Exclusive Breastfeeding ~ Reasons to Consider Having a Pump

Breast pumps are obviously necessary if you’re planning to feed your baby part time (or full time) by bottle, but having a breast pump is also a great idea even if you’re planning to exclusively breastfeed. There are times when pumping can be an absolute life-saver!

Engorgement
When the pain and tightness of engorgement hits, expressing a little bit can help ease discomfort as well as making it easier for baby to latch. The only thing to be careful about it is the amount you pump; only take what is needed for your comfort and baby’s latch needs. You don’t want MORE milk in this situation!

Medical Procedure/Surgery
My recent medical situation required that I have a d&c, and I was unable to breastfeed for eight hours while the anesthesia wore off. Having a breast pump allowed me to do two things; first, I was able to express milk the day before so that Elizabeth would have milk during the post-surgery hours, and second, I was able to “pump and dump” my milk during the hours that she was having expressed milk. If you’ve never had to pump and dump before, let me tell you, it is extremely difficult to pour it down the drain! Yikes, all that work for nothing!

Illness
While it is almost always okay to continue breastfeeding while you’re sick (check with your doctor), you might want to express milk for someone else to give to the baby some of the time simply so you can rest. Getting to take a nap or sleep in can be really beneficial to your recovery.

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A simple manual pump doesn’t cost very much and it’s well worth the price tag. Add a few bottles, caps and nipples to the cart and you’re all set should your baby need expressed milk.

Related post: Breastfeeding and Weaning

With my first baby, I worked part time so I had a single electric pump by Evenflo; it worked well enough but it wasn’t very comfortable and by the time I had used it for several months, the motor was weak so it was thrown away when I was done with it.

I decided to switch to a manual pump with baby number two because I was no longer working outside the home yet wanted my husband to give the baby bottles occasionally. I used an Avent manual breast pump and it was very comfortable! Of course, because we offered them to him so infrequently, he wouldn’t take bottles by six or seven months and he had to have a sippy cup instead.

I continued to use the Avent pump with my third, whom we also just occasionally gave bottles to. Because my body didn’t seem keen on getting pregnant with our fourth, I gave away all of our baby stuff, including my Avent pump…and then found out about baby Elizabeth about two weeks later. :P

And so, I had to buy another pump, but I had trouble finding the Avent one at the time I was looking so I picked up Medela’s manual pump. It is only about as comfortable as the original electric one I had; it works but I don’t care for how it feels. :/

If you’re in the market for a good manual pump, I definitely recommend Avent’s – the “petals” make the whole experience much more comfortable! You can click the image below to check it out on amazon (I do not use affiliate links).

What has your experience been with breast pumps?

When did you find it most useful?

25 thoughts on “Exclusive Breastfeeding ~ Reasons to Consider Having a Pump

  1. Great post! I kind of wish I had had a manual pump. I used an Aveda electric pump that my insurance company provided, and it was okay. I did use it every night before bed for about 9-10 months with baby #2… and I hated every second of using it… :( Useful, yes – enjoyable, no….

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    1. Yeah, really. That’s how I felt about my single electric and my current manual (medela). Why did you pump every night? That would be so tiring! I feel like its too late to rationalize buying an Avent but I don’t know how long Elizabeth will continue nursing and I would appreciate a better pump. Maggie was 14 months and fully weaned whereas Samuel was 25 months so I really have no idea what will happen!

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      1. I have the Spectra S1 and S2 double pumps, and I’m happy with both. (I had expected to go back to work, so I got one for home and one to leave at the office.) Baby Bird is sleeping through the night now so, like Katherine Benfante, I pump every night before bed so I’m not engorged when I wake up.

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  2. I have an Avent single electric pump and it is very comfortable. I bought it when I was still pregnant and for a long time I felt like I had wasted my money because Little O wasn’t one bit interested in bottles but now that I am at work full time it gets used every day. I don’t pump at work because I have a long commute and storing the milk safely would be difficult so by the time I get home I am quite engorged. What I do then is pump for about 20 minutes on one side while Little O feeds on the other and I manage to get enough milk to last him for the next day. When I am with him in person, I just feed him myself. So far it’s working well for us. I haven’t really got a plan for stopping feeding so I think the pump is going to continue to get used quite a lot!

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    1. That’s great! Don’t you love Avent?! I don’t understand why other brands are so uncomfortable. :/ I’m glad he will take expressed milk from you now. 😊 Elizabeth fought it last Wed until she was super tired and we were in our darkened bedroom. She did not appreciate no boob. :P

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      1. I am glad that I ended up choosing Avent because it would have made pumping even less pleasant if I had an uncomfortable pump.

        He unfortunately won’t take expressed milk from me, only Mr O. So the night feeds are still all me for now.

