Newborn feeding series: Breast Pumps and Accessories — The Bump
August 2021 Moms

Newborn feeding series: Breast Pumps and Accessories

(Shamelessly stolen from July BMB) 

Now that we know what our babies will wear, let's figure out what they're going to eat! Today we are kicking off a three-week sequence of Baby Feeding Products. Today: Breast Pumps and Accessories (coming up next week: Formula, and then Bottles the following week).

Breast Pumps! An object sometimes of a great love-hate relationship. STM: what breast pump did you use? How do you feel about it? Would you get the same one again? 

Aspects to consider about breast pumps:
  • Breast Pump functions: how do you like the power, the rhythm, the options for speed and suction during pumping? And how has it held up with long-term use? 
  • Portability: does it have a portable charger? Car charger? Batteries? Does it come with a bag to carry around? If not, what bag do you use?
  • Accessories: does the basic pump purchase order come with options for flange size? Storage bottles to pump into? If you got extra accessories, what were they and where did you get them? Do you recommend a particular pumping bra as an accessory?
  • (Accessory hacks: if you get your hands on a different brand of accessories, do they fit across different pumps? Do you recommend an adaptor (third party or otherwise) to smoosh different brands' accessories together?)
  • Cleaning: how? What do you use? Basic soap+water or did you have a special sterilizing set-up?
  • Affordability and access: where and how did you get your breast pump? Did insurance cover it? For those US-based, ACA guidelines had all (most?) insurance programs cover a breast pump for free--does anyone have experience post-ACA-reducing measures under the current administration? Are secondhand markets a good option?
Please share! 

Links to previous and upcoming topics: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1mqlBWywDw6uR06rrrZZ0pQ5FdUpa5hMt4aB6jpO4ha4/edit
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Re: Newborn feeding series: Breast Pumps and Accessories

  • As a mom of 2 already and someone who worked at a baby store in the registry department, I have a lot of knowledge about breast pumps in general, Medela and Spectra specifically. Here’s a quick crash course but please ask any questions and if I know it I’ll be happy to share. 

    Personal experience 
    I was trying to save money and got a single Medela electric pump which worked fine for my first son because I was home with him and breastfeeding so I only used it occasionally if I wanted Dad to do a feeding or I needed grandma to babysit. 

    The plan was to do the same with my 2nd, but when he was born he needed formula supplements from birth and blah blah blah I found myself needing to pump multiple times a day for a few weeks. The single completely died on me because it wasn’t meant for that kind of use. There are all kinds of stipulations about secondhand breast pumps which I can get into if anyone wants, but a mom friend of mine via June17 bump group sent me a Spectra she no longer needed and it was *amazing*. The time savings with a double (and a hands-free pumping bra) and the suction that it was built for were obviously much better than what I had been using. 100% would go for double electric right away if I could go back and do it again, especially knowing that I wanted it to last more than 1 kid. 

    Medela
    If you’re in Canada, Medela is the Cadillac of breast pumps. Unfortunately Spectra is not sold in Canada (there are ways of getting it but you will not have any kind of warranty with it, and parts are harder to find). I’m going to focus on double electrics for now, which is basically 2 models, Pump in Style (built into either in a backpack or a tote) or the newest Freetsyle Flex, which is small enough to fit in a pocket. The FF has extra features but in practice the main difference is going to be the size/portability. If you’re a person who will use pumping time to sit, relax and read/use your phone, a PIS will suit you fine. If you plan to pump hands-free while doing laundry/chasing a toddler/anything else that requires mobility, you’ll be much happier with the freedom the FF gives you. The Medela bottles that come with it are completely unique, as they have one nipple instead of multiple different flow sizes, and their customer service is top notch. My husband once accidentally melted a couple bottles by overcrowding when sterilizing then and the company sent us free replacements. And definitely get the duck bill valves instead of the membranes that cone with it, they’re much hardier and seem to provide better suction, not to mention they’re less easily lost. 

