Electric Breastpump - Any Advice?

My daughter is one month old now and I’m looking at going back to work. I’m just going in part time for a few weeks then moving up to full time. Breastfeeding is going well, and I’m using the Avent Isis manual pump to try to build up a supply for when I’m gone (I’m only able to pump 4 oz a day right now, is that good or bad?).

I’m looking at getting one of the new Avent electric breastpumps. I know they’re fairly new, but does anyone have any experience with them? They offer a single and a double version. Can I get by with the single, or is it really worth the extra money for the double pump?

There are no lactation consultants or a La Leche League in my town, and I don’t know anyone who’s had to do this. I know that there are plenty of woman here that have and are breastfeeding and have used breastpumps. Any advice would be welcome here. Thanks in advance.

At some point someone is going to tell you that what you have to do is post pictures of your breasts, so we can all decide which pump would match them best. It’s all about synergy.

Not in this thread, they’re not.

The OP is asking for serious opinions. We are not in MPSIMS.

My experience was 10 years in the past so I’m sure things have gotten better but here goes. Electric breastpumps are a LOT faster, and go for the double. It will cut your pumping time in half. Think of being at work, which would be better, taking a 10-minute break or taking a 20-minute break?

Is there a hospital in your town? I ask because some hospitals have breast pumps for rent. You purchase a kit that has various hoses and other attachments that you can keep–the one I got came with a manual pump as well, and several bottles for collection. Then when I was through with it I gave the mechanical part back and got my deposit back. If the hospital has such a thing, it might also have someone who can offer some advice.

If you’re pumping 4 oz in addition to feeding the baby I’d say that’s good. It’s been 10 years, I think I pumped more (when I was at the office) but that was replacing a feeding.

My office had a kitchen with refrigerator/freezer so I immediately froze the collected milk (or anyway I stuck it in the freezer, it didn’t always freeze by the time I left for the day), and I lived close enough to work that I didn’t worry about it getting too warm on the way home. But you can buy kits made to chill it and keep it cold if you need to for longer periods.

You still need to wear nursing friendly clothes, obviously. Dresses that zip in the back are a bad idea. (At any time, actually.)

It was a hassle, though. The first day I went in, and right off the bat there was a voicemail from the nanny, who couldn’t figure out how to get the cap off the bottle, and in the background my baby was crying. So much for that silk blouse.

You also need the understanding of your coworkers. In my case I had an office and I had a door that would close. I also worked with a bunch of clowns who thought it was a lot of fun to stand outside my office door and go, “Moooo!” It was all women in my office, by the way, and most of them had been through the same thing. It really helps if you have a place where you feel comfortable and where you have some privacy. In fact it more than just really helps, it’s almost essential.

I am currently renting a hospital-grade double electric pump and it has been wonderful. It’s $60 a month and I get about 5-6 oz in 10-15 minutes. A couple of drugstores in town carry them. Check with your hospital’s mat. ward as well to see if they have any info.

(My daughter is 6 months old and nurses as well as gets a bottle at bedtime).

I frequent a couple of parenting message boards and the consensus for the most part is the Avent Isis dual pump is worth the bucks. Plus if you are getting 4 oz with a MANUAL pump, an electric one may knock your socks off!

I’m not back at work yet so I can’t give any advice in that regard, sorry. However, even at home, I find it easier to wear a stretchy tank top or camisole so that I can just pull it down for pumping rather than getting undressed. I don’t have any special nursing tops.

Pumping more often than you are nursing may adversely affect your supply a bit - it does for some women, like me - so make sure you eat a lot of protein, drink TONS of fluids, and spend as much skin-to-skin time with your baby as you can if you notice your supply decreasing.

The parenting messsage boards are sometimes a great source of information and support, and might be worth checking out.

Good luck with it all - I’m so glad you’re able to go back part-time to start with!

My daughter is six, so take six year old advice for what it is worth.

We got a hospital grade pump - and it was covered by insurance. I am not bred for a dairy cow, and the hospital grade pump was the only thing we could get to produce. However, if you are having success with a hand pump, you may want to just buy an electric.

Sometimes you can get a used Medela from eBay, but check the prices. You’ll want to buy a kit to replace all parts that the milk touches, if you buy a second hand pump. By the time you do that, you can often just buy the new pump, and then sell it on eBay when you are finished.

The other thing I learned is not everyone’s nipples are the right size for pumping. Pumping got much more comfortable when I supersized the cones. That will take a specialty order over the internet.

Not only will a double pump cut down the time you need to spend pumping, but it will take care of that pesky syndrome where the breast which is not in use still sprays and drips milk. The doubles take some coordination and getting comfortable at first, but it soon becomes old hat.

When I returned after my first maternity leave, I had a job where I was doing all home visits. I had to plan to get to the most private place I could find and pump in my car. This was not fun, but I did it, and it made me realize that anything is possible with the right combination of determination and luck (luck that my body agreed to the whole pumping deal). But reading that makes me put “in my car in a McDonald’s parking lot in a crappy neighborhood” higher than “in the vicinity of mooing cowowrkers” on the list of desirable places to pump.

I just finished exclusively pumping last week (yay!). 15 months of pumping. Ugh. Still, it got my preemie through 2 RSV seasons without getting sick, so I’m delighted.

The advice above is all good and not at all outdated. Yes, you definitely want a double electric pump when you’re pumping full time. I have a personal bias for Medela products, but I haven’t tried Avent, so they may very well be good. The two I use and like are the Medela Harmony (hand pump) and the Symphony (hospital rental pump).

One thing I’ll warn you about it that breastmilk becomes more valuable than gold when you’re EPing. “No use crying over spilt milk” is a very useful adage. At some point, you will spill your precious milk. You will cry, a lot, and beat yourself up. Try to forgive yourself.

Also remember that some women simply don’t have pumpable breasts, especially once they stop nursing and try to EP. There isn’t a pump out there that really mimicks the baby’s latch and suck, no matter what they all say in their marketing tools. You may be able to pump 100% of your baby’s food, or you may not. It’s OK. *Any breast milk you can give them is better than none. I was able to produce about half of WhyBaby’s needs. (I mixed bottles of half milk and half formula, rather than give her whole bottles of each. I figured that gave her a steadier dose of antibodies, and never gave her the chance to develop a preference for one over the other. Worked fine - when I stopped pumping, she didn’t even blink at 100% formula bottles.)
*Most of the time. There are situations when breastmilk is NOT best, as in sickness, malnutrition or maternal drug use - prescription or recreational. There are times, such as abuse or rape survivors, when breastfeeding could be mentally cruel and damaging to the relationship between the mother and baby. There are also simply people who choose not to breastfeed, and it’s OK. You’re not going to kill your baby with formula. Please don’t get offended if you’re a formula mom reading this. I’ll support your decision if you support mine!

DOUBLE PUMP! No contest.

You will be leaking out of the not-pumped one while you pump the other one, so might as well make it efficient.

I used a Medela, but any good quality breast pump should work, I hear the hospital ones are great.

I used a cheapo battery powered one when my milk came in, oh sweet baby jeebus, do not do that to yourself. (Hey, any port in a storm)