We see lots of expectant moms every day, and a frequent question they have is about breastpumps. Should they rent one or buy one, and which pump should they buy. Obviously the answer depends on a mother's situation.
However, I generally encourage mothers not to buy a breastpump when they're pregnant. Instead I tell them to ask for the free breastpump kit in the hospital. In Huntsville both of our local hospitals offer the Medela kit. Insurance pays for it, so it's no money out of mom's pocket. The kit offers everything a new mother needs to get started with a hospital grade rental pump. We recommend the state-of-the-art Medela Symphony. It rents for just $25/week or $65/month.
For the early post-partum period, I really prefer a hospital-grade pump to any other kind of pump. It is an ideal pump for establishing a good supply. If baby is healthy and nursing well, there is no need to pump. On the other hand, if baby can't latch well, is sick, or mother and baby are separated, then a hospital-grade pump is the very best option to help establish a good supply.
Most moms begin to experience the fullness of the milk coming in between days 2 and 6 post-partum. The mother whose milk isn't coming in as quickly may be able to stimulate her production by pumping for 5-7 minutes after each feed. Some mothers have such tremendous engorgement that a baby who was nursing beautifully yesterday can't even latch on today. Moist heat and a good breastpump can be a life-saving combination in that situation. You apply moist heat to the breast and pump until you've removed enough milk for the nipple and areola to soften. Then baby can latch on just fine.
After the first few weeks of breastfeeding, a mother is ready to make a decision on which pump to purchase. She knows that breastfeeding is going to work well for her, and she has a sense of what she will need for her situation. She may find that the Swing breastpump is all she really needs because she's home with the baby most of the time. Or she may decide that she would prefer a double pump like the Medela Pump in Style of the Hygeia En-Joye. Either way, she will have spare parts for her pump because the kit she received from the hospital has parts that can be used with either pump.
Do you have questions about pumping? We work with moms every day who are in your situation, so don't hesitate to give us a call!