With my first child, I made a mistake of choosing the right breast pump from the different types of breast pumps available in the market. I didn’t realize how crucial my breast pump would be. When you have to be away from your baby but still want to give them your milk, a breast pump is a necessity. They can also be quite beneficial if you have a clogged duct, engorgement, or a decrease in milk production.
Therefore, the majority of breastfeeding parents will want to have a pump on hand, whether they plan to pump frequently or just occasionally. But it can be rather intimidating when you start to think about all the pumps available!
Because there are so many various kinds of pumps, it’s possible that you’re not sure which one is ideal for you. Let’s examine what each type of pump accomplishes and how to choose which one is ideal for your need.
1. Will My Breast Pump Be Covered By My Health Insurance?
Yes! Breast pumps must be covered by health insurance providers under the Affordable Care Act. Since it is still relatively new, not many expectant mothers are aware of it.
Speak with your health insurance provider to learn more about the coverage since each plan is unique.
Here are some inquiries you ought to make:
• Which breast pumps and brands are covered?
• Do I require a doctor’s prescription?
• Can I obtain the breast pump through my insurance provider before the birth of my child?
• Can I purchase a breast pump via my insurance without going through a specialized durable medical equipment (DME) provider (such a pharmacy or medical supply company)?
Most insurance companies will cover the cost of a decent, entry-level twin electric pump. You might have to spend a little bit more if you want an improved model or a rental pump with several users. It is comparable to prescription drug coverage for generic versus brand-name medications.
Texas has done an excellent job of ensuring that mothers who desire breast pumps receive them. For instance, since 1999, mothers who qualify have been able to receive breast pumps through the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.
2. Which Breast Pumps Are Covered By Insurance?
Insurance coverage for breast pumps varies depending on the specific insurance plan. Some insurance plans may cover the cost of a breast pump, either in full or in part, while others may not cover breast pumps at all.
If you have insurance coverage for a breast pump, it is generally recommended to choose a breast pump that is covered by your insurance plan to maximize your benefits. You can check with your insurance provider or refer to your insurance plan documents to determine what types of breast pumps are covered.
It’s also a good idea to check with your healthcare provider or lactation consultant for recommendations on the best type of breast pump for your needs. They can help you select a breast pump that is both effective and covered by your insurance plan, if possible.
If you do not have insurance coverage for a breast pump, there may be other options available to help you obtain one. Some hospitals, lactation centers, and non-profit organizations may provide breast pumps at low or no cost to eligible individuals. It’s worth exploring these options if you are unable to afford a breast pump on your own.
3. What Breast Pump Is Ideal For Me?
First off, a breast pump is not strictly necessary. Without pumps, women have breastfed for countless years. So it’s okay if you decide against using one.
If you do intend to utilize a breast pump, it’s critical to comprehend the variations among the various models and to consider your usage strategy.
Breast Pump Classifications
There are several types of breast pumps available in the market, including manual pumps, electric pumps, battery-operated pumps, and hospital-grade pumps.
These pumps are operated by hand, using a lever or a handle to create suction. Manual pumps are typically smaller and more portable than electric pumps, making them a good choice for occasional use or for travel.
Electric Breast Pumps
These pumps are powered by electricity and use a motor to create suction. Electric pumps are generally more efficient at expressing milk than manual pumps, and they can be a good choice for frequent pumping. Some electric pumps are also portable, making them convenient for use outside the home
They are further classified into singe electric pumps and double electric pumps.
Single Electric Pumps
These pumps only pump one breast at a time and are powered by an electric or battery-operated motor.
Double Electric Pumps
These can pump both breasts simultaneously and are also powered by a motor, which reduces the amount of time needed to pump.
Battery-Operated Breast Pumps
These pumps are similar to electric pumps, but they are powered by batteries rather than an electrical outlet. This makes them a good choice for use when an electrical outlet is not available.
“Multiuser” is the correct term for this kind of pump. Most frequently, hospitals utilize them for mothers of infants in the neonatal critical care unit (NICU). These pumps often operate more effectively and have larger motors. Multiple women can safely use these pumps when they are operated and maintained appropriately. Each mother has her own tubing and attachments.
There are also breast pumps that are designed to be worn hands-free, such as bra pumps and wearable pumps. These pumps allow the user to express milk while continuing to do other activities, such as working or caring for a child.
Think About How You’ll Use Your Breast Pump
It’s important to match the pump to your intended function. A manual pump can be all you need if you’re going to stay at home with the baby for several weeks or months and simply anticipate pumping once or twice per week. Don’t discount manual pumps; there are several excellent ones available.
You should probably think about an electric pump if you work outside the home to save time. Whether you select a single or double depends on how comfortable you feel.
I advise renting a hospital-grade pump if your baby needs to spend time in the NICU because you’ll probably need to pump eight or more times each day to give your infant milk. Although you can convert to a personal pump later, you’ll benefit from the extra power a larger motor provides while you’re still building up your milk supply.
Most women won’t require a hospital-grade pump unless they’re providing milk for an infant in the NICU or have a history of having low milk supply. They can be cumbersome and heavy to transport!
