March 2023 Moms

Product Spotlight: Breast Pumps and Accessories

Each week we'll spotlight a new category of product. Feel free to comment on threads like these throughout your time at the board, not just when they're in their week in the spotlight, if you discover something new OR are new to the board. This week it's.... Breast Pumps and Accessories!

FTMs are encouraged to ask questions & STM/+s encouraged to share their knowledge based on experience. You can use any or all the prompts relevant to you below to share info in an easy-to-read format. Pictures/screen grabs, if put in spoilers, are welcome!

For all:

· Brand

· Pros/cons

· Battery powered or outlet?

· Open or closed system?

· Accessories?

· Compatible bottles?

· Tips on dealing with insurance

· Pumping bras?

Next up: Diapering!! 


Re: Product Spotlight: Breast Pumps and Accessories

  • Has anyone used one of the hands free pumps like the Willow or Elvie? This is what I'm looking at this round because I don't want to be attached to a wall while feeling. I can't sit down and eat for 10 minutes without having to get up every 2 minutes with a toddler. I'm not going to be able to sit and pump lol. I'm also working with a naturopath and my midwife on preparing for breast feeding so hopefully I will be successful this time. I'll be going on supplements to help with the milk ducts and other things that I don't remember now lol.

    I struggled with breast feeding with my daughter from the very beginning. She wasn't getting enough so within 3 days I started supplementing with formula. I was doing a feed on both sides for 15 minutes each, top her up with formula while I pumped on 15 minutes each side. This lasted a couple of weeks and I gave up. My supply was gone in 2 days. I had no idea if I would be successful at BF so I only bought a single hand pump. I realized that when I sanitized it I lost the O ring so it didn't really work. My SIL lent me her double electric pump which worked a lot better. 

    Manual Pump
    • Brand: Medela harmony single hand pump. 
    • Pros/Cons: This would be great for if you just need some quick relief while travelling or at home. Definitely not a long term, daily thing since your using your hands to pump, it's not very quick and your hand gets fatigued quickly. 
    • Battery powered or outlet: No power, manual hand pump 
    • Open or closed system: goes right into the bottle, no tubing 
    • Accessories: Nothing that I used 
    • Compatible bottles: I didn't try with a bottles
    Electric Pump 

    • Brand: I'm pretty sure it was Medela I don't know what model. It had a big bag that was the battery/pump 
    • Pros/Cons: Pros: It had a lot of settings so you could get what you needed. Cons: It's bulky, and you're attached to a wall.
    • Battery or Outlet: Outlet 
    • Open or Closed System: I don't remember and I can't find the model I was using 
    • Accessories: I didn't use anything
    • Compatible bottles: I didn't try any bottles with it other than the ones that came with it 
    Tips on dealing with insurance - I'm in Canada so we don't have insurance coverage for pumps. 

    Pumping bras: I didn't use any

    I highly recommend that everyone who is planning on breast feeding get a Haakaa pump. It works on suction, so you just put it on the breast that you're not feeding on and it catches the letdown.  

    Haakaa USA | Haakaa Generation 2 Silicone Breast Pump with Suction Base 5 oz 1pk

  • I'm hoping to hear lots of experiences from this one. During the course of breastfeeding DD#2, I wound up with 3 different Medela pump-in-style and HATED it. I never responded well. It's important to me to partially bottle feed this time so I'm hoping to hear from others who also didn't respond to Medela. What did end up working for you? I've been hearing a lot of good things about Spectra and Momcozy
    Ladybug - April 2013
    Dandelion - October 2018
    Angel "Aurora" - July 2020
    Angel "Sawyer" - May 2021
    Angel "Maxine" - January 2022
    Angel "Violet" - March 2022
    Baby Dove due March 2023
  • Loading the player...
  • 👀 also keeping eyes on this thread. I had a Medela 7 years ago and it worked well for me, I just hated the stupid pumping bra and being attached to the damn wall/ battery pack. My best friend just got the hands free Momcozy and loves it, so it’s currently on my list.  I’m just curious to hear other thoughts! I had a pretty strong supply and would often get 5+oz in a 20 min session if I didn’t nurse first so I just wanna make sure I literally don’t overflow if I get distracted 😆
  • edited September 2022
    @miss_lynn9 Everything I’ve read has said to avoid hands free pumps if you have supply issues at all. They don’t extract as much milk as a regular pump. I would probably pick a regular pump as your main pump and do hands free only when needed. Spectra is considered hospital grade and gets great reviews and has a model with internal rechargeable battery. 

