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**My experience of expressing breast milk**
I have been using the Medela Swing since my daughter was born in December and generally express every couple of days to build up a supply for trips away and the occasional stay with her Grandparents. I've also experienced one full week of exclusive pumping due to the joys of mastitis making feeding directly from the breast too painful. I use the regular size breast shield and all of the original attachments and parts supplied by Medela (breast shield, pump, power adaptor, tubing, valve and Calma teat). I also have a manual breast pump and have hand expressed when necessary.
**Why I chose the Medela Swing**
I work with lots of midwives and the Medela has always been the brand they recommend, so I was easily persuaded to buy this pump when I saw it on offer for just under £100. I liked the idea of being able to power the pump from the mains or by battery, and also that there were different size breast shields available in case the regular one was uncomfortable. I saw that the reviews were generally positive, and I knew I wanted to express as well as breastfeed as I'd like my daughter to have all the goodness of being exclusively breastfed, but know I need to return to work before I'd like this to end. I also lacked confidence about breast feeding whilst out and about, and found that expressing a little milk to take in an insulated bag was a good way to avoid this when on short trips.
**Advantages of the Medela Swing**
The Medela Swing has two-phase expression technology, which basically means it imitates the fast, powerful sucking of a baby stimulating let-down as well as the longer sucks of the main feed. I've found that this is really effective for getting a good let-down and efficiently expressing a good volume of milk. The pumping itself is able to be personalised through using the stronger / gentler and let-down buttons to create a comfortable expressing experience - after all, what's comfortable for one Mum may be agonising for another; and the level that suits one Mum may be completely ineffective for another.
The Medela Swing can be run on batteries or via the mains adaptor, meaning that it can be used whilst away from home. The pump itself does make a noise, but I found it less than I had personally expected and certainly quieter than many other electric breast pumps. The pump also comes with the Calma teat, which Medela claim mimics breastfeeding and could cause less 'nipple confusion' than traditional teats for breast fed babies.
**Disadvantages of the Medela Swing**
After only a few weeks of usage, I found that my Swing was allowing breast milk to get into the tubing and therefore into the main pump unit. From looking on the Medela support forums, apparently this is not an uncommon issue. Fortunately mine appears to have been resolved through cleaning and drying all the components, but other users have reported on-going issues and if the tubing or other parts need to be replaced, they can be very pricey.
Other users have also reported that fungus or mould appears to be growing inside the tubing or parts of the collection set that can't be dismantled to be cleaned. This is obviously worrying so it's worthwhile being very vigilant with all parts and immediately replacing those that appear to be trapping milk or are not being effectively sterilised. I haven't encountered this problem myself, but given my experience with milk getting into the tubing, I can easily see how it could happen.
The Swing is also a single pump, so those who are considering exclusively pumping or regularly expressing may prefer to consider the Swing Maxi or another double pump. As with the replacement parts, any Medela accessories such as bottles, teats and bags tend to be on the expensive side which is annoying when you've already spent so much on the pump itself.
The Medela Swing is an efficient single pump which has allowed me to express good volumes of breast milk comfortably and continue to exclusively breastfeed when I would otherwise have struggled. Despite this, I have already encountered some issues with its reliability and wish I had bought a double pump instead. I think the Medela Swing is definitely worth a buy if you're only planning to express occasionally, but I'd reconsider some of the sturdier options for more regular use.
When I had my first baby I had a manual breast pump and always wished I had spent more money on a better one as the manual one took so long and wasn't very comfortable at all so it made expressing more difficult than it needed to be. When I had my second baby I bought this pump as I had heard some very good reviews about it and so wanted to do anything that would help to make expressing easier especially with another little one running around too.
=== What do people express ===
There are several reasons why breastfeeding mothers choose to express. It is recommended that you express sometimes to help your supply levels. If your baby is losing weight or not putting it on fast enough then sometimes health visitors and lactation consultants recommend that you express so that your body believes your baby is taking more milk than it is so you will then begin to make more milk which will then in turn help your baby to put on weight. Sometimes people may wish to express because they want their baby to drink from a cup or a bottle as well as the breast so that it relieves the mother when she cannot be there. I would express when I knew I had to be somewhere so my husband would have to hold the fort and if our baby woke up whilst I was in a meeting he would be able to feed him without me being around.
=== Important information about expressing ===
Expressed milk needs to be stored correctly. There are guidelines which tell you how long breastmilk can be stored in various parts of the fridge or freezer it's important that this is followed so that your baby does not become ill and always make sure you label your stored breastmilk so you know what date it was expressed to stop any mix ups from happening. It is also not recommended that you express just before your baby is due to feed but rather after they have fed. You will be able to find information about advice regarding expressing on many websites or at a local breastfeeding support group.
