Product Type: Avent kids equipment
Newest Review: ... really expressed as much as it could have leaving my engorged and in pain). The Avent isis changed all that, for a manual pump and at t... more
More breast pumping action again!
Avent Isis Breast Pump
Member Name: hlb2009
Avent Isis Breast Pump
Advantages: small, good to control
Disadvantages: awkward to use, two handed job
When Baby Hope was born she wanted to feed constantly and after the shocking pregnancy I had had I lacked the energy or motivation to be able to feed her every single hour of the day and night. After about day 10 of constant feeding I knew I had to do something whether it be to introduce formula or to invest in an expressor. My husband and I trawled through the internet to have a look at what an expressor consisted of and we were really shocked by the huge difference in prices- from £15 right up to £110. We didn't have a clue which to go for.
=== Which pump is best? ===
There seems to be two main kinds of breast pumps; manual and electronic. The electronic ones are much more expensive and supposedly more efficient but they too come with their negatives so it really is quite a difficult decision to make- do you go for one which is faster but more expensive or go for one which takes longer, is cheaper but at least you don't need a plug socket!? Really it is a case of assessing your own individual needs and you can actually hire them from your children's centres and hospitals (sometimes free too) which should give you a good idea as to whether you can tolerate one or the other.
Avent Isis introduction
I bought this one as it was the most expensive manual expresser. I decided not to take the step into the more expensive league right away and to just test out how I got on with a manual one first. This one cost £30 and we actually got it for cheaper thanks to a special offer that Boots were doing.
=== Putting it together ===
When I first got this pump I was very tired and the last thing I wanted was to open up a huge instruction manual and feel overwhelmed. Luckily, the instructions were very clear with a big diagram showing how all the parts fitted together. There are many parts to it too which is one of the negatives of this pump. It doesn't take long to put together but it is pretty fiddly to get everything where it should be and to clean properly afterwards.
The handle which clips into the top of the pumping mechanism is very frustrating. If you don't have it clipped in exactly right it easily pops off in your hand whilst you're trying to use it. It is a big design flaw of this pump and needs to be looked into. Also if you don't put it on properly then air can get through which spoils the vacuum effect thus reducing the effect of the pumping mechanism.
You don't need to use the instructions after the first few times it's very straight forward it is just frustrating especially compared to the other pumps which seem to have less components.
The most important aspect of a breast pump is how comfortable it is to use. It is a very strange motion at first so the machine you're using has to be suitable for you to be able to tolerate. This is very comfortable mainly because it's manual. Because it's manual it means you can create as much pressure as you require so if you're wanting to slow it down or to add extra pressure onto your breast you are in complete control of it.
The cushion is quite soft against the skin and it uses massage and vacuum to express the milk. The softness of the cushion is really important as this is what your breast is squashed against whilst in use. This aspect of the machine is really very good.
=== Using the machine ===
this is a two handed job despite what the other reviews may say. There is no way you can operate this with just one hand unless you are an outstanding juggler! As you can see from the picture the pump itself is pretty large so it's not really possible to hold it steady and pump the lever whilst maintaining a sealed vacuum against your skin! So be prepared to have both hands in use!
The way I found best to stimulate the milk flow was to press down on the lever slowly and all the way for about 6 times to stimulate the milk and then just use short faster movements on the pump. This seemed to generate the best flow of milk and was less uncomfortable. If it began to slow down I would then try the slow, more pressurised pumps again.
When the milk comes through it goes straight down into a little 'holding cell' as I referred to it which opens up with each pump and drips down into the pot. The holding cell itself sometimes didn't seem to open up properly so often there was a back log of milk waiting to go into the pot. This was pretty frustrating and another design flaw!
All in all it wasn't very easy to use but it did stimulate the milk so it did work well!
=== Time time time! ===
Okay so the whole point of expressing is to give you, the mother, time! It's so useful to express milk so your partner or someone else can feed the baby whilst you catch up on sleep or go and have a bath. The thing is though is it worth it if it just means you have to somehow find time in your day to express milk in the first place?
