Best Double Electric Breast Pump
Most mothers that are planning to breastfeed will consider the use of a breast pump. Really, you should be the most interested in which is the best double electric breast pump, as I can tell you straight out that using a double electric breast pump will save you a lot of time and effort whilst you are expressing. Whether it be so that you can simply express enough milk to enjoy a much needed night off, or to allow the baby’s father some bonding time during a bottle feed, there are many reasons for wanting to escape breastfeeding occasionally. You can express by hand, manual pump, or electric pump, but most women find that they express the most when using a double electric pump. Here’s my rundown of what I think is the Best Double Electric Breast Pump.
Medela Swing Maxi Double Electric Breastpump
When my first son was born prematurely, the hospital staff encouraged me to use their hospital grade Medela double breastpump to encourage my milk supply. I got along with the unit very well, and by building my supply whilst my son was still not feeding very often due to his premature and jaundiced sleepiness, it allowed me to breastfeed him for the 6 months that we continued for. At home, I used the best unit that I could find that was similar to the hospital’s Medela, and this is where I stumbled upon the Medela Swing Maxi Double Electric Breastpump.
- Quality of a reliable brand
- 2-Phase expression technology
- Portable unit which can be battery operated
- Pump more milk in less time than the Medela single pump
- 9 vacuum levels for comfort
- Can also be used as a single pump
- Ease of cleaning
- Supplied with Medela bottle with Calma teat
- High cost
- Some customers have issues with loss of suction
The Medela brand
Medela have been making breast pumps for over 50 years and they now supply a lot of the hospital grade pumps which you see on maternity wards. They have a commitment to encouraging breastfeeding and helping mothers to achieve their breastfeeding goals. Medela is what I see as a truly ethical company: despite manufacturing and selling breastpumps, they also adhere to the World Health Organisation’s code to ensure that they educate mothers on the importance and benefits of breastfeeding.
One of the main benefits of the Swing range of Medela breastpumps is that they have a patented technology known as 2-Phase Expression. The concept is that the units mimic a real baby’s feeding, by first performing light and quick sucking motions to encourage the milk to start flowing, followed by the longer, slower pumps to draw out the milk.
If your own milk starts to flow before the end of the first phase, you can simply press a button on the pump and it will switch to phase two immediately. It really is that simple.
Many mothers, myself included, find this technology is a great way to stimulate milk flow, which can be pretty difficult when it’s a machine attached to you rather than your darling newborn.
The unit is lightweight at only 220g (excluding batteries), and comes with a cord attached which means that you can hang it around your neck to free up your hands to use the device. The unit takes 6 x AAA batteries, which the manufacturer claims should last 2-3 pumping sessions. Personally I found that it did last longer than this, more like 4-5 times.
Whenever possible, obviously it makes sense to use the mains adapter rather than burning through batteries. The beauty of it is that you don’t need to remove your batteries when you are plugging in your breastpump, the machine knows that when it is plugged in it should bypass the batteries.
One top tip which I read about the last time I used the pump, was to make your own breastpumping bra which will allow you to pump handsfree. If you take an old sports bra, cut out some holes where the nipples are and then set up the pump to slot through the bra and attach the pumps. Hey presto, hands free pumping!
Increased milk production
I have used the Medela Swing Single Breastpump before, as I borrowed one from a friend prior to making this purchase. I thought the single was fantastic, as I had been using a manual pump prior to this, and barely getting 100ml from each side in place of a feed (this was when my little boy was 5 months old and I know he must have been taking more milk than this). The single pump managed to boost this up to about 120-140ml each time I pumped a single breast. What made me consider the Maxi Double pump was that I would always leak from the side which I wasn’t pumping.
Since I started using the double pump, I found I could easily pump at least 160ml from the breast that I hadn’t fed from, and usually 50ml from the one that has last fed my son. This was immense! In fact there were numerous times that I had to get an additional bottle to pump into as the included milk bottles only have a 150ml capacity.
