As you enter the home stretch of pregnancy and your due date looms close, you may consider which breast pump kit will best fit you.
You may be shocked to learn that many types of breast pumps are available to you, from a manual breast pump to an electric breast pump, wearable breast pump, portable breast pump, and more.
In this article, we’ll talk about breast pumps and the best breast pump to induce lactation.
Getting your milk supply started and then building up a good milk supply will be something on your mind almost constantly as you begin your breastfeeding journey, and inducing lactation in the beginning stages so that you get milk production going, is a big goal of nearly all women who plan to breastfeed.
When does lactation begin?
For most women, lactation begins in the second trimester of pregnancy.
Hormones start the process, and those hormones are present, multiply, and come on strong during the second trimester.
For some women, especially those with children, lactation can begin sooner. For other women, lactation starts a bit late.
If you are concerned about possible issues with your lactation or having trouble getting the hang of nursing or pumping, reach out to your doctor or lactation specialist. There are many resources available to women who are trying to breastfeed.
Lactation continues for women until they stop breastfeeding. Some medications can dry a woman’s supply up, but your doctor will most likely let you know before prescribing any medications that may do so so that you can seek a different treatment.
How to induce lactation
Lactation is the process of making human milk in the breasts. This occurs on its own when you are pregnant or shortly after the delivery of your baby.
To keep up with lactation so that your breasts continue milk production and your milk supply increases, you must continue stimulating milk production.
This can come through nursing your baby or by each frequent pumping session. Pumping sessions that are routine and regular will get your milk flowing so that pumping milk is something that occurs naturally rather than it becoming an almost forced
Along with frequent pumping, how much milk you can express also has to do with ensuring that the breast shield you use fits you well.
No two breasts are the same, and no two nipples are the same. Sometimes you have to try several sizes before you find the breast shield that is right for you.
Another practice that you can put into your routine to help establish milk in the early days of nursing is heat and breast massage. Allowing hot water from the shower, as well as light massage, can help to prime your breasts for expression.
And if you still have difficulties with lactation, contact a lactation consultant. They can help steer you in the right direction, help you build a healthy diet, give suggestions on staying active and hydrated and be a great support system.
Best breast pump to induce lactation
A few factors involved which breast pump you choose to get your milk production going successfully. There are prices, availability, and your individual needs and plans for feeding your baby.
You may consider the following factors when weighing your breast pump options.
Many women only look at breast pumps covered by their insurance.
Without this coverage, a hospital-grade pump can be out of the question due to cost. They are several hundred dollars, and a hospital-grade breast pump is typically the best option for intense suction to induce lactation.
Many insurance companies will cover breast pumps to a specific dollar amount or give you one per pregnancy per year.
Call your insurance company to ask about their coverage, then weigh your options.
Are you going to be staying home with your baby? Do you work from home? Will you have a limited daily time to pump milk at your job?
The amount of time you’ll be able to spend pumping breast milk each day will have a lot to do with the amount of milk volume you’ll be able to work up to.
Many women complain that when they return to work, they realize that the breast pump that was great for leisurely pumping sessions at home doesn’t quite cut it when they only have fifteen minutes a few times a day at work.
3. Feeding method
Consider what sort of feeding you’d like to do. If you plan to nurse when you’re home with your baby and only pump at work, you may want to look into a wearable breast pump.
A double electric breast pump may be your best option if you plan exclusively pumping.
Knowing what feeding method you plan to do will help you narrow down your many options.
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The manual breast pump vs. electric breast pumps
Breast pumps come in wide varieties, but manual and electric breast pumps are the two most prominent types.
Both of these breast pumps are great for getting milk from the breasts. It’s up to you and your needs in your breastfeeding journey as to which breast pump type is best for you.
Manual breast pumps
A manual breast pump forces gravity to pull milk down from the mammary glands once a letdown has occurred. The wearer manually pumps the handle of the breast pump, relying on hand and lower arm strength to encourage milk flow.
These are great for travel when you feel engorged and need to express milk quickly. They don’t require a charged battery or an outlet, and they are smaller.