    Spectra
    I’m less familiar with Spectra since it wasn’t a brand we sold, but in multiple bump groups it’s been a favourite. I’ve never heard a negative thing about them. The different models don’t vary much from what I recall except one can run on battery and one needs to be plugged in. There’s a lot of variability with it, though unlike Medela, you have to manually switch between “letdown” mode and regular mode, but I wouldn’t say it’s a drawback as it’s very easy to do. It’s very easy to switch it to a single pump if you want to for some reason, and I found the parts a little easier to clean than the Medela. 

    Accessories 
    A hands-free pumping bra is practically a must. It’s extremely awkward to sit and hold 2 bottles and you can’t do anything else at the same time. Medela makes a decent one but I actually preferred Bravado’s Clip n Pump bra, which can be put on overtop of a nursing bra and clipped into the straps. It was far more discreet than changing completely into a strapless pumping bra when I had to pump at work, and since I was breastfeeding and pumping within the same day, it was an easy transition. 

    Breast shields/flanges/whatever you want to call them cone in different sizes! The one included with your pump is a very common size but it may not be your size. Sizing is definitely not the most straightforward thing to figure out, but that’s a completely different conversation. 

    Sterilization bags/microwave sterilizer. Either one is fine, and definitely preferable to boiling for sterilization. There are also entire small appliances that are strictly for sterilizing bottles/pump parts, and if you’re exclusively bottle feeding they can definitely be worth it, especially if you get one that also has a drying cycle (and some stay sterilized for up to 24h as long as they’re still sealed). You can also use the sterilizing setting on your dishwasher BUT only if it’s a completely separate cycle from any regular dishes that have fold and crud on them. 

    Milk storage bags
    There’s a lot of variety in what people like, and I only ever used one kind so I can’t speak to any of them being better in terms of not leaking than others. I liked the Kiinde system because I could pump directly into the bags, and then I had the freezer stand where they’d freeze flat for easy storage. The most annoying thing about it (and maybe they’ve fixed this) was that the adapters were only sold in a complete set, so I had adapters left over for like 6 types of pump that I didn’t own. I don’t know why they didn’t just sell specific brand adapters separately, but that was what they did. 

    Haakaa (or similar)
    This thing is amazing! When you start pumping you’ll know that every drop of milk is gold, and if you’re pumping one side or baby is nursing on one side, the other often leaks. This little gadget collects all that extra milk. When I had my single pump, I would literally get more milk with this than with the electric pump sometimes, which also makes it a great thing to toss in a diaper bag or something as an emergency manual pump. 

    Breast pads 
    Your boobs are gonna leak. Possibly for like 3 months. It’ll be awkward especially if you’re in public. Breast pads are your saviour. Disposable ones are more discrete for when you’re in public, washable/reusable ones are more comfortable when you’re at home. Get both! 
    June2017-boy, November2019-boy, August2021-?


    emmylou78the_most_happyBourbonBiscuits
  • litzi-2litzi-2 member
    I breastfed and pumped for my first two for 20-21 months. i have two specta (S1) pumps, one for each place I work. I also have the baby buddha. I pumped often for supply issues for my first, and to prevent supply issues for my second. The spectras have held up great. They are portable, but kind of large. I bought a pump bag off amazon to store it in, with the parts, bags and sterilization bags. I use the freemies and like that people can walk in (on accident) and not see anything. I also like that I can just put them in a regular bra (I use really stretchy bras). I pump at least 3 times a day at work in the beginning. After pumping I put the milk into a bag/ bottle depending on how ahead I am on milk/ what day it is, and rinse the freemies and put into the sterilization bag and into the fridge. Before each use for the rest of the day I re-rinse and sterilize the freemies in the microwave and reuse. I half do this because it makes them nice and warm and helps with letdown etc. At the end of the day I wash all parts with soap and water. Insurance partially covered the Spectra.
    the_most_happy
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  • I lucked out and have private office with a door so I just got a small fridge (like 6 can of soda size) and used my spectra S2 (whatever non portable one is). I left my spectra in my office and didn't carry it back and forth. I pumped into Medela bottles with converter (had extra from my SIL and they are not wide mouthed so easier to store) and just kept everything in my mini fridge throughout the day. Get off brand bottles and pump parts off Amazon. And get extra parts. I did not sterilize before each use bc I'm lazy but that's gonna be up to everyone's comfort level. 

