When to buy a breast pump?When to buy a breast pump - this is a question we hear very often from women. Especially for first time mums expecting their first bub, it can be difficult getting a handle on whether they need a breast pump and whether to buy a breast pump ahead of time or wait til after baby is born. What's the answer? Well, it's really up to you! But we can give you some things to think about!
I'm not sure I'll need a breast pumpIt's entirely possible you won't need to buy a breast pump! Women have been breastfeeding successfully without breast pumps for thousands and thousands of years. If a breast pump was an essential part of breastfeeding, then the human race wouldn't have lasted long! On the other hand, in the past women often had the assistance of female relatives or wet nurses to take over if mum couldn't feed for some reason, and life is different these days and a lot of it isn't necessarily baby-friendly. Life can feel restrictive when you need to be available 24/7 for your baby's nutrition, but being able to express breastmilk for your baby's feeds can mean you can go to the gym, dinner, or work without your baby having to miss out on your milk.
There's so much to buy!Very true! We can't argue with that! Having a baby is expensive, and whittling down the list of what to buy can be very sensible if you're feeling the pinch. Remember though, even with the cost of buying a breast pump, breastfeeding is always going to be cheaper than formula.
What if I can't breastfeed?
We would suggest that you try not to think this way. Studies have shown that the biggest factor in successful breastfeeding, above everything else, is intention. Preparing yourself ahead of time as much as possible will really help. Learn about the way that breastfeeding works, the supply and demand mechanisms of milk production, and the reality that initiating and establishing breastfeeding can involve some discomfort and a lot of time feeding your baby in the first weeks, until you turn a corner and it all becomes a lot easier. Contact your local branch of the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) and find out about weekly meetups with other mums and education classes. If buying a breast pump ahead of time helps you feel prepared for breastfeeding, we're all for it!
What if I wait, and then need a breast pump in a hurry?
Okay, now we're in two minds about this one. First of all, the reality is that a really high proportion of women who are buying breast pumps are in a hurry. Often this is because an issue has arisen (such as low supply or attachment issues) and women are needing a breast pump ASAP to help. Or perhaps their previous breast pump has just broken, and they are expressing daily. Maybe we're over cautious, but we treat all orders as urgent.
Click to read our guide to choosing a breast pump
However, there are still a few reasons to wait until after you've had your baby before buying a breast pump. Later on you'll have a better idea of what you're wanting from a breast pump (read our guide to choosing a breast pump for help). Some people plan to pump once a week with a manual pump, but then an issue arises and they need a hospital grade pump for very frequent expressing. Some people plan to express once a day so their partner can give a bottle, but then they discover it's too much bother and they never end up expressing at all. Just like all your baby buys (change table, baby capsule, the list goes on), it's not until after you're living with your baby that you'll really have an accurate idea of how much you'll use a breast pump.
So to recap:
- For most women, it's best to focus on getting to know your baby and establishing breastfeeding before adding in a breast pump, expressing and giving a bottle.
- Some women may have an issue (attachment, nipple damage, low supply) and need a breast pump to help, and if that happens you may be glad you already had one. We do dispatch orders daily by express post (but sometimes even waiting 12 hours for a breast pump is too long).
- We find that most breastfeeding women do use a breast pump at some point, just to make life a little and intend to buy one.
- Many women have breastfed without ever using a breast pump!