What Makes a Breast Pump a “Pump”?

First things first – a breast pump isn’t really a pump at all, is it? I mean, a tire/air pump puts air INTO a tire. A sump pump…well, crap, I don’t even know what that does. I know that the fountain in our pond has a pump – but that’s something that takes liquid, sprays it up in the air, and continues to recycle the liquid/water. So, yeah, a breast pump just sucks breast milk out of your boob more like a vacuum or something.

Anyway – I had the following exchange with a friend who was trying to navigate breast pump shopping for her daughter-in-law and thought “You know, I bet other people would like this same information…I would have.” Her daughter-in-law JUST delivered yesterday (yes!!! Elle’s got a new friend!) so this is my advice in the event that you’re nearing delivery and intend to breastfeed.

So, here you go. My approach to breast pump and the advice I’m giving to friends.

Email from Terri: “Lindsay – Did you buy a breast pump…if so where did you get it?  I know you do your research, so I’m guessing you’ll have the scoop on the best prices.  Best price I’ve seen for Medela Pump is JC Penny (weird) for $250.00.  I question the real need for such a fancy pants one unless you’re out & about in the work place or something.  Any info you have would be appreciated.”

My response:

Here’s the gig on the breast pump: I borrowed one from my girlfriend. They TOTALLY tell you not to use anyone but your own and you fall into the trap, and then you realize that THEY are the breast pump companies themselves. Once you use a breast pump, you wonder why the HECK you wouldn’t borrow one if you could – it’s not like actual milk is pumped through the actual pump contraption. The whole thing is bizarre, because you have to wash and sanitize the pieces of the pump before you use them even when they are BRAND NEW. The whole thing escapes me, really.

If [DIL] has someone she can borrow one from, that’s the way to go. Actually, she can just use the one I’ve got at my house. My girlfriend doesn’t need it. If she’s paranoid about borrowing one/using one someone else had, here’s the gig:

You can go out and buy your own, personal attachment pieces (not that it would matter, you have to sanitize everything anyway) and you can even go directly to Medela and ask them to send you brand new pump lines (you can’t buy them anymore, and they will send them to you for free). So, if they are interested in the FREE borrow route, I’ve got a breast pump in my pantry (don’t get me started on why the heck it’s in the pantry, because I honestly couldn’t tell you, other than it was taking up too much space in my Christmas wrapping area and the pantry seemed to be a place I wouldn’t have to look at the thing.)

I know the pump itself is a good one (can’t remember the name, but it’s a Medela pump and my friend Molly, who is still breastfeeding four+ months into this Mom gig uses the same one). Anyway — the whole breast pump thing is a total racket in my opinion, but think that if you’re going to breast feed, there is absolutely NO REASON to have your boob be the only way that the kid can feed. It contributed to my sense of desperation/overwhelming/sleeplessness at the outset of the Mom-ing. I know that Molly said that the women at Genesys were/are AWESOME in helping out getting the breastfeeding going and it took Molly a solid six-eight weeks to get it figured out. It’s TOUGH but worth it, if you are set on breastfeeding.

Here’s the other thing, if you think of a breast pump this way…It’s a $250 investment. For $250 I can buy formula that lasts me for 18 weeks. If they want to invest in their very own breast pump, then don’t do it yet. You don’t need one on hand right away, especially if she’s not heading back to work right away. The only reason she’ll need one right, right away is if her milk does not come in for some reason…which is unusual. Not sure their insurance situation, but if you can get your doctor to write a prescription for a pump, then it is a lower cost. You can go to the medical supply store and they might be covered. My insurance didn’t cover it, Molly’s did. Insurance is a crap shoot, it turns out.

SYNOPSIS:
DON’T PURCHASE A PUMP NOW.
Option 1: Borrow the one I have and replace the parts if you’re paranoid or just sanitize the parts I already have.
Option 2: Purchase one down the road. You’re not going to be pumping out of the gate, and if it turns out that breastfeeding is NOT something that [DIL]’s in for the long haul, then you’ve WASTED $250 (again, 18 weeks of formula – Sam’s Club or store brand, which is what we use).
Option 3: Check and see if it’s covered by insurance and check on prices at medical supply companies around town. Who knows, they might have one cheaper. Quite certainly, use the 20% off coupon at Babies R Us to make that kind of purchase.

Ok – long winded and hopefully insightful, I’m done with imparting my tit-knowledge to you 🙂

Alright friends – that’s all I’ve got on boob-knowledge. Tomorrow’s the day: Day in the Life. Can’t wait!!
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