    Haakaa is nice but has a learning curve... I knocked it off a few times in the beginning and man that was sad. I also used milkies milk saver which inserts into the bra and preferred that. I had issues with latch/breastfeeding and had to triple feed (breast feed, pump and then bottle feed pumped milk) for about a month so... yea that was fun. But once we caught up I didn't pump rest of maternity leave and only pumped when I went back to work. 

    I don't have experience with portable pumps like elvie or Willow. Thankfully did not need it last time but may look into it this time. 
    claireloSCthe_most_happy
  • @CapricaAndrea Thanks for all the input and welcome!! 

    @litzi-2 Why did insurance only partially cover the spectra? 

    Last time (7 years ago!!) I use Medela pump in style. I liked it well enough. It came in its own pumping bag and the bottles were nice. I used Lansinoh storage bags. I was thinking about trying the spectra this time. I was terrible with pumping. I never had enough time at work and I just never got much out. I did buy a Haakaa on Amazon when it was on sale. 

    Insurance covered my Medela pump. I used the Medela sterilizing bags after washing with soap and water. 
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    CapricaAndreahannelorrethe_most_happy
  • @emmylou78 I don't recall what your work situation is like but looking into portable/hand free pumps like freemies/Baby Buddha or elvie/Willow may make pumping easier! (Of course only if you want to)
  • litzi-2litzi-2 member
    @emmylou78 no idea. they would cover the medela, but i didn't like it. i hate insurance.
  • Kinda related, but did you find you needed to eat more? I feel like a bottomless pit as it is, and don't know if I can reasonably think of more things to eat in a day.
  • cyanopecyanope member
    I got the Madela, Pump in Style double pump with my first. I went back to work when she was seven weeks old and pumped until she weaned herself at 9 months. It worked fine. I'm not a great pumper and always seem to produce barely enough to keep up when I pump. I had the backpack carrying case and used the Target storage bags. I'm lucky and have a private office (with a door that locks). I have a fridge in there and just kept all of my parts in the fridge all day and washed them when I got home. I'm a teacher, so I had VERY limited time on when I could pump before my next class was filing in. So, not having to wash the parts between pumps was a major game changer for me. 
    With my second, I got the Spectra S2. It did not work as well for me (although I know a lot of people prefer the Spectra), so I went back to my Madela. I didn't pump as much with my son because I stayed home with him for seven months, and then he weaned himself at nine. But, same set up as with my first.


    **TW**
    BFP #1: 12/1/14
    Said goodbye 1/2/15
    BFP #2: 5/5/15
    EDD: 1/15/16
    DD born 1/7/16
    BFP #3 4/26/17
    EDD: 12/30/17
    DS born 1/3/18
    BFP #4 12/4/20
    EDD: 8/15/21
    hannelorrethe_most_happy
  • @doodlemom131 I'm sure I did eat more, I relied heavily on Larabars and Clif bars as snacks while I was nursing. But more than I remember hunger, I remember the thirst. I could not drink enough water. I always had a water bottle or would have MH bring me multiple glasses of water while I nursed. So thirsty. I feel parched just thinking about it. 
    doodlemom131
  • I used the Medela Harmony (manual pump) for my first and it was perfectly fine. I had a year of maternity leave, so I didn't really use a pump that often. It worked well as an occasional pump for overnight trips/missed nursing sessions. Like @CapricaAndrea mentioned, I used it with the breast shield it came with because I didn't realize they came in different sizes and it was awful. Once I got a proper sized shield it was so much better. So definitely make sure you've got a good, comfortable fit! 

    I sterilized everything after I bought it, simply boiling things in a big pot of water as per the instructions. But after that I would just clean with warm water and soap. If I went a long time between using it I would sterilize it again.

    For BB2 a friend lent me her Medela Pump in Style (backpack style, double electric pump) and it was also perfectly fine. Not really what I'd call "in style" though haha. It was louder than I expected, but it was fast! And definitely easier on my hand than the manual. That being said, I didn't use it regularly because I was off for a year. I returned it to my friend after I was done breastfeeding and I likely won't get an electric pump again. Probably. It was very handy for a long weekend away for a wedding though! I took it with me on the airplane as one of my personal items, I took a lunch bag with ice packs and was able to bring back all the milk I pumped, which was great! I had a whole speech prepared for the security agent about how breastmilk was allowed, I had printed the guidelines and everything, but when I told them the bag was full of breastmilk they were just like "ok, great have a nice flight. NEXT."

