Pumping sounds like a really simple procedure, right? Just put on the horns and it’ll suck the milk right out of you! HA, if only. I personally know a mama who is a high-yielder, a mama who has struggled then eventually supplemented with formula and I’m right there in the middle getting only what I need, more if I do a special milk rain dance (more on that later).
A pumping mothers’ breast are as unique as the babies we’re pumping our liquid gold for. There is no manual that will tell you how you’re going to respond to the pump and how to adjust things – it’s all about trail and error. I’m breaking this down into a series of posts because there is just SO much information I’d love to share regarding pumping. I’ve seen the ins and outs, been through the ups and downs and there are many, many things I wish I would have known in the beginning.
First things first, you need a pump. Unfortunately, most insurance policies will not cover a pump unless it is “medically necessary”. It makes my blood boil typing that out. Personally, I believe there should be a program at every hospital which provides mothers with a good manual pump free of charge no matter what and also full coverage or a discount program for mothers who require a double electric pump. Instead, Big Formula has their foot securely wedged in the door still and most of the time you just get free product “just in case” you need it. !*$&#
If you want to save some serious cash on your pump and you have insurance talk to your provider first. Maybe, just maybe, your insurance is awesome and they’ll tell you how to file a claim to get your pump covered. Our provider told me that the pump needed to be “medically necessary” and I’d need a letter with the ICD-9 code for the reasoning from my doctor to submit for a claim. I asked my midwife to write a letter for me to submit just in case I needed it down the road.
|Breastfeeding Related ICD-9 Codes
|Abnormal tongue position
|Neonatal candida infection
|Other transitory neonatal
|Feeding problems in newborn
|Abnormal loss of weight
|Feeding difficulty – infant
|Failure to thrive
|Suck reflex abnormal
|Twin pregnancy post-partum condition or complication
|Abscess of nipple
|Infections of nipple
|Abscess of breast
|Other specified infection of breast and nipple
|Unspecified infection of the breast and nipple
|Engorgement of breasts
|Other and unspecified disorder of breast
|Other disorders of lactation
|Unspecified disorder of lactation
Since my hosptial [is awesome!] has lactation consultants and a lactation “shop” I decided to wait until I was at the hospital to see if they would provide a pump. Luckily, they did and they also submitted the claim for me deeming it “Engorgement of breasts 676.2”. Sounds silly that my boobs being engorged were good enough reason to cover a pump but going back to work was not!
If you don’t have insurance have no fear – you can find an affordable solution. I know that we’re all trying to save money but there are two items in which I advise you to buy new not matter how good of a deal it is: car seats and breast pumps. Personally, I would NEVER suggest buying a used pump even if it is a closed system. You don’t really know how old the pump truly is, how often it was used, if the motor is in tip top shape plus you have to buy all new flanges, valves, tubes, bottles, etc.
There are plenty of options out there that will meet your needs and won’t break your bank. Think of it this way – instead of paying $20+ a week on formula once you go back to work you can buy a brand spankin’ new pump for under $150. The savings could be at least $600 in formula alone PLUS there are amazing benefits to continued breastfeeding!
Single or Double and Manual, Electric or Battery Operated
Generally if you’re going to be seperated from your child for 3 or more hours daily or over 10 hours a week you’ll want a high-quality double-sided electric pump. It’s important to extract enough milk to maintain your milk supply while you’re working and here are the pumps that meet the bill.
Ameda Purely Yours (Ultra)
Ameda Purely Yours Ultra
This was the pump I received from my lactation consultant. The Ameda Purely Yours Ultra comes with the cool ‘n carry tote, 6 bottles with lids, 3 flange sizes, pump motor, pump pieces and a huge fancy bag to carry it all in. If you’d like to try this pump but you’d like to save some cash I’d suggest just getting the Ameda Purely Yours which comes with the pump motor, pump parts and two bottles. Then use your own cooler, freezer packs and bring a few bottles that your child uses to store your milk in. A great bag to carry the whole lot in is one of those green grocery bags you can get from your supermarket.
PROS: Closed system, great suction/power, easy assembly, bottle/flange holder built into pump motor, adjustable suction & speed unique to user’s needs, small, lightweight, easy to clean, Playtex Nursers pump adapter kit available to pump directly into Playtex Nurser system.
CONS: Noisy, bottles do not have nipples available, contains BPA (this one does not!), and replacement parts not available at most retailers and need to be ordered online or through Ameda.
Personally this pump worked fine but it wasn’t very comfortable for me. I couldn’t use petals to make this more comfortable because the only size that was available was too small for my nipples.
Avent ISIS iQuo Duo
Avent ISIS iQ Duo
My new favorite is the Avent ISIS iQ Duo. This pump is amazing for me and fits everything I wanted/needed from a pump. The “massaging” petals are soft and comfortable. The hand control makes it so easy to mimic my daughter’s nursing and once I have a let down I just hit the blue button on the handle and the pump takes over. I couldn’t say better things about this pump and it’s available at Target instore if you want to register for it!
PROS: Comfort petals (removable), very quiet, flange covers included for travel, manual expression turned to electric with the trigger and button right at your fingertips instead of on the pump motor, and a great travel bag. Plus, pump, store and feed from same Avent bottles!
CONS: No bottle stands (I’ve spilt milk, and yes, I cried)! More parts to wash and assemble. Tubing is kind of stiff and ridgid.
I’ve never used a Medela pump so I cannot give an accurate review on one of these pumps. From other moms I’ve talked to I gather that the Medela Pump in Style is the best of the Medela options but this is not a closed system pump and the pricing is steep. It’s a very good name but I’ve also hear that this under $150 Lansinoh Affinity Double Electric Breast Pump works just as well for over half the cost.
Check back for ideas to make pumping easier, how to pump hands free, how to increase your output and how to deal with co-workers and bosses!