When Isaac was born breastfeeding did not come naturally to either of us and it was more than a little stressful. However, I was fortunate enough to have lots of milk supply so I decided to express milk for him. Once you get over the initial feeling of being a cow hooked up to a machine it really is quick, easy and handy!
I started out with a Haaka. This pump creates a kind of vacuum on the breast and can be used hands-free; many women have a lot of success with it. I found it useful for releasing milk when I was super engorged in the early days but it took far too long to drain the entire breast and as I only had one it took double the time of the hospital electric pump.
When later looking up the price of an electric pump I initially only considered Medela (as this was what the hospital used) but there was no way I could afford the price tag! I opted to buy a manual Medela pump called ‘Harmony’ as in the back of my mind I still thought we’d nail breastfeeding and didn’t want to waste money. This pump was pretty good but having to use my hand over and over again meant a serious risk of repetitive strain injury!
After about 3 weeks still trying to breastfeed, Isaac was getting grumpy and not gaining enough weight (plus my supply was way down!) It got to the critical point where if I didn’t exclusively pump then we’d be on formula- no harm in this but as I was blessed with choice I wanted to use breastmilk.
After some extensive Googling my husband and I decided to buy the BellaBaby double electric breast pump. It had excellent reviews and was only £40 so our attitude was very much ‘if it breaks we’ll buy another’. Well, here I am 3 months later pumping with it right now as I type and I couldn’t be more impressed!
This double electric pump has four different suction settings to mimic a baby’s sucking and even uses a massage setting so you don’t have to ‘prep the breast’ before use! I find I can hook it into my nursing bra which is helpful and it only takes 10 minutes for me to drain both breasts (simultaneously) and express around 150-200ml a time. Generally this has been plenty for Isaac who drinks around 150ml per feed. I store excess milk in the freezer in these handy Medela storage bags so when he has a particularly hungry day I always have some spare to hand.
I express around 6 times a day so, taking just an hour out of my day, it really has been a life-saver. This portable little pump has all the strength of the hospital-grade ones and is battery operated. I charge it once a day for about 2 hours and I’m good to go.
I hope this helps to ease any expressing concerns you may have and gives you an honest, first-hand review of what works well.
In my next blog post I will be detailing my easy daily sterilising routine and the bottles and sterilising equipment I use!