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  3. I have a used medela double-electric pump from a friend–I ordered new tubing online b/c they won’t sell it from medela. They sell the tubing but since pumps are considered “single use” they won’t sell tubing for one unless you were the original purchaser. I find it a little silly since milk never gets into the tubing OR the pump but oh well. I was able to find some on Amazon and have used the pump whenever I needed!

    HOWEVER, I really don’t care for pumping. My pump is very nice and easy to use, but I’d prefer never pumping. It is nice to have for emergencies though. There were a few times that I really needed it! First–early on I had slight engorgement and was able to relieve the pressure before nursing. Then when Joshua was about 14 months he had a bad ear infection and went on a nursing strike. So I pumped every three hours or so to try to keep my supply up. And 4-5 days later when he finally decided to nurse again, I still had milk! (My sister’s youngest weaned this way–a nursing strike! And when she wanted to come back my sister’s milk had dried up, which made for a very unhappy toddler!)

    There were maybe a couple of other times I used it. I pumped a little milk in the beginning just to have in case of emergencies, but I never needed it and ended up putting it in a sippy cup for my oldest, ha!

    For women who work outside of the home I feel they would HAVE to pump though. Personally, I’d probably use formula before I’d be an exclusively pumping momma, just because I hate pumping so much, lol!

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    1. LOL, I hate pumping, too! I give major props to women who have to do it regularly for their little one(s)!!
      That’s a really good point, being able to keep up milk production during a nursing strike – I hadn’t thought of that.
      And yeah, I’m not sure it’s such a huge deal about pumps being single use when parts can be cleaned (and, as you said, certain parts don’t even have milk come in contact with them!)

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  4. I pump while I work, and sometimes at home. I have the Medela Harmony manual pump, and the Medela Pump In Style Advanced electric pump. I pump on work days before I leave the house, then 3 times at work all with my electric pump. At home I usually only use the manual when Jacob has nursed from one side and fallen asleep. I pump whenever I feel I might have some extra, so it can be set aside for the hubby to use while I’m at work. My supply has dropped recently. I think it’s a combination of giving him solids/juice and his distraction while nursing. He pulls off for every little sound, and the family just doesn’t understand they need to be quiet when Jacobs eating.
    I don’t think either pump is comfortable to use, but I get results pretty quickly compared to the electric pump I used with my oldest. I used a First Years electric pump with him. Not only was it slow, but I had to replace it after 6 months too.

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    1. Wow, that’s a lot of pumping – go you!!
      I generally go in the bedroom to feed Elizabeth because she gets really distracted, too and it’s just easier to let them make their noise than to be constantly shh’ing everyone, lol. That being said, I was shh’ing for a lot of the weekend and even yesterday because I was holding her a lot, nursing as much as she wanted, and rocking in the living room. I just wanted it to be a little bit lower key since she wasn’t feeling well. But normally, we go somewhere else.
      I’ve given Elizabeth water but she hasn’t had juice yet. I’m thinking I may NOT give her any simply because of the way my older kids have all preferred it to water – I don’t want that drama with her, lol.
      Hormones definitely play a role in supply, too. Maybe your cycle?

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      1. I started giving Jacob 2 oz of juice with 2 oz of water, or I mix his cereal with juice, because he was getting constipated once we started solids.😞 I definitely don’t want the kids drinking too much of it. Even if it’s 100% juice there’s a lot of sugar in it. I don’t want the kids to be addicted to sweets like I am.😉
        I try to nurse Jacob in the living room because it’s the most comfortable for me, but it is the most likely place to be bothered. I still get the boys coming in to ask questions if I go to my room. The 2 year old even climbs on me while I’m nursing which is distracting for sure. Lol!
        I have no idea what’s going on with my cycle. My spotting totally stopped and the test I took this weekend was negative. My last cycle was 2/12, so I’m due. Breastfeeding and PCOS could both be playing roles in my lack of cycle though.😒

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        1. Aww I hope his body has figured out how to keep the solids moving now. 😊 Constipation is no fun!
          Ugh, I have suspected PCOS and of course I’m breastfeeding, too, so I hear ya on hormones being whacky! Any cycle news yet?

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          1. still just waiting on my cycle not overly concerned I don’t feel at all pregnant.
            The baby still doesn’t have everything all figured out sometimes he’ll go a week without a movement and sometimes he’ll go every couple of days but at least they aren’t too difficult anymore.

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  5. It certainly is handy to have a pump on hand! Even though I was home full time with Micah, I needed it a few times. Being engorged in the beginning was so painful, but pumping helped some. I used one of the Medela pumps and it’s currently still in storage, but I’ll need to get it back out. :) It’s good to know of other recommendations too in case I decide to get a different one!

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    1. Isn’t it awesome to think about getting all these things back out?! Aww, I’m so excited for you! 😍 And I’m glad you already have a pump you like. 😊

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