a first time mom. I am planning to return to work 2 to 3 months after my baby is born but would like to continue feeding my baby breast milk as long as I can. Is it better to purchase a manual or electric breast pump for expressing breast milk at work? Any sharing of experiences would be appreciated. Mom-to-be
Hi, Definately go with an electric pump. My pump of choice was the Ameda - see the link given by the moderator. If you are pumping in work, chances are that time will be an issue, so the pump must be efficient, quiet, able to duel pump and run on batteries as well as plugged in. Unless you are very lucky, a manual just won't cut it. Also, duel pumping means that you take advantage of the letdown. The gentle whoosh, whir of the motor can even be soothing - really! Generally buying an electric pump means that you get an insulated bag, freezer packs and other assorted goodies too - all things to make your pumping life easier. To further aid your pumping life, consider getting 2 or 3 sets of shields, valves etc..., so you don't need to try to wash them in work. Good luck. KB
Here is my two cents. I pumped a year for each of my two daughters while I was at work. I recommend a good double electric breastpump such as the Medela Pump in Style or the equivalent. Double pumping increases the lactation stimulation, which helps you keep your supply up while you are away from your baby. It is also quicker and you don't have to worry about your hand or wrist getting sore. A less strong electric pump or a hand pump is fine for shorter periods of time of being away from baby. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any more detailed questions about pumping and where to buy. Good luck. Hannah
For work, I highly recommend electric, and it's worth it to spend the money for a good pump. I went back to work when my daughter was 4.5 months and pumped 'til she was 7.5 months (then my supply started to dwindle too much, so she just nursed morning and evening). I bought the Medela Pump in Style and was very happy with it! An electric pump is much faster than manual and (with some) you can do both sides at once. The Pump in Style is also fairly discreet and easy to take to work and back to home every day. While I found nursing to be a wonderful experience, pumping wasn't my favorite thing to do; however, the electric double pump and a good book made the time pass quickly. Beth
Hi there- I would definetly recommnd buying an electric pump... while a hand pump is nice to have when you only occasionally will be pumping, if you are pumping on a regular schedule, you should have an electric pump. As far as recommendations for an actual brand, i would have to say GET A MEDELA! If possible, get one of the hospital grade ones- they are very quick! Don't fall into the trap of buying the Target kind thats not Medela... they aren't manufactured as well and seem to have a lot of problems. If you are planning on breastfeeding for awhile as well as having other children who you will breastfeed, paying the couple hundred for a great quality pump is a wonderful investment. Good luck new mama! Shaana
Definitely electric. It's already a hassle to have to pump at work every few hours without adding the extra task of manually pumping! The Medela Pump N Style is a really good one that is often sold used on the UCB Parents network. Its very quick to set up, easy to use, and faily quiet. I pumped at work with both my kids, and could not have done it with a manual pump. I tried a manual pump early on, and got a very small amount of milk as compared to the electric pump. Another plus: It's often difficult to keep it up (pumping at work) after a few weeks, and I think one would be much more apt to keep it up for a longer period with an electric pump. anon
I think a good-quality double electric pump is the only way to go if you're starting back at FT work at 2-3 months and hope to continue BFing. I can pump as much with my Avent Isis (manual) as I can with my Medela PIS (double electric), but it takes twice as long. Pumping at work 3 times a day, a time difference like that is really significant. Plus, I can use the PIS hands- free, and continue to work while I pump. The Isis is a great pump, but I wouldn't still be doing this at 11 months if the Isis is all I had. pumpin' mama
I pumped at work for 11 months, so I think I know a little about it! I would HIGHLY recommend both types of pumps, but for work I would definately go with an electric. Not only does it save you time you can do both breasts at once. If your company is not the most supportive about this it will be a benefit as well since you will be taking less time away from your work schedule to accomodate this. I used the Medela pump-in-style, and I was able to borrow it from a mom/friend of mine (avoiding the $250 cost) but you will have to provide your own tubes and bottles and such as it is not sanitary to use someone elses. But if you give birth at Alta Bates, all these things will be supplied to you! They also include a manual pump, but I didn't much care for it. I bought the Avent ISIS which is wonderful and attached directly to the avent bottles which are really the best in my opinion. Target has the best price on all Avent products. The manual is good for when you are not in a hurry, traveling (I often pumped in the car on long drives! while my husband drove, of course) and to give your breasts a break from the electric. Good luck! anon
I recommend electric! (as long as you have access to an electrical outlet where you plan on pumping)Buy a used Medela Pump In Style from someone on the Network. They are sturdy and there's no need to drop $300 on a new one. anon
By all means, get an electric double pump. They are more expensive (at about $150 for the Ameda Purely Yours) but soooo much more effective. With an electric pump you can get much more milk in a shorter period of time. anon
My suggestion to you is to borrow or rent an electric pump for a month or so to make sure it works for you. So many womyn make the huge purchase only to find out that it doesn't work for them and you won't make your money back if you try to turn around and sell it ''barely used!'' Someone loaned me a Medela Pump in Style and I had big problems with it. I ended up purchasing Ameda Purely Yours and have been happy ever since (going on 20 months!!) I work hard to pump and do a bit of manual expression but I couldn't imagine relying solely on a manual pump b/c it is a lot of work! Try different ones if you can before biting the bullet and making the purchase but I would definitely recommend electric over manual! LogicalMama
I went back to work when my baby was 5 months old and can tell you that you DEFINITELY want to not only get an electric pump, but you want to make sure it's a DUAL electric pump (meaning that you can pump both sides at the same time). I have the Medela Pump-n-Style and have been very happy with it. It costs about $300 new, but has been worth every penny for me. It takes me about 15 minutes altogether to set it up and then pump. If you were to do this with a single electric or manual pump it would take much longer - I'd say at least 30 to 40 minutes each time you pumped (I work a 6 hour day and pump twice when I'm at work, for a total of only 30 minutes or less). Good luck! Abby
I am a new mom with a 7 week old baby who is looking for an electric breast pump. I am currently at home with my baby but will start working part-time in January. I have heard about the best-seller Medela's InStyle from friends but not about much else. I saw the Whisper Wear Hands-Free Double Pump on the BBRUS web site and have also heard about a pump by Avent and Whittlestone. I would really appreciate some feedback from those of you who have tried, heard or used these products before I spend big bucks! Thanks!
I had heard from someone in business that Medela fame is based on a lot of publcity hype. She told me that the motor isn't really that strong, that even though you see people re-selling them there has been enough wear after use with one baby that it isn't working at capacity. I ended up buying the Ameda Purely Yours and love it.
One thing about the Ameda is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed and cleared the claim that the Ameda's system creates a barrier that protects collected breast milk from potential contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria that may be present in the pump and or kit tubing AND pump and kit tubing from potential contaminants, such as virus and bacteria, that may be present in collected milk. Which means it's really the only one out there that is really safe for use by more than one person.
I found the pump easy to use and comfortable, as you can regulate suction and frequency of suction separately. So I felt I was able to pump efficiently. As for double pumping, I found it awkward and just did one side at a time. But that's probably because I was always trying to balance a book and read at the same time, and because my breasts got so huge (G cup). I belive with the Medela system you can buy their bras too and strap the pump flanges on some how. I was told of a friend of a friend that did that while driving...
I was very happy with my Pump in Style. I purchased it used from the Parent's Network Marketplace for $100. You can buy new tubes and other parts from www.bosombuddies.com (look under ''spare parts'').
It was very efficient and reasonably portable. Also it seems to have a better resale value than the others, if that sort of thing matters to you.