=== The Medela Swing ===
The Medela Swing is an electronic breast pump which makes expressing milk much faster and more comfortable. At first when I bought this I was slightly worried about how it would work compared to a manual one as with a manual one you control it so can adjust what you are doing so I was a little worried that if this hurt I wouldn't be able to stop it or alter it but I need not have worried as this pump is very easy to control.
You have to make sure all of the parts are correctly assembled else the suction you need won't be there and you won't be able to express. You put the breast pump to your breast and make sure that it is comfortable, you don't need to press this hard against your skin but you do need to make sure no air gets in. You then use the control pad to sort out the expressing. The machine mimics a baby nursing, so to begin with you need to have short, gentle movements. It is always recommended to start off like this so your body thinks it is the baby stimulating your breast and it also means you can alter the position of it on your breast to make sure it is comfortable. After about thirty seconds increase the speed and then you press the 'let down' button which then increases the intensity of the machine. It pulls your nipple into the machine and presses down on it which may sound painful but it isn't and it helps your milk to come out. The milk travels down the neck of the bottle and drips in. You can be pretty much hands free- you just need to hold on to the part on your breast but the machine does all the work so you can sit back and wait.
Once you have expressed moving the machine away can be a bit messy if there is still milk around so I always kept a muslin cloth close so I could wipe up any drips. The milk can then be stored in the fridge or given to the baby. The expresser comes with a teat that you can put on the bottle and feed your baby directly from this or you can just use it to store and then put in your own bottle when it's time to feed.
After you have used the expresser it is very important that it is cleaned properly. All parts (aside from the actual control pad) must go in the steriliser and be properly cleaned.
=== Opinion ===
This machine is very easy to use compared to a manual machine. When I used to express using the manual one it would take about 20 minutes and not be very comfortable at all. With this machine it takes about 5 minutes and is much more comfortable and easy to use.
The amount of noise this machine makes is moderate, it makes a slight buzzing noise as it contorts and contracts but it's not excessively noisy. The machine itself has several parts and you can buy them all separately so if you lose a part you can buy it again. It can fit in your bag if you need to take it somewhere but it isn't the smallest machine out there. It runs off 4 AA size batteries and these last a long time I haven't had to put new ones in mine at all.
The machine is very easy to operate, the buttons are very easy to use and you still feel like you have lots of control as you can change the speed and can stop it immediately by pressing a button.
I find that the tubing part is the most difficult to clean but find if I wash it through right away after using it then it is easiest to get it cleaned then although luckily not much milk gets into this area anyway. All of the other parts are very easy to clean.
This machine cost £80 which is a hefty price to pay especially when you can buy manual pumps for as little as £15. There are some children's centres which lend breast pumps for you to try and this could be a good idea so you can see whether you get on with this machine before paying out so much but in my opinion £80 is a good price to pay as it can really help your breastfeeding experience and if you can save money by not resorting to formula then at the end of the day £80 is a very fair price to pay.
I recommend this machine because it makes expressing far easier than a manual one. There are other electric ones on the market but I have no idea how they fair compared to this. It's comfortable to use, easy enough to put together and relatively easy to clean.
The Medela Swing is an electric breast pump which may be something to consider if you are planning to breast feed a baby and want to express your milk. The Swing costs around £100 for a single pump, however, I kept an eye out on Amazon and got it for £65 which is pretty good as they sell for a similar price on Amazon second hand. Included in the box is a pump, the funnel, a bottle, a cap for the bottle and a Medela Calma teat which are worth about £10 on their own. I decided to get a breast pump prior to having the baby with the plan of expressing milk so that I could take a bottle out for the baby when we went out rather than having to breast feed in public or leave a bottle with Dad if I went out for a few hours. As it happens I can't express a huge amount so it hasn't been a huge success but that isn't down to the pump!
==Set up and Use==
The pump is easy to set up, there is the motor (large yellow circular thing in the photo) which is connected to the pump via a long tube. The other connection on the motor is a plug to plug into the wall. You can put batteries in this part and clip it on to you so you can pump on the go but to be honest I think that would be quite difficult as you have to hold the pump quite steady to ensure there is a vacuum - however I suppose it is nice to have the option should you wish to wander around the house pumping!
