Why use a breast pump?
There are various reasons why a woman might use a breast pump, such as to:
• step out for a few hours at a time for an activity
• return to the workforce
• provide an opportunity for the spouse to feed the baby
• relieve engorgement
• stimulate milk production
• premature birth (because the sucking reflex in premature babies is less developed, the mother must generally express her milk in the beginning to stimulate and maintain milk production)
In any case, it is important to properly identify the reasons why you want to use a breast pump in order to make an informed decision about which one to choose.
Which breast pump should you choose?
The simplest and least expensive model is the manual breast pump. As its name suggests, it functions without electricity. Easy to use, it should be used occasionally or in the short-term, as it not effective in maintaining milk production in the long-term. Therefore, it is the ideal breast pump for occasional use, for instance, before an outing.
Electric breast pumps are battery or mains powered. They help to better maintain milk production than manual pumps, as they reproduce the sucking action a baby generally makes more accurately. There are two types of electric breast pumps, those for personal use and those for professional use.
There are single or double personal use electric breast pumps; that is, they can express milk from one or both breasts at a time. The double breast pump is more expensive. The personal use electric breast pump can be used several times a day or on a more occasional basis.
The professional use electric breast pump is the one that can be found in hospitals. They are worth a few thousand dollars and can be rented out in pharmacies (tubes and accessories must be bought separately). This type of professional use breast pump is generally reserved for mothers who are unable to breastfeed at all, such as mothers with premature babies in early life. Your pharmacist is an excellent advisor when the time comes to make an informed choice between the different breast pumps.