Many breastfeeding mothers cannot imagine their lives without breast pumps because it is virtually impossible to be there for the baby whenever he or she wants to eat, especially when starting to work. Like their name suggests, these pumps enable you to pump your breast milk so that your baby can be fed with your milk when you are away, while some also help establish milk production. There are several types of these pumps and if you want to make the best choice, you need to be well informed about your options. Breast pumps can be generally divided into three types – manual, electric and hospital-grade pumps. Manual pumps are the simplest and the least expensive type and are usually used by moms who are away from their babies only for a few hours a day. Breastfeeding moms with a well established milk production who are away from home most of the day usually decide for electric pumps. They are more expensive than manual pumps but they usually come with all the necessary features including carrying cases, tubes, bottles, etc. enabling you to pump your milk and store it while away from home. It is also possible to find electric pumps which enable you to pump both your breasts at the same time and cut the pumping time in half which is great when you are in a hurry. The third type of breast pumps, the so-called hospital-grade pumps can be rented from some hospitals. They are the most sophisticated of all types of pumps and can be also used to establish milk production, however, they are quite large and heavy and are not particularly suitable for carrying around.
Which pump to choose depends on your needs, how well your milk production is established and how much time per day you will be away from your baby. Electric pumps seem to be the most convenient of all types of pumps, however, they are relatively expensive. It is possible to find to very inexpensive electric pumps as well but they are not a particularly good choice. If you are deciding between a manual and inexpensive electric pump, it is better to choose the first because most manual pumps work just as good as expensive electric ones when it comes to milk removal. So if you need a pump only every now then, a manual pump will do just fine. But if you think that electric pump is more useful, be sure to buy one on the basis of quality rather than the price.
Both manual and electric pumps can be found in most drug stores, baby stores and stores that sell medical supplies. The hospital-grade pumps, on the other hand, can be rented from hospitals as already mentioned earlier. It is also possible to buy them but they are really expensive (they cost about $1,000). Take some time to consider your needs before choosing a pump or ask a lactation consultant for advice if you cannot decide which one to choose.