The Medela Pump-in-Style is sort of the ''standard'' for working moms' double electric pumps. The Ameda Purely Yours is largely comparable, but usually costs a bit less. The Whittlestone and Whisper Wear are newer models, and I know a few moms who like them very much, but they simply haven't been around long enough to have built up the reputation of the PIS. Any of these are good choices if you want or need a double electric pump; I've never heard anything *bad* about any of them (except that they're expensive!).
Working part time, you may be able to get by with the Avent Isis. It is a manual pump, not electric, but much more comfortable and easier to use than ''older'' models of manual pump (like the Medela), and allows pumping only one side at a time so using it takes longer. But it's a whole lot cheaper, smaller and easier to carry, and can be used more discreetly in places where you don't have much privacy because it's nearly silent and is small enough to stick entirely under your shirt. Many moms I know who've used both say they get just as much milk, or more, even, with it than with a PIS. I used the Avent while working full time, for 7 months, with great success. However, I did not go back to work until my son was 6 months old (after all the major growth spurts were over and he had started solid foods) and the time required was not a big issue for me. With a younger baby, a double electric may be a better choice because it's faster and it can do a better job of keeping up your milk supply.
An in-between solution is the Medela Mini-Electric, which is powered (with a battery, or using an AC adapter) but single- side. However, most people I know who've used it say it's very noisy and not that efficient, so it's probably worth springing for the PIS or equivalent instead if you want a powered pump. Holly
I'm pumping with my Medela Pump-in-Style right now. I think it's great, totally worth the money. If pumping is a large part of your BF'ing, a fully automatic double electric pump really is important, and not a place to be penny wise and pound foolish. I don't know anything about the Whittlestone. I've heard really good things about the Whisperwear, but it is prone to breakdowns. It's a relatively new product, and still a little ''buggy.'' I've also heard they have good customer service to repair or replace, but if you got the WW, you'd also want to get a backup pump.
Which brings us to Avent. Avent does not make an electric pump, but the Isis, a manual pump, is really nice. I have it as my backup; I leave the PIS at my office and use the Isis for evenings/weekends. I get as much pumping with the Isis as I do double-pumping with the PIS, in about the same time. The Isis is also very comfortable. The reason I don't use it as my full time pump is because I have to pay attention while pumping with the Isis, whereas I've mastered hands-free with the PIS and can, as I said, type while pumping. That's important for me since I pump at work. Hope that helps! pumping mama
I checked out both and prefer the Ameda Purely Yours. The pump is detatchable from the carrying bag making the pump and the parts much easier to clean. The Purely Yours also has great control as in frequency and strength of suction. It is also less expensive than the Pump in Style. I found them very similar, but the detatchabililty of the pump and the price sold me.
While I haven't tried the Pump in Style I have tried the Purely Yours and that was fine until I got the Whisper Wear breast pump. There isn't a lot of info out there about it but it is the new ''hands-free'' pump and it is so much better and easier that the Purely Yours. Go to www.whisperwear.com to look into it more but I would highly recommend that one. You just slip the two pump parts into any supportive bra, hook up the tube and collection bag and go about your business while it pumps. It also feels much more like real nursing than the Purely Yours did which ment a faster let down for me. Really convinient- especially if you are going to be using it so much. Good Luck, fellow cow
I used the Ameda Purely Yours when I went back to full-time work & pumped for about a year. It can run off mains or batteries, has a very discrete bag, is quiet, does single or double pumping & never gave me any problems. They have great customer service - the first pump I got was faulty & they dropshipped me a new one overnight, no questions or quibbles. It also has the tubing which milk cannot backup into. I rented a Medea (not sure which one) & really disliked it. It felt as though I was carrying around a toolbox & was very noisy. It also didn't pump any more effectively than the Ameda. The only downside to the Ameda is that you need to get an adapter if you want to pump into wideneck bottles such as Avent - but that was easy enough to find on the web.
With regard to the Avent pump - it is only a manual pump & just does one side at a time. Great for hand exercise, but I could never get any milk with it, even at my fullest. Moo!
Sorry...haven't used both pumps, but wanted to put in a good word for the Amerda Purely Yours. I pumped twice a day for 10 months with mine, and it worked great. Good suction, easy set-up, and I never had an issue with any milk getting in the tubing. The little valve things are kind of delicate, so I got an extra set as a back-up. I used bags and Avent bottles (with an adapter). The battery function came in very handy the couple times I had business travel and hd to pump on the go. Elizabeth
If there is anyway you can afford it, rent the hospital grade pump, especially if you will be pumping 2-3x a day. None of them drain the milk ducts as well as the baby, (but hospital grade comes closest) and insuffeciant drainage can lead to plugged ducts. (which can lead to mastitis -OUCh!).
I believe they rent for 25$ a month, but I am not sure. Also a great reference for you would be a yahoo group called pump moms. It is all dedicated to moms who have to pump. Just do an online search for pumpmoms and I'm sure you'll find it. Good for you for doing this for your baby.
I checked out both and prefer the Ameda Purely Yours. The pump is detatchable from the carrying bag making the pump and the parts much easier to clean. The Purely Yours also has great control as in frequency and strength of suction. It is also less expensive than the Pump in Style. I found them very similar, but the detatchabililty of the pump and the price sold me.
Kind of a nasty question -- I recently found mildew in the plastic tubing for my Pump In Style. I will replace it with fishtank tubing, that's not the problem. What I'm wondering is, does anyone have any thoughts about how to keep it from happening again? I have had real trouble getting water out of the tubes, which I'm sure is why I've got mildew (eeyuch). Sara
Hi there! I had the exact same problem with the Pump In Style tubing and this is what you do: After you finished pumping, detach the suction cups off of the tubes and keep the motor running with just the tubes on. The motor will basically suck fresh air into the tube and that will dry off any condensation left inside the tubes. It works like wonders! Amy
When this happened to us we called Medela. They said that we could boil the tubing to make it usable again and shake it out to get out as much water as we could. Then, run the pump with just the tubing to run air through it to dry it out. If you do this second part occasionally it should keep them dry and prevent future problems. L
I had the same problem, so Im very interested to hear the reason it happens. I ordered new tubing from www.bosombuddies.com ($4.50 + shipping--look under ''spare parts'') After that I got in the habit of running the pump for 2-3 minutes with just the tubes on it while I cleaned up. This cleared any accumulated moisture, and I never had the problem again.
To let the tubes ''dry out'', after pumping, I leave my pump on, with tubes in place, while I'm cleaning the attachments and dealing with the milk. The air that sucks into the tubes eliminates all of the condensation. This has worked well for me. I'm on my second child with the same breast pump and I haven't had to replace the tubes. Louise
I use an eyedropper with rubbing alcohol into each opening of the pump tubing, then hang dry. Also - Medela now makes a microwave steralization kit with directions for tubing. I used the microwave kit while on vacation - very handy! -Wendy Bell Wendy
I used my blow dryer on low setting. Seemed to work fine. Lori
A rep from one of the breastpump companies gives this suggestion gor cleaning tubing: pour a bit of rubbing alcohol into the tubing and then swing the tubing around to flush out the tubing. eve
I had the same problem. Now I just leave the pump going for a few minutes after disconnecting the tubes from the sheilds -- it circulates some air thru the tubes and dries out the condensation. christie
Here are the methods I have used for successfully getting rid of moisture and water in the tubing.
1. For the condensation that builds up during use - After you are done pumping open the suction up to the lowest and flip the speed up the the highest and run the pump with the horns disconected. For me, doing this whild I was packing up was long enough to get rid of the condensation.
2. For water in the tubes if you decide to wash out your old ones instead of tossing them - Hold your tubes at one and an swirl them around like a lasso... the water will move down to the ends and be flung out.
