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Thread: Best Manual Breast Pump

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Virginia, USA
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    Default Best Manual Breast Pump

    Hi ladies!

    I own a Medela Pump in Style Advanced and it works great for me while I'm at work (I work part-time), but sometimes in the evenings lately I want to boost my back-up milk supply. We have completely run out of extra milk because my five month old's appetite has increased and I am not pumping enough at work for the following day. It has been sort of a hassle because I am very happy and excited by daughter is eating more and increasing her appetite, but I am stressed that I am not bringing home enough for the following day. I used to be able to bring home enough to feed her AND have some left over to store away. I should edit that my milk supply is not dwindling.

    I have a two-fold question. First, when I am away, let's say for 6 hours, I have read online I should leave my baby between 9-11 ounces of milk. How can I increase what I am pumping at work on my breaks? I have switched to pumping twice a day, but I only got an ounce and a half more than doing one break.

    Also, pumping at night while I'm home with my baby is a bit of a hassle. I will do it, of course, but I feel that a good hand pump would be easier for me to use than the multi-part double electric pump. I know it may not extract as much, but for when I just need that extra ounce or two, it seems to be the best option for me. What is the best manual breast pump? I've looked at the Medela Harmony and the Lansinoh (which has wonderful reviews).

    I feel like I am obsessed with breast milk these days. I think about it all day at work, calculating how much I have, how much I should leave my baby, and how to amplify my emergency milk stash. Can anyone shed some light on my situation or offer any advice?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Best Manual Breast Pump

    Hi mama, I haven't used a manual breast pump, so I don't have an answer to that part of the question. For the other parts of your question though:

    1) 11 ounces is too much for a six hour separation. 1 - 1.5 ounces/hour, so maximum 9 ounces for a 6 hour separation. Breastfed babies do NOT have a need for increased breastmilk as the year progresses - needs are actually very stable after the one month point, at around 24 - 30 ounces/24 hours (which is where the 1 - 1.5 ounces/hour comes from.) So I guess my first question to you would be whether baby is being overfed. How big are the bottles baby is taking, and how often? A typical meal at the breast is 2-3 ounces, maybe 4 - so a meal through the bottle should be similar. That fact that your supply is not dwindling suggests that overfeeding may actually be the main culprit. The problem is that overfeeding not only makes it hard for you to keep up (which you are already experiencing), but over the long term can lead to decreased supply, since baby is taking in more calories during the day when apart from you, and therefore nursing less when together with you.

    2) Pumping, like breastfeeding in general, is all about supply and demand. If you want to pump more, you have to pump and/or nurse more. Definitely in a six hour separation you should be pumping twice, not once. You won't see an immediate increase in your pump output but if you keep doing two sessions, you will gradually increase the amount you pump. You also want to be sure you are pumping long enough. Simply extending the time you are pumping, even if you are "pumping dry," will help increase the signal to your breasts to make more milk. Also, the nursing you do when you are not working is really important for maintaining supply. That includes nighttime nursing too! And pumping as well - I think your idea of pumping at home is a good one. Other tricks are to do hand compressions while pumping.

    3) Make sure your pump is in good working order. A simple thing to do is to change out the white membranes on your Medela PISA. It sounds like this is not a major factor though since your output is not actually decreasing.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2012
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    Default Re: Best Manual Breast Pump

    Yes, I am glad you said that, because I have been reading 9-11 ounces, but I have never actually left that much. Mostly, I leave two bottles of either 3.5-4 ounces each. My boyfriend feeds her and says 3.5-4 ounces is a good size for her. Two of those would be 7-8 ounces for 6 hours, which seems within the proper range. That is more doable for me, too.

    Today at work, I pumped twice and got a total altogether of 7.5 ounces. I am leaving all of that for her tomorrow. I only pumped about 15-20 minutes each time, which is the mimimum I can pump and get a decent amount. I do not have the ideal pumping work situation, except for understanding coworkers. But, the enviroment is not ideal and I have to clock out to pump, which REALLY sucks, because it is a conflict of trying to rush vs taking my time and pumping thoroughly.

    But, I guess I have been reading some misleading information abotu how much to leave my baby. I will be gone from her for 10 hours a few days next week so I assume that means I should leave between 10 and 15 ounces for her? That seems like a big gap... either 10 or 15? I guess somewhere in the middle.

