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How to choose the best breast pump for work

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How to choose the best breast pump for work by Mim Jenkinson

If your maternity leave is ending soon, you might be thinking about choosing a breast pump to help build a supply of breast milk and the transition back to work.

Many mothers who return to work decide to pump breast milk on a schedule during the day to allow their baby to continue having breast milk while they’re away.

Some mums choose to start to build a breast milk supply for the weeks and months leading up to them going back to work. But choosing a breast pump can feel a little confusing and overwhelming as there are so many different models on the market.

Plus, mothers have differing needs and requirements for their breast pumps – one size might not fit all.

Sponsored by Medela.

We’ve teamed up with Medela to bring you some key information for choosing the best breast pump for work. Plus, we share some tips for pumping at work to make the process as successful as possible.

Medela swing maxi - Tell Me Baby

Choosing the right breast pump for returning to work

Breast pump options

There are four key options to consider when it comes to choosing a breast pump:

  • A manual breast pump
  • An electric breast pump
  • A single breast pump
  • A double breast pump

Manual and single breast pumps can be a cost-effective option for mothers who want to express milk occasionally. However, if you need to pump more frequently to keep milk supply up and avoid engorgement, they might make the process slower than it needs to be.

Electric pumps are easier to use and much more convenient as the motor pumps for you. Medela’s range of electric breast pumps operate either plugged in or with batteries, giving you two convenient options to power them.

Double breast pumps are a great option for saving time and if you’re returning to work, this might be at the top of your priority list.

A double pump means less time expressing and, according to Medela, “using a double breast pump delivers 18% more milk on average than pumping from each breast in turn”.

For returning-to-work mums, Medela recommends a double electric pump, such as the Medela Swing Maxi or Medela Freestyle. They allow mums to collect more milk in less time, making it perfect for quick pumping breaks.

Medela swing maxi - Tell Me Baby

Why rent a hospital grade breast pump?

Have you considered hiring a hospital grade breast pump?

Some mothers use the Symphony hospital grade breast pump to increase their supply in the early weeks after the birth of their baby. You can also hire a Symphony breast pump at any stage in your breastfeeding journey – this could see you through so you may not have the need to purchase a personal use pump.

The Medela Symphony Hospital-grade breast pump can be rented for as long as you need one.

All Medela pumps have a unique research-based suction patterns that have been clinically tested, and the Symphony hospital grade pump has Symphony PLUS Technology to initiate, build and maintain milk supply.

Click here for more about Symphony PLUS Technology and to find a rental station near you.

Tips for breast pumping at work

Medela recommends that you start expressing milk around six weeks before returning to work.

In this time, you’ll start to get used to pumping and using your breast pump, plus build up a supply of expressed breast milk in the freezer.

Before you return, speak to your employer about where you will be able to pump at work.

This should be a private room where you can take your breast pump, set up and pump at times throughout the day. A portable breast pump that can be plugged into the wall or powered with batteries makes this much easier for you.

Medela swing maxi - Tell Me Baby

Your employer might have a specific lactation room, a private room or office. Pumping in the toilet is unhygienic and not advised!

You will need to store your expressed milk in bags or bottles at work, in the fridge or freezer. Check that there is one available for you to use.

Taking your own private cooler bag and ice packs to work is an option if you do not want to store your milk in the shared office fridge or freezer.

You can find more tips on storing breast milk here, and many more tips from Medela about pumping at work here.

You might be a little nervous about breast pumping at work, which is completely understandable. However, many mothers returning to work do this. Speaking openly with your employer before you return should ease any worries you may have.

In time, you will find a new rhythm to your day and be able to plan a breast pumping schedule that works for you. The process will become easier and quicker!

If you want to find out more about your breastfeeding rights in the workplace, check out these FAQs on the Australian Breastfeeding Association website.

Click here to find out more about the Medela range and get some greats hints, tips and advice on the Medela Breastfeeding Blog and read more from other mums.

To read hundreds of Medela product reviews from Australia mums, click here.

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