    So they discontinued the Medela PISA (prob what you had @heytallmama). I have pieces and parts still but they are useless. If I go through my hospital they will only offer the piece of crap they replaced it with which gets horrible online reviews. I checked out Aeroflow and they will work with my insurance and I can get a Spectra so that’s what I’m going to do. It’s considered hospital grade. 

    I deal with over supply and my lefty routinely put out 7-8 ounces so the hands free units won’t work for me. Boo. @heytallmama this may be a limiting factor for you too. 

    Anyone have Spectra experience? I hear they fit Avent bottles so hoping LO likes those for simplicity sake. Any cons?
  • Also I found Hakaa makes a “Ladybug” milk collector that’s smaller than that giant hand pump that I plan to get to collect extra milk from letdown. I never got more than 1-2 ounces doing this and the regular Hakaa is kind of overkill.  

    Also I liked the Medela Harmony hand pump. Worked fine and came in handy for situations where I couldn’t bring an electric. I once hand pumped at a John Mayer concert in a bathroom and kept the milk in my purse until we got to the hotel. 😎

    Looks like there are more pumping bras on the market too. I got some by Rumina on Amazon that worked great for pumping and nursing and fit nice at work. I plan to get something similar so I don’t have to change out bras every time I pump at work. 

    I also recommend learning how to hand express for emergency engorgement. Also for FTM know that you may require a flange size that doesn’t come with your pump automatically. You should measure your nipple size toward delivery time to see what’s recommended for you to save the nips!

    Triple nipple ointment from a compounding pharmacy>plain lanolin and has antifungal in it to prevent yeast. 1000% recommend. 

    Ok end novel. 😂
  • noxacanthusnoxacanthus member
    edited September 2022
    I exclusively pumped (EP) with my daughter because BFing was affecting my mental health. I went through multiple brands during that time, so standby.

    Old Reliable: Spectra S1+.
    Pros: Hospital grade, had a battery that lasted all day at work and then I charged it over night. Can be used with the freemie cups to make it hands free-ish.
    Cons: bulky, heavy to carry around. I did have one die on me, but I EP'd for 10 months, so expected. It was my day-to-day go to. I still have 2 in the garage from when my pumping journey ended and they will def be making a reappearance this time around.

    Junk: Freemie Liberty
    Pros: cheap, portable, designed to work with freemie cups
    Cons: I had 2(!) of them die on me in just weeks. They are not designed to stand up to heavy use or long pumping sessions. Not hospital grade and don't have as many settings. 

    The Best At Milk Extraction: Medela Freestyle
    Pros: I got the most milk from this, it had the best settings.
    Cons: Cannot be used with freemie cups. Not hands-free; requires specialized pumping bra. Because of that, I found it difficult to travel with all the parts (also must be plugged into outlet) so this was my middle-of-the-night pump which is also when you make the most milk so win-win for milk extraction.

    Never found a use for it: Hakkaa
    Pros: ??
    Cons: I tried it on the other boob while BFing. I never got much milk out of it (maybe half an oz??) and it was super easy for baby to knock off and spill. Though I am interested in trying their new ladybug design this time around.

    I never did anything fancy like pump to bags. I got a bunch of Medela bottles 2nd hand and pumped to those with the freestyle or emptied the freemie cups into them for consistency of storage. Medela makes a little cooler with an ice pack specifically designed to fit 4 of their bottles which I found to be more than enough for work or day trips. When we had enough excess, I'd put one "serving" into the lansinoh storage bags. Lay flat to freeze and then store upright in an organizer.

    If you are considering pumping exclusively (or just a lot during work), I highly recommend multiple sets of parts. I had 3 - a backup set that always lived in the car (learned this the hard way after missing a presentation at work because I forgot pump parts and had to go home to get them) and then 2 that I rotated through every other day so I didn't have to wash parts EVERY night. I also had a schedule of reminders on my phone for when to order new parts because different parts need to be replaced at different perodicities.