This pump takes FOREVER to get a decent amount. Perhaps it will be different on an individual basis but for me it would take 20minutes per breast to get a good amount of milk. I found it pretty much a waste of time really as I may as well have been feeding baby Hope. I have looked at other reviews and people have said it took them less time but in my opinion this isn't the best in terms of time.
The best time of day to express is first thing in the morning. Over night your body releases the hormone which stimulates milk supply so in the morning you're more likely to get a good flow of milk.Also to help the flow of milk it's good to use warm flannels or have a warm shower before using it too to help it stimulate.
=== Extras ===
This pump comes with little pots which screw directly to the pump. These are fantastic pots which we use frequently.You simply unscrew from the pump and put a lid on then you're done! This pot can then be directly attached to the teat which comes with the pump so you don't have to mess around transferring the milk from the pot to a bottle either! These pots are also available separately so if you need more they are readily available in shops.
Breast milk should be stored in the fridge although it can be frozen too. It's best to check in the instructions how long you can store it for and it does differ depending upon which part of the fridge you store it!
=== Cleaning ===
It's important to clean all components carefully as milk products create bacteria. The machine should be dismantled completely and then washed in warm, soapy water before putting in your steriliser and sterilising properly. It is important to do this after use every time.
This pump has many flaws especially concerning just how easy it is to work. It is a two handed job nd it does take time to get the milk quantity you need. I found myself getting quite frustrated with how long it took and decided I may as well just feed Hope directly.
Although this pump is quite fiddly it is comfortable and it did serve it's purpose. The fact that it's manual did give me the control I wanted and enabled me to try different ways of pumping to see how it effected the milk supply. I would definitely use a manual one again if I had to.
All the little extras this pump comes with are brilliant. The pots and the teet/caps are very useful and we would have had to buy these separately if they didn't come included in the pack so it was worth paying a bit more than the other pumps on the market for this.
It is quite a small pump so if you're going out for the day and you need it it isn't a great big machine to carry around with you. You can also buy a specially designed bag for it to go in which may be a useful investment.
=== Advantages of expressing ===
Expressing milk has so many advantages it is worth doing if you are breast feeding. It gives you the opportunity to express your milk at what time suits you for whatever reason. If you're having a night out and the baby sitter needs to feed the baby then it's great to be able to leave the milk ready for them instead of having to rush home in time to feed. It does free up that bit of time for you to be you again and not just a baby feeding machine.
It's also useful t help share the feeds. I know my husband felt a bit redudant as it was just me feeding but once I started expressing and he could feed the baby with a bottle it helped him feel important too and it helped to better their bond.
Another advantage of expressing is the fact that sometimes you feel like you need to express. The first time my baby slept right through I was very close t waking her up to feed her as I felt like she was well over due a feed as I was very uncomfortable. Instead I expressed the milk which I could give her later and it relieved me of the pressure which was really very useful.
=== Advice ===
It's important to follow the instructions carefully to make sure you set the machine up properly so as to not cause any extra irritation or discomfort.
Also you have to check how long the guidelines suggest you are allowed to store breast milk for. Be careful to label your pots that you store it in so you can be aware of how old it is.You may think you have a good memory and recall when you expressed but believe me with sleepless nights and a newborn baby it can be very easy to get mixed up!
It may be possible for you to hire a pump from your doctors surgery, children's centre or hospital. This is a great way to get familiar with expressing without parting with money or making a decision about which one to buy. I definitely regret having not trialled one first as it probably would have influenced which one I bought.
=== Conclusion ===
Expressing is a very important aspect of breast feeding and finding the right pump can be quite awkward. This manual pump is useful insofar as you cn control the amount of pressure you apply to the breast and you can see easily how much milk you are producing. It is only small and compact which is really useful but it is fiddly to put together, has a few design flaws and isn't exactly speedy!
You can buy this from shops such as mothercare, boots etc as well asonline at Amazon for around £30.
Summary: it's good but not the best