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Find the Best Breast Pump for You

bottle feeding baby

Know your needs and your budget. Consider how often you're going to use your breast pump. If you're going to pump every day, you should invest in the double electric pump, which can cost up to $350. But if you're going to use a pump only occasionally, consider a single electric pump ($50 to $150) or even a manual pump ($40 to $50).

Know what's available. If you're looking to pump and replace feedings on a regular basis, you're most likely going to need a full-size double electric breast pump. In this category, there are two choices: the "single user pump," which you buy in the store, and the "multi-user pumps," which you rent, often referred to as "hospital-grade." Multi-user pumps are generally more durable; single-user pumps tend to be more portable. Consider a variety of brands.

Consider where you'll use the pump. Denise Altman, a registered nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in Columbia, South Carolina, says a manual pump usually takes about twice as much time as a double electric single user. If you're not returning to work, or you work from home and have more flexibility in your schedule, a manual pump may fit your lifestyle and budget. If you're a working mom, a multi-user electric pump might be a better fit for you, as it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete, compared to the double electric single users, which takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

Consider the pump's lifespan. Do you plan on having a large family? Altman says that even a good electric pump will last through "one and a half babies." Some of her patients, she says, have purchased a motor, rather than an entirely new pump, to extend the lifespan. If you're planning to use the pump for a long time, find out if the manufacturer will sell replacement motors. That way, you won't have to purchase another breast pump as your family grows.

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