  • @noxacanthus Did you use Spectra bottles or another brand? I would always get more than 5 ounces from the left so I will need at least a couple larger capacity bottles. I’m going to try to get by with one Spectra pump (for work and during maternity leave to build a stash) but won’t be EPing (hopefully). Do they fit the Medela ice pack by chance or should I get something else? 

    I have a Sarah wells bag I LOVE and will use again. 
  • For all:

    · Brand: Spectra S2

    · Pros/cons: Worked well for me. It is that "hospital grade" pump so I feel like it suctioned well but I also didn't use any other pumps.

    · Battery powered or outlet? Outlet - Disclaimer: I am a SAHM and mostly breastfed and only pumped 1x/day. If I had to lug it to work I would maybe look into something else.

    · Open or closed system? Closed system

    · Accessories? It comes with 2 sets of flanges that are different sizes.

    · Compatible bottles? I only ever pumped with the bottles it came with as I mostly froze my milk in bags.

    · Tips on dealing with insurance I just bought mine outright. I knew what I wanted and just went with it. I think I got it on sale on an Amazon day/deal.

    · Pumping bras? I used the Lanisoh(Sp?) one from Target. It was a panic buy haha. Definitely expensive but it held up and I will be using it again this time around. 

    I also used the haakaa in the mornings and caught 1-2 oz a time. It was worth it for me. I used it further into my journey like 4 months+ when I had a hang of all the other things and was in a good routine. 

    Just another note: The hospital where I delivered has a great breastfeeding support group (run by IBCLCs) that pivoted nicely to Zoom during the early days of Covid. **You didn't have to be a patient of theirs to join the group and it was all free.** It was such a great support for me. They did weighed feedings so we could get a picture of what was happening and took a weekly weight of the babe so we could troubleshoot problems. I really credit it with helping me through by breastfeeding journey with my son. 
  • noxacanthusnoxacanthus member
    edited September 2022
    @Wishilivedinflorida I used the freemie cups and I would just empty those into the Medela bottles. My little cooler held 4 bottles so if I pumped more than 8oz in a session, I just used 2 bottles and then consolidated. I didn't have the Spectra bottles. Google says the Spectra bottles are slightly larger, therefore you can only fit 2 in the cooler instead of 4.

    I also had a Sarag Wells bag. I appreciated the fact that it fit the weird military uniform requirements so I could bring it to work, but I also found myself wishing it had more interior pockets and was slightly larger to fit all the other non-pumping stuff I had to bring to work.
  • I'm looking into the baby Buddha for the portable pump. I would pump so long with baby #1 and never fully empty, I over produced (7-9oz a side) and hated being tied to a wall. No personal experience with it though. I've heard great things about it and it's power
    July 4th
  • @noxacanthus I’m intrigued by using cups! It looks like they hold a decent capacity and the Spectra Caracups hold even more than the Freemie. I may need to splurge for this! It may make bra shopping easier since I heard it’s a pain to find bras that work with spectra flanges. 
  • @Wishilivedinflorida - no idea the Caracups were a thing……so excited to try them! 
  • @Wishilivedinflorida @burr1371 I had no idea either! Definitely putting those on the list.
  • I hate pumping in general, but I had a Spectra S1 for my first and used it every day for nearly a year. I used it only at work, and would breastfeed at home. I liked the battery option and it always suctioned well. 

    Mostly now I just use the Haakaa to collect let down, and just breastfeed. 
  • Brand: Spectra S1 

    · Pros/cons
    pros: portable, small, quiet (according to my sister, it’s way quieter than her medela was). 

    · Battery powered or outlet? Battery!! 🙌🏼

    · Open or closed system? Closed

    · Accessories? Mine came with a carry bag, 4 bottles, 2 nipples, 2 sizes of flanges, a cooler bag

    · Compatible bottles? Avent bottles 

    · Tips on dealing with insurance: none, but just make sure you check if your insurance covers a pump! I had no idea they even did that. 

    · Pumping bras? Never used one. 