There are three main parts to the pump, the funnel and the other two bits which I assume are the main parts of the pump. I can literally put the whole thing together in less than a minute and every bit of the pump (not the motor) is able to be put in a microwave steriliser (not sure about an electric one?). The thing to note with the funnels is that there are 3 sizes however, Medela only provide one size which is the 24mm so if it doesn't suit your boob/nipple size then you have to purchase a different size from Medela. I think this is pretty poor in my opinion but the problem is you won't know if you need a different size until you have tried them. They are about £10 each which I think is quite pricey especially if you need to try 2 or 3 until you get the right size - I think they should just provide all three sizes as it can't cost them £10 to manufacture a simple funnel! Its worth noting that boob/nipple size doesn't correspond to funnel size, there is a handy guide on the Medela site which may help you: http://www.medela.com/UK/en/ breastfeeding/good-to-know/right-size-of-breastshield.html (without the gap in the middle)
Anyway, once you put the whole thing together the yellow part has 4 buttons so it is really easy to use. You press the on button, position the funnel around the nipple and press the + button to increase suction. At this point the nipple is sucked down the funnel to stimulate the milk, you can increase suction using the + button or decrease using the - button depending on what you need to get milk out. At this point expect your husband/partner to laugh his socks off at his wife/partner being "milked like a cow" !! It is quite amusing I must say. The pump at this point is a bit noisy, you definitely couldn't pump milk in church or anywhere quiet with it but it isn't so loud you can't hear the TV! Once you see milk coming down the funnel you press the 'let down' button which eases the suction and provides more of a natural rhythm similar to that of a suckling baby. On the whole the pump is very easy to set up and to use.
The main reason for buying this was all the superb reviews on this and other sites. I can't get a lot of milk out but that isn't because of the pump, that's due to my milk production. I can only get about 3oz-4oz at a time which isn't enough for my hungry horace so I need to do two expressions a day which means sterilising twice and pumping twice so basically I decided on the whole its easier to just feed the baby out in public if I need to! It is nice to have the pump as an option if I decide to go out which I haven't done yet. The Medela Calma teat which is included is a special teat which also costs around £10 if bought alone which allows you to switch between breast and bottle feeding more easily as it mimics the sucking action a baby has to make to get milk out of a breast and makes the baby less "confused" at switching between breast and bottle. Many mums I know have been successful with this, however, I have no idea why but my baby just can't figure out what to do with it! She just ends up getting annoyed that the milk isn't coming out fast enough so I don't use it and use regular feeding bottles instead which she seems fine with! However, I do think this is a good addition to the package that you get along with the breast pump. The teat fixes onto the bottle which the milk is pumped out into. I can pump 3-4oz (which is essentially the breast completely drained) in about 10 minutes which I believe is quite fast compared to a manual pump. I know some people spend an hour manually pumping that much out which is not ideal when time is precious anyway with a newborn!
The pump is undoubtedly pricey for what it is but the time saved on a manual pump is priceless for me at the moment! The pump is fairly quiet, it is very easy to use and isn't particularly messy like some manual pumps I've heard about! The biggest issue I have is the funnel sizes and the fact you have to pay to try each size if the "average" size isn't right for you, considering how much you are paying, Medela should just put all the sizes in for no additional cost I think for £65 I have got it at a great price so it is worth keeping an eye on Amazon and using the CamelCamelCamel site for price watches to ensure you get it at a reasonable price. I wouldn't hesitate to buy this pump again if this one broke.
As my little one has a tongue tie, soon after giving birth I had to start expressing to feed him if I didn't want to switch to formula. I read some online reviews and listened to friend's advice and I decided for Medela Swing as this seems to be the best option on the market for not astronomic price.
What you get
Medela Swing electric pump - yellow, sturdy plastic, simple and quite heavy (not uncomfortably though). It has four rubber buttons - start button, expressing button, and + and - for power setting. You're supposed to start with "On" that starts with nipple stimulation, then when milk starts to flow you switch to expressing and set the power to comfortable level. The two-phase system works just as baby would - first short faster sucks, then slower and longer ones. It does work amazingly and makes the expressing fast and efficient.
The pump connects to bottle with screwed on valve and funnel-like breastshield via tubing. Breastshield is 24mm size - Medela claim this is size M and was ok for me, but some may need to purchase additional sizes. All parts are easily cleaned with hot water, they need to be sterilized once a day. Do not sterilize the tubing as it will melt (as I found out quickly replacement ones are easily available from ebay though).
There is a replacement rubber membrane for the valve although I didn't find out what it may be needed for yet.
There is also a fabric bag to carry your pump in when needed. Pump also has a clip at the back to attach it to the belt, etc. so it seems to be quite handy on the go, but I didn't try that yet.
