Everyone knows that "breast is best."
Breastfeeding is an intimate experience that develops a special bond between mother and baby with benefits for both. Some nursing mothers find breastfeeding easy and uncomplicated, while others find it more challenging. Regardless, all mothers breastfeed better with the support of family and friends, and often with the help of a quality breast pump. A pump can ease the nursing experience by allowing mothers to return to work, stimulating and maintaining milk production and letting others help with feeding.
Many mothers who plan to breastfeed choose a breast pump before their baby is born, often during the third trimester, so they can avoid last-minute shopping trips with a newborn. Others may wait until after baby arrives, so they can see how breastfeeding progresses with their little one. Either way, when your customer comes to you for breast pump advice, congratulate her on making the best choice for herself and her baby.
Focus on Customer Need
A variety of pumps are available for moms to choose from; you can help customers make the best choice by focusing on their breastfeeding and breast pumping needs. Be sure to encourage moms to look for manufacturers that focus on research-based development in designing their pumps. Research shows breast pumps that mimic a baby's nursing rhythm are more comfortable for mom, leading to faster let-down and milk flow and a more efficient pumping experience. The three types of breast pumps are hospital-grade electric, personal-use electric, and personal-use manual.
A hospital-grade electric pump is designed to help build and maintain mom's milk supply. These pumps are generally recommended for women who have difficulty nursing because of medical reasons, such as mothers of low birth weight, premature infants who may have trouble latching on to the breast. Hospital-grade pumps are available on a rental basis from a variety of sources, including hospitals, lactation consultants, pharmacies, and some specialty retail stores.
Personal-Use Electric Pumps
Personal-use electric pumps are often faster and more effective at removing breast milk than manual pumps. They are ideal for working moms who pump throughout the day to maintain their milk supply.
A double electric pump can cut pumping time to 15 minutes by emptying both breasts simultaneously. These pumps are easy to carry to the office and come with all the necessary attachments, including removable cooler carrier and cooling element, battery pack, AC adapter, and collection containers, lids, and stands.
A high quality double electric pump will retail between $280 and $400. Encourage your customers to look for these features in a double electric pump:
- New technology: A baby's natural sucking pattern begins with rapid, high frequency sucking and changes to a slower, suck/swallow pattern following milk ejection. Breast pumps that mimic this rhythm are designed to feel more like baby, leading to faster milk flow.
- Adjustable speed and vacuum levels: Customized pumping allows mom to set the levels at what is most comfortable for her.
- Portable convenience: A good-looking, easy-to-carry case for discreet pumping makes mom more comfortable while at work or traveling.
- Battery pack: With the battery pack, mom can pump anytime, anywhere.
Personal-use Manual Pumps
Personal-use manual pumps are small, light-weight and easily portable. They are best for stay-at-home moms who will only miss the occasional feeding due to sore nipples or plugged milk ducts, or because of a night out with dad.
A high quality manual pump is an affordable option under $50, and should include a breast shield, containers, lids and bottle stands. The best manual pumps will include these features:
- New technology: Just like the best double electric pumps, the best manual pumps allow mom to mimic her baby's natural sucking pattern. By starting with rapid, high frequency pumping and switching to slower, deeper pumping at let-down, mom's pumping session will feel more authentic and comfortable, leading to faster milk flow.
- Ergonomic swivel handle: Allows maximum comfort and flexibility.
- Ease of cleaning: The parts should disassemble easily for quick washing and sanitizing.
- Compatible with most standard baby bottles.
Remind your customers that they should never buy or share a used personal-use pump. Breast milk can transmit bacteria from person to person (but usually not to baby) and personal pumps cannot be fully sterilized. Hospital-grade and rental pumps are specifically designed with barriers and filters that prohibit milk from entering the motor, thereby preventing cross contamination.
Another consideration when deciding to borrow or even lend a previously owned electric pump is the pump's motor life. A high quality electric double pump might last through the breastfeeding of your second child, or even several children. However, like computers or other electronic products, an electric breastpump has a limited lifetime. By using your own pump, you can compare the pump's performance with each child. However if you borrow a pump, you cannot gauge its performance to ensure it is operating at full capacity.
Breastfeeding can be a wonderful experience for mom and baby, with benefits that last long after nursing has ended. Your support and advice on choosing the right breast pump can help your customers get a great start on their breastfeeding experience.