    Overall, I like my Spectra, but I’ve never used anything else. I felt like the suction was starting to weaken last time, so I want to invest in some new parts this time - that’s my biggest piece of advice I guess? 
  • I pretty much EP'ed with DD because she couldn't transfer milk from nursing. I used a Spectra S1 (the one with the rechargeable battery) and I got GREAT milk production using it; I was routinely getting 35-45 oz per day. I pumped 7x per day, for a total of 3.5 hours a day for a year. It has close to 1000 on it and is still going strong. It is a closed system and a hospital grade pump. You have to manually change the settings, but there are a lot of "programs" you can find online to help you get the suction and cycle right. It is a bit bulky, and it is hard to do other things while pumping with it. That is my major criticism. I used bottles from amazon, because I found the Spectra bottles sometimes leaked. I replaced my parts as suggested by Spectra and never had any issues with supply drops (other than when I finally got my period back or I was sick). 

    I also used the Haaka, but honestly it is BULKY and easily knocked off if you're nursing at the same time. I liked the Elvie curve better for that purpose, but since we never really got the hang of nursing I didn't use it that much. The Haaka is great for when you have a clogged duct; add Epsom salt and warm water and apply and watch the magic happen. Definitely recommend for this.

    I think I am going to try to get a Baby Buddha this time if I have to EP again. I've heard it is the best portable pump out there. This would be useful for EPing mamas when you want to go somewhere or when you want to do housework or something while pumping. I had a couple of friends try the Elvie and hated it; they all said that it damaged their nipples and required you to buy a bunch of extra stuff. I only had one friend with the Willow, and she didn't like it because she said she didn't get enough production using it. 

    I love Sarah Wells bags and coolers. The pumparoo bag and mat is also really great if you're going to be pumping at work. 

    I like the Kindred Bravely pumping/nursing bras; they worked the best for me. Super comfy, but do tend to pill a bit. I ordered new ones every 4-6 months, but my BF boobs were like a 38 J or something ridiculous. You'll have uniboob, but all the nursing bras I tried gave me uniboob anyway, so might as well be comfy and work well with the pump. 

    Also great for BF and pumping: IG accounts bemybreastfriend, legendairymilk, milkology, yourbreastie, pumpables, exclusivepumping 

  • missmuisqmissmuisq member
    edited September 2022
    @bbrahmbhatt Such an informative comment!! Thank you. Think I'll come back with some questions later.
  • @bbrahmbhatt I used the S2 last time when I EPed and it was fantastic, but my mental health drained because I felt like I did nothing else in my life but pump. One of my old BMB mom friends who exclusively pumped for twins used the baby Buddha with freemie cups and absolutely loved it so I bought hers! I can’t wait to use it this time. 
  • For my pump I used the willow. 

    Loved: being able to do pretty much what I wanted while I pumped. It was amazing and I felt less like a cow.

    Downside: I was fortunate enough to produce quite a bit. The cups always overfilled. I had the willow when only the bags were the option. I'm excited there are a few on the market that collect in the pour system  container.

    I also had huge let down while nursing. My favorite to use was the milkies milk saver on the breast I didn't have baby on. Was able to collect quite a bit with that. 
  • edited September 2022
    @gravcass I knew I was forgetting the milk saver product! I think I want to try that instead of the Hakaa this time around. They have a “portable” version too. 

    For anyone interested in the Caracups or other accessories, I was pricing them through Aeroflow vs direct from manufacturer or Amazon and you do save money buying direct for those. I think they try to price gouge you a little for the convenience of ordering with your pump (if you are using a supply company like that). Since accessories are OOP for most I would definitely shop around. 

    And now thanks to @bbrahmbhatt I now have gone down the Babybuddha rabbit hole. It looks so neat but isn’t an option for my insurance so I’ll just stick with the S1. If i end up having to EP at all I’ll definitely look into one!

    ETA I forgot to mention that my hospital gives out a free hand pump after delivery if you ask for one. My milk comes in fast and I had to pump to relieve pressure. It never hurts to ask and can save you a couple bucks! 
  • edited January 5
    Reviving super old thread because I just got my Spectra delivered (yay!)

    anyone ever use the spectra bottles to feed? The nipples aren’t marked so do they only come in one “flow?” The internet tells me most feed with avent bottles but those only hold 4 ounces and I’d prefer a 5 ounce bottle. 

    And I’ve only used Medela before. Do I have to wash the back flow protector along with everything else when washing parts? I feel so dumb. Can I sterilize the duck bills and back flow protectors along with the flanges before first use without warping them? 

