Choosing a breast pump can be overwhelming for expecting parents because there are so many brands and designs.
Sometimes breast pumps are covered by insurance and sometimes they are not. You can either purchase or rent. So where should you start?
First, determine your breast-feeding goals. Specifically, how long do you plan to nurse and will you be returning to work? This may determine which type of pump you will want to purchase or rent.
Next, I recommend contacting your insurance provider to see what kind of breast pump coverage you have. Some plans cover the rental of a hospital-grade pump, while other plans cover the purchase of a new home-grade style. With most of the plans, you can pick up your pump, if purchasing, any time in the last trimester. The insurance provider will also let you know if you will need a prescription from your physician when picking up the pump.
Once you know what your options are, then you can decide which type of pump to get. If you are planning to return to work, we usually suggest a double, electric pump. They help to empty both breasts quicker than a single or manual version.
If you are going to be a stay-at-home mom, then a single or manual version should be fine if the electric is not covered by insurance. We do, however, occasionally suggest renting a hospital-grade pump to a mom who has had a breast surgery in the past, has a baby in the NICU, or has a history of a decreased milk supply. Renting is usually not done until after the baby has been delivered. If you have your pump at time of delivery, be sure to bring it with you to the hospital, and your lactation consultant will show you how to use it.
Although purchasing a good breast pump can be expensive, it is a good investment. Just think about how much money you can save by not purchasing formula. Breast milk provides early protection from harmful infections and helps to prevent allergies, so you will most likely save money because you will have fewer co-pays and medicines for your baby.
If you still have questions regarding your pump or are unsure of your options, you can always contact lactation services at the hospital where you plan to deliver.