First time, primarily SAHM - can I get by with a manual pump? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-06-2012, 07:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I keep reading that manual pumps are bad for milk supply, but the electric ones are very expensive.  I am taking the first two years of my child's life (mostly) off of work, which is also all I plan to nurse.  As a former nanny, it will be easy for me to get occasional babysitting jobs at times when my husband is home, and, of course, we will occasionally attend events without the baby.  I am guessing that the baby will need a bottle an average of 3-4 times per month.  The amount will increase as I feel more comfortable leaving him/her, and then decrease as s/he starts taking fewer feedings and relying more on solid food.

 

Given this, I feel like I'm a good candidate for cheaping out on the breast pump, but I should also add that avoiding formula is VERY important to me.  I would consider it to be a disaster if I had to use it;  this is not a judgment of others, but, rather, just how I feel.  I have no way of knowing if I'll have milk supply issues or not.  I am 35 and my breasts have always been healthy, but small.  I don't think that matters.

 

Do you think a manual pump would be okay for me?  Specific recommendations would be welcome.  I also want to use glass bottles;  I think any pump can be used with glass bottles, but if you know otherwise, please tell me.

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Old 01-06-2012, 08:00 AM
 
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I'm hoping so because that is my plan :) I will be a SAHM. I asked for and received a manual pump as a shower gift. I am not expecting to need to pump often but I wanted something on hand in case of engorgement at 3am or something, and I hope it will be enough for anything else I need down the road.

 

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Old 01-06-2012, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What brand did you get, Dealic?  Had you heard good things about it before?

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Old 01-06-2012, 05:14 PM
 
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I don't consider myself experienced by any means since I have one 3 1/2 month old, but if you find yourself having to pump, even occasionally, you do NOT want to be doing it manually. It's hell on your wrists, and it takes FOREVER to get a decent amount. It's so ineffective. I'm an exclusive pumper, so I'm pumping literally for every feeding. I planned on feeding from the breast from the get-go, but for a variety of reasons it didn't work out. Don't run out and buy a pump before you have the baby though. If you need one, rent it from the hospital to start with (most of the time it's pretty affordable). Then you'll be able to ascertain how much you need it, which will inform the model and style you purchase if you want to go that route. 


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Old 01-06-2012, 06:33 PM
 
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I think that if you are just pumping on occasion that a manual pump would be fine.  It probably will be a pain in the butt, but if you are only planning on using it on occasion, I wouldn't spend the money on the electric one.  If the manual pump doesn't get the job done, then you can always do as the previous poster said and rent one from the hospital or buy one later.  I bought a nice pump, and my DS never ended up taking bottles, so I never use it, except when I am donating milk. 


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Old 01-06-2012, 07:09 PM
 
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I expected to use only a manual pump with dd2... I couldn't foresee an occasion where I'd need an electric. After all, I was going to be home with her.

 

Manual pumps suck! (Well it did for me anyway.) I could not let down for the manual well and rarely got much in the freezer that way. And I didn't know how much I would want in the freezer, it turned out to be more than I thought. I also tried manual expression and could not get the hang of that.

 

I did have a few problems in the beginning with oversupply and engorgement, and sent dh to buy me a nice pump for about $129 I think. It worked great even tho it was inexpensive.

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Old 01-06-2012, 08:25 PM
 
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Think of it this way too - if you want to build up a freezer supply for any reason (say, in case you end up needing to go to work, or travel apart more than you anticipate, or what have you), if you pump an extra ten ounces a day, it's going to take you a month to pump a single week's supply. And that's with an efficient double electric. 


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Old 01-06-2012, 08:36 PM
 
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Also, **very important** it really depends on your milk supply too. I started out with a manual pump thinking as you did (I'll be a SAHM, it will be fine) but it turns out I really needed an electric one to build supply in the first few weeks, and I think I would've had to pump less overall if I had started out with that one instead of a manual. I hated pumping but the electric one was so much faster & easier. 

 

Then again, if you have awesome supply right off, it might be a non-issue...but you don't know until you've had the baby and you don't want to be chasing down pumps in that newborn-crazy time. You can rent electric ones and I would highly suggest it to be prepared. Or if you can (sometimes pumps aren't returnable) get both and then return the electric one unused if you haven't needed it in a month. But especially if you really want to avoid formula, you might really want to consider an electric one. 

 

Hope that helps.

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Old 01-06-2012, 09:32 PM
 
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I would get one of the inexpensive electric pumps, I had Evenflo and I think it was $30. I didn't expect to need one at all but then I had to pump in the first week because of engorgement and pain that I just couldn't get rid of by only breastfeeding. I;m very glad I had it and didn't have to go out. I also stayed at home and EBF so I did not have to pump a whole lot but I did make a few bottles and the cheap electric one worked fine and was a heck of a lot easier than the manual.

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Old 01-06-2012, 09:55 PM
 
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I could never get any milk with an electric pump with my first son, and switched to a manual with my second son, and it was awesome!  I'm really not sure if I had a difference in supply, or if it was the pump.  I never tried the manual because everyone said they didn't work well, but I finally had to get one, and am so glad I did.  I could easily pump several ounces at a time, whereas with the electric it was painful to get even an ounce.  I think it's just a personal thing, so you should try a few out if you can before you invest.

