As with all aspects of pregnancy-related paraphernalia, you’ll be faced with an array of choices when it comes to kitting yourself out with a breast pump. You might even receive one at a baby shower or as a gift! However, this is usually a piece of equipment that the expectant mother may prefer to investigate herself first.
One of the most common issues expectant mothers grapple with is whether it makes sense to buy a pump when it may be more practical and economical to consider renting one instead.
We’ll look first at how to buy a breast pump the easy way, before exploring the thorny issues that crop up in the rental options.
Buying a Breast Pump
When you’re looking to buy a breast pump, make certain you’re getting it from a reputable source. Whether you plan to buy online, in a baby store, a toy store, or even from the hospital, do your research and make sure you can trust the retailer.
To avoid drama, you should also pay close attention to any returns policies on breast pumps and their accessories, whether you’re buying online or from a physical shop.
Dive deeper into how easy the breast pump you’re looking at is to assemble and whether the instructions look like it will be straightforward to use. Breastfeeding is tough without further unnecessary complications.
If in any doubt about where to buy a pump from, consult your doctor. He may refer you to a certified lactation consultant for specialized advice.
When does it make sense to buy a breast pump, though?
When Buying a Breast Pump Is Best
If your insurance covers the cost of a breast pump, it’s clearly a smart move to take advantage of that and buy one.
Since many rental breast pumps are reasonably bulky, if you plan to return to work, it might be more sensible to consider buying one with a smaller footprint. You can find plenty of smaller manual pumps for sale, which work just fine for occasional use and they’re extremely portable.
If you’re planning to pump exclusively, you’d be better advised to purchase an electric pump. Most of these allow you to express milk from both sides simultaneously, to replicate breastfeeding, and to mimic your baby’s sucking pattern. Battery-operated pumps are all good in theory, but they tend to burn through batteries quickly.
Your doctor and lactation consultant can both give you some more advice if you’re still stuck on what type of breast pump to buy.
How about if you’re considering saving a few bucks and renting one? Is this safe and is it recommended?
Renting a Breast Pump
Your hospital or lactation consultant might have breast pump rentals which can cost as little as a dollar a day along with a small initial investment for tubing, breast shields, and bottles.
These hospital-grade machines, as we mentioned, tend to be sizeable. They don’t make good portable solutions so think twice if you’re planning to head back to work or you travel frequently.
These machines plug into the wall and come with much more powerful motors than the average machine you’ll find in the shops.
If you’re concerned about the safety angle of renting a breast pump that’s been used by someone else, you needn’t be. These machines come with protective barriers to prevent any chance of cross-contamination.
When does it make sense to rent instead of buying a breast pump?
When Renting a Breast Pump Is Best
If your baby was born prematurely, a hospital-grade rental has stronger suction and a durable motor built to withstand some sustained punishment.
The same applies if you have twins. The speed and efficiency of a pro-grade pump is your best solution.
If you’re only intending to pump for a few months and operating on a tighter budget, it should be more cost-effective to rent equipment. As with any rental, if your needs are likely to be longer-term, it probably works out better to buy instead.
What To Do Next
You shouldn’t hesitate to voice any pregnancy-related concerns you might have with your doctor. In the case of breast pumps, especially if you’re considering a rental, seeing a qualified lactation consultant can also be invaluable.
Rather than expecting a clear-cut right or wrong answer to this question, focus purely on what’s right for you. It’s what parenting is all about. Remember to get the facts about what to do with breastmilk once it’s been expressed to keep it safe for your baby.