    And the bottle increments work best for us at 3.5 - 4 ounces. Any more than that is probably too much at a time for her age? She is five months. My boyfriend says that if it is less than 3 ounces at a time, she will get upset sometimes if she finishes and is not satisfied.

    All this is so confusing at times and I worry and fret that I am doing the right thing.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Best Manual Breast Pump

    Hi mama, you sound like you are doing fine! 7-8 ounces is just right for 6 hours, and a 3.5 - 4 ounce bottle is fine too. And you are matching that! So really you maybe just need a little extra backup to make you feel more secure. Which is normal. I like having a freezer stash too. You can get that by pumping in the evening or pumping a little longer at work, if you feel like you can swing it. It does suck that you have to clock out. But once you're pumping ideally you can clear your mind of all that - stress inhibits letdown. So having some music to listen to, or a book or a magazine to read, can help; or some mamas watch a TV show or a movie on their iPod - whatever helps you to relax! I would not go above a 4 ounce bottle but 3.5 - 4 ounces is fine. Extrapolating from your 6 hours apart, it sounds like for your 10 hour days you'll need about 12 ounces. Of course it's nice to have a little extra available, so if you can pump at home between now and then to leave a few extra ounces that would be great and I think will help you feel less worried about it. Definitely come here if you are feeling confused! We can help you sort it out.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Default Re: Best Manual Breast Pump

    Just wanted to comment on the manual pump question--I had a Medela Harmony the first few weeks until I was able to get the Medela double electric. After using the electric pump for a long time, I tried using the manual one day to just get a little bit of milk b/c I thought it would be easier. Wrong! If you are used to the double electric and are struggling to get what you need from that, you will be sorely dissappointed in the manual. I can use it for 20 minutes and get only 1 oz. Plus, when you break it down, it has almost as many parts as the double electric that need to be washed. So, if I were you, I wouldn't waste my time or money on a manual pump. Just stick with the electric.
    Andie

    born 6/13/2012

    ~First-time Mama~
    and now finished with

  6. #6
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    Nov 2012
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    Default Re: Best Manual Breast Pump

    bfwmomof3,

    Thanks for the advice and for the kind words. It made me very happy to hear.


    I have an Evenflow manual pump now that I have been using and I like the convenience of not having to bring out all the tubes and hook up the electric, etc., which is why I wanted another manual. The Evenflow gives me about 2 ounces at a time, which is all I need to supplement. So that's why I decided to get the Medela Harmony, because I find it to be easier to pump on one side when I'm doing something else and not have to drag out all the equipment. Plus, I already have lots of Medela parts that I can interchange.

    I know the manual won't be as effective as the double electric, for sure. If I were to use the double electric instead of the manual, I would probably get more in a quicker time, but it just makes me incredibly anxious to drag it around. We live in a pretty big house and going up and down stairs to where we usually hang out in the evenings and then back up to wash it and get it ready for the next day is often just a complete drag at the end of a day at work.

    If I don't like the Medela, it was only $30 so at the least, I will just have it as a back-up, along with the Evenflo, which isn't my favorite.

    Thanks for the input!

  7. #7
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Best Manual Breast Pump

    I hear you, I hate carrying my Medela PISA back and forth from work, so most of the time I just leave it at work. I think your plan makes complete sense. I've definitely seen other moms on the forums mention the Medela Harmony. Let us know how it works!

    ETA: Oh, I just saw andie613's post. Well, I guess you don't know until you try. Sometimes what works well for one person doesn't work for another, and vice versa.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2012
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    Default Re: Best Manual Breast Pump

    Yeah, it's worth a try! Thanks for all your input. I am starting to feel much better about the amount I'm leaving for my baby, and that everything will be okay!
    Breastfeeding stay-at-home mama of a 16-month-old daughter.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    14

    Default Re: Best Manual Breast Pump

    I have an Avent manual pump that I use for the same reason - to pump at night and boost up supply. It works great and is very affordable!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Best Manual Breast Pump

    I have the Medela manual pump and actually like it better than the freestyle for problem solving (plugged ducts, etc) because you have more control over rhythm, suction strength, etc. plus it's somehow extra cool to see the milk squirting when you are directly responsible for it.

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