9 vacuum levels
The instructions tell you to set the pump to the level that is at the lowest suction and is producing milk. This way you shouldn’t feel any discomfort or soreness of your nipples as you are using the gentlest setting. I did find that I could up the vacuum by a notch or two to speed up the pumping, and still not feel any discomfort and I was only on the middle setting so I do feel like there should be high enough suction for all mothers to use the unit effectively.
The pump comes supplied with the middle size of the nipple shield, and instructions on how to tell if this is the correct size for your breasts. I found the medium shields to be just fine, although some users complain about having to purchase the different sized shields separately. I can see why this would be an annoyance when the unit is so expensive to begin with (RRP is £239.99).
Single pump usage
As I mentioned earlier, I was mainly using the pump at the same time as continuing to breastfeed my son. This was in preparation for weaning him from the breast, owing to his allergies and the severe limitations this was placing on my own diet (to avoid passing the allergens onto him through my milk). Being able to use just a single pump during these times was fantastic. I didn’t experience any loss in suction through only using one pump, so I was still achieving these incredible levels of milk each time.
Ease of cleaning
The pump pulls apart into numerous pieces which can be quite tricky to remember how to put back together to begin with. Once you have it sorted though, you can construct and deconstruct the unit with ease, and whilst it’s separated it’s very easy to clean. As per the instructions, you only need to sterilise the parts once per day. The rest of the time you can simply wash them in clean drinking quality water, and store in the fridge ready for the next use.
There are a few complaints by people about the machine losing suction after a few months of use, however I found that this was easily rectified by ensuring the valve flaps were thoroughly cleaned and not sticking down prior to using the pump each time.
Medela Calma teat
The pump comes with two milk collection bottles, which you can then either use to store the milk in the fridge by putting the supplied lids onto, or you can also feed your baby directly from the collection bottles by screwing on the included Calma teat.
The teat supposedly mimics the natural flow of a breast, since the milk doesn’t come from a single source as would happen with a usual bottle teat. The teat also requires quite a strong amount of suction, so again mimicking natural breastfeeding flow.
My little boy didn’t really get along with the teat, but I think it’s just one of those things that you have to try first and the baby will become used to it. There are a considerable number of reviews, however, stating that their baby loves it and that the teat reduces colic.
The Medela Swing Maxi Double Breastpump has an RRP of £239.99 which is probably one of the highest cost items that you would chalk up on your baby gadgets list.
Is it worth it? I think this comes down to what value you place on your freedom as a new mother. I’m not going to lie, breastfeeding can be tough. You literally cannot leave your baby for more than 2-3 hours for at least the first 6 months of their life. Expressing and feeding your baby the occasional a bottle can be the difference between having a relatively normal life with the occasional meal and night out, and feeling housebound and beginning to regret the day you decided to breastfeed.
Once you make that decision that you will express, you then have to weigh up how frequently you think you will do it, how difficult it can be to manually express, the quantity you will be able to express etc. To me, spending that little bit more to make your life easier will be something that you won’t regret once you are a busy mother. Believe me, you will make good use of those extra 10 minutes that you would have wasted when manually pumping… even if that does just mean having 10 minutes to sit and watch trashy TV with a cup of tea and chocolate biscuit!
Value for money: 4/5
Style: 4/5 (small and lightweight, easy to use)
Price: RRP £239.99
Buy from: Amazon.com
As mentioned above, I know it’s a big ticket item. But in my eyes, totally worth it. It was a total game changer for me once I started to properly express enough to be able to offer my baby a bottle of milk per day without fail. I got my life back.
I would definitely recommend a double electric breast pump if you think you might be wanting to express once per day or more, it will save you valuable time that can be spent relaxing! If you think you may only express occasionally, I urge you to consider the Medela Swing Single Electric Breastpump instead.
If you’re expressing milk already, or about to start, be sure to check out my post How to Freeze Breast Milk Safely.
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