A Working Mom’s Breast Friend
The Medela Pump-In-Style Advanced is the pumping equivalent of a Clydesdale…it may not fit nicely in the palm of your hand, or tuck into your purse, but it’s a sturdy, well-made pump that’s built to last.
The first time I took it out of the case, I thought I’d never figure out where everything went, but it’s really very simple; the plastic tubing connects to one or both of the air valves at one end (which are accessible via a zipper pouch that unzips the front of the bag to reveal the ‘control panel’ of the pumping speed and level of suction) and to the breast shields on the other. The only other opening on the breast shield that is not occupied by either breast or plastic tubing, screws onto the bottle.
You ‘can’ pump directly into a milk storage bag, but I’m sure there are multiple disaster stories of women literally crying over spilled milk that may sway you that it’s worth the extra clean-up to pump into the provided bottles and then transfer it to a milk storage bag.
Many of the electric pumps I’ve seen have only an off/on, or maybe a high and low speed. The Pump-in-Style has multiple speeds, in addition to multiple setting on the level of suction, which allows you to better mimic your child’s fast speed in the beginning during the let-down phase, which then slows during the feeding phase, which allows for more successful yield.
Despite being slightly intimidating initially, it really is a very simple pump to use, and quick to set up so that you aren’t using your entire break time to set up and take down.
If you aren’t provided with a space at your work to store the milk that you’ve pumped throughout the day, don’t despair because the pump comes with a smaller pull-out insulated bag and freezer pack that has indented spaces to hold four bottles snuggly or multiple breast-milk storage bags. Depending on the number of times you pump during the day, it would be worth it to transfer the milk into storage bags and label them right then, so that you can rinse and re-use the bottles throughout the day and still have room in your freezer pack for all the milk you pump.
Because the purchase of the pump includes four plastic breast-milk storage bottles, tubing, breast shields, freezer pack and storage, the only additional purchases I would recommend are breast-milk storage bags (there are so many brands and what works best for you is totally personal preference) and the Medela Micro Steam bags, which you can use at work to sterilize your bottles and breast shields, which is especially handy if you pump more than two-three times throughout the day, or if you’re able to leave your pump at work and have only to transport your freezer pack with the day’s yield back and forth to work. As long as you have a microwave at work, you can sterilize all of the pump’s parts on-site. Even if you take it back and forth, it’s one less task to complete at home at the end of the day.
In addition to plugging your pump in, you have the option of using the included battery pack…just don’t forget to put batteries in the battery pack; I’m just sayin’.
If you feel like the shields are not fitting correctly, there is the ability to purchase larger breast shields, but most women will find that the standard breast shields accommodate a pretty vast array of shapes and sizes.
So, what’s the downfall? Would you like a carrying case in black, black, or…that’s right, black. But, really, that’s about the only drawback I can think of other than the fact that you have to carry it back and forth to work if you don’t have a place to secure it, or a secondary pump at home. If you are already laden with files or other work-related accoutrements at the end of the day, you’ll be happy for the back-pack version, as opposed to the shoulder bag version.
While it’s a large purchase compared to binkies and blankets, it’s definitely an investment in your ability to successful breast-feed while working, provide breast-milk without breast-feeding if that is your choice, or to build a supply so that your child’s alternate care provider can feed them in your absence.
Something to note thing, however, is that many insurance companies will cover all, or a portion of, the cost of the pump if it’s purchased through the hospital’s lactation center and sometimes a lesser portion if it’s purchased through a standard retail outlet. Definitely check with your insurance company prior to purchase so that any code sheets or other documentation that you need can be provided to you at the time of purchase.