Product Type: Avent kids equipment
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An Indepth Review of the Avent Electric Breast Pump
Avent Electric Breast Pump
Member Name: northernlovely
Avent Electric Breast Pump
Advantages: Good pump mechanism, sturdy
Disadvantages: Milk gets trapped, no anti colic bottle
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.
Summary: Good, but for £90, do your homework on pumps
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