You can get mildew out of the tubes through washing with a bleach solution. You can also boil them for a few minutes to sterilize them. If you bought your pump new, you might not want to use fish tank tubing... Medela is pretty fussy about fixing pump parts if non-Medela parts are used with it. They say it voids the warranty. New tubes are pretty inexpensive. You can get them at local stores or buy them on line. Rose
What breast milk bags do you use to freeze your breast milk? I've been using the Medela bags, because somebody somewhere told me they're best, but they are really expensive (about 40c each), and I'm just not convinced that they are so much better than a couple of heavy duty ziplock freezer bags (I could even seal down the top of the ziplock bag w/ a twistie, if it seemed so much better). Plus I'm annoyed by the ''scientific study'' graphic that they put on the back of the package ''proving'' that Medela bags are better (it's just a graphic w/ ''Brand A, B & C'' versus Medela, and cites no study, no numbers, proves nothing.) Does anybody have any real information one way or another? I don't care so much about the so-called convenience of the bags either. If I have to, I'll keep using these pricey little bags, but I would rather not spend so much money if I don't have to. It adds up if you're pumping a couple times a day. Janet
I'm a former pumper, but I tried the Medela bags, the Lansinoh Mother's Milk bags, and the Gerber Seal 'n' Go bags. I vastly preferred the Gerber ones, both for ease of use (ziploc seals *rock*!) and for cost. The only thing I didn't like was that the plastic is so flexible that they were a little hard to write on. I got them at Walmart, I believe. -Jennie
I think of myself as somewhat of a pro pumper. :) Forget bags and get a set of freezable bottles. You can buy them at Target or on-line at some eco-friendly baby sites. They screw right onto your pump, you put on the lid, freeze and then put the nipple on when you are ready to feed. If you must use bags, Medela bags are ok but the best ones I found were Mother's Milk bags. They have the twisty built in, they reduce spill, never split. DO NOT use Avent bags. They are total crap--not double sealed and do not hold up when frozen. It is expensive to use bags and it is not good for the environment b/c they are not reusable, but I think Ziplocks probably are not as clean--they definitely are not sterilized-- and I worry that you would spill if you have to transfer the milk. Elizabeth
I EP'd (exclusively pumped) for my baby, and tried several brands. I liked the Gerbers the best. They have a ziplock, they don't leak and you can freeze them lying down which makes them quite compact. Given that you are concerned about the cost, I would always fill the bags to the maximun. If you don't pump enough at a time, just combine several pumps into a bottle and then transfer it to the bag. After you defreeze it you can always divide it up into two or more bottles if needed. anon
I started with the Medela and thought they were a real pain with the twist ties! Plus they were too expensive. I ended up using the Gerber zip lock breast milk bags and found them to be easy and great--never had any problems. I don't remember the price but I'm pretty sure they were cheaper than Medela and easy to find at Target (maybe Longs and Safeway too?). Tracy
I didn't use the plastic bags at all, since I didn't want to add to the landfill. I just pumped into bottles and froze those. It worked fine, and since I wasn't ever that much ahead, didn't take up too much room in the freezer. An added bonus: The daycare provider didn't have to decant the milk from a bag to a bottle.
I completely agree with you that the Medela bags don't seem worth the price. I tried several different brands and my favorite was the Gerber Seal and Go brand. They basically function like small bottle-sized ziplocks. I pumped milk into a bottle and then poured the milk into the bags, sealed them with the ziploc, dated them (there is a space provided) and froze them. No twist ties to deal with and the ziploc made for pretty easy pouring into a bottle after defrosting. Only problem is they are HARD to find! I resorted to ordering them from drugstore.com and ordered enoughed breast milk bags, diaper genie refills and nursing pads to qualify for free shipping. Good luck! Been there
We used the Gerber breast milk bags which were quite a bit cheaper and worked well. I found them at Target, but I am sure they are available in many other places too. Pumping Mom
I bought Gerber plastic breast milk bags at Target--maybe $3 for a box of 100? I pumped and bagged for 10 months, but I didn't even go throught the whole box! The more expensive part of bagging for me was buying several packages of Avent reusable bag clips--I didn't trust the twist ties and was worried they'd poke holes in the bags. I didn't double bag (had a mishap the first time and lost milk), but single bags didn't seem to affect the ''freshness.'' In addition to the bags, I stored my milk in 4oz plastic bottles and froze them, too. Once I started work, (when the baby was 4.5 months) I wasn't really able to stockpile that much extra milk, so using bottles was easier anyway. Jenne
Hi, I love the Gerber BM Seal-n-Go bags - you can get them at most grocery stores (rockridge safeway), target, rite-aid etc. They are so much cheaper than the medela's at around $5 for 25 bags. They are much more convenient because they have zip lock tops, and have pleated bottoms so they support themselves as you pour in the milk. I pump w/ the bottles and pour into the bags. You couldn't convince me the medela bags were better...i love these bags! and you can get them at your local store. If you're worried about freezer safe, they are just as thick as the medelas -but i also place them in a big ziplock freezer bag for extra protection. good luck! :0 Stacy
I use Gerber Seal 'n Go Breast Milk Bags. They have a ziploc closure and are pretty thick. I used them for my first child and am currently using them for my second. You can get a box of 25 at Target for $5.99 (approx $0.24/bag). Maya
I started using the less pricey, but still not cheap Avent bags with the little white clip to hold the bag shut on top. After about 100 bags, I switched to the Target brand and saw no difference. I would freeze them standing in a cup in the freezer and keep all the frozen ones in a ziploc bag to take to daycare. Worked just fine and a whole lot cheaper! denise
I have no idea if there is any hard data available on which type of bag is ''better'', but if there is, I bet you could find out from the moms on the pumpmoms.org mailing list! Check out their website. I used Avent bags, since I used the Avent pump and it was convenient. I never used enough of them to be all that concerned about the cost. Do you really need to freeze so much milk? Generally you can store it in the fridge (in the same bottles from which it'll be fed to your baby) for up to a week. I know a lot of moms who swear by the Gerber ziplock storage bags. Apparently they're easy to use (no twisties), can be stored flat and do *not* leak. And I believe they cost less than the Medela. Also, I don't know where you're buying the bags, but you may be able to find the Medela ones cheaper. Try kidsurplus.com -- offers a good selection of pumping stuff (as well as kids' clothes, toys, and miscellaneous other baby gear) at really good prices. I've ordered various things from them several times and been very happy. Holly
I used the Playtex disposible bottle bags on advice from a friend. They are much cheaper. However, they are also much thinner. If you use these you should double bag them before freezing. And be careful to have the bags supported while attached to the pump. I would actually pump into little bottles and then pour the milk into a bag for storage. Then slip that bag into another one for freezing.
Also, if you are pumping everyday because you work, you do not need to freeze. (If you are pumping now to build up an extra store of milk, then of course, you need to freeze.)
Once I got into a routine pumping at work, I stopped freezing my breast milk since I was not producing more than my child could drink (and the milk stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days). I just purchased some extra plastic bottles which attached to my pump and did not freeze the milk. I would leave bottles of unfrozen milk with my child's caregiver every day. cecilia
I wouldn't use regular ziplock bags instead of a breastmilk bag. I don't think the seams in the bag would be as strong which could lead to loss of milk. Plus I don't know if ziplock bags are sterile. When I was pumping for my first son I used the Medela bags. I bought a box of 100, and still had many left for the second baby three years later. (I only used bags for extra milk going into the freezer, at some point in the pumping process that ended up being nonexistent so use of the bags declined.)
