How I Picked The Perfect Breast Pump 2022

July 23, 2022

how to find the best breast pump

Breastfeeding was always something I just assumed I’d do and it would be easy. I quickly learned to be careful with assumptions. 

I gave birth to my son in May 2020 at the height of COVID and I couldn’t breastfeed. He had a tongue tie and still didn’t latch, even after it was cut. The same thing happened with my daughter who was born two years later.

I felt like I was missing out or that I was incompetent. However, due to what was going on in the world, I was motivated to give him as much immune support as I could. That kept me going when I was pumping eight times a day for about 30 minutes at a time - one being a power pump.

Pumping is painful, time consuming, frustrating and takes away from things that you’d rather be doing. It’s also emotionally draining. I'd ask myself questions like, "Would I be able to bond with my babies if I were exclusively pumping (the answer is YES by the way!)?" So I did my research and found pumps that worked for me and made the process a bit easier. Hopefully this can help you, too! 

I chose my first pump based on a recommendation from my sister. There are many pumps that are free with insurance, but the Spectra S1 was a $75 upgrade because it was wireless. It came with a rechargeable battery so it didn’t have to be plugged into the wall. It allowed me to be able to walk around but I still had to carry the pump. There were times I put the pump inside a tote and hung it over my shoulder so I could be hands-free to wash dishes, or even get my newborn out of his bassinet. The only annoyance was that sometimes the tubing would get caught as I moved and the flange would rip off my breasts. This pump is the gentlest on my nipples. 

After a few months, I decided to look for a true hands-free pump and tried the Freemie because it was one of the cheapest options. The pump is tiny and fits on the waistband of your jeans, scrubs or yoga pants. It has a little less output, so I did have to pump longer. This is what I used when I went back to work. It’s quiet, but audible. It would sometimes get caught and disconnect, but the flange stayed on. 

With my second baby, I went all out for convenience! I knew what I was getting into this time, so I wanted it to be as easy as possible. I wanted to be completely hands-free and tube-free with fewer parts to wash. With the Willow 3.0 I can wash the dishes and pick up my kids and nothing gets caught. I can even wear them while driving. They’re also nice when I have family or friends around because I'm completely covered. The only downside is that it's very heavy so get a supportive bra! The suction is very powerful, so it’s rougher on my nipples than my other pumps. So much so, it cracks then. Due to this, every now and then I’ll give them a break and go with the Spectra. Another con is that if you’re someone who really has to squeeze and massage your breasts, this pump makes that more difficult because your breasts are covered. 

Pro tips:

– There are many websites that can help you get a pump for free, but make sure it’s in-network with your insurance. You may end up paying more for your pump if it’s not in-network with your insurance. Your doctor’s office will also be able to give you a website that can help you with this process. 

– Once you pick your pump, see what it’s compatible with. For example, Avent bottles will twist on to your Spectra pump. So it’s good to have the Avent hand pump so your bottles are interchangeable. Otherwise you’ll be like me, with a Lansinoh hand pump and only one bottle that fits it and tons of Avent bottles sitting in the cupboard. 

– A hand pump comes in handy. One day I forgot the duckbills and I couldn’t figure out why my pump wasn’t working. Thank goodness I had my hand pump. It goes everywhere with me, just in case. 

– Get sterling silver nipple shields. They’re fantastic because they protect your nipples from rubbing on your bra. I’ll say my nipples are way less sore and painful than the first time around when I didn’t know about these gems yet!

– Girl, buy the cleaning and sanitizing spray for your pump parts. 

– Don’t waste money on the fancy lube for the flanges or your nipples. Coconut oil is perfect.

– To save time and get more rest, pump while feeding your baby in the middle of the night. 

-Make sure your wireless pump is charged because it's frustrating to grab your pump and it's dead! 

I think the most important advice in choosing a breast pump: if you’re breastfeeding and you need to pump on occasion, the Spectra works great. However, if you are an exclusive pumper, or need to continue working or get stuff done while you're pumping, hands-free is the way to go!

Yes, it’s frustrating, exhausting, time consuming and painful, but it’s worth it. When you feel like you are at your wits end, take a deep breath and remember why you’re doing it. Right now you may want to cry, but I promise you, one day you’ll look back and be so proud of what you did for your baby!

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