Breastfeeding Journey: Choosing The Right Pump

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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As a working mum, I need a decent breast pump in order for me to continue my breast feeding journey. And I'm so glad I invested on a hospital grade double electric breast pump.


I have a UNIMOM FORTE which I use at work.

As early as my 2nd trimester, I am already researching on the best breast pump to get. You see, most decent breast pumps are not cheap. Not cheap at all. Eh kilala nyo naman ako, I am a WAIS mum. I wanna make sure that I spend my money well. Baka naman nakatipid nga ako sa formula milk, eh maghirap naman ako sa pump. Waley din!

During my research and blog hopping, I noted that the most popular and most recommended breast pump is the Medela. I checked and its a whopping 14k! Yun pa yung mura ah. Cartwheel plus split ang lola mo. Mahalia Rodriguez. I know that a lot of mums swear by their Medela but I honestly can't afford it. Oh sya sige na nga, maybe I can pero promise tutulo talaga yung luha ko at mapapa-walling ako ng bonggang bongga.

So ginalugad ko talaga ang world wide web para makahanap ng murang breastpump and I was overwhelmed by the wide array of choices.

Manual vs Electric. Single Pump vs Double Pump. Closed System vs Open System. Rechargeable. Portable. Different flange sizes. Wide Neck vs Narrow Neck. Affordable vs 100k++. Whoaahh! Madami-daming research ang nangyari ang ilang gabi akong nagbasa ng iba’t ibang blogs.

I saw a lot of blogs that discusses how great their pump is or what’s the best thing about their pump but there are only very few that explained why they opted for that specific make and model. Most would even tell that its a pump that is recommended to them by a friend or a sister or a pedia. But I believe in “to each her own”. Iba iba ang needs natin at iba iba ang status natin. What might work for you won't actually work that well for me or vice versa. So now, I am coming up with a list on how I finally decided to get my Farlin and Unimom Forte pumps. And hoped that this post would help new mums to decide on what pump to get.

MANUAL vs ELECTRIC

On my 1st week of breastfeeding, I suffered from breast engorgement. And Skye would usually have a hard time feeding because of the overflowing milk. My pedia told me to pump at least 0.5oz before offering my breast to Skye. Just to relieve the breast and make it a little soft so the baby can latch properly. I tried hand expressing pero hindi ko na-carry. So I got a cheap manual breast pump.


I went to Baby Co. and got myself a FARLIN MANUAL BREAST PUMP. It's only Php600++ that time coz I got it on sale. I was actually skeptical at first. Inisip ko sayang din ang Php600 baka hindi effective. Avent Manual nalang kaya? Kaya lang its around 3K. Konti nalang pwede na sa electric breast pump. Diba? So before actually buying, I read up. Thank heavens I am a member of Breastfeeding Pinays. I saw that many of the mummies there actually use this brand and the Looney Tunes one, so go na ako.

I opted for a cheap manual pump because I’m just at home. And I only need it to pump 0.5oz of milk. Just to relieve the engorgement and eventually, to help with the plugged ducts. Plus I know that I’d soon buy a double electric pump pagbalik ko sa work so buying the pricey Avent is not WAIS. I didn’t buy an electric pump right away coz honestly, I am not sure if I can actually continue breastfeeding the baby. The first 6weeks of breastfeeding are the hardest, so there are loads of time where I find myself asking if I can actually do it.

I actually think that getting a decent manual pump is important. Hindi naman kasi laging may kuryente diba? Remember Glenda? And it’s perfect if you need to pump on the go. Yun nga lang medyo nakakangalay ang manual pump. Actually, I still use my manual pump when at home. Kasi I leave the electric one sa office.

I got the electric breast pump a week before going back to work coz I need to “practice” and get the hang of it. When the baby reached her 6th week and all the breastfeeding issues was gone, dun lang ako naging super sure that I really want to do it. And since I know that I’d use the pump the entire day at work and that I have limited time to pump, getting an electric breast pump is a must, at least for me.

So in summary, if you need to pump occasionally and don’t mind the extra effort then a manual pump is okay. But if you need to pump more often and can’t pump manually then an electric pump is what you need.

SINGLE PUMP vs DOUBLE PUMP

While looking for a decent electric breast pump, I came across a couple of nice single pumps. UNIMOM ALEGRO is one of them. It was even on sale at Lazada! Parang around 4K na lang. I was so tempted to buy it. But, reading its description on babymama.ph (where I got my Unimom Forte), it is intended for occasional pumping mums. And I am not an “occasional” pumping mum. I’ll be a hardcore pumping mummy for at least 12hrs on weekdays.

I need a double pump so I could pump faster. If you’re at work, you have limited lactation break. So it is important that you maximize that break. And the best way to do it is to pump your breast simultaneously. Especially since we have to pump for at least 15minutes per breast to ensure that the breast is properly emptied. So imagine if I have a single pump? 30minutes pumping palang yun. Eh nasa ibang floor pa ang lactation room namin. So ba-byahe pa ko. Ang tagaaaal! So double electric it is!