With my second son I started stockpiling milk while on maternity leave so I needed a lot of bags. The need came upon me rather unexpectedly, so I just bought some other brand bags at the grocery store since they didn't carry the Medela ones. I ended up trying both the Gerber and the Lansinoh bags. Since I never personally decanted milk out of either of these brands of bags I can't attest to easy of use on that end, but I can say that I preferred the Medela bags for pumping into.
I didn't do a price comparison so I can't say if they would be a better deal. If you are looking for a good deal on Medela products though I HIGHLY recommend shopping from a website in Canada (I think it is babyloveproducts.com... but I could be wrong). The Canadian dollar exchange rate is favorable to the US so you end up getting almost 1/3-1/2 off (depending on the current rates). It may take a little longer for your item to arrive than from a US company, but you might find the savings worth it. Rose
After a lot of experimenting with different types of bags, I settled on ZipLock pint-sized freezer bags. They hold 3 to 10 oz. easily and are quite sturdy. I suppose you could double bag, but I don't find it necessary. -working mom of two breastfed babies
I didn't use bags for freezing at all--just pump directly into a bottle, then pour the contents of the bottle into a clean ice cube tray and cover with plastic or slip the whole tray into a big zip lock bag. When the milk is frozen, empty the cubes into a zip lock bag and label the bag. Each cube is approximately 1 oz. (When my child started eating solids, I also used this ice cube tray method for freezing and storing pureed foods.) June W.
I used to keep the milk in the bottles I pumped into at work, then when at home, poured it into ice cube trays, covered them with saran wrap and then put them into a ziploc. When they were frozen, I just emptied them into a regular sandwich bag inside a freezer ziploc. Or I'd keep the milk in the bottle that I pumped into (I bought several extra cheapo bottles) in the fridge until eaten. Didn't seem to be a problem and I didn't end up using any bags after the first week. Also a big timesaver for me was not washing bottles at work, just rinsing out any extras and then tossing them into a big pot of boiling water at home. good luck! Katya
I stopped using bags in favor of The Lansinoh Milk Mate. Not only can you pump directly into the bottles and warm milk directly in the bottles, it also saves a ton of space in the freezer. I think the kit comes with 10 bottles with air tight / leak proof caps. Mine was $28. Here's the link to the Lanisnoh site: http://www.lansinoh.com/T-Milk%20Mate.htm A happy pumper
I am interested in hearing from women who have used both the Medela Pump In Style and a hospital-grade pump like the Ameda Dual Pump which is available in the campus lactation rooms. Is there a significant difference in terms of time spent pumping, output and ease-of-use between portable pumps and hospital grade ones? Margaret
Hi- I used the campus lactation room with my Pump in Style and the hospital pump with kit. My experience was that they were about equal in terms of how much I pumped, how fast it was, etc. There were slight differences in cleaning (the kit warns you to be very careful cleaning a certain part but I guess I wasn't because eventually it tore and I had to get it replaced, but the campus program was very helpful).
I went from the Pump in Style to the hospital kit after just a few weeks because I needed a pump at home to supplement my 2/day pumpings at work (and it was nice once when I stayed home sick but baby went to daycare to be able to pump). Also, it was a little easier to tote the kit instead of the whole pump to the lactation room. I liked the fact the kit came with a little hand pump which was a good backup. Happy pumping!
I first rented a Medela hospital grade pump from Rockridge Kids when I went home from the hospital after a c-section (and was having difficulties with engorgement, baby accepting the breast, etc); I used it at home off and on for about 3 months. When my baby was 10 weeks old, I went to a conference and so I really had to buy a portable pump to take with me and, after that, I was returning to work more frequently and for longer hours. I bought the Medela pump in style, which best fit my particular situation (see below), after researching the campus resources. So, for a few weeks I had both the hospital-grade pump and the Medela P-I-S. I loved the P-I-S so much that I returned the rented pump (I had considered continuing the rental and having both pumps, one for home, one for work but found this wasn't necessary). I also looked into using the lactation rooms on campus, but, since I have a private office, I was lucky enough to be able to use the Medela in my office [Some of my co-workers without a private office were able to make arrangements with their office mates to pump or to arrange a special room for pumping -- don't worry, NOT the bathroom !]. I would say that while the campus lactation rooms are a great resource (and probably a great way to meet other moms that I missed out on!), it is more convenient to pump in or near your office if arrangements can be made. It certainly does save time (unless you're actually located in Evans, for example), and I found that I was rushed enough just to pump without considering running to and from another building. Also, there are times you are likely to really want a pump at home or away from campus and you may not want to rely solely on a campus pump. The Medela P-I-S works great for this, too, as it is in an attractive, professional looking bag and can be taken anywhere, even to a fancy restaurant, professional meeting, etc. (only other pumping moms and associated dads will know it is a breastpump!). I was worried about carrying all this junk around -- my purse, my pump, and my computer/briefcase, but the Medela P-I-S is fairly lightweight (and I suffered from new mom carpal tunnel problems, too, so I was very concerned about lugging all this stuff around). As for compatibility between pumps: the Ameda brand pumps are completely interchangeable with both the Avent (wide bottle) pump accessories and the Medela (standard size bottle) pump accessories. So, you could still mix and match a portable vs a hospital grade system if you need to (in terms of the bottles you pump into; you might need a different set of tubes attaching to the pump itself, I don't remember). So, overall, I chose to buy the Medela P-I-S over the portable Ameda pumps that the university gets a discount on because I already had so much Medela stuff from the hospital(bottles, horns, etc.), because I liked the style and specific ''layout'' of the Medela pump more than the Ameda pump (I really liked the ''built-in'' pump, for example -- it was very steady and made for a very quick set-up and take-down), and because I just somehow had a brand loyalty to Medela through using the hospital pump and reading lots of online reviews whereas I had never heard of Ameda. One of my coworkers had the Ameda portable pump she bought through the university and she really liked that (and both of us did lots of pumping !). Let me know if you have any more questions; I found getting this type of information quickly when I needed it was somewhat difficult for a sleep-deprived new mom. boering
I found the hospital pump to be much better than a madela pump. I have a pump in style and hardly used it. The hospital pump's motor is much stronger. It got the job done quicker. If I have another child I will rent or buy a hospital grade pump. Each person is different though, my milk never seemed to come out easily. Some people have a river flowing very quickly. Try a hospital pump for a few days and you will see a difference depending on your milk supply. anonymous
I have used both a hospital pump (can't remember what kind) and a Medela Pump, and I prefer the Medela, hands down. First, there's cost: I could have paid for a Medela easily with what I shelled out to rent the hospital pump for the few months I did that. Second, there's portability: the nifty backpack that the Pump In Style comes in is extremely convenient, or you can take the different parts out (the pump itself and/or the cooler) if you don't need everything. I used the Medela at work for many months, and now that I'm only nursing my daughter two times a day, I'm glad I have the Medela for those rare times I'm going to be away from her overnight. There's no way a hospital pump would be worthwhile to keep around for occasional use.
As for comfort/ease of use, I honestly don't remember what I thought of the hospital pump, I think it was fine, and so is the Medela. I think they both have variable speeds and strength of suction.