    ETA So apparently you can’t buy spectra nipples  separately and they don’t come with any extra bottles they sell. How freaking dumb! So I guess my first question is moot. I’m thinking I’ll pump into whatever generic Amazon bottles fit the spectra and feed with (most likely) Tommee Tippee if this kid is like my other two. I did the same with my Medela so it’s nothing new for me to wash a million bottles per day. 🙄
  • muggsdmuggsd member
    @Wishilivedinflorida if you want to pump directly into a bottle to feed, the spectra flanges screw onto Avent bottles. That’s what I do (I use the 8oz avents). That being said, all my kids took the spectra bottles just fine as well. If im pumping for freezer storage, I’ll pump into the spectra bottles cause they’re smaller. 

    I sterilize everything up to the tubes, all together. No problems yet! 
  • Thanks @muggsd! I may try avent for simplicity. The bottles I do have are all old plastic and probably need replaced so it wouldn’t hurt to try a new brand for feeding. I forgot they come in bigger sizes. 
  • @Wishilivedinflorida - I used Avent with my Spectra as well. I'm pretty sure the Tommy Tippee's don't fit because they are more narrow, but I could be wrong. After sterilizing once, I normally just washed my pump stuff with soap and hot water. I would get a bottle brush to get in the cracks of the duck bills, but just be careful as they can rip pretty easily. Also, those have to be changed about every 3 months, or you start losing suction.
  • Yeah @marebear15 TT won’t fit BUT they hold 5 ounces, which my babies have always eventually worked up to. So I always pumped into Medela bottles before then fed from TT (they hated the Medela ones). Annoying and more to wash. Maybe I’ll try larger avent bottles. 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • I’m so glad you revived the thread @Wishilivedinflorida! I’m looking at pumps now and have no idea what to get. Reading through this thread it seems the Spectra S1 is a solid option. The picture I’m adding is a list of the pumps my insurance covers (some of them still cost $$ but insurance subsidizes it). I’d love it if any STMs could let me know if any of these are a definite no or if any are a clear winner.

  • Out of those @excitedforpiscesbaby I would go with Spectra S1. Or anything spectra. I got the S1 for the built in battery. I have never heard of Ardo and Unimom and I have done tons of internet research. 

    Medela is a long established company but they changed the pump in style since my last baby and the reviews are not very good. However, it’s probably better than the others besides spectra. My friend has the Lansinoh (it was her only option) and says it was just ok. She always supplements with formula so she’s not big on having the best of the best anyway. 

    Hope this helps!!
  • @excitedforpiscesbaby I’m FTM but I’m planning to also get the Spectra S1 (and maybe add the cara cup option). My insurance is very confusing about which ones they offer besides Spectra and I can’t order it until February but my old coworkers who had my insurance all got spectra pumps and liked them. I’ve been researching like crazy just in case I decide to just get what I want regardless of the insurance and I keep coming back to the S1 or S2 anyways. 

    Would love to hear what everyone else is choosing now that we’re getting so close now to baby time!
  • @disneybaby23 I ended up going for the Legendairy Milk cups when they had their Black Friday sale. I’m so excited to try them (after I establish myself with the regular parts of course). They have silicone flanges which I have never tried but feel more comfy than plastic. They get raves on every site I visit. I also watched a couple videos and girl is super helpful in hers. 

  • @Wishilivedinflorida omg you rock. These ones haven’t even been on my radar. The silicone seems so much better. Time for more research!
  • I too am super grateful that this thread has been revived!

    Question for @noxacanthus but really for anyone: I have FTM confusion about when you wrote "this was my middle-of-the-night pump"

    How does night pumping work? Do you just pump one breast while baby feeds from the other? Do you set alarms and wake yourself up to pump even if baby doesn't need to eat? And if so, do you have to stay awake while pumping, or can you attach the pump and go back to sleep? (in bed or at least recliner) Not sure if the comfort level/sound/position/safety even makes this possible, but wanted to ask.

