*Update* Sadly, medela has changed the size of the flange tubes so they no longer accommodate the pumping pals well. Your best bet for now is to use Spectra's flanges and to use this bottle adapter to use the medela bottles and bags which as more convenient than the Spectra bottles or to buy after market medela sized flange holders. *
I’ve done it. I’ve cobbled together the perfect pump. Okay, It still isn’t perfect, but I think it is pretty great using what we have using whats on the market right now.
I spend a lot of time listening to what works for people, what is comfortable, what is efficient…. low and behold: I finally found a way to put them all together into one pumping system. The entire system costs a little over $300 and is aimed towards maximum comfort, flexibility and efficiency.
If you want to cut to the chase check out my amazon wish list for the products I recommend.
So whether you are pumping for a night out with friends, some extra sleep, to return to work, to induce lactation for adoption/surrogacy/second parenthood or because you are exclusively pumping: pump on!
Spectra S1 pump First you need the Motor. This is the part that actually does the suction. I love this pump because it is light weight (3.3 lbs), is very quiet, has a light in the handle for night use and a battery that literally lasts for days. Most of all I love it because it is efficient. It is a hospital grade pump and many pumpers find it is comparable or exceeds the Medela Symphony. Thats the big $2,000 yellow one they have in the hospital. It is also a multi user pump which mean that when you are done with it you can sell it, give it to a friend or donate it. This is not the case with single user pumps. It is available though many insurance companies that cover pumps. The only problem with the Spectra is that there are few attachments and the bottles and flanges aren’t great.
Thats where this Adapter thing from Maymom come in. This little yellow connector allows you to attach a Medela pump kit to the spectra without loosing suction. It connects to the back flow membrane and to the connector of the Medela pump kit and these suction membranes.
Now, to the flanges (big plastic horns that actually attach to your breasts) Pump ’n Pal flanges are made at a downward angle and are carefully molded to be more like a baby’s mouth and more comfortable for you.The downward angle also means you don’t have to do little sit ups to get milk to run into the bottles. (hello cesarian incision!) Flanges are not one size fits all. If pumping hurts it may mean that you have the wrong size flange. You can but the kit with all of them or head into the Birth Center Boutique where they will fit you for your correct size.
Now we are getting into the fun stuff! Because Medela is so common you now have a lot of versatility as to what you pump into. I love these small milk collection bottles for the early days when you might be pumping smaller volumes and feeding smaller volumes. The phycology of big bottles makes us feel like we are not feeding/ making enough. Little bottles are a huge help in the first few months. You can also clip them right into this at breast supplementer. Or pump right into these storage bags! The options are nearly endless.
And finally a plug for the Simple Wishes pumping bra. I love this one because it is secure and very adjustable. That means it fits a wide range of bodies and changes with you if your body changes. A pumping bra is great because even with the best pump available, pumps are just suction. Babies provide suction and compression. So you are going to get the most out of your pumping time if you have your hands free to massage while pumping…. alternately you could answer some emails or play on your phone.
Note on where to purchase: I have linked the products below to the Amazon because they are accessible to most people in the US. If you are in the triangle many of these products are available at the Women’s Birth and Wellness Center. Shop local and head to their boutique. Remember, your nursing supplies are tax deductible.
I was not incentivized in any way by any of these companies. This is my opinion of observing pumping comfort and efficiency in my experience as a postpartum doula and IBCLC lactation consultant.