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Old 01-07-2012, 06:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSlocombe View Post

Given this, I feel like I'm a good candidate for cheaping out on the breast pump, but I should also add that avoiding formula is VERY important to me.  I would consider it to be a disaster if I had to use it;  this is not a judgment of others, but, rather, just how I feel.  I have no way of knowing if I'll have milk supply issues or not.  I am 35 and my breasts have always been healthy, but small.  I don't think that matters.

I've never used a manual pump so I can't help with that. I've been a SAHM mom for both my sons' first year and never needed a pump except to build supply - when I used a rented hospital-grade pump - and then bought a Medela PIS double electric when I went back to work after DS1's first birthday. I had a lot of success hand expressing with DS2 - that may be an option for you. Some women get very efficient with it.
I just wanted to say that it's great that you're determined to exclusively breastfeed but I'd have a plan to get help if things don't go the way you expect. If I were you, I'd find a lactation consultant you connect with, figure out how to rent a hospital-grade pump and go to some La Leche League meetings while still pregnant. Breastfeeding can be really hard - you need to get a support system in place now. You could also explore donor milk if you did need to supplement.
The vast majority of babies won't need formula supplementation but mine did. Like you, I thought it was a "disaster" when I had to supplement DS1 because of unexplained low supply (and despite pumping, tongue tie release and a prescription galactagogue) and it caused me real anguish. With DS2, I was luckily able to transition to EBF fairly quickly and I knew from experience that motherhood requires flexibility and compromise and a little formula wasn't a disaster after all.

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Old 01-07-2012, 10:48 PM
 
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I'm a mostly SAHM with a nursing on cue 8 month old. My mom went out and bought me a manual Medela pump the day my son was born so I could pump and syringe feed him while we worked on latch. My sister brought me an electric pump the next day but I've never used it and I'm giving it to a friend. I used an electric pump just once at the hospital when my son was treated for jaundice because the intern didn't want to let up about formula and being able to measure the amount of intake he received, so I compromised and pumped. I had the same feeling as you do about ebf. I agree with the other posters, too, about putting supports in place now in case you have challenges.

I recommend the Medela hand pump - I use it still to pump for the times I'm planning to be away. I don't have a huge stash in the freezer and that worries me sometimes, but I have enough for a few days if needed. I can get about 2 oz per breast per pumping.
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Old 01-08-2012, 04:55 AM
 
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I had only an Avent hand pump. When my twins were 5 months old I had to start working nights, I was away 10 hours a night. The Avent kept up just fine. For my other 2 kids I didn't pump much because I was a SAHM, but I say try with a manuel, and see if you need an electric after. I've heard the cheap electric ones are not as good as the good hand ones.


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Old 01-09-2012, 08:52 PM
 
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I (SAHM) exclusively pumped for my son until he was 20 months old and had both an Avent manual and a Medela Pump in Style. Both worked well, but I preferred the Medela simply because it could be used hands-free (good for reading to my little man, writing out bills, playing, etc.) and was faster than a manual. I really found that time was of the essence when he was an infant and I didn't want to spend more time than I needed working a hand pump. The best pump I ever had, however, was the industrial-strength hospital grade electric I rented from my lactation consultant to get me through the first week. Man! That thing was like a Dyson and relieved the ache of engorgement like nothing else!

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Old 01-10-2012, 08:43 AM
 
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I think you will be fine with a hand pump.  I had an Avent hand pump as a backup with my first child and didn't love it.  This time I bought a Medela hand pump as a backup and it's great.  I can get *almost* as much with it as I can with my electric pump.  It's easy and comfortable to use.


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Old 01-10-2012, 08:57 AM
 
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I'm on maternity leave for a year, and since DD pretty much never leaves my side (or rather, my arms), I got a pump only for when I felt engorged.  She started sleeping more through the night, and her feedings became fewer, so I'd want to pump in the morning.  Plus, I figured it couldn't hurt to have a little supply built up in the freezer for if I want to go out.  I got the manual Avent one because it was the only one available in my small town and I wanted it pretty much immediately and mail is slow.  I almost got an Ameda electric one, but in the end, I realized it wouldn't be worth it to me.  By the time I go back to work, DD will be eating more solid foods, so I won't have to pump to keep her going while I'm at work. 

 

I'll admit that I don't get a HUGE supply with the pump, but it works fine.  I did try an electric, and I have to say, I prefer the manual.  I like being in control and having my own hand pump the milk.  (Is that weird?  I dunno.)  I usually get anywhere from 1.5 - 3.5 oz in a 15-minute pumping session (on one breast while DD feeds from the other).  The Avent has a (silicone?) attachment that goes over the funnel-shaped part you put on your breast, and it has petal-shaped indents that help massage your breast and get more milk out.  (At least, that's what it claims, and I think it does help.)

 

And she hasn't even had any of the frozen stuff from the freezer yet, and she just turned 6 months old.  (I got the pump when she was about 6 weeks old.)

