StorkNet interview with
Anne Smith, IBCLC
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

Q's and A's:

DO I REALLY NEED A BREAST PUMP?

Maria: I am planning to breastfeed my baby not only because it is good for him but also because it is cheaper than formula. But do I really need the breast pump (manual or electric) and to store my milk? That looks like a hassle and breast pumps are expensive.

Anne: You only need a pump if you are separated from your baby on a regular basis. If your baby is hospitalized, if you are working or going to school, or you leave your baby with caregivers often, then a good double electric pump is an excellent investment.

If you are a stay at home mom and plan to take your baby with you when you go out, and if you are comfortable throwing a blanket over your shoulder and nursing in the mall, then you probably won't need a pump. If you want to have one on hand to pump an occasional bottle, then you could get a small manual or electric pump like the Avent Isis or the MiniElectric and probably do fine with that.

Pumping is a hassle, and I don't know anyone who enjoys it. Women managed to nurse their babies for millions of years without pumps, and lots of them still do. However, the technology is now available to mothers whose lifestyles make exclusive breastfeeding difficult. New hospital and professional grade pumps allow nursing mothers the option of double pumping their milk quickly and efficiently so that they can continue nursing after they return to work or during regular periods of separation. It's great to have the technology available for women who need it, but pumping is not a necessary component of successful breastfeeding.

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