    Also love the Haakaa pump, especially in the early days for catching all the letdown when my body was still figuring out how much milk to produce. @hannelorre I definitely knocked it over a few times and was very sad. It's a little top heavy in design, so it doesn't take much to tip it even with milk in it. 

    I really liked Bamboobies for breast pads. I found them to be the least bulky. With my first, I didn't realize that I would need to wear a nursing bra and breast pads 24/7.
    the_most_happy
  • I used the Spectra S2 (covered by insurance) and produced so much milk on my leave that i was able to stop pumping at work around 5 months and just use the freezer stuff for daycare and nurse when I was home. So it definitely worked for me for heavy duty use. I rented the Medela for a bit and it was so strong and uncomfortable but also worked. I found the spectra more portable and gentle. I also had the S9 but it's not meant for routine pumping and it died quickly but Spectra sent me the S2 instead so it all worked out. Got the angled flanges from Amazon and those helped. Lots of lanolin...definitely have pumped blood before, which is the worst. As someone who pumped a lot, I'm not that confident in the Willow and similar ones so planning to stick with my tried and true Spectra. If the new fancy one comes out in time I might get that one instead. I like the Kiinde system because I can pump into the bags and then no need for a separate bottle so that worked well for us. Agree on freezing the pump parts at work (just used a tupperware) and bamboobies were great for overnight but I didn't need them all day or anything. TMI but I have inverted nipples so we used a nipple shield for the first few weeks and I regretted it because my daughter's latch was terrible and never improved. Also if you buy a secondhand pump make sure you get a closed system one like the Spectra. But insurance really should cover the pump in style or the spectra. Medela's parts are easier to find in stores also, and there are more accessories, but with Amazon it wasn't a huge issue or anything.
    Baby Birthday Ticker TickerMarried DW <3 08.2013; AI 2x; IUI 6x; IUI #7 05.2015; DD born 2.2016 o:); Reciprocal IVF FET #1 on 11.18.2020 
    the_most_happy
  • I had a Medela Pump in style for DD.  I still have it so that’s what I was planning on using with this baby. From what I understood secondhand wasn’t recommended for breast pumps because of cross contamination between people? Although reading others comments, it makes sense to point out to get a closed system for secondhand.  I did sterilize either on the stovetop with boiling water or in microwave sterilizing bags. A couple friends gave me extra bottles, lids, and nipples that I passed to another friend.   

    I used mine for less than a year so I can’t really speak on durability.  I used lanisoh and the target brand ones for frozen milk when I was still pumping.  I didn’t introduce bottles until almost 3 months in so I think I waited too long to introduce them- DD did not take many bottles and was picky about who could even feed her.  I’m nervous about this baby since I don’t have as “open” a schedule working full time and will return to work sooner than I did then so this will be new territory for me. 

    I do have a lovely windowless office with a door that locks, so I may look into a different pump since my insurance covers it just to have something quieter.  After I bought an amazing insulated lunch box myself my mom gave me one too for Christmas, so I may see if I can get by with ice packs in that before I get an office fridge. 

     I was gifted a haakaa, so I may use that at home while nursing on the other side and leave the pump at work. 
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    hannelorrethe_most_happy
  • I think I ate more or at least needed more calories. I actullly weighed less post-pregnancy and breastfeeding than pre-pregnancy. Single mom and I barely had time to eat! @doodlemom131


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    doodlemom131
  • @doodlemom131, I’ll echo what @emmylou78 said.  First time around I was also a single mom and I weighed less post-pregnancy and during breastfeeding than I did pre-pregnancy.  The general guidelines are 300-500 extra calories a day during breastfeeding, but since breast milk is also a liquid I’d throw in there not to forget fluid intake either.  

