A breast pump is not an item required by all parents. Some parents choose to solely breastfeed without needing to express and some mums choose to bottle feed. However if you are going to express then choosing the right breast pump for your needs is essential.
First consider will you be needing the pump long term, or is it a short term measure. For short term use a hired breast pump could be the best option. Reasons for short term use could be nipple damage, tongue or lip tie, engorgement etc. Longer term use may be considered due to returning to work, exclusive express feeding.
Other reasons for expressing milk include:
an evening out, note if you drink alcohol you need to consider if the milk is safe for baby or if it should be discarded
For short term or occasional use a manual breast pump could be the best option. This will be low cost, however is more labour intensive and slower to express the milk. For those exclusively expressing a more heavy duty option like a hospital grade pump would be a worthwhile investment for durability, efficiency and ease of use.
hand action pumps the milk
Ideal for infrequent use
plugged in or on battery power
choice of suction strength and rhythm
more comfortable for regular use due to the multiple speed options
if needing to use when out and about check it has battery back up
pump from both breasts at the same time
heavy duty motor
may be available for hire
The breast shields come in varying sizes. If the flanges when attached are causing any pain or discomfort you may need a larger size shield.
Breast pumps can be hired from local pharmacies, some hospitals and the Australian Breast Feeding Association. You will normally just need to purchase the attachments. This can be an affordable option to use a hospital grade machine for short term use.
How often will I use it
Do I need to use it when out and about
Is it for short term use
Will I need it for future children
Which bottles is the pump compatible with (if incompatible you may need to transfer milk – not impossible, just another step)
Will a noisy pump be an issue
How easy is the pump to disassemble and clean
What is your budget for the pump