Northwest Women's Consultants
Breast Pump Options
Breastfeeding your newborn infant is a healthy way to provide comfort and nourishment for your baby’s growth and development. Unless you plan to take your baby everywhere at all times, you may at some point consider the option of using a breast pump for a variety of reasons: privacy, traveling, returning to work, or to enhance efficiency in producing or storing milk for your baby.
A variety of terms are used to describe breast pumps (hospital grade, multi-‐user, double pump/single pump), as are the options to purchase or rent a breast pump. Understanding these considerations will help you decide your best options in choosing a particular breast pump.
A breast pump is made up of three parts: a pump to create a vacuum to extract milk from the breast, a breast shield to fit over the nipple, and a detachable container for collecting and storing milk. Understanding the proper care and maintenance of your breast pump and its accessories will provide you and your baby a continued positive nursing experience.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over sees the safety and effectiveness of breast pump devices in order to ensure that the devices are safe for you and your baby. The FDA encourages manufacturers to use designations of multiple user or single user categories, as breast pumps may be rented and used by more than a single individual over time.
The FDA does not recognize “hospital grade” as a specific category. This term is used by manufacturers and insurance companies for marketing and billing purposes. It does not refer to better safety or hygiene characteristics in obtaining or storing milk for use by your baby.
“Hospital grade” pumps refer to the size and ability of the pump to obtain milk from the breast. They weigh 5-‐11 pounds and are powered by electricity, thus requiring proximity to an electrical outlet. This limits convenient portability of the device outside the home. In addition, these appliances are expensive and renting is a preferred option for many patients. Rented pumps are considered to be multi-‐user devices.
Advantages include variable settings to adjust suction for comfort and reduced pumping time by several minutes. These devices are also efficient in withdrawing milk from the breast if your baby latches poorly or has insufficient suction for other reasons.
Breast pumps may also be powered manually or by a battery. Lighter in weight, they offer portability for use outside the home such as when traveling or returning to
work. Manufacturers and insurance companies refer to these as manual grade or personal grade devices. Pumping sessions may take longer from these lighter weight pumps. They are more affordable and often purchased for use. For this reason, they are generally single use devices.
Pumps that obtain milk from both breasts simultaneously are known as double pump devices. These conveniently shorten pumping time and are especially helpful for mothers of twins or triplets.
Your personal choice in a particular breast pump may vary over time, as may your needs and nursing circumstances.
Our office can provide you with a “hospital grade” prescription for insurance purposes, as well as recommendations for lactation consultants in our area.
If you have further questions, please feel free to discuss your needs with one of our health care providers today.
To schedule an appointment, please call (847) 394 - 3553. You may also contact us by e-mail.
What Our Patients Have Said...
"I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciated your compassion and understanding during my recent visit. I am glad I have access to the wonderful doctors and medical staff at Northwest Women's Consultants."
- Lauren S.