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New mum 101: What breast pump works for you?

Breastfeeding is one of the best gifts a mother can give to her child, but it’s not always easy. If you find it difficult to produce plenty of milk, using a breast pump can help. If you’re planning to return to work, you will also require a breast pump so you can continue producing milk for your baby.

However, a breast pump that works well for one person may not work for everyone. It’s actually best to buy your breast pump after you begin breastfeeding, so you know what you need.

Manual vs. electric breast pump

There are two main types of breast pumps: manual and electric. A manual breast pump is manually worked by hand, while an electric breast pump works automatically. You can also buy an electric breast pump that pumps both breasts at the same time, which will save you a lot of time, but is also much more pricey.

RELATED: Breastfeeding tips and tricks from NUH

It is hard to say what kind of pump would work for you best. Some women can only produce milk with an electric pump. Others find that they produce more milk by manual pumping.

Generally though, if you need to pump every day, an electric pump will be the more efficient choice as the pumping is automatic and less tiring. However, as electric pumps are pricey, a manual pump may be good enough if you’re breastfeeding full-time and only need to pump occasionally.

Know your brands

The following are brands and breast pump models that are popular and well-known among breastfeeding mums such as the Medela Pump In Style. You should do your research to shortlist the models that are most suitable for you:

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  • Ameda
  • Ardo
  • Philips Avent
  • Medela
  • Kaneson
  • Lasinoh
  • Pigeon
  • The First Years
  • Unimom

What to know before buying a breast pump

Pumps can cost as little as $40 for a basic manual pump to over $600 for a double electric pump that comes with its own bag and accessories. This is why it is really important to know your needs before buying a pump.

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1. Ask for recommendations

Friends who have breastfed their babies will be able to tell you what they liked or disliked about their pumps. At the hospital, you should also take advantage of the nurses and lactation consultants to get advice.

2. Try or rent a pump before you buy one

If possible, you should try or rent a breast pump so that you can compare brands and models for which works better. Most hospitals like KKH will offer rentals of hospital-grade breast pumps. The Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group also offers a number of demo breast pumps, both manual and electric, that you can try.

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3. Don’t buy a used pump

Although it can be attractive to buy a breast pump at a fraction of the price, it’s not a good idea to buy a used personal breast pump for hygiene reasons. Unlike hospital-grade pumps which can be completely sterilized, personal pumps have parts that are out of reach. Buying a breast pump from a stranger, you run the risk of the pump containing bacteria, especially if the mum using it has had mastitis or other infections.

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