Setting up is fast and easy, tubing is long enough for pump to be allowed to sit on a table while you sit with bottle in your hand. It can be used using electric adapter, or 4 AA batteries. Batteries don't last very long though, I had to replace them after not even 2 weeks of regular use. Once set up, it takes me about half an hour to express both breasts. Afterwards all I need to do is unscrew the valve, close the bottle and store in fridge (or serve immediately).
At the moment, box from Mothercare also includes Medela Calma Solitaire teat, which simulates breastfeeding (baby must suck properly creating vacuum to get milk out). I found it good at the beginning but later had to switch to different teats as it started leaking too fast somehow (perhaps my baby sucks too hard, not sure).
The box normally retails for £129.99 but is currently on sale for £99.99 in Mothercare. Considering the Calma teat included (about £12 on its own) I find it really good value. Full price is a bit expensive considering current market with breast pumps, but for me still worth it. The pump works perfectly for me, always expresses properly, is comfortable, quiet and all in all meets all my needs. 5 stars.
When I was pregnant with my twins, I decided to invest in this pump. The plan was to pump excess milk after feeding in the early weeks, not only to increase my supply but also to freeze it for use later on, so as their dad could give them a bottle feed during the night to allow me to get some rest. However, the twins were born two months premature and the Medela Swing pump became an absolute necessity.
It isn't the cheapest pump on the market, but it is absolutely worth the price. I ended up having to pump at home every three to four hours while my sons were in the neonatal intensive care unit and I am so glad I opted for an electric pump over a manual one. The Medela Swing is really easy to put together. It also comes apart into several pieces for sterilising - there is a little rubber membrane in the valve that can be a bit tricky, and is so small it may get lost, but there is a spare one provided in the box. It has a soft rubber breast shield that makes it comfortable to use. I didn't once have problems with cracked or sore nipples, and I'm sure the Medela Swing is at least partly responsible for that. It was gentle, yet effective.
The pump has two phases, which is what makes it so different and so much better than other electric pumps on the market. The first phase is fast, light 'sucks' which stimulate the letting down of milk (or milk ejection reflex - you might call it something different.) The second phase is made up of long, strong 'sucks'. This apparently mimics a baby's feeding reflex. When you feel your milk letting down you can press a button on the base unit to start the second phase. You can also adjust the frequency and strength of the suction to get the best rhythm for you. I found that one of the added benefits of using the Swing with its two phase system is that it really helped me understand and recognise my own body's signals, so when it was time for me to move on to breastfeeding my twins directly, I felt confident that it was going well when I felt the tingle of my milk letting down.
The directions with the pump will tell you to sterilise it in a saucepan, as it is not suitable for steam sterilising. I ignored this and put it in the steam steriliser and found that the soft rubber of the breast shield started to go cloudy, and even the texture of it changed a little. From then on a used cold water sterilisation with absolutely no problems. Also, the breast shield can start to get distorted through use, forming little dents and creases. The uneven shape can lead to sore breasts or other problems, so I usually rotated the shield every time I used it to keep it even. When in use, like any electric pump, it can be a little noisy, but not as loud as some others I used.
The pump only fits onto Medela bottles - one is provided with the pump. However I found it also fit the little bottles the hospital gave me to fill (they were small with purple tops) and when I was storing or using milk after my twins were discharged, I just decanted the milk into the breast milk bag or feeding bottle. You may lose a few drops of milk this way, but it means you don't have to stick solely to Medela bottles, which is handy especially since some babies can be fussy with the bottles they like to use.
The price means that it might not be worthwhile if you aren't sure about breastfeeding, or won't be doing it for long, but if you are planning on breast feeding for at least 6 months, I think the price is more than justified. And if you have sick or premature babies, the Medela Swing works so well that it means you have one less thing to worry over.
I have recently given birth to my second child, the first not been breast fed as very hungry child. I had been reading up about what pump I should look at buying. I have looked and even tried Tommie t ones, to which I found people say that the found them to not be very comfy or easy to use.
I bought the medela single pump after using it in the hospital, it seems to be made of very good quality plastic and fits very easily and snug together. The product is very easy to actually use, once on I did find that you really have to use nipple cream or they will become very sore.
The flow of milk is excellent with a couple of speeds, saving the milk up allowed me to let hubby feed at night giving me some rest. The warranty is 12 months, although when contacting them they are slow at responding. It is very expensive, however it is well worth the £99 I paid.
When my twins were first born I used a hospital style double pump to increase my supply for the first few weeks and after the end of the loan I started looking around for a breast pump that would be efficient and easy to use. The manual pump I had was far too much hard work for the small amounts I was managing to express with it so I knew I wanted an electric one!
