It feels like forever since my exclusive pumping journey ended, but I had one last opportunity to use my pumps when my son Elijah was born and I took full advantage of trying ALL my pumps again along with 3 new ones, here is my top 5 pumps in no particular order.
My son was born with a congenital birth defect which required surgery, thankfully when he was born he latched like a pro and I was able to breastfeed him for the first week of his life until his first surgery.
After his first surgery is was unable to hold him for over a month, this meant he was tube fed and so I had to pump. It was a grueling, terrifying and exhausting period of time, but I am grateful that I was able to pump and help him heal and grow.
My all time favourite will always be the Philips Avent manual pump, I just respond so much better to this pump than I do any other. They have changed their design and I have to admit that I was hesitant, and a little disappointed, I absolutely love the old style and wish they would continue to produce it as a classic range, but the new style was fairly similar.
I did find the flange size bigger and that created a bit of an issue for me, but nonetheless it was effective, easy and convenient. Even though the pump was pleasant, everytime i had to pump i was literally drafting a letter to Philips Avent along the lines of “Please Philips Avent, keep the old style manual pump and create a classic line, that was the best pump you have ever made!”. My old pump is stored in a cardboard box filled with stuffing so it never breaks!
The second pump is tried is the Freemie double electric, it was a dream to sit and pump while eating, reading or even sleeping, and there were several times I would prop myself up on the bed, attach my tubes and close my eyes for a bit while the pump did all the work for me! Just be careful though because if you end up falling a bit to the side or too far back the milk does get into the tubing. The NICU schedule can be hectic and having that little bit of convenience was a sanity saver.
The third pump was the Freemie manual and this pump was my saving grace during my sons surgeries as I could sit outside the operating theatre or in the waiting room and discreetly pump, which as any NICU mom knows, pumping gives you meaning, something you can do when there is absolutely nothing you can do. I even managed a few therapy sessions, meetings with surgeons and a lunch down at the coffee shop all while pumping and no one would have even guessed!
The fourth pump is used was a Medela harmony, I have used this pump before and I always felt the handle was a little fiddly and short which made pumping a tad uncomfortable, but this time it seemed to be a bit better, (did my hands shrink perhaps?). I used this pump when visiting my mom and had forgotten I had it stored in one of her cupboards.
The fifth and final pump I have used the second time around was the Medela hospital grade pump, after my son was released from the hospital he was born at and transferred to our local hospital where my daughter was in NICU when she was born, I ended up using the hospital grade pump a few times simply because it was there and the boarder mom room had no TV, so if I wanted to watch something, I had to pump, and pump I did!
Pumping is probably not the most fun thing to do for many moms, EP moms often do it out of necessity, sometimes by choice, moms who work have to find safe spaces to pump in and contend with the corporate world while trying to provide for their babies and donor moms are angels in disguise, we all have one priority and that is providing our milk for our babies, we all have that added stress and anxiety surrounding our milk supply, but being a NICU mom and having to pump has such special meaning for many mothers, it gives us the ability to do something for our child when we sometimes feel like we cannot do anything, so having a good pump, one that meets our every need is important, the abovementioned pumps are all fantastic and I am extremely grateful that I was able to use them, the Freemie that was so graciously gifted to me by Freemie SA, and not one, but 2, Philips Avent manual pumps that have certainly been used, even after leaving the NICU to pump for donation.
There is one last “pump” I used, and still consistently use daily and that is the Marmet Technique, this technique of hand expression is a must for all moms to master, it should be taught in antenatal breastfeeding classes and in the early days of any mother who has a baby in NICU, it is fast, efficient, convenient and extremely beneficial to help with stimulating supply, especially when you feel like all you do is pump, eat, barely sleep and stress out!
For more support, reviews and information on exclusively pumping, please join the Facebook group Exclusive Pumpers South Africa