The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization both advocate that mothers feed their infants only breast milk for the first six months.
The AAP recommends that, at the six months, mothers slowly begin offering solid food and go on nursing until the infant is one year old.
The World Health Organization suggests that, after six months, mothers should meet their baby’s developing dietary needs and keep on breastfeeding for up to two years of age or beyond.
- Benefits of Breastfeeding
- The Top Reviewed Breast Pumps
- Spectra S2 vs. Medela Pump In Style
- Pumping Tips
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding offers numerous benefits to babies. It gives them all the protein, fat, and vitamins they need to flourish. Nursing also offers infants the following benefits:
- It gives them antibodies that resist viral and bacterial infections.
- Breastfed infants have lower incidents of diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, and ear infections.
- Nursed babies have higher IQ scores in future childhood.
- Breastfed babies have decreased allergy and asthma risk.
- Breastfed babies usually gain weight normally and steady and usually are not overweight.
- Nursed infants have less doctor visits and fewer hospitalizations.
- The AAP also claims the breastfeeding helps prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Breastfeeding also offers many benefits to mothers. It lets them hold their babies intimately and maintain eye contact, which establishes and solidifies their special bond. It also offers mothers the additional following benefits:
- It burns calories, so it helps hasten post-pregnancy weight loss.
- It lessens ovarian and breast cancer risks.
- It eliminates the need to purchase formula, bottles, and nipples, and sterilize and prepare bottles and, thus, saves time and money.
- It releases oxytocin, a hormone that helps the uterus go back to its pre-pregnancy size.
- Nursing may also decrease post labor uterine bleeding and lessen osteoporosis risk.
Statistics Regarding Breastfeeding
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about eighty percent of mothers start out nursing. At six months, however, just a bit more than half are still doing so.
Why Do Mothers Stop Breastfeeding Prematurely
Articles and studies list various reasons why mothers stop breastfeeding prematurely. Most list like reasons. The most common ones are as follows:
- Concerns that baby isn’t getting enough milk.
- Difficulties breastfeeding.
- Discomfort breastfeeding in public.
- The need to feed often.
- Insufficient supply.
- Needing to return to school and/or work.
A breast pump allows a mother to pump or express her milk. She can then store it and bottle feed it to her baby later. Her baby has access to nourishing breast milk at all times and she can see how much he consumes. Pumping will, therefore, solve the above issues and may address others, too.
Expressing breast milk also offers the following additional advantages:
- It lets the mother’s partner share feeding responsibilities and also enjoy the pleasant bonding experience.
- It relieves engorged and sore nipples.
- It boosts breast milk stock.
Pumping also allows mothers who give birth to premature babies and/or whose babies need to spend extra time in the hospital make sure their babies receive breast milk.
Many nursing mothers pump their milk simply as part of their overall nursing experience.
Insurance Plans and Breast Pumps
The Affordable Care Act covers breast pumps and requires insurance companies are required to do so, as well.
Employers and Breast Pumping
Section 7 of the Federal Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) obligates employers to offer reasonable break time for mothers to pump breast for a year after her baby’s birth. They are also obligated to offer a location, other than a bathroom, which is guarded against public view and coworker interruption.
How to Choose a Breast Pump
There are lots of Breast Pumps out there and it isn’t easy to know which one to choose. Salespeople push the ones in their stores and people’s opinions are based on their own personal needs, which may differ from yours.
Here are factors to consider when making your decision:
Cost: of course budgets are important, but, a cheap breast pump is, well, cheap and if it doesn’t suit your mother needs and falls apart, you’ll need to replace it and insurance may not cover that.
Compactness: if you need to carry your pump to school or work, you may also have to take it on public transportation. If such is the case, you may want a portable breast pump. Those who travel often and/or are on the go a lot may also want to consider the compactness of their breast pump.
Cleaning Ease: because pumps must be cleaned and sterilized, they need to be taken apart and put back together. The process should be uncomplicated and simple.