I did consider a double pump which I think is necessary if you are going to pump entire feeds for twins. However I was happy to be feeding them myself and just wanted to be able to express enough to top up their feeds if they were still hungry.
After reading lots of reviews I decided I would go a pump that had excellent reviews even if it was expensive with the hope of selling it on after I had finished using it.
The pump parts that come into contact with your milk need to be sterilised so this was done before putting the pump together. It was simple to assemble, the breast shield fits into a connecting unit which screws onto the provided medella bottle. The tubing also fits into the connecting unit and leads the pump. The bottle has a plastic holder so you don't have to holding the bottle whilst you pump, this is very useful as you don't want to be warming the milk. The pump has a belt clip or it can be worn around your neck but these are more suited to away from home use, I just had mine on the sofa.
It is very compact and comes with a bag that holds the pump for travel, light enough to pop in your changing bag when you go out.
Once you are ready to pump you have the choice of plugging the pump in to mains electric or using batteries. I always used to use the mains if I was at home as I found it did run the batteries down very quickly and it didn't pump as strongly when the batteries weren't new. Batteries are a great option though if you are out and need to use the pump.
The pump works in 2 phases, the 1st phase is designed to simulate your baby stimulating your let down and the 2nd phase produces your milk. It has + and - buttons to allow you to adjust the speed your milk is pumped. As everyone is different in the amounts they produce when expressing don't worry if you're not getting much to start with. I found having a large glass of water and a photo of my babies helped to maximise the amount of milk I got. I used to express for 10 minutes each side every morning as this was when I found I got best results and had the time to do it!
After pumping I used to store the milk in the fridge in a bottle or in the freezer in freezer bags, either way didn't take long to prepare it ready for a feed and the babies always drank the expressed milk without any problem.
When both my babies got sick at the same and were hardly feeding I was so glad I had my pump as I was able to express after each attempt at a feed. This kept my supply up and avoided me becoming engorged from excess milk.
My babies never got on with the medella teats so I never used their bottles which have a standard size neck, this meant I had to decant it into the wide necked bottles I did use but this was the only downside to what I found to be an excellent breast pump.
Ok, let's not pretend that this is a cheap pump, but, it's worth every penny and i will tell you why.
I had decided very early into my pregnancy that i would breast feed and was convinced that i would have no problems and it would all be fine. However, after a very traumatic birth and surgery i was unable to feed my daughter from the breast. I was mortified and needed a pump which would allow me to express all of my daughters feeds. I did try a cheaper pump before purchasing this one and was left feeling angry, inadequate and tired. I sent my husband back to the shop and asked him to get a refund on that pump and buy the Medela Swing. Thank goodness i did.
This pump consists of an electric pump, a tube which connects to a pump head, a valve and membrane and a breast shield. The pump and tubing can be left attached at all times as they don't need sterilising. So once they are put together there are only 3 pieces which need to be separated and sterilised each use. This is a lot less than other makes of pump, and when you're sleep deprived and feeding every 2-3 hours you need things to be simple.
I think people who are breast feeding from the breast and then expressing small amounts when they can could possibly go for a cheaper make of pump. This pump for me, as a new mum who was feeding purely expressed milk via bottle, would have been cheap at twice the price. I was expressing every 3 hours at the start to keep up with my daughters need to feed, and needed a pump which would make this simple and speedy, to allow me to get a little bit of rest in between feeds. I found the pump to be as comfortable as possible. For the first couple of days I found pumping little and often worked well, my breasts were sore after using the pump, but I don't think this is linked to using the pump, rather to breast feeding in general. I found that the soreness abated after the first few days and from then on in I used the pump multiple times every day for 6 months and had no problems with discomfort.
In terms of quantity of milk expressed I was expressing 6 times a day to begin with and was getting approx 4oz off each time, which was enough for my daughter and some spare to freeze for days out. As time went on i was able to pump less often but get more off at each pump, at my most prolific i was pumping 4 times a day and getting 16oz off first thing in the morning, then between 10-13oz at each of the other pumps. It meant i was able to use purely breast milk to feed my daughter for the first 6 months as I had been able to freeze excess milk at the beginning I had spare when my supply dwindled. I started using the pump for 5mins per breast per pump, then increased this to 10mins per breast per pump. First thing in the morning i found i had to maybe pump for a total of 30mins but as i say i then managed to get off enough for 2 full bottles so I didn't mind. (I would like to say that the amounts of milk expressed are obviously very individual to baby and mum so this is just my experience)
When I purchased the pump it was £99.99 and i used it for exclusively for the first 6 months of my daughters life. So it only cost about £16 a month. That is £4 a week, so much better value than having a cheaper pump and mix feeding with formula.
