Breast Pumps: Electric vs. Manual

For mothers who have made the important decision to breastfeed their babies, there is also the need to decide on which type of breast pump will best meet their needs. Whether you simply need a night off to rest or go out with friends, or you have plans to return to work, you will need some way in which to express the breast milk for your baby during your absence. Even if you intend to always be there for your baby, it is a good idea to have a backup plan in case of an emergency.

Whatever your reasons may be, choosing the right breast pump is something you should give a great deal of thought to. Each pump has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, but with a little research, you should find one that will meet your needs. Once you have found the ideal breast pump, you should become familiar with using it, long before it is actually needed. This means, before you anticipate an evening out or the return to work, take some time to familiarize yourself with your breast pump and gain some experience in using it. It is important to work out any problems before you actually need to express milk, this will allow you to gain proficiency without any undue stress.

Electric Breast Pumps

electric breast pump

Electric breast pumps are a convenient way to express milk

Electric breast pumps can be an especially convenient way to express milk, but they also require the need for electricity. Depending on where you will be pumping, this may or may not be a consideration. If you are returning to work and will need to express milk during working hours, be sure you have an area where you will be able to have access to an electrical outlet. However, there are battery operated models that could also be used in these conditions.

Many mothers prefer an electric breast pump if they will be expressing milk on a regular basis. If your baby is a preemie, in NICU, or you will be returning to work full-time, you might want to consider the advantages of some of the top-of-the-line electric breast pumps. Hospital grade pumps as well as high-end electric pumps offer a number of functions that can make pumping breast milk much easier and certainly more comfortable. These pumps are also ideal for mothers who are having difficulty producing enough milk for their baby.

Some of the higher grade models offer a kit for double collection; this will allow you to empty milk from both breasts simultaneously. This can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend expressing milk. The models that offer a cycling time that mimics the rate at which a baby would typically draw milk from the breast can also reduce the time you will need to spend pumping.

Manual Breast Pumps

manual breast pump

Manual breast pumps are a cost-effective alternative to their electric counterparts

Hand operated breast pumps are often the preferred choice for mothers who will only be expressing milk occasionally; however, even daily pumping is possible with manual beast pumps, but they can take a little longer than an electric model. For one thing, manual pumps typically only express milk from one breast at a time; this will certainly require more time than an efficient electric model that has a double collection kit.

However, there are some unique advantages with a manual pump; these include the fact that they are generally much more compact and can easily be carried with you. They are also quieter and require no electricity. Another major benefit that many mothers find convenient is the fact that they can better control the suction and speed for a more comfortable pumping experience.

Which Type of Breast Pump is Right for You?

The type of breast pump that you choose will depend on how often you will be pumping, whether you want the convenience of an electric model or prefer the more affordable manual style pump. There are a lot of features and considerations that should be carefully weighed before making a decision, but whichever model you choose, be sure that you take some time to get comfortable expressing milk prior to actually needing it. When you take some time to relax and experiment with your breast pump, you will be much more at ease when you are under pressure to express the milk in a hurry.

Where to Find Quality Breast Pumps

Many local retailers that specialize in baby equipment and accessories will have a variety of breast pumps for sale; however, online retailers often have a larger selection and many times, their prices will even be cheaper. You can read my reviews on manual and electric breast pumps which also have links to places to buy them online.

Find the model that meets your needs and do some research regarding pricing. While it may seem tempting to pick one up second-hand, breastfeeding experts, as well as the FDA, strongly caution against this practice. Bacteria and viruses can be present in breast milk and can contaminate the breast pump. Cleaning the pump and using a new collection kit will not eliminate the possibility of passing on an infection to your baby or yourself.

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