I got a good deal for my Medela on eBay. They have (or had) new ones (factory sealed, etc.) for less money than the prices I saw in stores. Good luck finding the right pump for you! A Medela fan
The hospital pump is much stronger and more effective. The downside is that it's not portable. If you want to try one, I rented one from Birth & Bonding in Albany for $50 a month. They prorate to $3 (?) a day if you want to just try it out. zeta8
I exclusively pumped for about the first month of my baby's life as he was born prematurely and could not breast feed. In my experience, the hospital pumps generate more pressure and stimulated more milk production. I think both are equally easy to use. Obviously the hospital pumps are not portable and are big and bulky. Laura
I used the hospital grade pump for the first month and a half (to establish supply) based on the advice of a lactation consultant. Then because I needed to go somewhere that took me away from home (and the pump) for more than 3 hours, I tried the Pump In Style a friend had loaned me. While they felt different in terms of the force of the pull and the speed of the cycles, they were identical for me in terms of output and time spent pumping. With regards to ease of use, the Madela Pump In Style had a huge advantage over the hospital pump in that it was so portable--it gave me so much for fredom in terms of getting out. So I returned the rental pump and switched for good. You can even use the Madela in the car with an adapter attachment or while camping by using a battery adapter. anon
I used a Medela pump with my first baby and an Ameda Purely Yours Dual Pump with my second baby. Both were exellent but I liked the Ameda better because I could remove the pump from the carrying case and leave it on my nightstand. My old Medela was an all-in-one design. Also the Ameda is much cheaper (I was able to purchase mine from the Kaiser Pharmacy). If cost is a consideration, you can usually find used pumps through the Marketplace newsletter. --Sharon
I rented the top-of-the-line Medela pump with my first child 9 years ago. Used it daily for a year. This time I bought the Pump-In-Style. The two pumps seem quite comparable although from my recollection, I think the Pump-In-Style has simpler tubing. (The Pump-In-Style tubing connects to the collection bottle with a peg in the bottle's top, and the other tubing ended in a screw-cap that screwed to the collection bottle's top--but I used the same collection bottles with both pumps.) Fran
Hi Margaret, I've used both pumps, and while the hospital grade pump is considerably quieter than the Medela Pump In Style, I found them to be equally efficient and easy to use. Amy
I am interested in learning about people's experiences with the following types of non-rental Medela Professional Breast Pumps: ''Pump In Style - Original,'' ''Pump In Style Traveler,'' and ''Pump In Style Companion.''
It appears from Medela's products website that the differences among these electric pumps are that the latter two include a ''removable motor unit'' and a ''microfiber backpack,'' which the original version does not, and that the original model has a ''built in cooler compartment,'' which is not featured in either of the other two.
How critical have these features proven to be for working mothers in terms of efficient milk collection, pumping action comfortability, or other criteria not grounded purely on aesthetic preferences? Overall, what are the perceived advantages and disadvantages of each of these models? Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks. Saralyn
I used the Pump In Style Traveler, and found the backpack to be extremely useful and convenient. The pump itself never had to be removed from the backpack (which allowed discreet transportation of the pump, even on airplanes after 9/11) -- not even to be used, and all the bits and pieces necessary, including a removable cooler unit, fit nicely into the top of the backpack. I actually like having the cooler compartment removable rather than built in, as I could use it to transport milk to my babysitter's house; and now that I am not nursing, I can transport other things (milk, tofu, fruit, etc.). Karen
I've heard of conflicting advice about borrowing someone's breastpump. I have a Medala pump in style and my sister in law was going to buy the kit to have her own tubing & bottles, etc. but she was told that the milk actually goes into the pump and there is no way to clean it out. It looks like the ''pump'' is just a suction mechanism and the milk stays in the tubing. Ali
When my daughter was born, the price of a new breast pump was prohibitive. I spoke with a lactation consultant about re-using a Medela pump-in-style, and she told me that the concern is that milk sometimes does back up through the tubes into the suction mechanism. And since milk is a bodily fluid, there is reason to worry about contamination. When I explained my financial situation, she told me, in an off-the-record way, that I would probably be fine if I removed the plastic cap that covers the suction mechanism, sterilized it (boiling water) and used alcohol to thoroughly clean the rubber suction thingy. There definitely was dried milk on that part and I would not have known to clean it had she not told me. I also sterilized the tubing, pump shields, and milk containers. (If you can afford it, you can buy all the removable pieces -- even the plastic shield -- new.)
Moral of my story: I took the calculated risk of my home-done sterilization job, and all is well with my baby, who is now almost two. You might just want to know that the person you're borrowing the pump from doesn't have Hepatitis or HIV or whatever else can be transmitted through bodily fluids. -- Ilana
I don't have a Pump in Style but I seriously doubt that the milk goes up the tubing and into the pump. Have you ever seen the milk do that? If she has her own horns and tubing it should be fine. Get the most out of the pump that you can. If she is uncomfortable with just your word, she can contact a lactation consultant or Le Leche League and ask the question. If she still is not convinced she may have to buy her own pump. Another good resource is the Yahoo group pumpingmoms. There are a lot of emails, but you can sign up for web posting only. Great to hear that two more women are pumping. Joelle
The breastmilk most definitely does NOT go into the pump or even the tubes for the Medela Pump In Style. It goes right from the breast into the suction cups where it drips into the bottles. I have borrowed them before. On one occasion, I did soak the tubes in a tub of water with some bleach, because the tubes had gotten wet and there was some mold in them. If you are squeamish about borrowing, you can always do that to the tubes, bottles etc. Can't do it to the pump though! If you are further concerned, contact Medela and they can assure you that the milk does not go through the pump or tubes. Hilary
Regarding borrowing a breast pump, both the FDA and Medela classify Pump in Styles as single user pumps. They are an ''open loop'' system (unlike the rental pumps which are a closed loop system). There are cases where milk can back up into the tubing, and into the internal breast pump diaphram, which cannot be removed and sterilized.
That being said, milk backing up into the tubes is pretty rare, and the owner of the pump would likely know if this had happened. In reality, many people borrow or buy used Pump in Styles, and simply buy new tubing, horns, and bottles, etc.
It's all based on the risk of disease transmission the used pump user is willing to bear (and the risk is very small).
If you are loaning the pump out, you might want to also consider whether you will use it again. Although Pump in Styles last quite a long time, they do eventually wear out, and you don't want to be stuck with having to buy a new one. Sherry
Milk does not go into the pump. At most, you get a teeny tiny bit of condensation in the tubing. I pumped for a year with my first child, and am up to Month 5 with the second, both on the same pump, and feel qualified as an expert here. There is absolutely NO reason even to buy new bottles and tubing, because one can boil the tubing and bottles and bits and pieces that you already have and they'll be nice and sanitized for the next user. That having been said, I think Medela advises against using the same tubing, etc. but I view that as marketing propaganda. If it were not, I would have had to buy new bottles, tubing, cone-shaped thing, etc. for my second kid, because surely there would have been a problem with Kid #2 using milk from a pump contaminated with milk pumped for Kid #1 years ago. Tell your sister-in-law to save her money, and to boil up a pot of water. Wendy
You can loan out your Pump In Style with no fears of germs, contamination, etc provided you do not supply the kit to your sister-in-law as well, as you planned. Milk doesn't enter the pump - you're right, it's just a pumping mechanism. I think Medela instructs people not to share pumps for liablity reasons for fear that they may share kits/tubes/bottles as well - AND to make more sales, of course. Signed, a mom who used a used pump!