The Medela Swing ticked all of the boxes, it was quiet, compact, easy to transport with you so you don't feel tied to the house, easy to clean and discreet. I would recommend it to every mum who wants the freedom to express milk for her child.
This is the breast pump I used every three hours for the two weeks that my baby was ill in hospital when he was six weeks old. The nurses at the hospital informed me that Medela is the standard NHS brand in the UK which gives the impression of quality and that it effective and long-lasting. I wasn't disappointed.
Before having my baby I did do a bit of online research into breast pumps but came away a bit overwhelmed about the choice and what I really wanted from my breast pump. There just seemed to be so much to choose from. I tried a manual pump in hospital when my baby was born but found it really tedious so an electric one suited me much better and in the end I went for an electric Spectra breast pump. However, I have to say I prefer the Medela.
What I like about the Medela in particular is that it is relatively quiet. It's not completely silent but the noise it does makes is neither loud nor offensive. It is comfortable and comes with a soft-fit breast shield which fit my breast perfectly. You can adjust the speed, slower to start with and then as the milk flows faster you can increase the speed. The instructions are easy to understand and it is easy to assemble and wash/sterilise. The pump comes with one bottle and also a stand which is useful because it would be very annoying to tip the bottle after a pumping session.
My only criticism is that it is only compatible with Medela bottles this wasn't a problem for us in hospital as my son had the milk down a tube but it might be a problem if your baby doesn't take to this brand of bottle.
Overall I found the Medela pump to be nice and easy to use so I would recommend it. It costs around £90 and is available from Amazon and Boots. I would recommend it to anyone who is serious about breast feeding and/or expressing as it would be a waste of money for someone who was not planning to keep this up for long.
I ordered the medela swing breast pump off the boots website. It was quite pricey at £100 but I needed something that was going to do the job. After having an emergency c-section and losing alot of blood I was quite weak and my daughter needed breast milk so I wanted something to take te hassle out of it for me. I had previously used the tommee tippee manual breast pump (see previous review) but had found it to be too time consuming as we were making frequent trips to the hospital. It also left me with sore hands. The medela swing being electric was a massive plus point for me.
The breast pump came the next day and securely packaged, a great service from boot. Upon opening the box I was amazed by all the bits and pieced that came with it. I sat down to read the instructions, this wasn't something I could just play with to see what happens. I'm not going to go through the instruction as without actually having the medela swing in your hand they probably wont make sense. What I will say though is it took me around 15 minutes to get to grips with it and actually start expressing so it's definitely not overly complicated and is quite easy to use.
The medela swing is a nice yellow colour the main part is the electric bit which controls the whole pump. It is round and has a belt clip to attach it to you, it can be used via batteries or mains so in theory you could do hands free pumping. I never tried this as I was recovering from a c section so my walking was limited. The control have an up and down function so you can set the level of suction to what you find most comfortable which is a nice feature. The best thing about this pump though is that it simulates a baby sucking before it starts with the actual pumping. I found this amazing as my baby was in hospital so I needed all the help I could get. When you feel your milk coming you can end this early by pressing the let down function or if you prefer it runs for 2 minutes then automatically turns to pumping properly. It has a really long wire which as you can imagine is very useful.
You then attach the actual suction pump with a thin tube. No milk travels through this so you don't need to clean it very often. The medela swing comes with a bottle which you can pump directly into. It also has a teat so if expressing occasional feeds this is all you need. It doesn't come with any way to sterilise it but a tub and some sterilising tablets do the job, no need for an actual steriliser. I found the suction cup fitted securely on my breast and didn't cause me pain. Obviously there was slight discomfort at first but this was easily sorted with a bit of cream.
What I found best about this pump was it actually worked! I went from expressing tiny drops to 4 ounces at a time within a week. Considering my baby was not at home, that's very impressive. Without the medela swing my baby would not have been able to have breast milk. I also love the fact that other than holding the pump you didn't have to do anything. I used to pump while watching the tv. A factor to consider is the noise. I've never used another electric breast pump so I can't make comparisons but to me it was quite loud. It says on the packaging it's quiet but you can definitely hear it from another room. The pump is very easy to take apart to sterilise and it even comes with a little stand to hold the bottle.
All in all I think this breast pump is absolutely fantastic! I would highly recommend it to everyone. It is quite expensive but it was invaluable to me when I needed it. It also has a good resale value so when you're finished you can make over half your money back.
