Having been an exclusive pumper for over a year with Nora and beginning this process again… Well, I’ve learned a thing or two about pumps, and own several. I realize everyone has their own opinions, but for what it’s worth, these are mine. The order of pumps start with least favorite and end with favorite.
Freemie – I originally purchased the Freemie collection cups when I was pumping with Nora. After receiving the cups I realized they didn’t work with the only pump I had at the time, the Medela Freestyle. Therefore, I ordered their pump as well, the Freemie Freedom. Um, to be blunt, I hated both the pump and the collection cups, although many friends have told me they love the cups, so maybe it’s just the pump that sucks. HAHA. Perhaps I should get the cups out and see if they work better with a different pump… It’s funny to me that the system is supposed to be convenient and conceal what you’re doing, aka, pumping, but yet the pump itself is pretty big and has to be plugged in. So yeah, that’s not convenient. My largest complaint though, was that even after pumping for quite a long time, my breasts never felt completely drained. With my other pumps I usually do some hand massage, but with these cups, you can’t really, as they cover your entire breast, so maybe that was the issue. Oh, and lots of parts to clean!
Madela Pump in Style Advanced – This pump is terribly loud next to others I’ve used. And not just loud, but squeaky! Like the darn thing needed to be oiled since the day I started using it. Is that how they all are, or perhaps just the one I had?? Also, the dial to increase suction seemed unreliable, meaning, sometimes I’d turn it up just a little but the suction would seem quite a bit increased. Also, a pain in the butt since it needs a power source and the pump itself sits inside a strange little black box. And why no timer??
Medela Freestyle – I struggle with how to rate this one. This was the pump I used with Nora, for an entire year, and got 30+ ounces a day. My breasts always felt well-drained, but I will say I usually pumped for 20-25 minutes. I loved that it was portable, the rechargeable battery lasts forever, and it’s small, so easy to throw into whatever bag you want to take that day. Love that it’s digital, has a timer, and the suction level is numbered, so you always know at which exact level you’re pumping. When I got pregnant this time I remember being told that pump motors wear out, so I purchased a brand new Freestyle. And I hate it. I hardly get any milk with it, and I know it’s the pump, as I get lots more milk with other pumps I have now. I have no idea why this particular pump would perform so poorly… I have been using it on the go, but only because I still love how convenient it is for travel.
Medela Symphony – I hate to rate this one poorly, as it’s certainly not a bad pump, but I still think there are better, especially when it comes to hospital grade, multiuser pumps. The first couple times I used this pump I loved it. I got quite a bit of milk really quickly, like maybe 8 minutes compared to 15-20 with non-hospital grade pumps, which is awesome when you pump as many hours a week as I do.That said though, I feel like the more I use this pump, the less I like it. Sometimes I feel like the suction decreases over the course of a session, like I keep turning it up and up but it never quite increases the suction. Granted, this is a rental, and who knows how many people and hours it’s been used. I suppose it could be the particular pump I was sent to rent. One thing I do love about it though, super quiet! But another downside, I actually have the rechargeable model, but the battery doesn’t even last 10 minutes, so what is the point? And why no timer??
Lansinoh Double Electronic Smart-Pump – No laughing, as this is the cheapest pump I own, but almost my favorite. This is the only pump I own which has a way to control both the suction level and the style of pumping, which is actually what I love about it. There are three pumping styles to pick from, my favorite being the longest suction cycle, which results in less pumps per minute, if that makes sense. It just seems like slower, stronger sucks actually gets quite a bit more milk for me. The pump does connect with an app through your phone, but I found that too much work, so I don’t use that feature. Also, the parts are a bit easier to clean I’ve found that most of the Medela kits, as the milk never touches some of the parts in the Lansinoh design like it does with Medela parts. This pump does have a timer, which I love, but does need to be plugged in. The pump will take regular batteries, but I’ve found one pump session uses 6 batteries, so super expensive if you don’t have a power source close to you. Otherwise, no complaints!
And, time for my very favorite, which I currently just placed an order to rent… And I’m in the process of sending back my Symphony rental…
Ameda Platinum – This is actually the pump the University has in each NICU room for moms to use, so thus far my experience has been just when I’m at the hospital. But I love it. Actually, some of the rooms have the step down, but the only difference is the step down isn’t digital and doesn’t have a timer, but the actual function of the pumps is exactly the same. This being a hospital grade, it’s quick at getting a lot of milk. Also, like the Lansinoh, you can control both the section level and cycle numbers per minute, again, my favorite feature. Also, the pumping kit is a bit different in that the flange is all one piece that screws onto the collection bottles, which makes fewer parts to clean. I’m not sure how to explain this pump, other than it’s super smooth, quiet, strong, but not painful. I know this sounds silly, but I’m so excited for this rental pump to arrive!!