The milk does not go through the pump or the tubing - the only parts that touch the milk are the cups forward. Many people feel that just sterilizing the tubes, cups, valves and bottles is sufficient, but I personally have replaced all those parts after I borrowed a pump from a friend. You can call Medella at 800-435- 8316, I have found them to be very informative. Happy Pumping
I used the Pump In Style for 2 kids. Milk shouldn't go into tubing unless you knock over your bottles while pumping. The tubing just conveys the suction. When I knocked over the bottles and milk was sucked into pump, I just ran machine without tubing to dry it out. Machine works fine & no milk smell. Brenda
It is not true that the milk enters the Medela pump. I have lent my pump to two of my friends now (each bought their own kit of supplies) and mixing of milk has never been an issue. Jennifer
I don't think there is anything wrong with borrowing a pump. I borrowed a friends and knows lots of women who have done the same. As long as you get your own kit it is fine. Pump borrower
My Pump-In-Style pump has been used by two of my friends and with both of my children (5 kids in all!) We didn't share the tubes or bottles. I always thought that it was something of a scam by the company and their representatives to tell new moms not to share. Hospitals rent pumps...hmmm... Jill
The medela breast pump has a suction mechanism which is separate from the milk collecting mechanism. The tubes never come into contact with the milk. She can buy her own set of bottles and those cups that touch the breasts etc...and use yours with no problem. I borrowed one for my first baby and fully intend to buy a used one before I have a second child. Whitney
the breast pump manufacturers do not recommend using anyone else's breast pump. however, i borrowed my friend's medela pump- in-style, but i did purchase my own tubing, bottles, and breast shields. then when there was a used one available from a consignment store, i brought it. i used it for two babies and then passed it on to my cousin who got new attachments. none of us had any problems. suzie
The PIS has an internal membrane that cannot be replaced (or so Medela says, I suspect it could be if you knew how to disassemble and reassemble the motor). If the milk backs up during pumping and flows down the tubes it could get onto this membrane. Therefore, Medela and the FDA warn about second-hand pumps becoming vectors for the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis. Personally, I think this makes no sense, as both of those pathogens cannot live long outside a host. And for transmission to occur, the milk would have to overflow again, get down to the membrane, become infected with the microbe, and then come into sufficient contact with an exposed mucous membrane. At least that is how I imagine it would happen. Frankly, it seems unlikely to me, but that is just my opinion. If you never overflowed into the motor, I can't imagine what could be the problem. Just my two cents. debbi
I bought a medela pump from someone, bought new tubes, valves, etc. and used it. I asked my lactation consultant about it, she said there was a case of hepatitis transmitted when mothers shared a kit a while ago so the official line from the company has to be no sharing for liability reasons but she did not think it risky. Kristine
Yes, it is rare for milk to back up into the Medela Pump in Style but certainly possible. As my son's appetite grew, so did my milk supply and if I did not watch carefully (I often read at work while pumping) I would overflow into the tubes. So, milk CAN get into the tubing and into the pump itself. This does not happen to the hospital pumps or pumps you rent because those are closed systems with a barrier to prevent milk from overflowing into the pump mechanism itself.
Of course, you can sterilize tubes, bottles, horns etc. That is not the problem (I used several friends' old Medela bottles and horns so I could have a large number of sterilized bottles for my own use and ready to go). It is difficult, however, to sterilize the pump itself if milk has gone into it. One previous poster to the parents website suggested how to clean/sterilize the diaphragm membrance (and note she did find dried milk in there !), and that would probably be good enough IF YOU TRUSTED THAT THE PERSON YOU GOT IT FROM WAS A FRIEND WHO WAS UNLIKELY TO HAVE HIV OR HEPATITUS. Perhaps I'm too cautious, but I would never buy a used pump from Ebay or a consignment store !
As for accusing Medela of just trying to make more money ... If you became infected with HIV or hepatitus because you weren't properly warned about the risk -- even if it is so rare that you and your infant were the only ones in the US to be so affected -- wouldn't you be more than just a little bit upset ? Wouldn't you hit them with the largest lawsuit you possibly could for not warning you ? So, while they are indeed trying to avoid lawsuits, they are also giving you a warning of a real potential risk, even if it is small.
Anyway, milk can get sucked up into the pumps, from my own experience from pumping twice a day at work for 9 months. So I would advise being cautious and knowing and trusting the person you borrow or buy a used pump from. KB
Just to add in my two cents worth on this topic of breast pumps other than the Pump in Style. I haven't noticed anyone else talking about Medela's newer pump, the Double Ease. I got one when my baby was born back in the fall. I think it was around the same price that another person was quoting for the Ameda Purely Yours. My Double Ease came in a carrying case that is decent-looking, with extra bottles and ice packs. It can pump one side or two and can be run on batteries too. It isn't suitable for someone who has to pump a lot, but it fine for pumping once a day. It doesn't have too many parts and they are also really easy to clean.
See also: \tHands-free Use of Pump-in-Style
As for pump recommendations: I used the Pump In Style and loved it. The latest model has both suction and speed control settings just like the Purely Yours does. I know several moms who purchased their Pump In Styles from internet sources in Canada. Because of the favorable exchange rate they only spent about $150. The Pump in Style and the Purely Yours are considered equivalent pumps in the industry. It seems that Medela still has the lions share of the market, but probably that will change as the Ameda's become more popular. Unfortunately it seems that Ameda is starting to raise their prices.. . I had hoped that the competition would cause Medela to lower theirs. The one piece of advice that I have is to NEVER buy one of those cheap little Gerber, Evenflo, or First Years electric pumps. (Those are the only ones I could think of... but there are many others that are also horrible.) From the moms I have talked to only 1 in 10 can actually get them to work well for her. Also, the lactation consultants I have talked to have actually seen women whose breasts and nipples have been severely damaged by these pumps. If you really need an in expensive pump you would do better with the manual Avent Isis, than with one of these... but if you plan to pump at work spend the money, for the amount you will save on formula, the pump will certainly pay for itself.
I bought a Medela Pump-In-Style out of desperation. It was very expensive $270. The lactation consultant recommended it to start up my milk supply. You can probably find a much cheaper price on the web if you're not in a hurry. It seems like the description of the Ameda Egnell. It has several selections (min-med-high)--I think that's for how strong the suction is. You can also adjust the number of pumps in a given time from 1-5. You just adjust it until you're comfortable. It comes in a nice black bag with 20 bags, 4 bottles, and other sutff (ac adaptor, blue ice, bottle stands, a manual pump, etc.) The bag is divided into parts for the motor, storage, and cool storage. You can use other bags if you'd like. I use Avent bags so I can use Avent bottles. I also have an Avent Isis pump. I got that when my milk first came in, and I like that just fine. It fits with the Avent bottles that I know most mothers like. The only reason I got the Medela was because it mimics the baby's sucking. There is also an adaptor if you want to pump while in your car.
While pumping (and even for several months afterward) I belonged to an e-mail list (similar to this, but higher volume) that was dedicated to pumping moms and their concerns. If anyone is interested in joining you can do this through their web site: www.pumpingmoms.org I HIGHLY recommend it. There are over 200 women who belong to that list. They share support and information on all aspects of pumping. There are also several lactation consultants who belong to the list who can offer expert advice, and also use the group to learn more about how pumping and breast feeding work together since this is a relatively new phenomenon. (This is the first generation of moms who have had really good pumps available to them... I know lots of moms were able to pump/express milk in the past, but it wasn't as manageable for most women then.)
Others have said it here before, and I'll say it again for emphasis: Go for the very best breast pump you can find, and most especially, get the kind that pumps both breasts at once. You won't believe how much more *comfortable* and *effective* a good pump can be -- the difference can be astounding. Don't sell yourself short!
From: Roxane (10/98)
If you have Kaiser, I believe you can purchase a mini-pump for about $50 from their pharmacy (no prescription needed). I did this for my second one, and since I only used it periodically (not everyday, several days) it was more than adequate.
