Breast Pump Reviews - Breast Pump Comparison
Breast Is Best
Breastfeeding has finally won the approval of The American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the World Health Organization who both agree that breastfeeding is the best way to nourish baby for the first six months of life, unless there are medical reasons not to do so, without supplementation with water, formula or juice. To continue breastfeeding after that period is even better. Happily, many women have made the decision that "breast is best" for their babies and breastfeeding has begun to replace formula as the first food of choice for baby.
When Breast Pumps Are Valuable
But, some mothers have to return to work before six months is up, yet they want to continue breastfeeding their babies. In other cases, circumstances, illness, or something unforeseen may throw a wrench into the breastfeeding schedule. In situations like this, breast pumps are a saving grace. Along with that grace comes myriad types of breast pumps to choose from - and it can be overwhelming making breast pump comparisons when the time comes to shop for one. There are several breast pump reviews available online where you can look at the models available and compare them with one another to determine the best fit for you. Breast pump ratings are also available online to help with the decision-making process.
Add It to the Shopping List
A breast pump can be advantageous during the first week or so after you've delivered your baby, when the milk comes in and the breasts fill so full the baby can't latch properly. It's all good while you're in the hospital, but once you get home it's a whole different story and supply can well exceed demand. It's a good idea to purchase a breast pump, even just a manual breast pump, before the baby's birth so you have one on hand when the need arises. Include it in your shopping list of baby things - like baby blankets and diapers. Some women wonder about pumping before the baby is born. Colostrum is produced for up to three days after the birth of the baby, so there's no worry about running out if you pump before the baby is born. However, pumping too soon before labor can be harmful because it stimulates contractions and may cause premature labor. If you've gone over your due date and your practitioner has told you to pump as a means of inducing labor, then that's fine. Otherwise, introducing something like breast pumping before the birth of the baby can be problematic for both mother and babe.
Storing Breast Milk
Breast milk can be stored at room temperature, as long as it isn't hot (no warmer than 25C or 77F), for between four and eight hours. It can be stored in the fridge safely for 24 hours and to a maximum of 72 hours if the temperature in the fridge is -4C or 32-39F. Freezing milk is fine as long as you place the bottle at the back of the freezer and not near the front where there is the potential for thawing. In a refrigerator freezer milk can be stored a 0F or -18C for three to four months and for six to 12 months in a deep freeze that is always -4F or -20C. Once thawed, use the milk within 24 hours and don't refreeze or keep thawed milk that the baby had already had in a bottle. This is only a guideline. Some information varies so it is best to consult with your doctor or check La Leche League for more information.
Using A Breast Pump
Once you have found the right pump you'll need to practice with it, learning the best positioning and figuring out the best way to use it for yourself. It can be clumsy at first, but before long you'll get the hang of it. It is imperative that the parts of the pump that are in contact with your breasts be kept immaculate, washed with hot soapy water, rinsed well and dried thoroughly each time it is used. In order to save some money (breast pumps are expensive), you may want to think about breast pump rental. Medical supply stores carry them, and the La Leche League or International Lactation Consultant Association can help you locate one if you're having trouble.
Types of Breast Pumps
Breast pumps come in different types: hospital-grade, which typically aren't available for home use; midweight, personal-use, automatic models; and small electric or battery-operated units that either double or single pump. Then there are one-handed manual pumps and "hands-free" pumps that you wear inside your bra - they pump while you're out doing errands or working. The top brands available in breast pumps are the Medela breast pump, which is available in all types expect hands-free; Ameda breast pumps, which are available in most types (excluding small electric units and hands-free); and Whittlestone and Playtex also have breast pumps available. The only manufacturer of hands-free pumps is Whisper Wear.
If you're not sure how long you'll need the breast pump, consider breast pump rental from the hospital. If you expect to be using a breast pump regularly, then purchasing a midweight, personal-use model is probably the best choice. Check the breast pump reviews, and do your homework before investing.