Medela Pump In Style Advanced--You can't breastfeed 24/7? This is the pump for you!
2Phase Expression, comes with everything you need, easy to use/clean/maintain, good quality, adjustable speed/strength
Very Expensive, Not for occasional pumpers, may need to purchase more shields/tubing, can't purchase second-hand
The Bottom Line:
If you are someone who will be pumping once a day or more, then this should be the only pump you consider.
I was one of those people who thought: "How hard can breastfeeding be?" I mean, seriously... If it were that hard, the human race would have died out a long time ago, right? Wrong. Apparently, breastfeeding is much harder than it looks because I couldn't do it (at least with this child).
When Aidan was born I had lactation nurses in my room four to fives times every day (I was there for 4 days recovering from my csection), but nobody could get him to latch on. He couldn't latch correctly and I had inverted nipples, so it was a match destined for failure. They sent me home with a hospital pump and told me to keep trying to breastfeed, but also to pump to make sure I didn't dry up. Two weeks (and quite a bit of frustration, anger and tears) later I gave up breastfeeding for good -- but heck if I was going to stop giving my son breast milk. I decided I was going to pump and give him the milk in bottles -- difficult, physically taxing and time consuming... but it was worth it.
Since I was going to be pumping anywhere from 4 - 10 times a day, I needed a heavy-duty model that worked as well as the hospital-grade pump I had been using.
The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump is that device.
The Medela Pump In Style Advanced (hereafter known as PISA) costs around $320 and can be found at Babies R Us. I'm sure there are other locations that it can be found, but around us... Babies R Us was the only one that carried it in store -- neither Target or Wal-Mart had it.
The breast pump comes packaged with the following:
*Removable cooler carrier
*Removeable motor unit
*Double pumping accessories (the shield, valve and membrane, and silicone pumping tubes)
*Battery Pak (uses 10 AA batteries)
*4 collection containers
*2 container stands
*Free samples (nipple cream and breast pads, to name a few)
The bag is fairly large and can hold a decent amount of supplies -- you can even throw a few diapers in there and use it as a diaper bag in a pinch. The bag itself is black and fairly stylish; you wouldn't be able to tell there was a breastpump inside. The cooler is small and can hold four containers and the freezer pouch. You can keep the bottles cold in the cooler for up to 12 hours
I would suggest buying more breastshields and containers. I have four breastshields and six containers (I had to store a lot, so I also had a bunch of Avent bottles), this allows me to pump twice before I have to do the dishes. If you're like me, and have to pump an average of 5 times a day, this is a life-saver. You can buy an accessory set which consists of: two breastshield assemblies, four bottles with caps and two QuickClean Steam Bags (to sanitize your bottles in the microwave -- highly recommended). The set will cost you about $24.99.
You can also buy some nice accessories like a vehicle lighter adaptor for only $14.99.
In addition, Medela's website allows you to order replacement parts for a reasonable cost. My breastpump fell and cracked the faceplate about a month ago. Duct tape didn't fix it all that well, but I was able to buy a replacement faceplate for only $7 online. You can also buy the breastshield assemblies for $7 each. The shipping is a little costly, and they won't give you the total online before they take your credit card info, but it is a lifesaver when something like the faceplate breaks and renders a $330 pump completely useless.
Check out Medela's website at: http://www.medela.com
I was using Medela's Symphony Hospital-Grade pump for the first month. The nurses really wanted me to get my supply up, and that is the best thing to do it with. However, it did cost $60 per month to rent... so I knew this wasn't a long-term option. I did want a pump that operated in the same way as the Symphony, so I did my research and ended up buying the Pump In Style Advance.
The PISA is the only personal (ie: non-hospital grade) pump on the market with 2-Phase Expression. What is 2-Phase Expression, you ask? It is a method that is supposed to closely mimic your child's natural sucking reflex, making it easier to pump and get the most milk. It starts in "let-down mode" which simulates your infants natural quick suckling to encourage your milk to flow faster. After 2 minutes, it switches to a slower, harder rhythm (the expression mode) for the most milk possible in the shortest amount of time. This was what my Symphony had and it worked pretty well -- I was pumping much, much more than Aidan could eat. In fact I pumped so much, I ended up donating quite a large amount to a breastmilk collection center. You can also skip the initial let-down phase by hitting the "let-down button" that allows you to go right into the expression mode. I primarily used this button when I had to take a break to switch to a new collection bottle, that way I wouldn't have to start over again at the slower pace.
