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Breast is best we are told (repeatedly) when having a baby. But when I decided to breastfeed my little one I soon realised that I would be much more restricted in terms of having a social life than mums who use formula. There is however a way to breastfeed and get the odd evening away from baby. By purchasing a breast pump you can have your cake and eat it where breast feeding is concerned. I would recommend the avent electric pump for just this purpose.
Breastfeeding is of course primarily about putting your baby to the breast, and even with the pump I still feed 'normally' for 95% of feeds. In fact if you don't have a medical reason for doing so I would recommend giving pumped bottles only on the odd occasion as it can cause issues with supply. It also means that you're not missing out on the bonding that comes from putting baby to breast. Having said that, breastfeeding isn't always all love and cuddles and the pump is a godsend at the beginning when feeding can lead to terrible nipple pain. I found that pumping one feed and getting my husband to give it to baby in a bottle gave my poor bruised nipples a chance to heal.
***Safe and reliable***
I've been using the pump for two months now and there doesn't seem to be any wear and tear on the parts so far. I try to pump a couple of ounces every day or so although if baby is feeding a lot I don't bother. Lots of people pump more often than this but I'm too lazy!
Cleaning the pump correctly is incredibly important as if it is not sterile it can spread germs to baby. I find the avent easy to clean properly as all the parts can be disassembled for washing. To make life even easier I then pop the parts in an avent microwave sterilizer and its done in six minutes. After the first couple of goes it is quite straightforward to assemble and disassemble and the instructions are clear and easy to follow if you're not sure how to do it. The instructions also give some good tips on pumping such as staying relaxed and looking at a picture of your baby when pumping.
While I was still pregnant I did extensive research online into which pump to buy. I feel that the avent strikes a good balance - it is cheaper than some like the medela swing but is still a well made item. It is not cheap, but no more expensive than similar products and it is often on offer. I bought mine from mothercare when they were doing a deal that combined the pump with other useful items such as bottles, breast pads and storage jars.
When buying the pump on its own you should be aware that you will need some other products to really get the best from it. I would really recommend buying the pump as part of a feeding pack but as a minimum you will need a bottle and something to store milk in. I really like the lansinoh freezer bags so you can keep your supply in neat piles in the freezer for when you need it.
The only downside I have found when using the pump is that it can be a little difficult to keep it upright when pumping, although I find this a lot easier if I use a cushion to balance the pump on. After some practice you will discover the most comfortable position for your body.
Overall I regard an avent electric pump as an essential part of my breastfeeding kit. Of course you can get along without it, but if you want an hour or two away from baby to kick start your social life and have some me time the avent pump is definitely worth buying.
I thought this breast pump was really, really good. I shopped around for what I thought would be the best for me, and this came out on top. I paid £91.95 for it from Boots.
I decided to buy a breast pump as my baby son constantly wanted to feed, and when you have a house to run, a five year old to look after, and very little sleep, the last thing you want to be doing is sitting down with a baby attached to all day. So, I bought this pump so my husband could share the feeding.
This breast pump is very easy to use and has a memory that learns how you pump and mimics your natural pumping rhythm. You pump using the handle at the rhythm you prefer, then press the button and this kick starts the 'electric' side of the breast pump and does the hard work for you!
The pump comes with a Let-Down Massage Cushion which is designed to stimulate milk flow.
The pump is advertised to be 'Quiet and effortless.' I wouldn't say it's quiet; I had to turn the TV up whilst watching it, as the pump is quite noisy. It certainly is effortless to use though.
You can put it batteries or run the pump through the mains. The lead is pretty long, so you can sit in a chair which is a short distance away from the plug if need be.
The breast pump comes complete with;
1 x 125ml/4oz Philips AVENT Bottle
1 x Teat Philips AVENT Travel Pack
1 x sealing disc
1x Let Down Massage Cushion
There is also all the extra parts to assemble this pump to be manual. I am not sure why you would want to after buying an electric, however!
I found disassembling the breast pump easy. Everything un- clicks and most of the parts need to be sterilised; as a general rule, these are the parts which touch your breast and/or have milk flowing through.
I definitely found that this pump helped to keep my milk supply up when not actually breastfeeding. It managed to squeeze quite a bit out at times. It doesn't hurt, only a little uncomfortable at times.
I bought this when I was pregnant however, was very reluctant in putting out soo much money and not knowing if I would even be able to breastfeed, however, I found this on sale on Amazon in a breastfeeding set, with this, a microwave steriliser and loads of bottles and accessories for £100.