    I’d also say not to forget it during pregnancy either.  Pregnancy comes with an increase in the plasma portion of your blood (so basically more water), and you have to support that increase through foods/fluids.  That being said, dehydration can be sneaky by masquerading as hunger sometimes and our thirst mechanisms aren’t as easy to trigger during cooler weather as they are during warmer weather.  
    Pregnancy Ticker

    doodlemom131
  • Thanks all for the info and experiences! I've definitely upped my water intake, but I feel like its never going to be enough. 

    I hope to pump a bit so MH can do some feedings, but it will mostly be me for the first 8mo-a year before I go back to work. I must say that breastfeeding is the thing I'm worried most about with a new babe. Fingers crossed it goes well for all of us!
  • @hannelorre, I wish I could love tit that infinite times.  
    Pregnancy Ticker

    hannelorre
  • 100% agree with @hannelorre
    I saw multiple lactation consultants with my first and it took 10 weeks before we finally figured out what was causing *pain* while breastfeeding (discomfort is normal for the first bit while you get used to it, but not pain and not anywhere near that long). We did nipple shields, pumping, all kinds of positions, etc etc and eventually got to a tongue tie, so when the 2nd arrived I thought I was totally prepared. 

    Then he needed formula supplements at first, and refused the breast at all for about 2 weeks because bottles were less work. So then I was introduced to the world of taking domperidone to increase supply, and temporarily using a tubing system to make sure he got enough milk easily enough and gradually get back to breastfeeding. 

    But in the end, I breastfed the first until his 3rd birthday (once a day at that point) and is still be breastfeeding my 16m right now if he hadn’t self-weaned a month ago. 
    June2017-boy, November2019-boy, August2021-?


    hannelorre
  • @CapricaAndrea wow you've been through hell and back too with breastfeeding. Kudos to you! We went through triple feeding, tongue tie, feeding with nipple shield etc. After all of that baby girl weaned herself off at 1 yr as soon as I stopped pumping bc she is a diva and a flow snob. Also didn't drink any frozen milk so I ended up donating it all. She's fine. I'm fine. It was such a learning experience.

    @loloyoyo26 thank you!! 😊
    CapricaAndrea
  • @hannelorre precisely. I felt so much guilt that I didn't have a freezer full of milk when I went back to work and ended up throwing a ton out! Silly silly silly.

    I had ameda (I think. It sucked) with my first because that was the only one covered by my health insurance. Now with the ACA actual good pumps are covered! Last time I got medela PISA and had a wireless medela as well. I loved not being attached to the wall because I would frequently pump while getting ready in the morning or making breakfasts or dinner. I'm curious about the elvie or willow, but have read too many conflicting reviews to pull the trigger. Anyone with experience with those two in particular?
  • @BourbonBiscuits I got the Elvie on advice of a friend. She loves it. It was a panic purchase because we needed to use our FSA money on Dec 31 so I didn’t get to do much research on it. 😬

    Can we talk bottles? Which bottles did you like? I mused the Madela bottles last time and they worked fine. I liked how they attached to the pump so less stuff to worry about. However they got gross and discolored in our dishwasher. (Learn from my mistake and don’t put bottles in with dirty dishes that may discolor.)

    I used the Madela in the tote bag last time. It was fine. They company accidentally sent me two and let me keep them both so I had one for home and one for the office. That was SO nice to not have to lug it to work everyday. I also liked the design of the tote and how the cooler fit snugly in the tote, ice packs included. It was great for travel. I am going to get another with my insurance to have as a backup. I loathed pumping. I’m hoping the Elvie will make things a bit easier since you aren’t tethered via the tubes.

    Overall I had a good breastfeeding experience- I made it to 7 months and stopped due to my supply drying up after a really nasty flu. Hoping to make it longer this time. I made just enough for the next daycare day so we did supplement with formula from time to time on random days my supply dipped, and after I stopped nursing after being sick. He had no issues transitioning between breast milk and formula. I do think women out too much pressure on themselves to breastfeed. A friend just had a baby and had a horrible breastfeeding experience that included a failure to thrive diagnosis. She is still pumping and adding formula and now her little guy is a happy healthy chunk. It just took a lot of work with her doctors to figure it out. 
    hannelorreclaireloSC
  • I like Gerber glass bottles. The glass just seemed cleaner to me. 