A lightweight pump, such as a manual breast pump, is less bulky to lug around when traveling and fits in most handbags.
The downside is that they can be hard work and cause your hand to cramp up, and they offer a hands-free option at no point.
Also, they aren’t covered by most insurances, so unlike a double electric closed system, these won’t qualify as your free breast pump.
Electric breast pump
An electric breast pump means you don’t have to do the work. These are great for parents who want to stick the flanges or breast shields into the openings of a pumping bra and let the pump do all of the work.
Many have different suction settings, so you get individualizing breast pump technology that retains your chosen settings.
Most are closed systems, so you can do your single or double pumping on a budget by safely renting or buying a used single or double pump.
A closed system means no milk can enter the machine’s housing, allowing for bacterial buildup, mold, and more. Double electric pumps can be pricey, so using a breast pump at a discounted rate is a great option.
However, these are bulkier, require cleaning after each use, are expensive without insurance coverage, and need a power outlet or a well-charged battery to be operable.
Choosing the breast pump that’s best for you
Now that we’ve established the differences between breast pump types, we can get down to business and talk about some of the best breast pumps on the market to maintain milk supply and induce lactation.
The following are some of the most popular and well-regarded electric pumps and manual pumps you can find to purchase.
1. Medela Harmony manual pump
If you aren’t interested in an electric pump, this manual pump has rave reviews.
With two settings that simulate how nursing your baby feels, this breast pump is less challenging to use than others.
You start by pumping one side until your letdown occurs, and then pull the other side of the handle to simulate longer and slower suction and milk expression.
The only downsides to this pump are that it doesn’t come with multiple breast shields, so you’ll have to purchase spares, and many women have reported that over time, the pump loses suction, so you’ll have to replace it after a while.
2. Ameda Mya Joy Plus
If you want to be impressed with a tiny pump that does a big job, this is the one for you. It’s a light breast pump that will fit into most purses and a hospital-grade breast pump that is a double electric breast pump.
With this double electric breast pump, your breast milk will have no issue coming in with the 12 settings on offer.
The only major complaint about this double breast pump is that it eats through batteries fast, like many hospital-grade pumps. Having rechargeable batteries at the ready is always a good idea.
However, many consider this the best portable breast pump for its price and convenience.
3. Evenflo Deluxe Advanced Double Breast pump
If you prefer a double breast pump because you plan to pump exclusively, and if you’re going back to work after maternity leave and want a quiet electric pump, this may be the one for you.
It has noise-canceling features, fits several breast sizes, has fewer parts than many other single or double-pumping pumps, and comes with a cooler bag to store breast milk, three ice packs, and two bottles.
The fact that it’s so quiet means you can use it as a single or double pump for inducing lactation and get more milk than you would in other settings. Because this one is so quiet, it won’t disturb anyone.
4. Lansinoh manual pump
Hospital-grade breast pumps are a necessity for everyone. If you plan to pump and nurse, and manual or portable breast pumps are more what you’re looking for, this might be the one for you.
With a comfortable handle that will keep your hand from cramping within moments of beginning, portable pumps like this offer ease of use and silence and relieve pressure due to engorgement.
It fits easily in a purse or tote bag and can be used where a double electric pump can’t work due to a lack of outlets or power sources.
Storing milk with what many regards as the best manual breast pump is easy if you have the Lansinoh.
5. Lansinoh Signature Pro Double electric breast pump
This closed system pump can be used as a single breast pump or as a double, and, like other pumps that are much more expensive, it can be worn hands-free with a bra made for pumping.
This wearable pump is regarded as one of the best breast pumps and the most inexpensive.
The best breast pump
The best breast pumps make the person using them feel great about pumping.
Breast pumps are not a “one size fits all” type of thing, and finding the right type, the right style, and the right budget for you is something that matters when it comes to deciding which pump you like most.
Hopefully, this article has given you some great starting points when deciding, and you’ve started narrowing down your options.
Remember to always read reviews from customers and users before making any large purchase you will be using for at least the first year of your baby’s life.