Breast Milk Volume: some breast pumps were designed for minimal, several times a week, use, while others were made to handle heavy duty, multiple times a day use. You need to know what kind of volume the pump can handle.
One or Both: some pumps only express from one breast at a time, others express from both. Breast pumping takes time and can be uncomfortable. A double breast pump could make the process just a little less unpleasant. Pumping both breasts at once might make life easier, too, for the mother of multiples.
Energy Supply: a pump with multiple energy sources (electric and battery) can come in handy if there’s ever a loss of power. This is important, not only because you can go on using the breast pump, but also because stored breast milk can spoil and you’ll still be able to create a supply. A breast pump that works on a battery is also portable and can be used anywhere.
Variable Suction: suction requirements vary between women. Some need more and others need less. You should be able to adjust the breast pump’s suction strength to your own personal comfort level.
The Top Reviewed Breast Pumps
Experts and breast pumping mothers consistently recommended the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump and Spectra S2 Electric Breast Pump.
Medela Pump In Style With Tote Bag
Realistic Action: the pump has “two-phase expression technology.” Such means it mimics the way babies briskly suck before feeding to notify the breasts to start milk flow.
Bag and Accessories: the breast pump comes with a portable tote that’s Velcro’d to the pump. It also comes with ice packs that keep the milk fresh until stored.
- It pumps both breasts at the same time.
- It works on both battery and electric power.
- Speed and vacuum settings are adjustable.
The various experts and nursing mothers who reviewed breast pumps noted the following pros regarding the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with Tote Bag:
More Milk: as noted above, the breast pump was designed to realistically mimic a nursing baby and stimulate milk flow. The feature was shown to encourage mothers to produce eighteen percent more milk at each breast pumping session.
Control Ease: the all-important suction controls were simple to locate and use and all responded easily.
Uses Any Bottle: the breast pump worked with any bottle, so there was no need to purchase special accessories.
Insurance Paid for the Pump*: many insurance policies and the ACA will pay for the breast pump.
The various experts and nursing mothers who reviewed breast pumps also noted the following cons:
Must Be Careful When Ordering: If mothers want the tote bag, they must be sure to order the “Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with Tote Bag.” If it doesn’t have “with tote bag,” the tote bag and the ice bags will not be included.
A Challenge to Clean: a breast pump should be cleaned and sterilized after each pumping session. Tubes have to be flushed and rinsed, too. Such can present a problem if a mother can’t rinse the tubes right away (i.e. you may have to pump at work, school, or on the go) and the breast milk dries.
Weight: the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with Tote Bag weighs seven pounds. Such might not sound like a lot, but if you’re carrying the pump on long trips and on public transportation and possibly also with an infant, it could start to feel very heavy.
Noisy: the breast pump makes an obnoxiously loud noise while working.
Potential Mold Issue: the open system allows backflow and could lead to a mold problem.
No Warranty or Refund Process: Medela doesn’t offer a warranty. Should you be dissatisfied or encounter a problem, you may only be able to contact the seller, who may or may not offer an exchange. Depending on insurance policies and rules, you may have to purchase another and, if it takes too long, your milk supply could stop.
*There is a form that you can complete to see whether you qualify for the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump through your insurance. See the following site for more information and eligibility requirements:
Note: It isn’t clear whether insurance will cover the breast pump with the tote bag. Mothers may have to purchase the tote bag separately.
Spectra S2 Electric Breast Pump
The Spectra S2 Electric Breast Pump is hospital grade, which means it better establishes a mother’s milk flow, helps mothers with a low milk supply produce more milk, and is created for multiple, daily use. Hospitals use them as they need milk on hand for premature babies and those who are admitted for inpatient stays. Mothers visiting their babies can use them to provide supplies. Additional features include:
- Physical Barrier: it works with a barrier that shields the milk from mold and bacteria while pumping. It also keeps the tubes dry, so there’s no need to clean them.
- Nightlight and timer.
- It pumps from one or both breasts at the same time.
- It works quietly.
- It comes with seven bottles, two ice packs, and a cooler bag.