    I never had a freezer stash. It’s hard to see lots of stuff on the internet about power pumping to get enough for an entire freezer full, but I agree, just enough is good too! 
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    surrenderdorothyclaireloSC
  • @surrenderdorothy we used Dr. Brown new born bottles and the glass bottles. My LO never took more than 4 Oz at a time so she actually did fine with the new born bottles for a long time. Just moved to glasses bc got worried about the plastics. 
    surrenderdorothy
  • I have always been sort of a lurking and not really chimed in (SORRY!!) but I just want to recommend my favorite pump.

    This will be baby #4 for us and with baby #1 I used the Medela Pump in Style. I really liked it and it worked great.

    For baby #2 I used the Spectra. I personally preferred the Medela and I actually switched back to it at about 6 months. I thought the suction on my Medela was stronger. Maybe I just had a defective Specta because it seems everyone loves it!

    For my baby #3 I tried something completely new and got the Ameda Mya. You guys, This is by far the best pump I have tried. I seriously loved it. The suction was phenomenal! I pumped so much quicker than before with either of them. I highly highly recommend it! 

    The first pump I got through insurance through a local pharmacy. My options were basically only the Medela Pump in Style and if I wanted anything else (including the bag or and accessories) I was going to be upcharged. 
     
    I have gotten all of my other pumps so far through insurance and I actually just ordered them online. There are many websites that let you check what your insurance will cover before purchasing and sometimes, each website is different! For the Spectra I used edgeparkbreastpumps.com, for the Ameda I used yummymummystore.com.

    Also, when it comes to pumping bras, I just bought a cheap pack of sports bras at wal-mart and cut a hole on each side. My doctor actually told my about this! I was having trouble finding any pumping bras that would fit! 


    claireloSC
  • for my daughter I had the medela pump in style double electric pump and it was amazing. but unfortunately my supply had already tanked when I got it and honestly I was not sure if it was the stress of my supply going or the fact that I knew nothing about pumping that it really didn’t help. I have the spectra for this go around, it had great reviews and I read up a lot on how it works. I also learned that the standard shield size is too big and had to order a smaller one that fits. I’m pretty sure now that I know that, that the reason it prob didn’t work out last time is bc I had the wrong size shield. Which didn’t help my already tanking supply. There’s a huge difference between how things are now vs 2010, I feel breastfeeding is now looked at more normal (I got some nasty looks in public that caused me to feed my daughter in the bathroom a few times :( ) so there’s so many more resources out there today that help support breastfeeding and pumping :)

    goodness, I just wrote a book... sorry! I haven’t read the comments yet so I’m hoping to see what all is said about medela Vs spectra and whether or not I made a good choice. I loved my medela pump but unfortunately my insurance didn’t cover the double electric fully and the spectra was covered. And had a higher rating. 
    claireloSCBourbonBiscuits
  • As a mom of 2 already and someone who worked at a baby store in the registry department, I have a lot of knowledge about breast pumps in general, Medela and Spectra specifically. Here’s a quick crash course but please ask any questions and if I know it I’ll be happy to share. 

    Personal experience 
    I was trying to save money and got a single Medela electric pump which worked fine for my first son because I was home with him and breastfeeding so I only used it occasionally if I wanted Dad to do a feeding or I needed grandma to babysit. 

    The plan was to do the same with my 2nd, but when he was born he needed formula supplements from birth and blah blah blah I found myself needing to pump multiple times a day for a few weeks. The single completely died on me because it wasn’t meant for that kind of use. There are all kinds of stipulations about secondhand breast pumps which I can get into if anyone wants, but a mom friend of mine via June17 bump group sent me a Spectra she no longer needed and it was *amazing*. The time savings with a double (and a hands-free pumping bra) and the suction that it was built for were obviously much better than what I had been using. 100% would go for double electric right away if I could go back and do it again, especially knowing that I wanted it to last more than 1 kid. 