On day one at home my little one had got her latch a bit wrong but was vigorously sucking which caused me extreme pain, which meant that I was in tears while feeding her. When the midwift came in the morning she suggested trying to express and bottle feed for a while to allow me to heal. This pump came as a life saver out of the box as hand expression is extremely difficult to get anything out. If I hadnt had this pump I would probably given up and reverted to formula, I am soo glad I didnt.
The good things about this pump:
- its two in one - it has both the top for the electric pump and manual, so it can be portable
- the pump allows you work out how strong and fast you want to pump, then press the button and it will carry on
However, after a weeks or so of use, the electric part stopped working. As I ordered this from Amazon they immediately sent out a new one and allow you 30 days to return, therefore I carried on using as a manual pump for the couple of days it took to get the new one to me, then posted it back.
Also, I find that a small amount of milk leaks into the top of the pump, which means the electric top gets milk on which you have to wipe off & worries me slightly that it will go into the electrics which may have caused the problem in the first one.
### UPDATE 6 months on ###
I'm still pumping! I have carried on feeding my daugter (who is now 10 months) and find that this pump allows me a bit of freedom so I can leave DD with DH, with a bottle of pumped milk in the fridge & I can go out. When we started weaning around 6 months I would use pumped milk in foods like porridge before moving her onto normal cows milk recently. It let her have a similar taste and an easier transition from exclusive BF onto proper food.
As I said originally I find that this pump made BF a much easier task & probably allowed me to BF for the year an onwards.
I had my first baby four weeks ago and as I always intended to breast feed, I had already purchased the Avent electric breast pump by Philips. Now, I must admit, the only reason I went for the Avent over any other brands is because I bought it on sale at TK Maxx for the fabulous price of only £10 - it's normally £90!
I did however know that I wanted an electric breast pump over a manual one, as the thought of having to manually pump out the milk sounded less than appealing and I'd been told by fellow mummies that it was pretty time consuming, not to mention hand-achingly bad!
So, a few days after I brought my lovely new daughter home, I tried out the pump to encourage milk production (as I had been advised not to fully express and feed for at least two weeks, to ensure no nipple confusion), after she had had the colostrum and my full milk had come in.
The box includes:
Avent electronic breast pump
Teat, ring and bottle cap
The pump itself splits into parts:
The electronic head (this is the only part which never comes into contact with milk, and cannot be washed or sterilised)
The main body (which looks a bit like a trumpet)
The soft rubber suction shield, which pumps your breast
The 'reed', a small valve which allows the pumped milk to enter the bottle
The suction valve, a rubber plug which sucks the milk into the reed
The bottle, which is a standard Avent bottle with oz markings down the side, which attaches to the main body with a screw thread
It's very very easy to put together - first you need to sterilise all parts bar the electronic head, I used a Tommee Tippee 6 minute microwave steriliser, but any electronic or microwave, or indeed chemical steriliser is fine.
Once it is assembled you place your nipple in the suction shield which fits over the 'trumpet', and hold down the power button to turn the unit on. Once it is on, you use the handle to pump a few times - the harder you pump the more suction you get, and you can vary the speed, as it is electronic this is very easy and after three or four pumps when you have a comfortable pump action, simply press the power button again, and it continues pumping in this style and you can just hold onto the bottle whilst it fills (and watch the TV, haha). It's fairly quiet, obviously the electronic action makes a sound but it's soft and reassuring rather than mechanical and annoying.
As the entire unit is clear (with a yellow tinge - this is so the milk isn't spoiled by sunlight) you can see the milk being extracted and the bottle filling up. If your milk slows you can try changing position or stopping for a moment and resetting the pump action to ensure you are extracting the hind milk for the baby (the fatty milk with lots of good properties which calms the baby most).
The pump is comfortable to use, and far, far preferable to manual pumping. I can sit back and watch TV and with minimal effort on my part, pump a 4oz feed to take out with my daughter in less than half an hour. It's a great way of ensuring she has food on the go.
There are however some downsides to the unit which I should address. Firstly the design of the pump means that milk can get trapped under the rubber suction shield - only about a tablespoonful, but as it gets trapped in the suction valve also, it can feel like a bit of a waste of milk if you've pumped 4oz and there's another half ounce in the mechanism (especially if you don't have much milk to start off with and every drop counts).
Also; though Philips advise in the instruction manual that you can place the washable parts in the dishwasher, they neglect to mention that they are very susceptible to staining - meaning that when we popped them in the dishwasher with a pan which had tomato pasta sauce in it - the entire lot went pink, and we spent a day having to soak in a safe, mild bleach solution and then soak in water and re-sterilised. So I'd recommend just hand washing - it only takes a few moments anyway.
