Why do breast pumps cost so much? Does insurance cover? Is it worth it to spend more?
Whether your new arrival is still on the way or you’re transitioning to home care, now is the right time to familiarize yourself with some of the details that will help you select the best breast pump for your nursing circumstances and needs. While we already covered cost ranges for various breast pump types, now it’s important to understand what features and benefits contribute to those costs. So read on. Our battalion of fellow moms is here to help take the stress out of choosing a pumping solution that optimizes function and quality for your needs.
Manual pumps are highly portable so you can pump pretty much anywhere, even on a date night out if need be. But this method is less efficient since, unless you are unusually limber and strong, you can do only one of the girls at a time. For these reasons, many moms use a manual pump as a convenient supplement to their primary electric pump. Oh, one more thing: while there are fewer variables to consider with a manual pump, one to pay attention to here is breast cup comfort and fit which we’ll discuss more in a moment.
Based on our own experience as moms, for your primary pump, you should go electric. And we feel the following details are the most important ones to determine the best value.
The first thing to consider is whether you’re a single or a double pump mom. If you have a more limited budget and more time to spend pumping, then consider a single pump version which can also be a bit more portable. However, while a double pump costs a bit more, it does get the job done in half the time and may actually allow you to express more milk. You should also factor in the quality and reliability of the pump components like the motor and housing which should have a proven track record of durability.
As mentioned above, the second thing to consider is comfort which includes both the type of materials used and the pumping action itself. Most pumps come with breast cups made of plastic in a set number of sizes. To improve their fit and minimize discomfort, some may also come with additional silicone inserts or, in our case, be made entirely of silicone.
Comfort also relies on the pumping action itself. While you should look for a pump that features adjustable and consistent suction strength, you should also pay attention to suction type. The closer you can get to mimicking a baby’s normal nursing pattern, the happier you, your breasts and your milk production will be.
The third thing to consider is size and portability. Table top models that plug into the wall are usually the most cost-effective and simpler to use but they do tether you to the unit which limits your ability to be up and about, either at or away from home. Individual pump units that fit inside a nursing bra offer more convenience with greater freedom of movement and discretion but are often less powerful and require battery charging.
The fourth thing to consider is the hygiene offered by the system which includes the type and degree of filtration used, how the vacuum action is achieved, and the design of the extraction and storage method. A good rule of thumb is the more closed the system is to outside contamination in all these areas the better.
The fifth thing to consider are additional capabilities that enhance convenience, ease of use and even motivation which newer digital models may offer. Many new moms find these features benefit their overall pumping experience.
And lastly, while most insurance companies cover breast pumps of some type, because there are so many variables, it’s really important that you first research and understand what types and features are included in your coverage before you set your sights on that perfect pump.
Like it was for us, we know how daunting a purchase decision this can be and hope we’ve provided the right information for you to make an informed choice. And if you’re still unsure or have more questions, we’re always here to listen and help. Happy pumping!