In addition to my regular work bag, I had slung over my shoulder yet another testament to my new found status of mother; my breast pump. At the time, I was working for the State of Oregon, and they're required to provide a lactation room, and allow for time to pump. But even more important was that I was the last in a string of co-workers (seven of us at once!) to have a baby, so the room was not just a drab little cubie, but an old office that had a rocking chair, magazines, artwork and a mini-fridge with ample space for us to all store our daily goods. (though it wasn't long before I was using the time to return phone calls...
At that time, I had the Medela Pump In Style, which is a really great pump that my insurance paid for. Did you know that most insurance companies will cover the cost of a pump? Something every prospective mom should check into!
I sold that pump before moving East, and with C, I was given the Pump In Style Advanced backpack style pump, and used it when I went to BlogHer Boston in addition to a couple times here and there to build up a little cushion for when I went out (though I'm not at all averse to using formula if it means I get a break, so there wasn't pressure to produce mass quantities). I was staying home this time, and so it's just been all-around a much different breastfeeding experience.
I was given an Evenflo Comfort Select Dual Electric Breast Pump (which retails for $69.99 on Amazon) to test by MomCentral, so I'll be comparing and contrasting it to the Medela, which isn't entirely fair because the Medela is in a price point about $200 higher, but it's the one I have experience with.
I really liked the trim bag that the Evenflo comes in, which really looks like a soft-sided cooler about the size that you'd take a lunch to work in. It has soft bags that you place in the freezer overnight and then take with you to keep you milk chilled all day, which would allow for more milk to be carried than if it were rigid like the Medela. It is over all a much smaller product than Medela, including the fact that the Medela motor and other parts (aside from the cups and tubes themselves) are housed inside the carrying case.
I thought it was nice that the pump comes with nipple adapters for people with smaller breasts, so you don't have to purchase additional equipment if the original cups are too large. The carrying case has a little pouch in the front that holds the user's manual (which I almost didn't see and started to complain to my husband that "If I hadn't already used a pump, I wouldn't know what these parts are...blah, blah, blah..."; yeah, the manual's right there). If I were using this pump full-time, I'd slip a couple of the Medela bags that you can use in the microwave to sanitize the pump parts. I really liked those for an office environment because I didn't have to wait all day to really clean my pump, and that way it was ready for the next use without worry of contamination.
The nipple on the two bottles that are included are shaped a lot more like a mother's would be, so it seems more user friendly for the baby. C took it just fine, though at almost 11 months old, I think his mouth is a little big and the nipples are more for smaller babies.
So, now for the drawbacks; this pump is loud. I think that I'd say it is about the same volume as a Kitchen-Aid mixer, but not as loud or grating as a coffee grinder or blender. The soft whoosh-whoosh of the Medela is what I'm used to, so I think the noise was amplified. Had I not had prior experience with a pump, I would most likely just think that's the way it was, but there would be no question to your co-workers when you were and were not pumping. Well, I guess that could be a positive, because if anyone ever walked in on you, you could use genuine indignation because there's no way they'd not have known you were 'busy'.
The only other drawback is that the only adjustment for the pump is the level of suction (low to high) not the frequency of suction. I found with the Medela that after the let-down fast speed, it was much more productive when I turned the speed way down, like to 1, and kept the suction level high; which seemed to closely mimic how my babies nursed.
With only two drawbacks, I'd have to say that overall (especially considering that this retails for well under $100) this is a great little double pump that has the option to be either cord or battery-powered (in your car in the parking garage, perhaps?) that can be used as either a single or double pump.
And now for the exciting news; You can win one yourself! I have an Evenflo Comfort Select Pump to give away to a reader that I will select at random. Please leave a comment stating why you'd love this pump to be yours and I'll enter all the comments into a hat and choose one lucky girl. If you have a funny or embarrassing breast-feeding story, I'll give you an extra entry; because everyone loves sharing personal anecdotes that could be publicly humiliating, right?
I ask that you please, please, please not enter yourself if you plan to get it only to turn around and sell it. I'd like for someone who genuinely needs it to win it. In addition to the pump, I have two 48-count boxes of Comfort Select disposable nursing pads. Depending on the number of entries, I may split them up for three prizes, two or just one grand prize.
If you'd like more information on breast-feeding, including mom-entered tips on breast-feeding and pumping, go to the MomCentral site; by adding a tip of your own you'll be entered for a chance to win one of three Evenflo Comfort Select pumps from MomCentral!