There are two kinds of breast pumps — personal pumps and multi-user hospital grade pumps.
A personal pump is designed for a mother whose baby has been breastfeeding well and mother has well-established milk production. Personal pumps are used while mom is away from her baby, whether she is at work or school or for other occasions, like appointments or shopping.
A multi-user hospital-grade breast pump is used when a mother is frequently pumping because her baby is not yet breastfeeding well. Some reasons baby may not be fully breastfeeding are prematurity, illness, sleepiness, or having problems feeding.
A multi-user hospital grade pump has a motor that is stronger and lasts longer than a personal pump. It is made to establish and maintain mother’s milk production for pumping around-the-clock, for days or weeks at a time. Most mothers get more milk in less time when using a multi-user hospital grade pump. They can fit in eight sessions in every 24-hour period to mimic a breastfeeding baby’s pattern of feeding. More frequent pumping sessions mean that mother will release more of the milk-producing hormone, prolactin, and have better emptying of her breasts, which, together, help to make more milk for her baby. Even the best personal pumps were not designed to do this so a mother may not make as much milk as her growing baby needs.
A multi-user hospital grade pump is a closed system, meaning that particles from the environment, such as bacteria or viruses, are less likely to enter the milk. This is important in situations when mother is providing milk for her hospitalized preterm or ill baby. Personal pumps are more open to contact with the environment.
Many insurance companies are now paying for a personal pump or rental of a multi-user hospital-grade pump. Contact your insurance company to see if they cover the cost of a breast pump. Some companies are paying for personal pumps only. If your baby is not yet breastfeeding well and your insurance company does not cover the cost, rentals are affordably priced. For rental options call 513 862 7867.
When you call your insurance company, ask what brand and type of breast pump they provide. Breast pumps are monitored by the FDA for safety but not for effectiveness in maintaining your milk production. A breast pump made by a toy manufacturer or baby food company often does not have the research and development behind it to ensure good milk removal. There are companies that have invested time and money to research and develop effective, comfortable breast pumps.
If you have questions about the brand and type of breast pump that will best fit your situation, attend a breastfeeding class or call the Breastfeeding Help Line to speak with a TriHealth lactation consultant at 513 862 7867, option 3.