If you’re pregnant and planning on nursing, you probably already have a long list of items you will need for feeding. Make sure to add a pump for hands free pumping! They are quiet and discreet making pumping a breeze wherever you are. Plus, expressing breast milk is a great way to increase milk supply or maintain a schedule when away from the baby and allows busy moms to multitask.
Types of Breast Pumps
There are three types of breast pumps: manual, battery-powered, or electric. Manual is good on the go with little equipment, but it can be very tiring on the hands to always squeeze a handle or lever. Electric provides consistent power but requires mothers to be attached to a power cord.
Wireless breast pumps are the latest trend for breastfeeding mothers or mothers who express their milk. With quiet, wearable pumps that fit inside special bras, like a nursing bra and undershirts, moms can discreetly pump in milk bags without being tethered to a cord. Hands are free for childcare, work, or whatever they choose.
What to Look for in Hands Free Breast Pumps
When researching hands free breast pumps, you should consider the qualities you want. The different brands all have varying qualities. Preferences range from physical attributes to costs.
Wireless vs Hands Free Breast Pumps for Pumping
Just because the equipment says hands free, it doesn’t mean that it is wireless. Some devices will allow you the freedom to roam around your house or office while others connect you to an electrical source and leave your hands free for reading emails or playing with an older child.
Breast Shield Size
It goes without saying that breasts come in all shapes and sizes. When purchasing a breast pump, the size of the shield is important for fit, comfort to the nipples, and suction capabilities. Since pumps and accessories cannot be returned, consult the sizing charts that many companies provide to ensure the right shield for the user.
Maintenance on a Hands Free Pump
Do you know why some people post negative reviews about some pumps? It is too difficult to clean. Are there too many pieces or is it a challenge to clean and sanitize the parts? The life of some parts lasts longer if it is hand washed.
Storage can cover two parts: equipment and milk storage. How big or heavy is the pump? Can you carry it on you or do you have to use a bag? Some pumps have reusable bottles or cups that attach to the shield while others sell milk bags for easy storage.
Electric pumps will provide consistent power so that you can control the pump settings. Battery-powered breast pumps can last for a few cycles or last all day. Determine how often the battery needs to be charged and how long it will last during the course of your day when you need to be hands free.
Cost of the Best Hands Free Pumps
A breast pump can be an investment for one child or for all of the siblings thereafter. Price includes one pump, so if you want to double pump, then you want to purchase two. In many cases, a breast pump is covered by insurance, but there are always conditions. If any pump is covered, it may only be one of the insurance company’s choosing. Pump rentals may be an option over purchasing. Check to see if insurance allows for an upgrade for an additional cost. Another option is to use FSA or HSA to pay for the pump.
Attention must also be given to the equipment as milk bags are an additional cost that reflects your usage. Storage bottles can be washed and reused, but the bag will have to be purchased out of pocket.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six months. Many companies cover the pump for at least a year while some will cover parts for a shorter period of time. This will take care of your investment for the first child.
In need of customer support? There is always customer service numbers on the box or in the paperwork. You can direct any questions to the toll-free number, an email address, or even 1:1 coaching.
Customer service can be contacted online, but some of the wireless or high-tech devices let you use your free hands to check on your process through their app. Once you connect your pump to the app, it will track your milk output.
Best Pumps for Hands Free Pumping
There are plenty of hands free breast pumps on the market, and all of them have their qualities and features. Five of the top-rated brands include:
Out-of-pocket costs for these hand free breast pumps can be pricey. Be sure to check for sales and to see if your insurance will cover one!
Elvie is one of the best hands free breast pumps on the market. The breast shields that come with the pump are 24mm and 28mm, but the smaller 21mm size is available to order separately if needed. It also comes with 5oz bottles that can be reused after washing. The pump battery can last the whole day with a full charge. The pump parts are dishwasher safe on the top shelf.
One really cool feature of the Elvie pump is that you can check your milk output in real-time with the app on your phone. Customer support is also available via email. Plus, Elvie’s warranty lasts for two years! Check it out further here.
Medela is well-known in the world of breast pumps. The Freestyle Breast Pump is made for moms who choose to pump multiple times a day. The digital display keeps track of pumping sessions. The double pumping kit comes with 24mm breast shields but has shields that range from 21mm to 30mm. The battery life is 3 hours when fully charged. The kit comes with 4 – 5oz bottles and a cooler system to keep the milk cold when pumping is finished and mothers are away from home. The MyMedela app connects moms with customer service as well as lactation support for free for the first 30 days. All of the parts that come in contact with milk can be cleaned with warm soapy water. Medela also sells a bustier to support hands-free double pumping.
Medela has a one-year warranty on the pump motor from the date of purchase and 90-day warranty for parts and accessories.
Willow is another popular wireless breast pump. It comes with the 24mm breast shield, though the 27mm size is available to order separately. It uses its own milk bags for easy storage, but it is an additional cost, especially if you are exclusively pumping. There is less to clean with the Willow: the shield and tube that connects to the pump. These are also dishwasher safe. Users report that the battery will last the whole day if it is fully charged, which can take about two hours.
Customer service includes 1:1 coaching as well as the app for tracking milk supply. The warranty is good for one year from the first use. Buy your Willow here!
Freemie Liberty is a lightweight hands-free breast pump that is known for its discreet design and quiet function. It comes with 25mm and 28mm funnels with other sizes available for order. It allows the user to program shutoff time or intervals of pumping periods when considering power pumping. Milk is stored in reusable 8-ounce cups. If on the go, the battery can be charged with a USB cord from a computer or car charger. The pump is so small that it can be worn with the detachable belt clip. Cleaning is easy as it can be washed with warm, soapy water. Rubbing alcohol can also be used with the tubing.
Customer service is available via email. The pump collection system has a 60-day warranty for defects in materials and workmanship from the date of purchase. The Freemie is currently on sale at Walmart, check it out!
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