- Adaptable Settings: mothers can customize the settings to her liking.
The various experts and nursing mothers who reviewed breast pumps pointed out the following pros regarding the Spectra S2 Hospital Grade Double/Single Electric Breast Pump with Tote and Cooler:
- The timer allowed for precise pumping tracking and future planning.
- The night light was the kind of feature one never really thought about, but then suddenly appreciated when it was nighttime or when the room was dark.
- Because the tubes don’t need to be cleaned and sterilized, it’s more convenient than other pumps that require disassembly and time-consuming tube rinsing.
- It weighs less than four pounds, so it’s easy to carry around.
- Insurance Pays for the Pump*: many insurance policies and the ACA will pay for the breast pump.
The assorted experts and nursing mothers who looked at breast pumps also noted the following cons:
Be Careful When Ordering: If mothers want the tote bag, they must be sure to order the “Spectra S2 Hospital Grade Double/Single Electric Breast Pump with Tote and Cooler.” If it doesn’t have “with tote bag and cooler,” the tote bags, bottles, and the cooler bag will not be included.
- It doesn’t work on batteries, only electricity.
- The bottles are substandard and sometimes spill easily.
- Mothers sometimes experience a learning curve when attempting to figure out how to master the pump.
- Can be difficult to find and may only be able available online. Parts may also be hard to find.
- Milk sometimes leaks from the funnels.
*There is a form that you can complete to see whether she qualifies for the Spectra S2 Hospital Grade Double/Single Electric Breast Pump with Tote and Cooler. See the following site for more information and eligibility requirements:
Note: It isn’t clear whether insurance will cover the breast pump with the tote bag and accessories. Mothers may have to purchase the tote bag and accessories separately.
Spectra S2 vs. Medela Pump In Style
So, the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with Tote Bag (Medela Pump in Style) and Spectra S2 Hospital Grade Double/Single Electric Breast Pump with Tote and Cooler (Spectra S2) are essentially the two best breast pumps on the market. Which should a mother choose?
The S2 pumps very quietly, so it doesn’t disturb baby or anyone else in the house, office, or out in public. The Medela Pump, on the other hand, is really noisy and can annoy other people, including the baby. Other redeeming characteristics include:
- It weighs four pounds, so it’s lighter than the Medela Pump in Style.
- Mothers control the S2 with buttons and the Medela Pump with dials. Some may find buttons easier.
- The night light lets you read a book and/or do work while pumping.
- The physical barrier makes it more sterile.
- Some mothers claim that the S2 is more comfortable.
Features that Make the Medela Pump in Style
The Medela Pump in Style’s tote bag organizes well and the Velco keeps everything together and organized. Other redeeming characteristics include:
The technology that provides quicker and a higher supply of breast milk production gives mothers extra time. New moms have limited time as it is and whatever extra they get is precious.
It works on both electricity and batteries, so it’s more portable.
Experts and breastfeeding mothers essentially agree women who plan to return to work after giving birth would probably be more satisfied with the S2 because of it’s low sound.
They’ll have more privacy and feel more comfortable. Because they’re most likely pumping at an office or school or indoor setting, there wasn’t a great need for a battery.
Mothers who need to pump milk quickly and/or who needed to be on the go a lot, would probably prefer the Medela Pump in Style as it provides and maintains a large supply.
Do, however, use all the information to make your own decision. There are detailed features and pros and cons for each breast and, as mentioned, what is important for one woman, may not be important for another.
Finally, to further help, here are some tips for successful breast pumping:
- If possible, pump at the same time and place every day.
- Massage your breasts prior to pumping. It helps stimulate your milk flow and clear blocked ducts.
- Drinks a glass of water before pumping and during pumping. It helps keep you hydrated, which is very important.
- Clean and maintain your breast pump. It ensures good working performance.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Such helps your breast milk flow better and faster. Relaxing sounds, photos, objects, and exercises help.
- Pump as often as you would nurse, around every two to three hours. Also pump in the morning.
- Record your baby crying and cooing. Such stimulates breast milk flow.