Another thing I like about the PISA is that it has adjustable knob, to control the strength and speed of the pumping. What's nice is that you have a whole range of options -- it isn't just fast or slow. You turn the dial to whatever is comfortable to you, and let the machine do the work.
It's also really easy to set up, just insert the tubing into the machine and connect it to your breastshield assemblies. Turn it on and go. It's also pretty easy to clean. Just disassemble the breastshields, rinse them and sanitize them. Make sure you also sanitize the tubing (again, really easy with the microwavable bags), and take off the faceplate occasionally to clean the diaphram. Remember, milk can get back there and cause mold to grow -- never pretty.
The PISA pump has been nothing but easy to use. I really love it. It feels natural -- I have never experienced any pain with the pump. If you don't like the normal breastshields, you can buy the SoftFit shields online... but I never needed them because I've never experienced any discomfort or pain. One thing I wish I could find is a way to have "hands-free" pumping. When you use the PISA, you need to hold the shields with both hands... leaving you with nothing to do but stare at a wall for 20 minutes or so. If I could find something to free my hands I could read, flip channels or entertain my little boy.
The 2Phase Expression is amazing -- it really does stimulate the expression of milk, I couldn't believe I could pump so much. Every time I'd pump, it would take me about 20 minutes to fill 10 ounces. If I pumped 4 times a day, that's 40 ozs!!!!
It's never given me any trouble (except for the faceplate breaking, and that's my fault), even though I do pump a decent amount. I have used the pump approximately 750 times (5 times x day, X 30 days X 5 months)... that's double a normal person's usage, and the motor is still going strong. I haven't experienced any drop in strength, speed or milk quantity. Some women have talked about an inability to express milk by machine -- I'd be surprised if this happened with the PISA. It worked just as well as the Symphony Pump, at a fraction of the cost.
I do want to mention that I have never tried the battery pack. I'm way too self concious to try and pump in a place where I would need a battery pack (ie: my car, the mall, a bathroom stall)... so I'm not sure if the batteries work as well as the AC adaptor. I would assume that it would be just as powerful, seeing as it uses 10 AA batteries!
Overall I would highly recommend this to someone who is pumping a few times every day. It works just as well as my hospital-grade pump and costs a fraction of the price.
*2 Phase Expression: closely mirrors an infant's natural sucking rhythm... this allows you to express more milk in a faster time
*Adjustable dial allows you to fit the speed/strength to your comfort level
*Comes with everything you need to pump, even if you are on the go
*Good quality motor lasts (I fully expect to use this pump for my next child)
*Easy to find replacement parts
*Easy to use and comfortable as well
*Easy to clean and maintain
*Pumps both breasts at the same time, meaning you'll save some time
*This is the closest to a hospital-grade pump you will find
*Very expensive -- at $320 it's easily the most expensive retail pump on the market. However, I feel you can't really compare retail pumps to Medela's Pump In Style Advanced... It is more comparable to a hospital-grade pump which you would rent for $60/month.
*Unless you REALLY like doing dishes, you will need to purchase more collection bottles and shield assemblies.
*If you are only looking for an occasional use pump, this may be too much machine for you.
*A little difficult to find -- the major stores like Target and Wal-Mart don't carry it
*Warning: This is not something you can find cheaper by buying used. This is a medical device, please don't buy it second hand. You really don't know what types of diseases the last person carried... and even if you buy new tubing and shields, old milk could have gotten into the diaphram itself... meaning you could still contaminate your milk.
Overall Recommendation: This really is a fantastic pump. It allows you to express milk quickly and effortlessly. I would say it's a little too much machine/money for those who will only be pumping occasionally... but for those like myself who pump fairly often, this should be the only machine you should consider.