Breast pumps – buy or borrow?

Mothers who are returning to work or school usually need a breast pump. How often you’ll need to pump milk depends on whether you’re feeding your baby only breastmilk or if you’re switching between breastmilk and formula.

There are a variety of pumps available. Women who pump infrequently often prefer manual pumps, while working women commonly like electric double pumps because they shorten the time it takes to use them. There are “open system” and “closed system” pump designs. In both designs, breastmilk flows through the breast shields and tubing and is deposited into containers. In an “open” system, it is possible for some milk to come in contact with parts of the machine.  In a “closed” system, none of the breastmilk can enter the machine, so it is safe for several women to use it by simply changing the shields, tubing and containers. A lactation consultant can help you evaluate your needs and choose wisely.

Shop around until you find the pump that works best for you. Prices for breast pumps vary depending on their features. Be sure to compare costs. Some health insurance companies help pay for a breast pump. Find out if your insurance covers the purchase of a breast pump. Many women will add a breast pump to their baby shower registry so that a few friends can pitch in together. But don’t forget that you will also need to purchase bags or bottles to store the pumped breastmilk.

You may also want to think about renting a breast pump. For many families, this is a cost-effective solution. If you choose to go this route, make sure you rent a “closed” system pump. Talk to your health provider or hospital staff for more information about where to rent a pump. Reusing a friend’s pump is safe, too, as long as you buy new accessories (tubing, storage bags, bottles, nipples). Talk to your health care provider if you’re interested in this option.

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One Response to “Breast pumps – buy or borrow?”

  1. Julie Hynes Says:

    If you’re going to be pumping at work, a hospital-grade pump works best. More pricey, but worth the investment – makes pumping much more efficient. You can also rent this type of breast pump – contact a local lactation consultant. Don’t forget about breast milk storage if you’re pumping at work. One of the best is Mother’s Milk Mate. Their bottles fit on all major breast pumps, including Medela, Ameda, Hygeia and more. You pump, store AND feed using the SAME BPA-free baby bottle, so no valuable nutrients are lost by transferring breast milk from collection to storage to feeding containers. Plus they have a handy storage rack for the fridge and freezer at home. What I love is that the first bottle I pump is the first to roll off the rack to feed my daughter – no more digging through plastic storage bags for the right date! And, my nanny always knows which bottle to use to feed my baby (and my hubby, too, for those 2AM feedings!

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