Thursday, December 19, 2013

Breastfeeding Stuff: Breastfeeding Pumps; Boppy vs. My Brest Friend; Bottles

Navigating breastfeeding pumps was a particularly stressful and difficult product choice for me.  Here's my findings:

tl;dr:
  • Pumps:
    • Buy the Medela Freestyle (or Pump in Style); AND
    • The Medela Harmony in addition ($30 on Amazon); and
    • Maybe buy into the whole Medela system (steaming bags, cleaning wipes, storage bags)
    • But NOT the Calma bottle.
  • I prefer the My Brest Friend (over the Boppy).
  • Bottles: Buy the Tommee Tippee or Avent bottles.
Pumps

Considered:
  • Medela Pump in Style
  • Medela Free Style
  • Medela Harmony
  • Ameda Purely Yours
The best blogs and comparisons I found were here, here, and here.
  • Ameda 
    • Pro's: 
      • Closed system > no liquids in the tubes > no gross milk residue / mildew (cleaner?)
      • Cheaper
    • Con's: 
      • Louder
      • Not as nice bag and system (i.e., product "ecosystem")
      • Less support / available spare parts
  • Medela
    • Pro's: 
      • Quieter
      • Lots of support and spare parts
      • Extensive product "ecosystem"
    • Con's:
      • More expensive
      • More effective at draining (maybe)
      • Open system > liquid can get into the tubes
    • Note: Freestyle clips to your nursing bra, allowing you to use it hands free (also has a fancier digital control UI instead of a dial).
My conclusion: 
  • I ended up buying the Medela because 1) more effective, and 2) quieter.  I was really happy I did; the extensive number of Medela accessories (the product "ecosystem") were so comprehensive that I felt completely supported.
  • I do get condensation in the tubes, but it's just water; I let the pump run for a few minutes after I'm done and it's no problem.  My lactation consultant said to "sit up straight" and now slouch while pumping, and the breast milk should not get in there.
  • I bought the Pump in Style but would consider getting the Freestyle next time.
Additionally:
  • I also bought the Medela Harmony ($30) and LOVE it in addition to the PIS. When I was just starting out pumping, the PIS was really intimidating, so starting with the little manual pump was perfect (much more friendly).
  • Additionally, there are two uses for pumping:
    • 1) Replacement (pump INSTEAD of feeding): Use the electronic / PIS pump because it's much faster.
    • 2) When you're too full (pump a little before / between feedings): Use the handheld because it's much less hassle to set up. 
  • I also like these additional Medela accessories:
    • Steaming bags
    • On-the-go cleaning wipes
    • Smaller-sized flanges
    • Spare parts
  • We used the Calma bottle for a while, but it's not my fave. The Amazon reviews are right -- it delivers milk to Babette really quickly.  She's a champ eater, so she's able to deal with it, but I worry she's struggling to keep up. Instead, see bottle post, below.
Boppy vs. My Brest Friend

Thanks to generous friends, I have tried both the Boppy and the My Brest Friend. For the first month, I used the Boppy because I was intimidated by MBF (seemed too hard; that clip around the waist was somehow scary); but now I prefer it.

I prefer the My Brest Friend primarily because it provides me with more support.  The Boppy is not tall enough, and so I'm slouching over trying to feed Babette.  MBF clips around the waist so it doesn't move, and can support her better.  

MBF looked too hard, but it turns out to be really nice and soft, but provides more support than the Boppy (Boppy squishes down).

That said, the Boppy is usable for other things, like Tummy Time and propping Babette semi-sitting after a feed (prevents her from choking on spitup).  Also immediately postpartum, I was too big to get the MBF comfortably around me, so the Boppy was a more approachable choice.

Bottles

At first I got lazy here and just bought the Medela Calma without researching because it fit into my Medela system so well.  But then I noticed that it seemed to deliver milk really quickly for Babette.

So I asked the Wonderful Lactation Consultant again, and she recommended that we switch to either Tommee Tippee, or Avent.  Maricia had recommended Tommee Tippee before, and I wish I had started there instead.  Like all bottle systems, TT and Avent have nipples specifically for babies of different ages, so make sure you're getting the right nipple.

Side Note: There is a better way to give The Wonderful Lactation Consultant recommends this KellyMom article for directions on how to bottle feed.