I'm using a Pump N Style pump. Can someone advise me on how to pump without holding the two bottles the whole time? If I don't press them Charlotte
FOR CHARLOTTE: When I was at Rockridge Kids recently I saw a $10 packet of attachments that allows one to use the PumpNstyle w/o hands. Iwonder if one has to have a Medela nursing bra for the hooks, etc. to attach properly? I didn't buy it because it looked fussy to use. I have been advised not to pump for longer than 15 min, sothe time trade off didn't seem worth it. Melanie
My dear, you simply must get the Medela hands-free option. Essentially it's two plastic cuffs with a number of little posts on them that fit around the part of the pump that goes over the breast (I don't have the manual here to tell me what all the parts are called - sorry). The whole thing is then attached to your bra with a set of rubber bands (the kit comes with a number of them, in different sizes) and voila, you have your hands free. The down side is that, if you don't have Medela nursing bras, you have to sew something onto your bras to fasten the rubber bands to; I spent a happy morning sewing largish eyes from a set of hooks and eyes onto my bras. If you do have Medela bras, of course, you are home free. Although it means that you have rubber bands dangling from your bra, I felt this was a small price to pay; it isn't as if nursing bras are intrinsically attractive garments to start with. The hands-free kit is available for about $11 at Rockridge Kids, and I am sure you can get it at other places, such as the lactation center behind Alta Bates on Regent, at Berkeley Baby, at Baby World. I have been pumping at work 3-4 times a day for almost 4 months using this setup, and find it vastly superior to sitting around holding the damn things to my breasts; I can use the computer, the phone, etc. Also, because you can somewhat adjust the tension, you can get a nice snug fit, which should address your leaking concerns. I've called Medela to tell them that I think the hands-free kit should be a standard component of the pump at purchase. Hope this helps. Wendy
You don't have to buy a pump; you can rent one from lots of sources, including Rockridge Kids on College. I paid about $1/day a few years back; the costs may have gone up, but you can rent an excellent pump for quite a while and still save from what you might have paid for a lesser quality pump. Letitia
If you are unsure of how comfortable these pumps are or how long you want to pump at work, you may want to consider renting one for a month or buying an inexpensive one to try out.
Regarding breast pumps, I got a small battery-operated breast pump handed down to me from a friend--I tried using it once and was horrified! It was loud and terribly inefficient. I knew right away this was not for me, so I rented a great Medela pump, their best model. Cost about $25.00 a month. I used it until my baby was a little over a year old, and found it extremely easy and fast to use. One of those double-breasted models, brought it to work with me every day. Although hooking yourself up to one of those machines makes you feel ridiculous, it only took about 10 minutes to get at least 6 ounces of milk (in the beginning months, if I remember correctly, I pumped twice a day). I refrigerated the milk during the day and then put it in the freezer when I got home. Brought it to daycare the next day to keep my baby well supplied. At the time I decided to rent it, I didn't plan on breast-feeding that long--I was only committed to six months of breast-feeding at the start. But it was so easy that I continued pumping until my daughter was about a year old (she's almost two, now, and I'm still nursing her, though only twice a day--I never would have imagined going so long when I started out!). I would recommend renting a high-quality machine to start out with, and if you think you want to continue for a while, consider buying one--especially if you plan to have another child, or know someone you could give it to (or sell it to) when you're done. Good luck!
This was a while back (my younger son is now 8), but when I returned to work after his birth, I renting a heavy-duty hospital breast pump to use at the office. I found it was the most efficient and least tiring way to achieve the yield I needed to keep David fed. I also used one of those hand-held suction pumps at home when I wanted to express more milk after the baby finished nursing. Since a co-worker had a baby and returned to work at almost the same time, we decided to split the rental of the heavy-duty pump, which we trundled up and down the hallway between our offices on its own little luggage wheelie. Our colleagues thought we were really weird, but it didn't phase us, and they eventually got used to seeing bottles of milk in the office refrigerator. Of course, in those days, we had offices with walls and doors. Good luck!
I rented a heavy-duty double-breast Medela pump when I went back to work after 6 weeks of maternity leave. I haven't seen anything listed for sale in consumer catalogs that seems as good, although Medela does sell their heavy-duty pumps to consumers. The biggest electric pump I saw in The Right Start catalog required that you do something manually to aid in the suction.
In general, I found that the rented expensive models worked better and faster (I rented a Medela). Since it took me at least 20 minutes to pump (twice a day while at work), it was also important to get a model that could work both sides at once. Aside from that, you never know if a breast pump will work *for you* until you try it. One that works for someone else may have suction too strong or too weak for you. I suggest looking up lactation consultants in the phone book (or maybe someone can recommend one) and making an appointment to try out their pumps. Ask about rental rates when you call for the appointment. If one of the inexpensive models works for you, you may be better off buying it, depending on how long you are going to use it.
Good luck. You are doing a good thing for the two of you, well worth the hassle. --Andrea
As a matter of comparison, the rental pumps cost in the neighborhood of $1 to $3 per day to rent (depending on the length of rental), so even at full price, a Pump in Style would pay for itself in 6 months or less. I have personally never rented, so I can't speak from experience, but my understanding is that the rental pumps are strong, have many settings, and work very well for some people. They would be good for someone who doesn't have the capital to pay for the Pump in Style, or only needs a pump for a week, say. They other advantage is that you can switch from the larger model to the smaller model without having to buy another one. And of course, if it dies, you take it back and get another one.
Pumps can be rented in many places. Cotton and Co on College does rentals, as do many lactation consultants. I happen to have a phone number here as well: Health Horizons (Mr. Wong) 415-387-4901. This is NOT a recommendation, just the place that someone I know got hers. You can buy pumps many places as well; someone mentioned Rockridge Kids to me, and I've seen them advertised in many baby supply catalogs.
And, of course, you can get more information from La Leche League. The Oakland/East Bay group meets on third Thursdays, at 7 pm at the Zion Church on Park Ave (near the Park offramp from 13). They have meetings, publications, catalogs, and much more information than I personally have.
From: a mom
I have been meaning to post this info for the woman who is looking for a Medela Pump In Style but doesn't want to pay full price. Apparently due to current exchange rates you can get a great deal if you order from a Canadian retailer. Here is one catalog that I found online (You can't order on line, but the catalog is on line so you can see their products, and then either order by mail, fax or phone). http://www.babyloveproducts.com/ that says that the Canadian Dollar is at about $.68 to the American dollar. They sell the Pump In Style for $225 Canadian. When you use the rate they are talking about it comes to about $150. I first read about this option on the Baby Bargains website: www.babybargains.com. In the letters section of the site. The woman who wrote about it said it took 3 weeks to get it in the mail.
Personally, I think breast milk is wonderful. However, it is inconvenient if you plan to go back to work right away. I went back to work when my daughter, who is now 16 months, was 6 weeks old. I chose to buy the Medela Pump-in-Style breast pump instead of renting one of the other models as I figured that if I used it for more than six months, it would be cheaper to buy than to rent (and if you have another child, it's much more economical). It has dual pumps, several pumping speeds (I pumped 6-8 ounces in 15 minutes), a pump- release cycle that is comfortable, and comes with a built-in cooler and ice packs to store the milk. It's kind of expensive (around $200), but in my opinion, well worth the price.
Several other young mothers at work used the Gerber electric pump. However, I heard stories that they were not very comfortable. They are also less efficient as they pump one side at a time.
I have been using a Medela Pump In Style for about 2 months. It works very well and I recommend it highly. It is double-barreled, but I have recently begun using it on one breast at a time. It is nice to have a second hand free for reading, drinking, or whatever. However, in a pinch, I find pumping both breasts at once can decrease the time somewhat, but I do sacrifice on amount when double pumping.
I have had to pump in my car because I work at a place with cubicles, glass offices, and useless bathrooms (not recommended for pumping anyway). The car battery adapter works very well, and it is a nice break in the day to drive to a park and pump! I have been able to keep ahead of my daughter, now 4.5 months old. However, she has only been in daycare for about 2 weeks and she had a cold this weekend so I wasn't able to pump much extra those two days. I normally feed Kela around 3 or 4 am (her choice, not mine), then get up before she does in the morning (around 6am) and pump around 6-8 ounces. I pump at least once during the day, again getting around 6-8 ounces. Sometimes, I also pump after I pick her up because she isn't hungry.