I had not originally intended to buy either a manual or electric breast pump, however after five days of my son being born, I found myself in the painful state of engorgement, suffering the following symptoms:
Painfully full and uncomfortable breasts - Tick
Skin warm to the touch - Tick
Flu-like symptoms - Tick
Lumps - Tick
It is possible to express by hand, but I wanted the immediate relief of an electric pump that would comfortably, quickly and efficiently express the milk.
There are six main brands of electric breast pump, including Medela, Philips Advent, Tommee Tippee, Lansinoh, Mam and Mothercare. I chose to go for the Medela pump as I first saw the Medela brand being used by other breast feeding mothers in the maternity ward of the hospital. Also surprisingly, the colour of the breast pump and the box is the same pale yellow colour of breast milk!
The Medela Swing Pump is one of the more expensive brands when compared to some of the other single electric breast pumps. The price varies from £86 to £99 (November 2011). It is available from a wide variety of shops and supermarkets, which allows you to take advantage of the different reward card schemes or baby club discounts.
Unique Selling Point
The unique selling point of the Medela pump is the 2-Phase Expression technology, which has been designed to mimic the baby's natural suction pattern. The pump will start pumping in a fast and light rhythm for 120 seconds to stimulate the breast and start the milk flowing and will then change to a slower, deeper suction to express the milk.
Research carried out on behalf of Medela has shown that the 2-Phase Expression technology has proven to get more milk out in less time.
How It Works In Practice
The Swing has one electric pump, so you can express one breast at a time. It has the option of being powered by battery or the mains supply. The power plug is 180cm long, which means that you can find a comfortable chair to express from rather than having to sit close to a power socket. The small size (12cm) and weight (220g) of the pump allows the equipment to be fully portable and easily stored in a baby changing bag or larger handbag.
To efficiently express the most milk, you have to keep increasing the suction pressure on the pump during the simulation phase by pressing the + button until the pressure is uncomfortable and then reduce the pressure once by pressing the - button. The simulation phase time can be shortened by pressing the button with the arrow and drops to start the expression phase. This is good if your breasts are particularly full and can speed up the expressing process.
The Soft Fit breast shield is very comfortable, however you need to hold it onto the breast and keep it relatively still to maintain the vacuum. It is difficult to carry out other tasks when expressing, as you may lose the vacuum, resulting in milk dripping on to yourself!
The breast pump is fantastic. It is easy to clean, it is comfortable to use and is very fast to stimulate and express milk. The only downside is that it is a bit noisy during the expression phase.
The Medela Swing kit comes with:
Soft Fit Breast Shield, Connector, Valve and Tubing
150ml Bottle, Stand, Cap, Lid and Disk
Storing Bag and Sling
Other equipment you may need when using the Swing pump:
Bottles or Storage Bags
When choosing which electric pump to buy, it is also worth considering which brand of sterilising equipment and bottles you may already have and check to see whether the equipment can fit into the sterilising unit. The teats of different brands are not always compatible. I am using a Tommee Tippee steriliser, which fortunately does fit with the size of the Medela bottles. As you will only be using the breast pump for the period of time that you are breast feeding, it is worth considering hiring a breast pump. The NCT and Mothercare can hire out Medela equipment.
For any new mum who is wanting to breastfeed, a lot of pressure is put on them either by themselves, by midwives, by society and it can be very stressful and blooming hard work. Babies can struggle to latch on (like my little one as he has a slight tongue tie) and a pump may be used to express milk for bottle feeding. Expressing milk is also a great way to involve dads in the breastfeeding process and milk may need to be expressed if baby is in the special care baby unit and mum wants to give baby her breastmilk. There are many reasons why a breastpump is needed and while I was in hospital recently after having my little boy by emergency caesarean section, I used the Medela Swing pump to express milk for him as he couldn't maintain a good latch himself.
The pump is widely recommended as the best pump on the market and I was pleased to be able to use one in the hospital. It is a small, compact pump with a control unit which is mains or battery operated, a tube which goes from the control unit to the funnel which goes over the breast, a silicone valve and then bottles screw onto the pump to catch the expressed milk. Of course not all bottles will fit the pump but milk can be decanted into the bottle that you choose to feed your baby from after expressing.