Finally, since the unit retails for £90, I was a bit disappointed to find that the bottles which were provided were not anti-colic, which was a huge problem for me and my daughter (and my poor husband who had to deal with her screaming in pain with wind). In the end, we had to buy some MAM anti colic bottles which came highly recommended, I use the Avent bottle to express into then we pour the milk into the MAM bottle which works out a lot better for us. If the MAM electronic pump was the same price as the Avent, then I'd seriously consider buying that in the first place as this is a bit of an unnecessary step.
Overall, I'm happy with the Avent electronic breast pump, it works very well in terms of how comfortable I find it and how much milk I am able to express - especially given the bargain price I got it for. However, there are a few niggles as explained above which any new mother / mother to be needs to consider when making the decision to purchase a pump. I'd love to try a MAM, Tommee Tippee etc pump to see how they compare. I'll give this s 3/5, given the RRP, the poor quality of the bottles is a disappointment as is the milk wastage, however I am happy with the actual pump mechanism and it's results.
I was leant this breast pump by a friend who never got on with expressing. I found it invaluable, especially for the first few weeks. It is easy to use, quick to assemble and easy to clean. It fits all avent bottles which is great. However, what I was most impressed with is the customer service I got from Phillips. My friend is now pregnant again and I have finished breast feeding so I wanted to return the pump to her. I managed to melt a bit of the breast pump by putting it in a steam steriliser but forgetting to put water in (baby brain!) and I didn't want to return lots of used parts to her. Buying a new pump was an expensive option so I contacted Phillips and they sent me replacement parts for the whole breast pump, except the actual electronic unit free of charge. They delivered within a few days and I can now return a brand new pump to my friend with her original electronic unit! The pump was also comfortable to use and the speed can be adjusted to match your baby's speed to stimulate maximum milk. I would highly recommend it.
I bought the Avent Isis Electric breast pump 4 and a half years ago, shortly after my 1st child was born.
When you first unpack the pump, it looks a little complicated. It would have been more sensible for me to have bought it prior to my baby being born, so I had time to study it and get used to assembling/disassembling it.
However, after a few goes, I got the knack and found it surprisingly simple to use.
The pump comes with about 5 parts, which all have to be screwed together. After each use you need to separate them again for washing and sterilising. All the parts of the pump which come into contact with milk can be fully immersed in water and sterilised in whichever manner you prefer.
The pump which I bought could either be mains powered, or powered by a battery pack, although I only ever used the plug.
It had a very handy automatic setting, which meant that once you had established the flow speed (which you would do by hand, by squeezing a leaver), the pump would automatically continue to pump at that speed, so you only have to hold the pump in place.
I found the pump to be very convenient and effective. It's not too noisy either. Once everything was in place I would just sit back and watch the tv whilst the container filled up.
The pump came with a couple of milk storage containers, but I found that most standard bottles also screwed directly onto the pump, which was very convenient.
I used the pump with my next 2 babies, so it has had 3 outings in all now. It still works perfectly and looks like new, despite a lot of use.
I paid £75 for my pump and it has been worth every penny.
I also used it in early labour with my 3rd child. My contractions kept stopping, so I put the pump on and they came back with a vengence! I would highly recommend using a breast pump to get labour started (only if you are due, or overdue though!)
I would recommed this to anybody who is thinking about breast feeding their child. The instructions that are supplie with this product are brilliant and easy to understand. It was very interesting to use for the first time and seemed very daunting but it worked out to be so simple.
I paid £50 from Boots for mine which was 2 years ago now it is so much easier than the hand pumps that can put alot of strain on the fingers to keep havinig to pump it, this is the lazy way out and is it worth the money all you have to do is sit back and relax watching tv or reading a book which can take a bit of practice due to having to hold the pump still.
The pump comes with a small bottle and a measuring cup and lids for all of them to be able to store.
This product is easy to clean and will fit in any steriliser the electric part of the pump only has to be wiped over and very rarely gets dirty. It does plug into the wall so you do have to be able to sit down for a while to use it.
I will always advise not to use it until your baby has stimulated your milk sufficiently or the pump will not express the ammount you will need so always leave it for about 4 weeks before.
I found that this product was very useful especially due to returning to work and wanting to carry on breast feeding my child.
