If you’re looking for a breast pump, then you may be wondering about what kind of features you should be looking for. It’s tempting to go the easy route and just grab a breast pump from the pharmacy or make do with a borrowed pump. But not all pumps are created equal – and the pump available at your local pharmacy is unlikely to be the one that gives you the most comfortable and convenient experience. Have a read of this guide to understand what you should be looking at when you buy an electric breast pump.
How is the pump powered?
You will need to consider where you will be pumping and whether that will always be near an electrical outlet. Many breast pumps on the market will only work when plugged into power (and have no battery options) but many mums find it convenient to be able to move around and multitask while pumping. You should also consider what you will do should the power go out or an outlet not be available. Some women choose to have a manual pump as backup, however, having a pump with a built-in battery with several hours of pumping time means you will probably only need to invest in one breast pump. The Milk Genie has an integrated rechargeable battery and 2.5 hours of pump time on a charge which many mums find much more convenient, especially if you need to take your pump to work or travel.
Does the pump have a closed system?
Make sure the breast pump you purchase is a closed system. This means the pump kit includes some sort of backflow protector (the UFO-looking things on the tube) or filter between the parts that touch milk and the pump itself. These parts prevent milk and moisture from entering the tubing and the pump motor. Once moisture gets into the pump itself, there is no way to safely sanitize it. You can’t get it out, so it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. If moisture gets into the tubing, there’s no way to sanitise it so it will need to be replaced. Open system pumps are not safe for use by multiple users, second-hand, or for extended periods of time because they are not sanitary. When used correctly, closed system pumps are safe to use by multiple users and safe to use second-hand. Manufacturers still sell open system pumps because it enforces the need for customers to continually replace pumps and pump parts.
Look for a ‘double’ pump that can pump both sides at once
Double-pumping is much more efficient than single-pumping. For many reasons including the obvious reason of spending less time pumping, double-pumping is an incredibly important feature for a breast pump to have. Additionally, when you double-pump, your body produces much more of the hormone prolactin than when expressing from one breast. This is important because prolactin signals your breasts to produce more milk. Invest in a hands-free pumping bra to make double-pumping easier and more convenient. Prolactin is crucial for maintaining supply. From a technology standpoint there is no reason for a breast pump not to have double-pumping capabilities, so if you see a single-pump on the market, chances are the manufacturer is just trying to offload old stock.
Will you be relying on the pump to maintain milk supply?
You need a pump that can maintain your milk supply. Your baby will need a bottle of expressed milk or to feed from your breast at least 8 times per day. This means that your pump will need to be efficient and powerful, and have the capabilities to double pump (pump each breast simultaneously). Buying a cheap pump can be detrimental to your milk supply. You need to pump enough for your baby to eat
throughout the day, and many women get frustrated by cheaper pumps that simply cannot do that.
Does the pump have a letdown / massage mode?
Massage mode imitates the fast fluttering motion of baby’s tongue which stimulates milk to flow when they first latch onto the breast. Massage mode is extremely important to a lot of women because it signals the body to produce the hormone prolactin. Remember that prolactin signals the body to produce more milk, so it’s very important in the lactating process. Some women invest in a pump that doesn’t have a letdown mode, and it absolutely doesn’t work for them. This can be very frustrating. The Milk Genie has a letdown mode which sucks at 70 cycles per minute.
Check what flange sizes are available
We don’t all wear the same sized shoes, rings, or bras, so why should we expect to use the same sized flange? Unfortunately a lot of breast pumps on the market make this assumption. They provide only one sized flange with their pump, and much of the time you can’t even change it out for a different size! Using the correct sized flange is extremely important because using the wrong sized flange can impact milk supply and output, and in some cases cause injury and damage to the nipple! It’s impossible to determine which size breastshield you need before you’re actually pumping milk, so it’s important that while you research breast pumps you make sure you buy one that has the option to change out flange sizes. Even better if the pump comes with multiple flange sizes so you don’t have to worry about going through the arduous and expensive process of purchasing different flange sizes to trial after bub gets here. The Milk Genie comes boxed with 3 complete sets of flanges in different sizes (plus Pumpables sells even more sizes) so you don’t have to worry about investing money into something that doesn’t work for you.
What is the vaccuum strength? (mmHg)
Vacuum strength is extremely important to a lot of women when pumping. Some women need a stronger vacuum strength to achieve any milk flow while pumping. Plenty of women do just fine with lower vacuum strengths, however, the problem is there’s no way to determine before pumping whether you will need a stronger vacuum or not. That’s why it’s best to purchase a pump that has strong vacuum capabilities to be sure that you can find the vacuum setting that works for you. Vacuum strength is measured in mmHg. The Milk Genie is capable of 300 mmHg. The vast majority of personal pumps on the market are 220-250 mmHg. Note that many hospital grade pumps go up to 320 mmHg. If you’re relying on your pump for medical reasons, e.g. pumping for prems or exclusively pumping, you would consider investing in a hospital grade pump. However, for a personal pump suitable for everyday use, the Milk Genie has a very powerful motor!
How noisy is the breast pump?
Do a quick search on “loud breast pumps.” The Milk Genie is hands down the quietest pump on the market. With the technology available today, there’s no need for any pump on the market to go “REE-HOO REE-HOO” or “Brrr! Brrr! Brrr!” — AND there’s no need to pay a premium for that feature either.
Make sure the customer service is outstanding
Who you buy your pump from is just as important as the pump itself. You can expect to use your breast pump multiple times per day. If something goes wrong you don’t want to have to wait for someone to get back to you and you don’t want to waste time talking to someone who doesn’t understand the problem. The Pumpables team consists of pumping mamas who have been there before. We all know how to assemble a pump with our eyes closed, and between us we have decades of experience pumping, breastfeeding, and troubleshooting breast pumps for customers. We have striven to build the best breast pump on the market. We pride ourselves on swift and expert customer service, and because we are a global team of pumping mamas, you will almost always get a response right away. We treat every order as urgent. You pump to feed your baby and that’s very important: we understand that poor customer service can be frustrating and negatively impact your breastfeeding experience.
Quick glance breast pump comparison
To help you with your research process, we’ve compiled a quick-glance chart comparing the Pumpables Milk Genie to other popular electric pumps on the market. We hope that you find this useful and that it illustrates that not all pumps are built the same!
We hope these tips help you out in your search for the best breast pump! If you’re still unsure, just get in touch, we’re very happy to help.