Re: Breast pump plans?
posted at 10/28/2009 3:08 PM EDT
In Response to Breast pump plans?
[QUOTE]So, we registered for the Medela Pump in Style Breast Pump but no one purchased it (gee, can't imagine why not, with its $280 price tag... $360 in Canada!) so now I'm trying to decide what to do: 1) Shell out the $280 for a new one (but worry if I have trouble breastfeeding and/or pumping it'll be a big waste of money) 2) Buy a used one on Craig's List for around $100 (there are tonnes of them) 3) Rent a hospital one after the baby's born, see how it goes, and then worry about buying one What's everyone else doing (and how did you make the decision)?
Posted by kaydo[/QUOTE]
I feel like I'm the pumping expert, so I will share what I know from my experience.
I pump almost exclusively for my twins (they each get one bottle of formula/day usually) and have been doing so for over 5 months now. My insurance covers 80% of the rental cost of a hospital-grade double-electric pump for 10 months. The total rental cost before insurance is about $70/month I THINK. If you rent through Cambridge Medical Supply, they have a deal where you can start out with a hospital grade pump and then they'll put the money you paid for the rental toward the purchase of a Pump in Style when you are ready (i.e. you need a pump you can carry back and forth to work). Definitely check into what your insurance will cover and under what conditions. i HIGHLY recommend waiting until AFTER the baby is born to make any decision about a pump, because you don't know what you'll need until you know if baby has any problems latching, etc.
I work at one of the research hospitals in the area and they have several "nursing mother's lounges" which are equipped with Medela Symphony pumps. I spoke with one of the lactation consultants here before the babies were born to find out what she recommended pump-wise and she said that hands-down rent a hospital-grade double-electric because it's much more efficient than any of the other pumps out there. And, of course, since the hospital has the Symphony pumps, she suggested that one so that I wouldn't have to buy a kit just for work. So that's what I did. (FWIW, the hospital-grade pumps don't have any parts that touch the milk directly including the tubing.)
Before the babies were born, I was planning to nurse them and pump in order to build a supply for returning to work. I delivered them at 37 1/2 weeks and they had a very hard time latching. On top of that, because I had a c-section, my milk took 4 days to come in. In my case, I THINK "multiple gestation" was the reason for the pump prescription, but it could've been prematurity or failure to latch, but I never actually saw it, so I'm not sure. I had ALOT of problems with nursing and still didn't have it down by the time we left the hospital. I really wanted to nurse them, but after a very frustrating week or two (it's all a blur, now) and a visit to the lactation consultant, I decided that the best thing to do for my mental health and for my babies' nutrition was to switch over to pumping. The LC encouraged me to keep trying to nurse, saying they'd "get" it one day, but I just couldn't do it any more. Nursing was a source of frustration for everyone involved and none of that precious bonding that was supposed to happen was taking place. I'm not saying this to discourage you or worry you about being able to nurse, just to let you know that despite the best intentions, you may end up using a pump much more than you ever planned to.
I've been pumping ever since I made the decision to do so, and since we have the nursing lounges at work, I still have the Symphony rental at home. The Pump in Style and the Ameda version of it are both very good pumps and ALOT of people use them and love them. They're portable and efficient, but they aren't as efficient as the hospital-grade pumps. Lots of mothers of multiples end up "just" pumping, and ones who switch to a non-hospital-grade pump when they go back to work complain that it's just not as good and it takes longer.
SO...my recommendation is to wait until the baby is born and see how things are going in the hospital with the nursing. Talk to the LC at the hospital to see what she recommends for YOUR SPECIFIC situation and go from there. I was a little panicked at the prospect of waiting until after the kids were born to get a pump, but the reality is that if you're renting, you can call the medical supply co. from the hospital and they will bring it to you. If you decide to buy a Pump in Style or similar, you can always rent a hospital pump until you're able to get out to the store to buy the Pump in Style or just order it online once you get home.
I personally would not use someone else's pump (hospital-grade ones are different b/c no milk touches the inner workings). It's just not sanitary. I KNOW people do it all the time, and I'm sure in practice it's fine, but I just don't think I would do it. Of course, I'm speaking from the point of having my pump mostly covered by insurance AND have a workplace that provides pumps in special rooms designated for the use of nursing mothers, SO...I cannot speak from the (unfortunately) "normal" situation of most nursing mothers.
Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions about pumping--before or after the baby is born.