It’s Not One-Size-Fits-All
The plastic covers for your breasts are called flanges. To express the milk, the pump pulls the nipple into the flange. To prevent pain or abrasions that could cause an infection, it’s critical that the flanges fit snugly.
Many women, but not all, will fit the standard-size flange. They are available in various sizes at the shop or by getting in touch with the business. You could require a different size if you start pumping and find it unpleasant.
Top Suggestions For Choosing A Right Breast Pump From Different Types Of Breast Pumps Available
The following are some suggestions to bear in mind when looking for a breast pump:
• Availability of replacement pumps: This is my top advice. I don’t suggest any particular brands, however you might want to think about going with a more well-known and accessible brand because the parts are simpler to replace and they are sold in neighborhood stores. Your pumping schedule may suffer if you choose a newer provider that requires you to contact them and whose turnaround time is days or weeks.
• Get your hands on the pumps: You can read reviews and what’s written on the boxes in the store, but it helps to actually hold them in your hands and examine them before you buy.. You can look at and learn more about a variety of pumps in many prenatal classes, including ours.
• Avoid used pumps: Single-user pumps are those that are not hospital-grade. Although they have been thoroughly cleaned and sterilized, bacteria and viruses can still be transmitted. Thankfully, fewer people are purchasing used breast pumps now that insurance is paying for them.
4. When Should I Start Pumping?
Many new mothers inform us that they have heard not to pump immediately following birth. It’s untrue. Pumping can begin at any time.
We caution women that they probably won’t produce a lot of milk at initially. Colostrum, the milk you create for a few days after giving birth, is thicker than later-produced milk and is more challenging to pump. We don’t want ladies to become upset over not producing a lot of milk from their breast pumps. The best pump is your infant if they are latching on! Your milk will become more plentiful and easy to pump after the first few days.
You don’t need to pump at all if you breastfeed your child eight to twelve times a day and they are latching on well. Your milk production should be well-established after two to three weeks. Many women want to start pumping at this time to store milk for later use.
A completely new situation arises if you are unable to breastfeed your child because they are in the NICU. In those situations, we advise mothers to start pumping as soon as possible after giving birth and to do so at least eight to twelve times each day in order to build a milk supply for their NICU baby. In the NICU, breast milk performs some of its best functions. Donor breast milk may be an alternative if you find it difficult or impossible to pump immediately away.
Most women need 15 to 20 minutes per session to pump. It could take a bit less time once your milk arrives. You should pump eight times a day, or around every three hours, if you’re just using a pump.
5. Does My Breast Pump Need To Be Cleaned After Each Use?
It’s crucial for your health and the welfare of your baby to wash your breast pump correctly. However, it could be challenging if you’re traveling or at business.
The most common advice we provide to women is to store the pump kit in the refrigerator with the milk if you have room to do so at work. In this manner, you can avoid washing it after each and every use. Bring it home at night so you can wash it. You’ll spend less time on this during the workday.
For your pump kit, you don’t require expensive cleaning products. Water and soap will both work perfectly fine. Even putting it in the dishwasher is an option. Better yet, if your dishwasher has a sanitize cycle. Additionally, microwave-safe bags that let you sterilize your pump are available. Many of these bags have a maximum number of reuses. Make sure to adhere to the guidelines.
Invest on items made for breast milk storage rather than formula when making your purchases. Some formula storage bags have poor seams, which increases the risk of milk loss during freezing and thawing. Until you spill breast milk, you’ve never sobbed over spilled milk.
6. What Is The Future Of Breast Pumps?
Breast pumps have not experienced substantial advancement since the introduction of modern pumps to the market in the middle of the twentieth century. Demand is rising, which is starting to change this—in part because more women are pumping milk and health insurance companies are covering the expense. Breast pumps that are more effective, discrete, and high-tech are beginning to arrive on the market.
Every time we learn about a new product—whether through a patient or a mother board online—we write the manufacturer to request a sample item to display our classes.
New pumps that snugly fit on the breast underneath the bra also delight us. To the pump and storage container, which you can place next to you or put in a purse, tubing flows beneath the shirt. You wouldn’t even be able to hide your pumping!
Modern pumps are not all electric. Recently, a patient brought in a neat little hand pump that we had never seen before. She claimed that using it on one breast while using the other to breastfeed her child was simple. “Free milk,” she referred to it
Help For Breastfeeding And Pumping Moms
I am personally aware of the occasionally challenging nature of pumping and breastfeeding. You are not alone, mothers. There are resources and people available to help.
Consult a lactation consultant right away. Insurance frequently pays for these appointments. Free lactation consultations are provided to women who qualify for the WIC program.
Additionally, don’t undervalue the value of peer support.
Calling a lactation consultant a few weeks prior to your return to work for back-to-work lactation coaching may be worthwhile even if you are not experiencing any difficulties with breastfeeding or pumping. The lactation consultant can assist you in creating a schedule and plan for pumping that works for you, reducing some of the stress associated with going back to work.
Related: How Do I Prepare for Breastfeeding?