For the woman who wants to breastfeed, but doesn’t always like to be attached to their baby every three hours, getting a breast pump will help out the situation. The mother can still breastfeed, or provide breast milk, but other people can feed the baby using a bottle system. This gives mom a break during the day or night from feedings, but also allows other people important to the baby to form a bond. Then it comes time to make a decision on what type of breast pump to buy!
Types of Breast Pumps
- There are open systems, closed systems and even hospital grade breast pumps available. Pumps can be electric or they can be manual in how they operate to collect milk. There are even breast pumps that can work both breasts at the same time. The sky is the limit when it comes to options and accessories for your breast pump, you just need to figure out what style is the most comfortable and what fits in to your budget.
Hospital Grade Breast Pumps
- Hospital grade breast pump can be purchased, but they can also be rented through various support groups for breastfeeding women. Hospital grade pumps are built so they can be taken apart and sterilized so that they are safe for multiple users over time. Other breast pumps that you purchase in the store are considered one use only and cannot be resold once you have used them. Hospital grade pumps are a little bit bigger in their capacity, meaning they have a more powerful motor that will work a little faster and be more efficient.
Electric Breast Pumps
- An electric breast pump is exactly what it sounds like, a breast pump system that is plugged in to an electric outlet. Pumps that work with electricity are much faster and more efficient that manual pumps. Electric pumps usually come with a carry case, so they are easily transported to whatever location you need to pump in. Depending on the brand you purchase, the pump might also have a built in cooler system so that any expressed milk can just be stored inside until you arrive home and can place in the refrigerator. Electric pumps can do one breast or even both breasts at the same time.
Manual Breast Pumps
- A manual pump is one that expresses milk through a system you operate with your hand. You squeeze a lever down or compress the handle and the suction will draw the milk out and in to the storage receptacle. For women who don’t have to go back to work and will only be pumping occasionally, the manual system is a lot less expensive. And it works just as well, but takes a bit more time because it is the hand creating the suction and not a machine. Some women feel manual is more comfortable, but it is each individual’s choice on what they are more comfortable with.
Closed System Breast Pumps
- A closed system breast pump is the most popular style, which means that a pump can be electric or manual, but from where it attaches to the breast to where the milk is stored it is completely closed. There is no outside air that can come in to contact with the collected milk unless the cap is taken off the bottle container to hold the milk. This is also easier to keep sanitary as airborne particles and dust cannot get in.
Open System Breast Pumps
- An open system is where the milk is stored is pulled in to a container and the system is open and in contact with outside air. Most hospital grade pumps are made this way so that any milk collected comes in to contact with parts that can be easily sterilized. Not every hospital grade pump is open, so there are still options in that regard.