Pump Options

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Ok, now we're going to go over your pump options. According to the Affordable Care Act, you are allowed a double electric breastpump which I highly recommend if you're going back to work. A double electric means you can do both breasts at the same time. If you are at work with just a single pump it would take 15-20 minutes on this side, potentially, then 15-20 minutes on this side. That can be up to 40 minutes and you may not have that much break time. I would recommend getting a double pump because not only can you cut your time in half by doing both breasts at the same time, but also you're going to get more milk because when you have a let-down on one side, remember, you also let-down on the other, so when you have suction on both you'll get more milk that way.

One of the most popular pumps on the market is the Medela Pump in Style Advanced. With your insurance you may only get the pump motor, the breastshields, two bottles, and the tubing. Some insurances will let you upgrade for an extra price to the tote or backpack to have something to actually carry it in. But at the bare minimum you're going to have the motor and a set for double pumping. So, how you motor it up is if you have an outlet you plug it in right here. If you do not have an outlet, say you're traveling and don't have an outlet, there is a vehicle lighter adapter you can get for this, or you can buy one of these battery adapters and put 8 AA batteries in there; I highly recommend doing that anyway because you may be somewhere where the outlet doesn't work and at least you have a backup. The motor goes right into the front like that. So, for this piece I'm going to put this back in. We talked about double pumping but just for the sake of my ease, we are going to just single pump right now so I'm going to take one of those tubes off. If you are single pumping, say you only have time to do one, or baby nursed on the other side, you have to block off this other hole. This is the biggest rookie mistake is trying to single pump without blocking this other hole off. If you don't block this off, you're going to only get half the suction, so that is a pretty critical piece. So, you put in the tubing right there. This is the other side that is pale yellow and kind of dummy-proof; there is no other place for it to go except this little hole in the back. You push it in well and it stays in there. Then, when you turn on the motor, you can kind of hear that, this is the suction that starts out on a speed that goes kind of fast; this is the time that baby is sucking fast for two minutes to get that let-down going, so it's almost like it's priming the pump, if you will. So, the motor is going to go fast like this for two minutes. After two minutes, the average woman has a let-down. Remember, the let-down is when the message goes to the pituitary and then it goes back down and your milk starts spraying out. So if you notice while pumping all of a sudden your milk starts spilling out at one minute, you can hit this button and it goes into a lower suck-swallow, suck-swallow rhythm, just like a baby would. If I hit this again, it'll go back to the fast ones. So when you're pumping or nursing, you have more than one let-down throughout a session. So, if you wanted to, when that first let-down kind of (it's going to spray, spray, spray, spray, dribble, dribble, nothing, nothing, nothing)….when you get the dribble, dribble, nothing, nothing – in between is when the milk cells are refilling. So, after 2 minutes, your milk supply is going to let-down, it's like turning on the faucet, your milk is going to come out easier, and then after that first let-down is done, there's going to be very little milk that's going to come out of the pump, so that's the time your milk cells are refilling. It takes a couple minutes or so, then it's going to spray out again. So, if you wanted to, you can hit this button during the time your milk is letting down, and hit this button to go faster in between let-downs when you're trying to prime the pump again; totally up to you. Some moms will just turn it on and get into their podcast ort their Netflix and forget about it, that's fine, too. Your body will just automatically keep having let-downs throughout your pumping session, even if you don't go back and forth between the two speeds. So, this is the suction; I want to tell you a little bit about this. This is how hard it's going to pull your nipples. When you're first starting, you're going to be careful. As it feels OK to you, you can slowly go up, but if you go up so far it starts to hurt your nipple, that's when you go back down. And that's your sweet spot. Over time you'll probably be able to go up higher, but ease yourself into it. Pumping is meant to get your milk out, not really kill your nipple, ideally. Be careful with the suction, just take it to your comfort level and back it down if it hurts. That is how the Medela Pump in Style motor works.


This is the Spectra and it's another very popular pump on the market and it's eligible for most insurance coverage as well. There's a S1 and S2; this is the the S1; there's a pink one and a blue one. So the blue one, the S1, has a rechargeable battery; you'll notice I’m not plugged into anything, so this is a really nice feature if you're on the go and you don't have an outlet. I just want to let you know there's two types of the Spectra pump. This is how you turn it on. As soon as it starts, you hit this little wave. As you remember from the Medela, this is the stimulation phase when it's going fast like a baby would – trying to prime that pump, trying to get that let-down going. So, you're going to watch, and when milk starts coming out (the average woman takes 2 minutes to let down, but if your milk starts spilling out at 30 seconds, then you can hit this button again and it goes longer, just like the baby) suck-swallow, suck-swallow. So, to review, just turn it on and then immediately start this little wavy button to get it go faster, then when the milk lets down you hit it again, and it holds the suction longer at the same time your milk is spraying out so it works together to get the most possible milk out at the same time. Once you're into this mode, you can mess with the cycle and the vacuum. The vacuum is how hard it pulls; you want to take it right to your level of pain then go down. You want it to pull as hard as you can without killing your nipple. I’m going to go up one, you can kind of hear the motor getting scarier and scarier, but this shouldn't hurt. And then you can go down again. It's still going the same speed, just different suction levels. This cycle is just how fast it sucks and lets go, so I'll go to the higher one and then you can go lower. It's just a slower suck cycle. This is how long it holds the suck, and this is how hard it sucks, the suction. Another fun thing is it has a night light and a timer that tells you how long you've been pumping, so that's another nice bell and whistle on this pump. 


I know we've talked about the double electric pumps, but some moms just don't want a double electric pump; they just want to use something more simple and I want to tell you of a couple options for those. The first one is the manual pump; this is a Medela Harmony pump. You just do one at a time, of course, and it's about $25-30. And how you do this is, remember we go fast for the let-down and then once your milk starts letting down you go to the longer sucks. Suck-swallow, suck-swallow, so it holds the suction longer just like the other pumps, so you can replicate that fast, kind of priming the pump, then when your milk lets down you can do the longer sucks to hold the suction longer at the same time your milk is letting down. So, that's that one. Some moms swear they get more milk out with the manual pump than the fancy double electric, so if that's you, great. You can can even actually buy another one so for $50 you can have two and you can do both at the same time; your hand might get a little tired, but some moms get more milk out that way, so I just want to mention it. It's also a really nice thing to have if you're traveling and you don't want to check your pump in your luggage and you just want to take this on the airplane; this is super nice. And/or you just want to get through engorgement or you want to pump in the middle of the night but don't want to plug anything in, having one of these around is not a bad idea. I also recommend if you get to work and "Oh my gosh, I don't have my pump with me" if you have one of these in your locker or desk at least you can pump something and not be engorged all day. It's a nice little back up for traveling and just for forgetfulness.


The next one is a cool little thing on the market; I wish I had invented this stupid thing. This is the Haaka (I don't know if this is that exact brand). This is a low-tech way of pumping that's very popular with the moms. It's a suction cup, a little hand grenade, and you squeeze it, put it on your breast and then it just slowly releases as milk comes out and this thing can collect milk, believe it or not. So you don't have to, but sometimes I have the moms turn it inside out, center it on your nipple, and then squeeze this, and it makes a little suction cup; this shouldn't hurt you, it's just a gentle, constant suction pressure. Some moms, when they are nursing on this side, will use this. When this milk lets down or drips it just collects it, so you can use this for your freezer stash. It's a handy little thing; you may not be able to use this at work but on maternity leave it's a nice way to get some milk into your freezer stash.


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