Today I'm going to share with you why I am such an avid fan of the Medela Pump In Style double electric breast-pump.  If any of you ladies is having a baby soon, I seriously recommend that you check it out.  This pump is super easy to use, very easy to clean, and has amazing suction.  It even comes in a sleek and convenient carrying case.

And this is why I love it so much:

I've always envied women who produce milk over-abundantly.  I hear women speak about leaking and engorgement and just get jealous.  I'm sure it's not fun, but before I had kids I very much wanted to exclusively breast-feed my kids.  I pictured having the same round, chubby, happy babies my sister had.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize that some of the women in my family simply have a genetic predisposition to, well, dryness.  Dry mouths, dry eyes (I can no longer wear contacts) and, unfortunately, difficulty producing milk.  My sister, apparently skipped that gene.  I didn't. 

Not only did I have issues with milk production, but I had extensive healing to do after my first baby's birth.  I could sit, could barely stand, and was on a lot of meds.  The meds made the baby sleepy, his latch was bad, I got sore and bled.  The pain was so bad I'd lie in bed and sob when I heard him cry for food.  I had a constant stream of La Leche leaders parading through my house showing me how to hold him, when to latch, how to rock him - it was exhausting.  So hubby and I decided to get a pump.  We reasoned that maybe I could pump the milk, then feed him with a bottle, which was easier to latch onto.  But, we didn't do our research.  We let our wallets guide us and bought a Medela Swing single electric pump because it was the cheapest one we could find.  It's probably fine for some women - but it was NOT what I needed.  It had terrible suction and only pumped one side at a time.  So after 30 minutes of pumping, I had maybe an ounce of milk to show for it.  Since I'd been warned of the evils of formula by numerous people, I just kept at the pumping and the nursing and the crying.  And soon my sweet baby boy dwindled from this adorable chubby thing:
To this 5 lb 10 oz waif of a child:
It absolutely breaks my heart to look at these pictures.  I cannot believe that I was so dazed and stressed and out of it that I didn't see how frail my poor sweet child was getting.  Fortunately, several people I loved intervened and finally convinced me to put him on formula.  I started to heal, and eventually we were able to resurrect the nursing relationship to the point that he was only fed formula for half of his meals.  I am thankful to say that by week 4 he was up to a healthy weight and has been healthy and happy ever since.  However, I truly believe that we are still reaping some emotional consequences from those early weeks of deprivation.

Because I was terrified of this happening again (and knowing how I struggled to make milk), I made sure to have a double pump for my second child.  However, I still bought the cheapest pump I could find.  It only worked half the time, and when it did, it's suction was awful.  Fortunately, nursing went much more smoothly with my second, but I still found instances where I really needed to be able to pump.  I am so blessed to have a best friend who heard my complaints and shipped off her own Medela Pump In Style (yes, I used sterilized replacement parts - no ick there) so I could try it.  I was hooked instantly!  Instead of the paltry 1 oz I got with the other pumps, I had almost 4 oz in about 15 minutes!  I was delighted!  When nursing was too painful, I could pump.  If baby's sleep didn't match up with nursing time, I could pump.  If I needed to leave baby with a sitter, I could pump.  Baby #2 still got some formula, but my supplementing was just minimal. 

I really do wonder how different things would have been with my first baby if I'd had a proper pump.  Perhaps he wouldn't have lost so much weight.  Perhaps he could have drunk less formula.  Perhaps he wouldn't have quite the same emotional high-needs now that he does.  Who knows.  Either way, that's my loooooooong way of saying that the Medela Pump In Style is an amazing product and if you're planning to pump, that's the way to go!

NOTE: Please do not hear me to disparage formula.  Due to medical reasons, my daughter was exclusively formula fed, and she is a happy, healthy baby.  However, I did prefer to feed my kids breast-milk if I was able.  I am VERY sensitive about wanting women to feel no shame about the method of feeding they decide is best for their family.  I simply wanted to make this information available for those who wish to breastfeed and pump.


12/01/2011 13:23

With my daughter I worked full time during her breastfeeding age so I needed a good pump and I was so lucky that a coworker gave me her PIS! It really was great!

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