When my son was this age, I used a Medela hand pump which worked okay. I couldn't easily get 12 ounces per day, which is the lower amount I get using the Pump and Style, and it took me more than twice the time. I was poorer then and couldn't afford to rent or buy an electric pump. I had to supplement Maren's diet with formula, because I could not keep up with his demand. By 9 months, he was mainly drinking formula (and eating), and breastfeeding only in the morning and nights for comfort. By 14 months, he pushed the breast away and said no more.
The rentals will quickly get you to the same price as a Pump and Style. I bought mine for a very special price $184 (discounted more than 10% off the Medela suggested retail price), but you can still get a 10% discount from the mail order business Lactation Innovations in Ohio. If you are interested, I can get the telephone number for you. You can send me email.
Hope this helps. I have been involved in a Mom's group since Kela was born, and all of us (about 10) bought Pump In Style's and nearly all of us from the woman in Ohio. We each have our own way of making it work, and I can recount other stories about how to got milk! Baby pictures help...
This is the top of the line Medela to buy. It retails for around $200. On the whole, this is a great pump. It's a double pump, so you have the option to do both breasts at once, cutting your pumping time somewhat. The motor is strong and quiet, and the suction is fully adjustable (though the knob is hard to use). My friend at La Leche League tells me that this one is made to last around a year of heavy use (several times daily). It comes in a discrete black leather case (the woman who sold it to me wondered if someone would try to steal it, thinking it's a computer!), with a cold storage area for your milk, as well as blue ice, bottles, and other gadgets. Dawn
I'm using a Medela Pump-In-Style (bought for about $200) which has worked very well. Once, it started making funny sounds (possibly due to being played with by the baby) so i called customer service which was GREAT. They fedexed me a Mini-Electric to tide me over, while I sent them my big pump, which they fixed (or replaced??) in one day and fedexed back to me. The Pump-In-Style is MUCH better than the Mini-Electric, whose only advantage over the Medela hand pump is that you only need one hand and can relax. The pumping action of the Mini-Electric is not very strong. I'm planning on using the pump for a fairly extended period (at least a year, maybe more?) so buying was better than renting for us.
Medela (as I'm sure you will hear from everyone) is the recommended brand I also hear that Ameda/Egnell makes some good pumps but they're not as well-known in this part of the country or something? Apparently they have a one-hand hand pump, as well as heavy-duty ones.
Joyce If time is important to you, then being able to pump both breasts at once is essential.
Someone (I think it was my lactation consultant) told me that once you get good at it, just expressing milk by hand is very efficient--that you can express from both breasts at one time once the milk starts flowing. I only managed that once--when my breasts were very full (a situation you don't want to be in anyway because waiting that long lessens milk production in the long run).
One last thought: for me, starting the let-down was the hardest part. Whatever works best to get there should work best over all for you.
The smaller one is a Medela Mini Electric, which retails for about $80 to $90. The advantage of this one is its extreme versatility. It runs on an adapter or batteries, and also has a conversion kit so you can use it as a manual pump too. However, the small motor is not made to last for heavy use, and I find the suction somewhat erratic. I have friends who have used this once daily for the better part of a year, and been very happy, though. It is adjustable, by the way.
The larger Medela I have is the Pump In Style .
From: Kathleen (6/98)
about breast pumps - I loved my Medela mini-electric - it got me through two kids - 19months the first time and 22 months the second - plus I loaned it to my sister-in-law for her second child and it's still going strong. Very portable and efficient.
From: Maura (6/98)
Ameda Egnell is the preferred breast pump system by most lactation consultants and mothers who've tried it. However some like Medela. But by and large, Ameda Egnell is a better product.
if you're renting equipment, the best prices I have found were in the Medicine Shoppe?? in Pleasanton--considerably lower than the rep in Moraga.You won't hear as much about Ameda Egnell (swiss Company)because they don't advertise much and they have few reps. Consequently a lacation consultant or childbirth instructor often fails to mention them as they believe it's too hard to locate a rep. Not true. I had no problem. If you can't locate an 800 # for them, you can email me and I'll find it. (6/98)
In our UCB parents web site, the breast pump recommendation were mostly written a while ago. I think I have something to share with new mothers out there, since quite often I see people looking for a used Medela pump. I too, was thinking that the highly-recommended pump-in-style may well worth its price but it is indeed a bit too much to spend out of our very limited pocket. Then a lactation consultant at Kaiser brought my attention to the new purely yours made by Ameda. What attracted me was its price: I ordered one through the web for only $150, and now they are offing a spring sale for $130! (check this web site out: www.ecrknox.com/betz/ --and there are many others selling pumps over the web..)(I chose to use get the storage bag, ice packs, and extra bottles from the local store).
Since I didn't get a chance to use the pump-in-style I can't say which one is better. But apparently purely yours works very well with me. You can change the frequency of the suction cycle to maximize milk production. It does both single and double pump, and the strength of suction can be changed within a wide range. It also allows you to use 6 (or 8?) AA-size batteries which make it easier to find a place to pump. It is also small enough to fit in a normal looking tote when I did need to travel, allowing me to carry everything (not just the pump and accessories) in a bag where ever I went.
BTW, my pump came in with a little problem. When I called Ameda, they rushed in a new one immediately while letting me return the original one on their expense. Hope this message would help new mothers make a more informative decision in investing a breast pump. And hopefully later on more information on how purely yours works with mothers can be put in our web site.
I just want to second the recommendation for the Purely Yours Breast Pump by Ameda. A well-known local lactation consultant recommended it to me when I was looking, and I have been very satisfied with it. Used it 3-days a week plus some for 9 months once I went back to work, and it's still working well. The cost is a great advantage over Pump-in-Style. Someone told me Medela dictates that the Pump-in-Style cannot be sold for under $250 so vendors have to comply. With Purely Yours, a friend bought it for me at Kaiser for $150.
From: Hannah (10/98)
I've never tried the $250 breast pump, but I have the manual Avent Isis pump which is only $50, and it's wonderful! I bought the Medela mini-electric one ($85), and it hurt terribly, and then it broke, so we got the Avent back-to- work kit (it comes with an insulated bag, ice packs, 4 bottles, and 4 breast pads), which has saved me! I work 7 hours at a time on the weekends while my husband watches our 4-month-old. I pump during my break and get 6 ounces in 20 minutes, which is amazing for me. The Avent pump has these silicone petals that massage your areola and help you get much more milk, and it doesn't hurt at all. I also feel more in control since I decide how fast and how hard to pump. Of course, you do have to pump it yourself, but it's pretty easy, and I can eat about 1/2 sandwich in between squeezes, and then finish eating after I'm done. Oh, also, the Avent nipples are wider, so the baby is less likely to have nipple confusion or refuse the bottle. Good luck! Make sure to pump if you're engorged (I didn't know I was, and my baby refused to nurse). Enjoy your newborn!
Well, seeing as I now own four, I think I'm somewhat qualified to answer this!
I started out with just a manual cylinder pump (retail $15 to $20). If you get a manual, the cylinder type are much better than the bicyle horn type. I was able to successfully pump at work once per day with the manual, but it took at least 1/2 hour to do both breasts, and it was very tiring. And eventually I wore both of the gaskets out (you can buy more, but you have to order them). Manuals are best for occasional pumping.
I also have a small electric by Gerber. This one didn't work for me, because it doesn't have adjustable suction. It works for some folks, though. If you're interested, I would be willing to sell it for what I paid ($6--but it's worth around $40, I think). This is fairly portable, if that's an issue for you.