 

If you're only going to be using it occasionally, I'd go for the manual.  No point in shelling out tons of money for something you won't use that often.  I haven't regetted it.

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Old 01-10-2012, 09:14 AM
 
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I work outside the home and needed a good electric pump, which frequently come on on craigslist for $50-100.  I didn't really know how pumps were designed and was frightened by the FDA's stance on the risk of bodily fluid contact and disease.  Having bought a new one and seeing how there is basically zero contact (especially if you buy new tubes/horns), I would feel totally comfortable buying a used one.  Something to consider.


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Old 01-10-2012, 05:18 PM
 
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I have 4 kids, all EBF, and I have used my Avent hand pump many 10 times.  It worked fine, but is still difficult to get more than a few ounces out.  When you are not pumping regularly, it can be difficult to get much out of a pump, even the expensive electric pumps.  Also, you may want to consider hand expression.  it really isn't difficult once you get the hang of it, it's totally free, and you can express into any container you want!


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Old 01-11-2012, 04:58 PM
 
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I breastfed 3 children all past 2 and had a pump. You say avoiding formula is very important to you. Avoiding formula and artificial nipples was very important to me. In the first 6 months you may not want to leave your baby. You may be able to leave while your baby naps or between feedings. After 6 months you can miss a feeding and the baby can eat solids. After 10 months to a year you can be away 8 hours or longer.  

 

If you had an emergency and needed to get milk out you can hand express. It can work just as well as a pump. That is what women did before $300 electric pumps.


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Old 01-11-2012, 05:28 PM
 
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I didn't take the advice of experienced Le Leche League moms (who told me to wait and see what I needed after baby was born)  and went out and purchased a $350 pump while I was still pregnant. The truth is that you will not know your needs until after the birth. You may need a hospital grade pump, depending upon birth circumstances, you may need to hand express, you may need nothing after making a decision not to leave your baby at all and only nurse from the breast.

 

In the end I did surprisingly receive an Avent Isis hand pump as a gift from the hospital for participating in their breastfeeding survey. I also purchased a $350 Medela prior to birth. Surprise. I decided when my son was born that I was not going to return to work and never needed any pump at all as I am always with him. Never the less I made a freezer stash which I never used. He refused a bottle which I was actually quite relieved about, as it just didn't feel right anyway (for me). Long story short, I never needed a pump and wasted money.

If you need to make some sort of decision though, the Isis was a great hand pump and if you hold it midway pump, the milk just continues to flow, without actually pumping.

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Old 01-15-2012, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, this is all so useful - thanks!  I am seeing that I could possibly get by with a manual pump, and that the one made by Medela is most popular, but that there is no reason for me to obtain one before the birth.  Certainly, I won't be leaving the baby for the first few days (probably more), and once I see what my supply is like, I can send my husband out for the model I want.  I had been hoping to put it on the registry, but I know that baby shower attendants, oddly more so than wedding shower attendants (where the goods are less important, or, at least, were to me), are VERY apt to just go buy a cute outfit instead of looking at the registry, and I've already got more than 20 items (mostly small, but some bigger) on mine.  Best not to add anything that would be better purchased later, anyway.

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Old 01-15-2012, 12:52 PM
 
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Just an FYI - some stores will let you purchase items on your registry for a discount after your baby is born. BRU does 10% off I think so I registered for laundry soap and things I didn't expect people to buy (although some did) so I could pick up what I needed. As a first-time mama committed to breastfeeding - nursing supplies are my go to gift now for baby showers, too. Clothes are way overrated - they outgrew and might not even wear the newborn stuff and second hand is so much cheaper.

Best of luck! Wishing you a joyful birth experience!
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
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Just an FYI - some stores will let you purchase items on your registry for a discount after your baby is born. BRU does 10% off I think so I registered for laundry soap and things I didn't expect people to buy (although some did) so I could pick up what I needed. As a first-time mama committed to breastfeeding - nursing supplies are my go to gift now for baby showers, too. Clothes are way overrated - they outgrew and might not even wear the newborn stuff and second hand is so much cheaper.
Best of luck! Wishing you a joyful birth experience!


Thanks!  My registry is on Amazon.  I wanted to go with BRU because I know people like to go to the store instead of ordering, but I couldn't find enough of what I wanted at BRU.  I have a goal of getting most of the first year's clothing from Freecycle, though I did register for two side-snap onesies, because I'd read in multiple places that newborns need side snaps, and I wasn't positive I could find those used.  I also went ahead and put an affordable, Made in the USA sunhat on there, because of the time of the birth.  Otherwise, it's cloth diapers and covers, a car seat, glass bottles (because I'll want those regardless of which pump I get), nursery bedding/accessories, etc.

 

Sneaky genius idea - I could start a registry on BRU for things I *might* want to buy later, but which aren't top registry needs, and just not tell anyone.  Then, I could get the discount later and still get the Amazon items I prefer.

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Old 01-17-2012, 06:02 PM
 
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Target has a pretty good selection of baby stuff actually, and does the same type of discount if you want to check them out. 


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