AFFORDABILITY

Oh yes! The very famous line – looking for an affordable breast pump. Tapos magko-comment ng Medela! Hahahahaha! Alright! Alright! Actually, you really can’t blame them. Affordability varies per person. Malay mo nga for her affordable na ang 14K na Medela coz honestly, there are hospital grade pumps that costs 100K! I guess one should set a price range.

Like what I’ve mentioned above, a 3K Avent Manual Pump is something I don’t consider affordable. For me, it’s already expensive. I’d probably get it if I don’t have any plans of buying an electric breast pump. But I know that I’d eventually buy another one so I need to look for a cheaper alternative. Thank heavens I found Farlin. I love my Farlin actually. And most of all, I got it on SALE.

My Unimom Forte costs around 7K. But I got it on sale at babymama.ph at around 6K only. That’s also why I got it instead of the Spectra M1 that I am also eyeing. The M1 is around 8K. 2K difference that time! Kung hindi sale ang Unimom Forte I would have got myself the M1. Pero the major things that made M1 more pricey are the things I could actually let go. Like the fact that it’s rechargeable and that it’s smaller than Forte. I can leave the machine in the office. I don’t need to lug it with me everyday coz I have Farlin at home. And an outlet is always present at work and at the lactation room. Sayang ang 2K.

See? You need to read the specs of the product and see which are the things you can actually live without. Affordability is finding a product that best suits your needs at the lowest possible price. You won’t get your money’s worth if you buy a breast pump packed with extra features that you don’t really need. So if you need the pump occasionally, why would you shell out 6K for a hospital grade double e-pump? Sayang! Get a decent manual pump or single pump diba?

CLOSED SYSTEM vs OPEN SYSTEM

This is one thing I learned just recently. Dahil sa pagbabasa ng kung ano ano. A closed system pump is the mold-free pump. Milk and milk residue don’t get inside the pump at all. Apparently, most pumps available in the market are open system, na may high probability na magkaron ng mold kasi nakakapasok ang milk sa machine. Kaya din hindi daw advisable that you buy a second hand breast pump. Of course we’re talking about milk here. We don’t want our baby’s milk to get contaminated or whatever.

Unimom is a closed system pump. So it’s a plus. I think it’ll be safe to re-sell.

PORTABILITY and EXTRA FEATURES

Most hospital grade e-pump are kinda bulky. Mine weighs 2kg. Mabigat din. You have to think on how you plan to use it. We have a lactation room. I leave the machine, the tubes and the bottle stand at the lactation room. I just put everything on a bag. I even have a marker and my masking tape there. But if you are always on the go and you plan to use the same pump at home, then I guess you should get a more portable pump. M1 is a good choice. My friend got a portable Medela.

Some pump are chargeable, some can be battery operated. Those are also nice features. If your work would require you to travel or go out within the day and the best place to pump is on your car then by all means get a battery operated pump. But if those extra features are just “nice to have” then maybe you can get a different pump at much lower price. Pero of course kung afford mo naman then go!

NARROW NECK vs WIDE NECK

If you are like me who use storage bottles instead of bags then I guess you should also consider this. Both my pumps are narrowed neck pumps. Yung regular bottle size. Wide neck is yung kasya sa Avent bottles. The good thing is, my Farlin pump comes with a narrow to wide neck converter. Astig diba?! So when I’m at home, I could pump directly to my Avent bottles. Pero very seldom lang naman yun. I’d usually use my storage bottles.

FLANGE SIZE

In babymama.ph, they would ask you to measure your nipple size to know which flange size best fits you. I think this is also another thing to consider. A lot of mums would disregard this thinking that every flange would fit every breast. Syempre hindi yun totoo. Meron malalaki nipples, meron sakto lang. This one is a nice guide.

Screen-Shot-2013-09-23-at-12.14.53-PM

It is important that you get the correct flange size. Because usually, incorrect flange size could cause low output or sometimes, painful pumping. Ayaw natin nun diba?


BRAND NEW vs SECOND HAND

Yep! I actually considered getting a second hand pump. Cheaper? Baka mas wais. I was thinking, okay na din to get a second hand pump siguro. I’d just buy a closed system pump para sure walang molds ang machine. But then again, I decided against it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m totally fine with getting a second hand breast pump but personally, I think it’ll be best if you buy one from people you personally know. Especially if you’ll plan to use the flange and the valve and those parts that has direct contact with the milk. Again, personal opinion ko lang to. I think hygiene-wise medyo alanganin. Lalo na if you don’t personally know the previous owner. Baka kasi hindi sya malinis sa gamit diba? Mahirap na. Another option ko noon is to just get the machine and buy the flange kaso if I’ll sum it up para na din akong bumili ng bago. So bago nalang! Hahahahaha!

AVAILABILITY OF PARTS

Another major thing to consider is the availability of the breast pump parts. So you got yourself a decent pump, tapos after 1 month nawala mo yung isang small part. Kaloka! Bibili na naman ulit? Isang set? Make sure that the pump parts are available and affordable. I know a couple of mums who got their pump online and had it shipped. Ayun! Walang parts dito sa Manila. Bibili ulit online, papaship tapos ang price para ka ring bumili ng brand new. Waley!

There you go! This one’s a bit lengthy but I hoped it would help you in one way or another.
Happy breastfeeding mummies!


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