    Medela
    If you’re in Canada, Medela is the Cadillac of breast pumps. Unfortunately Spectra is not sold in Canada (there are ways of getting it but you will not have any kind of warranty with it, and parts are harder to find). I’m going to focus on double electrics for now, which is basically 2 models, Pump in Style (built into either in a backpack or a tote) or the newest Freetsyle Flex, which is small enough to fit in a pocket. The FF has extra features but in practice the main difference is going to be the size/portability. If you’re a person who will use pumping time to sit, relax and read/use your phone, a PIS will suit you fine. If you plan to pump hands-free while doing laundry/chasing a toddler/anything else that requires mobility, you’ll be much happier with the freedom the FF gives you. The Medela bottles that come with it are completely unique, as they have one nipple instead of multiple different flow sizes, and their customer service is top notch. My husband once accidentally melted a couple bottles by overcrowding when sterilizing then and the company sent us free replacements. And definitely get the duck bill valves instead of the membranes that cone with it, they’re much hardier and seem to provide better suction, not to mention they’re less easily lost. 

    Spectra
    I’m less familiar with Spectra since it wasn’t a brand we sold, but in multiple bump groups it’s been a favourite. I’ve never heard a negative thing about them. The different models don’t vary much from what I recall except one can run on battery and one needs to be plugged in. There’s a lot of variability with it, though unlike Medela, you have to manually switch between “letdown” mode and regular mode, but I wouldn’t say it’s a drawback as it’s very easy to do. It’s very easy to switch it to a single pump if you want to for some reason, and I found the parts a little easier to clean than the Medela. 

    Accessories 
    A hands-free pumping bra is practically a must. It’s extremely awkward to sit and hold 2 bottles and you can’t do anything else at the same time. Medela makes a decent one but I actually preferred Bravado’s Clip n Pump bra, which can be put on overtop of a nursing bra and clipped into the straps. It was far more discreet than changing completely into a strapless pumping bra when I had to pump at work, and since I was breastfeeding and pumping within the same day, it was an easy transition. 

    Breast shields/flanges/whatever you want to call them cone in different sizes! The one included with your pump is a very common size but it may not be your size. Sizing is definitely not the most straightforward thing to figure out, but that’s a completely different conversation. 

    Sterilization bags/microwave sterilizer. Either one is fine, and definitely preferable to boiling for sterilization. There are also entire small appliances that are strictly for sterilizing bottles/pump parts, and if you’re exclusively bottle feeding they can definitely be worth it, especially if you get one that also has a drying cycle (and some stay sterilized for up to 24h as long as they’re still sealed). You can also use the sterilizing setting on your dishwasher BUT only if it’s a completely separate cycle from any regular dishes that have fold and crud on them. 

    Milk storage bags
    There’s a lot of variety in what people like, and I only ever used one kind so I can’t speak to any of them being better in terms of not leaking than others. I liked the Kiinde system because I could pump directly into the bags, and then I had the freezer stand where they’d freeze flat for easy storage. The most annoying thing about it (and maybe they’ve fixed this) was that the adapters were only sold in a complete set, so I had adapters left over for like 6 types of pump that I didn’t own. I don’t know why they didn’t just sell specific brand adapters separately, but that was what they did. 

    Haakaa (or similar)
    This thing is amazing! When you start pumping you’ll know that every drop of milk is gold, and if you’re pumping one side or baby is nursing on one side, the other often leaks. This little gadget collects all that extra milk. When I had my single pump, I would literally get more milk with this than with the electric pump sometimes, which also makes it a great thing to toss in a diaper bag or something as an emergency manual pump. 

    Breast pads 
    Your boobs are gonna leak. Possibly for like 3 months. It’ll be awkward especially if you’re in public. Breast pads are your saviour. Disposable ones are more discrete for when you’re in public, washable/reusable ones are more comfortable when you’re at home. Get both! 
    Thank you so much for this breakdown it was definitely a huge help! Also I was considering the haakaa as well to collect that extra milk from the other side. I was a bit wary about it because honestly, I don’t understand how it works lol but you’re not the first to recommend it so I think it’s def worth a shot.
    CapricaAndrea
  • @ashsowers2020 It basically suctions on and provides enough stimulation to keep a flow of milk. Though you'll want to make sure you have a hold on it or hold it up with a pumping bra or something, there's definitely been a couple times when it would suddenly let go, and dropping breastmilk is such a huge bummer.
    June2017-boy, November2019-boy, August2021-?


    ashsowers2020
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