As you stock up on diapers and onesies in preparation for the arrival of your new baby, making sure you have a breast pump is probably the last thing on your mind. You’re not alone – getting a breast pump is often pushed to the bottom of new moms’ priority lists, especially if they plan on being a stay-at-home mom or if they feel like pumping at work isn’t right for them. Before you dismiss acquiring a breast pump, look at the positive benefits that pumping has for you and your little one and how your insurance may help you get one.
Why Getting a Breast Pump is Beneficial for You and Your Baby
- A breast pump can help you provide the best nourishment for your little one whether you are at home or away. A breast pump may be a good choice for you if:
- You are returning to work. You can build up a supply of breast milk while you are on maternity leave. When you return to work, your baby can be fed this milk, and you can continue to nurse by pumping at work.
- You want to let other family members or friends feed your baby. This will give you the opportunity to take a nap, go out with friends or run errands.
- You have low milk supply. Pumping for five to 10 minutes after each nursing session will signal to your body to make more breast milk, increasing your supply.
- You have had problems with latching correctly and have sore nipples as a result. Using a breast pump while you get help with your latch can help relieve this pain and allow your nipples time to heal while still maintaining your milk supply.
- You don’t enjoy nursing in public. Your little one will need to eat every two to three hours. If you are away from home and your baby needs to eat, nursing in public can be challenging. Having a supply of breast milk can make leaving the home easier.
- Your little one was born prematurely. You may not be able to breastfeed your little one right away if he or she has to stay in the hospital after you leave. A breast pump will allow you to provide nourishing milk for your baby while he or she grows stronger.
How to Choose the Breast Pump That is Right for You
There are many different breast pumps available, which can make selecting the right one for you seem overwhelming. Look at the following benefits to determine what is right for your unique situation.
Suction versus Speed
Most electric pumps have settings for varying levels of speed and suction. Varying these levels to mimic your own little one’s nursing patterns will result in more comfort for you and an increase in milk supply.
Most babies suck between 45 to 55 times each minute. During the beginning of a nursing session, your little one will suck faster and then gradually slow as they become full and satisfied. Use the speed and suction level that feels most comfortable for you.
Open System versus Closed System
In open system breast pumps, there is no barrier between the pump’s motor mechanism and the milk collection kit. This exposes the milk to the outside air, which can possibly introduce impurities into your milk. Small amounts of milk can also be sucked into the motor in open system pumps. This can cause mold and yeast to build up in your pump. The tubing will need to be sterilized regularly in order to keep it clean.
A closed system pump has a barrier between the milk collection kit and the motor. This allows all of the milk that you pump to go into the collection container and keeps it from being exposed to the outside air. The closed system designed will keep your milk free from mold and bacteria.
Manual versus Electric
Manual pumps are affordable, have easy set-up and don’t require a power source. This makes them a perfect option if you need to pump while on the go and your electric pump has to be plugged into an outlet. Should anything go wrong with your electric pump, it’s also nice to have a manual pump as a back-up. Manual pumps are pumped by hand, which will allow you to set your own nursing pace.
Electric pumps are either operated by being plugged into an outlet, with a battery pack or by being charged ahead of time. Electric pumps can help you express milk faster than manual pumps as they are designed to mimic the same rhythm as your little one. While pumping with a manual pump typically takes an average of 45 minutes, electric pumps typically take 15 minutes.
The Affordable Care Act requires most insurance companies to cover breast pumps as well as lactation services. Talk with your insurance provider or fill out our three-click form to instantly determine which breast pumps are covered under your plan.
Ultimately, what you choose to feed your baby and how you choose to feed him or her is a big decision that is up to you. Looking at the different benefits that each breast pump has to offer can help you decide which is the perfect option for you and your new baby.