Despite a huge variety of breast pumps available on the market most mothers eventually end up with Medela Pump in Style. There must be a reason why hospitals around the world use Medela pumps, why they are the best sellers in all large baby gear shops and why they constantly score highest customer reviews. You may like the design or cool description of other pumps but if you ask anyone who used Medela they will have no hesitations to recommend it. Same with me. They are not cheapest you can find but they are worth every dime. If you can’t afford it you may be better of choosing a high quality manual pump instead of inferior electric one.
Don’t get me wrong I’m far from being a blind fan of Medela (or any other company) and in fact I hate their baby bottles but I just love this pump. With my three sons I tested three electric and two manual pumps on myself. Here are my thoughts about Medela Pump in Style pump.
Efficiency of the Pump
Efficiency is the most important factor when it comes to pumping milk. No one likes to sit for hours waiting for the bottle to fill. Medela pump offers a unique two-phase expression mechanism. Once you turn on the pump it goes into a stimulation phase. Pumping at short intervals with low to medium vacuum it promotes a natural let-down reflex. By default this phase lasts for two minutes and then switches to expression phase.
For the first couple of uses the two minutes were not enough for me and I had to prolong this phase for an additional minute or two. I couldn’t just properly relax and was not used to expressing this way. Medela recommends taking a 15 minutes break if you don’t start expressing after two consecutive 2 minute stimulation phases. You can also shorten the stimulation phase by pressing a button on the front of the unit.
Once I got used to using this pump I never actually waited full two minutes for the automatic switch and just switched manually to the expression mode.
The great thing about this pump is that it enables to pump both breast at a time. You probably would be able to do it just holding the flanges in your hands but a much easier way is to use Medela special bustier also called a pumping bra. I have to admit that once I saw the presentation of this product on Medela website I had mixed feelings. It looked ominous. I could see a practical part of it but couldn’t see a human one. It actually looks like a torture device made solely to strip you off from femininity. But it works. I tried it encouraged by few friends who use it and now I can’t imagine using this pump without this special bustier. It not only enables me express from both breast at a time but also gives me these 10-15 minutes for checking Facebook or YouTube which I wouldn’t have otherwise.
I saw reviews where women claimed to use it once being on the phone or working on a computer. Personally I can’t focus when using a breast pump. It’s not uncomfortable or painful but it just distracts me. I can browse the internet or flip through magazines but nothing requiring great attention.
Expressing from two breast at once is very effective and by using the Easy Expression bustier. It’s also comfortable and not complicated. I can’t however imagine anyone seeing me using it especially my husband.
See the ominous device in action here:
Comfort of use
The comfort of use is an important factor in a device that you are going to use on a daily basis and attach to your breasts. Medela pump comes with two breast shields that are 0.9 inch in diameter (this is the diameter of the hole where a nipple goes). There are also smaller and larger flanges available but unless you have very, very large or extremely tiny nipples they wouldn’t be necessary.
The flanges fit my breasts well and do not cause any discomfort. They are made of BPA-free plastic and are quite rigid. I honestly thought they would be softer to provide better sealing but they actually do a very good job.
Design of Medela’s Breast Pump
The pump comes with a well presented bag. It can’t compete with Dolce Gabbana or Armani but this is not the point here. It looks good and it does the job. In the bag there is enough space for the main body of the pump (the motor), flanges, tubing, cold bag with bottles for milk and some extra room for a cloth or other small item.
There are three versions of the bag: a regular shoulder bag (On-the-Go Tote), backpack style bag and The Metro Bag:
|The Metro Bag||The Backpack||On the go Tote|
They are all made of high quality materials. I have the regular tote bag, my sister have the backpack and one of my colleagues at work has the metro bag. There is not much functional difference between tote and metro bags. My sister says that sometimes she often uses rechargeable batteries and walk around the house with the backpack on and express when doing some minor housekeeping or cooking. It’s a great idea to save some time and multitask but I’m not comfortable enough with this to try it.
Ease of use
Many moms that have this pump say that cleaning it is a breeze. For me a breeze would be if I had to only wipe it with a cloth. But in fairness all you need to do is to take apart the flanges, valves and membranes and wash it with soapy water. It takes me about a minute. Still not a breeze.
The assembly is simple and well explained in the attached manual. There are just few elements you need to put together every time you use it and it takes less than a minute to assemble it. The pump has a speed control knob on the front and a button for switching between stimulation and expression modes. Their operation is also clearly explained in the manual.
See how it looks in action:
Summary of my review
Medela Pump in Style is a great efficient and comfortable to use pump. I can recommend it to moms that praise their time and look for a reliable product. The technology used in this pump makes it simulate natural breastfeeding. In practice this means that the pump can empty my breast in the same time as my baby does (about 15 minutes). My son is much better at stimulating the let-down but then the pump is more consistent in the expression stage.
Maria Hernandez (proud mother of 3 sons)