    Did all of you pump at night? What determines if it's a must or optional?
  • @missmuisq I think I did wind up pumping at night, especially after we moved her out of our room around 4 weeks. My pump was LOUD. 
    I found I needed to pump at night as she slept longer stretches- you wake up and your boobs are hard as fuck- nursing or pumping is the solution. I personally never pumped while she nursed; would just switch boobs after 15 min or so (I think that was the time? It’s been too long.) - that way both boobs got relief. I would usually pump after she was settled again since I happened to produce a lot of milk so I could have some for storage too. 
    What determines a must or optional will be up to you! If you still feel like your boobs are full (and yes, you’ll know what that feels like lol), you may want to pump after nursing. If you’re fucking exhausted and don’t care if they still feel full and just wanna sleep- do that (but maybe throw on nursing pads in case of boob-leaking). Fwiw, I was (and still am) pretty loose with things like a pumping schedule because I never wanted it to be a stressor- if sleep was priority- I slept. If I was feeling like I could spend 10 min pumping post nursing, I did that. If I wanted husband to feed her from a bottle while I pumped so I got a break, that happened. Formula while I pumped? Yes. You’ll find your groove 🙂
  • @missmuisq I had a manual pump on my nightstand to relieve extra pressure MOTN. Some people will use an electric, but I only needed to remove a couple ounces at most early on. You eventually do regulate and don’t always feel rock hard. Some people don’t have to do this at all. MOTN pumping is only really mandatory if your baby isn’t latching and you end up exclusively pumping to maintain a supply. Or, if you have your partner give a bottle, it’s generally recommended to pump at that time to tell your boobs there has been a feeding. 
  • mamahoschmamahosch member
    edited January 10
    @missmuisq I pumped at night when my son was fed formula by my husband during those night feedings the first few weeks (we had to supplement and that was how we decided to do it). After we stopped nursing because it was just awful for my son who couldn’t latch, I decided to exclusively pump so I would pump every 3 hours and set my alarm at night to get up and pump. And yes, if you wake up and your boobs are super hard definitely pump for relief! Otherwise you’ll just switch sides after about 15 mins of nursing on one side.
  • @missmuisq I was exclusively pumping so I would wake up in the middle of the night to pump. It was one of my best producing sessions, so I kept at it for months. I went long past the point where my daughter was sleeping through the night and no longer required a night feed. I eventually got to the point where I could sleep sitting upright or at least doze for a bit. Other times I would read a book, knit, or scroll on my phone. Like others have said, though, you don't have to do that, especially not once they're past the newborn phase. I chose to for a variety of reasons (output, formula was hard to get in the early days of the pandemic, it was hard to pump at work so my supply was tanking, etc).
  • Thanks, everyone! So helpful and encouraging!!!

    @heytallmama Yes, I know I'll eventually, inevitably find my groove, but it's all a little overwhelming from this vantage point. It's so nice to have the camaraderie here with other FTMs in the same boat as me, as well as guidance from those who have done all this before.
  • @missmuisq I’m right there with you! I just signed up for a whole breastfeeding/pumping class because this all seems super overwhelming. 

    Thanks so much everyone for sharing on this thread! Idk why but I’m way more anxious about breastfeeding than even labor at this point. All these tips and stories are so helpful and making me realize there isn’t any “right way” to do all this - everyone will have their own system. 
  • I love how much we all share our experiences here and there’s no drama/ judgment. I’m glad that we have such a mix of FTM and STM+ here to share. In someways I feel like a FTM all over again since it’s been so dang long since I’ve had a newborn it’s like I’m relearning everything! So grateful for more recent STM+ for sharing on here! ❤️
  • @heytallmama Me too! It’s only been 4 years but everything is already so different. 

    @disneybaby23 I hope your class is informational! I took a breastfeeding class and it was…not. But this was back in 2017. They went over pump brands briefly, nursing pillows, and different nursing positions. Then showed us a montage video of latching newborns. But nothing nitty gritty about “how” to pump, how to pump effectively at work, or when to seek help if breastfeeding is going poorly, how to know if you have supply issues, when to supplement, etc. 

    My advice is to have a LC see you before discharge to make sure you are doing things right and there are no concerns, if at all possible. 
  • marebear15marebear15 member
    edited January 11
    I'm a fourth time mom, and I still have this photo saved on my phone for those first few days in the hospital when we are both learning breastfeeding. (The football hold is easiest in this stage.)

    Deep Latch Technique Pump Station  Nurtury

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