Are you a first-time mum in the market for a breast pump? Or maybe a second timer, but it’s been a while since you had your last bubba and times (and technology) have changed quite a bit! To make it easier for you, here’s what you need to know about breast pumps, from how to choose one, where to buy (and if second-hand is a good idea) and how to care and manage your item.
Shop around and read reviews
With the many brands of breast pumps available that you ought to consider, you would be spoilt for choice! There are brand names that have been around for many years and also newer names that have won awards and recognition for innovation - like Hegen. Remember to do your research, not just at the shops and on Google but by asking around in mummy forums and perhaps following IG hashtags for breastfeeding, so that you get a real sense of what people are using and why they like it.
Brand new or second-hand? Pros & Cons
While second-hand is usually cheaper than buying new, there is something about a breast pump that is exceedingly personal and may not be advisable for hygiene reasons, especially in these COVID times. If you’re on a budget, consider a more affordable manual pump rather than electric that you can purchase brand new. Or if you can’t help checking out second-hand buys, search for breast pumps that are “brand new in box” or “unused”. Mummies who are taking a used pump from a trusted friend or relative should at least purchase brand new flanges, valves and even tubes from the brand’s distributor. Even so, some open system breast pumps have been known to have mould growing inside the face plate due to milk and condensation leaking into it. So do think twice before purchasing or receiving anything preloved!
Just having one pump might not cut it
Sometimes, having two breast pumps just makes life a little easier. For example, an electric one to leave at home at your bedside and a manual one in the living room that you can also take with you when you’re out and about. Hegen PCTO Double Electric Breast Pump's can be swapped over to a manual pump within seconds with just the swap of a diaphragm! We also know of mums who leave one at the office so that they don’t have to lug a heavy breast pump to and fro. So, depending on your lifestyle, you may wish to budget for two pumps instead of one and the corresponding accessories.
Always read the manual
You might be one of the types that uses an electronic gadget straight out of the box and get ok results with that, but a breast pump deals with human milk and the possibility of contamination if not maintained properly. So do take note of the proper usage of your pump way before you start! Life will be tough enough once baby comes without you having to reach for information when you’re in the thick of things. Most modern breast pumps are relatively easy to use and maintain, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared (and not accidentally ruin your pump parts or baby bottles by using the wrong detergent on them or boiling them for too long). Check out our user guide as an example.
Washing the right parts and accessories
With the exception of the motor and tubings, all parts of the breast pump should be washed clean and sterilised after every use. These would be the detachable parts of the pump: flanges, valves and diaphragms. Wash these parts thoroughly using a food grade baby bottle detergent and brush. Then soak in boiling hot water before letting the parts air dry. If there is any breast milk spillage onto the pump’s machinery (e.g. near the buttons, sensors, digital display etc) make sure to wipe off with a damp cloth as well.
Do you need a steriliser?
If you already have a steriliser or are being gifted one - that’s great. But it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have one (or don’t want to because it tends to take up a lot of counter space). Many Mums get away with boiling their bottles in a big pot or soaking the washable parts of their breast pump in boiling hot water in a heat-safe container. Hegen bottles are BPA-free and made of medical-grade PPSU, known to tolerate high temperatures of up to 180 degrees celcius.