Iv used a couple of breast pumps and comparing this one with the medela mini electric, I'd choose Avent every time. The reason for this is because the avent is a bit quieter and you can adjust the electric speed by pumping manually for a few seconds and then it "learns" your speed. I was leant this by a freind so I didnt have instructions and found it incredibly easy to get the hang of. I produced a fair bit of milk but I think thihs si dependant on the perrson and not the pump. I like the fact that this comes with a portable battery pack so you cant express when you are out and about without the need of a mains lead. It also means you can express when you are wandering around the house chasing after other children. It would be great if you didnt have to hold it and it somehow strapped to you leaving your hands free...now theres a marketing idea...dragons den here I come LOL! You do end up feeling like daisy the cow after a while as expressing is hard work so rather then spend the £80 it costs I would recommending borrowing one from a friend if you can.
I found Avent's electric pump very easy to use. I was able to pump milk out very quickly even when I first started. The pump is very easy to put together as there aren't as many parts unlike other pumps including Avent's manual one. The parts were also very easy to clean. It has a manual dial to adjust the amount of suction when expressing so is very comfortable to use. The pump is activated by pressing a button so is easy to use and control. I used rechargeable batteries with mine and they lasted about a month using the pump once a day. The downsides are that the pump can be noisy when you turn it on so can distract your baby if you are feeding them from the other side. I don't know if you can get replacement parts anymore as they no longer make it.
When my first son was born he was in intensive care for 2 weeks and as I was breastfeeding the neo-natal had to freeze my milk. They had 2 breast pumps in the room and they were electric. They had several suction speeds and were EXCELLENT!. When I had my second son I thought I would by one so that I could go out for the odd night!. I chose the Advent pump because I like Advent products. Very slow and labourious. However, friends had used one before and loved it, so maybe I was spoilt by the neo-natal pump?. It was like a Fiesta compared to a Ferrari.
I have breast fed my first daughter until 14mths,now 2.5 and I am breastfeeding the 2nd lucy born in june.I used the Avent pump,and found it very good. It comes with a motor section,A funnel(sorry couldnt think of a better word!)that fits on the breast,2 plugs that fit around the nipples and a 4oz bottle.It all comes apart and is very easy to clean but of course you dont clean the motor! Its very easy to put together and to use,just put the motor attachment to the funnel put a nipple plug in, put it to breast and turn it on.Hey presto!There is a button you press to simulate the sucking action and also you can turn the strengh up too. Some people find it better to express by the side of their baby or to have a picture of their baby with them. Ive had no trouble with this product and would recommend it to any women who wanted to buy one.
I bought one of these just over three years ago when my first son was born. I breast fed him for just over four months and started using the pump pretty early on at about 4weeks although you are advised to wait 6 but I just wanted to get out of the house and needed some freedom. I found the pump to be brilliant. You basically attach the small bottle to the end, switch on and away you go. The art is to get all of the nipple sealed round the pump and push it quite far else it wont work. It does feel funny to start and you may think it will hurt you but you will be fine. I started expressing on a regular basis and bought the avent bags which go in the freezer and started freezing it. I must admit when I went back to work I had decided to give up because the thing is quite noisey and didnt really fancy the idea of doing at work in a toilet say when it is whurring away. Anyway I put away until my second son was born in Jan this year and again used it for him. I would recommend this product to anyone - well women that is!
I got this pump when I had my first baby. Having first tried a hospital electric one (worked but made me sore) and a Boots manual (totally useless) this was the third one my dear husband brought home and it was good. I used it a lot while breast feeding and could express quite quickly with it. I did find it noisier than I had expected, my husband thought it was a hilarious sound so I had to lock myself away in the bedroom along with a photo of the baby to stimulate the let down reflex (sounds rather dodgy doesn't it!). The pump is quite compact, easy to put together and take apart for cleaning and would fit in any steriliser I would imagine, as it is not very large. It is compatible with all the Avent range of bottles etc. I have since used the Avent Isis with my second baby, and must say I do prefer it. The Isis is a manual but is just as easy to use as the battery one, totally quiet (big bonus) and I found I could express a bit faster using it as well. By the end with the battery one I was only getting an ounce or so after 15 minutes, but with the Isis I could still get a 4oz bottle with little trouble at 4 months and later. I believe that Avent have now discontinued this pump to concentrate on the Isis, but if anyone wants one I'm selling mine.....!
The Avent Electric pump, I thought was very good. I have heard that the manual pump is better, but having never tried it I can't really say. I found the electric pump to be very good indeed. It was easy to use, especially one handedly, which is handy when feeding baby from the other breast. I wasn't too noisy at all, but did tend to run out of batteries quickly, I think next time I require it I shall buy an electric adaptor for it. It comes apart easily, for cleaning and sterilising.
Combining breast and bottle feeding is easy with Avent because babies use the same suckling technique when feeding from the Avent bottle as they do when feeding at the breast.