The control unit has four buttons on it. The on/off switch, a plus switch to increase the strength of the 'suck', a minus switch to decrease the sucking strength and a switch to change the 'suck' to slower, deeper sucks (that sounds very rude!) The pump works to mimic a baby's sucking when breastfeeding: the first sucks are quick and shallow to encourage the let down of the milk and then the sucks are slower and longer to draw the milk out of the breast. To use the pump you must place the funnel over the nipple quite firmly to ensure a good seal and then press both the on/off switch and the + switch simultaneously and the pump will begin to 'suck' at the nipple with short, shallow sucks. The nipple is drawn into the tube of the funnel and once drops of milk begin to appear, press the bottom button to change the speed and length of the sucks to the longer, slower sucks. It isn't necessary to press this button however as the pump automatically enters this second phase after so long anyway. You will begin to see milk run down the funnel and drip through the silicone valve and drip into the bottle. The strength of suck can be increased or decreased accordingly and to stop pumping, simply press the on/off button.
The pump does make some noise as it is powered by a motor but it is fairly quiet and can be used discreetly due to its small size.
The pump is very easy to use and incredibly effective. It has a very strong 'suck' and I was amazed to watch what it did to my nipples (too much info, I'm sorry!) as it worked, pulling them right into the pump. This wasn't painful but I could certainly feel it drawing the nipple well into the pump as a baby would draw it well into the mouth when feeding.
This pump is quite expensive to buy. I've seen the price range from £90 to £120 in various shops and online so it's a good idea to shop around if you are wanting to buy one. It's not recommended to buy second hand pumps as breastmilk is a bodily fluid and it may not be hygienic to use a second hand pump. The funnel, silicone valve and bottle parts of the pump need to be sterilised before each use as these are the parts which are in contact with the breastmilk.
I wish I had bought one of these to use myself at home as I used it so much in the hospital and managed to express good amounts for my baby boy. It is certainly worth the price and helped me feel much better to know that I was able to give my baby the goodness of my milk for the first few days of his life.
I bought this breast pump after several recommendations and as I had trouble with the latching and feeding process with my first child. I was a little put off by the price (it was £88 @ Mothercare when I purchased it about 2 weeks ago) but decided to give it a try after finding the manual too much effort last time around.
I have not been disappointed with this purchase- although I have only been using it for a couple of weeks; I can definitely see the big difference between this pump and the manual tommee tippee. I have been solely expressing and bottle feeding and have managed to get about 4ounces per breast each time. It is comfortable and soothing and does not cause discomfort at all. The only downsides are the noise; often I want to express whilst watching tv in the evening but have to have the subtitles on and certainly cannot express whilst around either of my sleeping boys as the sound is loud and startling.
Another downside would be that you have to have the Medela bottles too as the narrowness of the pump does not fit with other bottles - i.e Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature.
The price is also something to take into consideration as it is not cheap! but it is definitely a great investment.
I would recommend this product to those who can afford it and who want to enjoy expressing with ease and comfort.
This pump costs around the £90 mark, or less if you shop around. It comes as a bottle with separate teat and lid, a valve (with a spare rubber flap, incase the original breaks) a neck unit and an over-the-boob trumpet. There is a little stand for the bottle (as it can be top heavy when assembled for pumping), an electronic pump with a plug and a clear plastic hose.
I found the pump very easy to assemble and the boob-trumpet fit my kahoonas nicely, although I believe that this can be a bit of a 'thing' with pumps and it's important to find one that fits the shape of your particular boob. Like a well fitting shoe. Sadly i can't see many people trying them on in the shop, so you kind of have to buy it and then see.
The pump has an on/off switch, a switch to increase suction and one to decrease suction, and a switch to press if your let down comes in.
the idea is that you apply the boob-trumpet, switch the machine on and then adjust the suction to where you feel comfortable. The machine then sooks away quite rapidly for a few minutes and then switches to 'let down' mode which is longer, slower sooks just like your baby would do.
If your let down comes in sooner, you can just press the switch.
The machine makes a soothing 'shoop shoop' sound, a bit like a proper cow-milking machine but quieter! So I was able to express the midnight giganto-boob on one side whilst baby had the other and wasn't disturbed by the noise.
The machine is quick and efficient and it is easy to see when your milk is running out.
My only complaint is that the bottle is a bit on the small side (7oz if you fill it to the top!) and it would be nice to have a bigger bottle for when you have loads of milk.
The pump is easily disconnected from the bottle and all the parts can be washed and sterilised in no time.
It's basically an effective and painless pump!
I recently purchased this pump following the birth of my second daughter. I had real problems with low milk supply and this pump really did help to increase my milk. I found that it was most effective when used at the same time as feeding as the letdown was much quicker. The controls are really easy to use. Although its quite expensive it is a lovely pump, very quiet unlike some others on the market and the 2 phase expression works really well. My only critisism is that considering the price i do think that different size breastshields could be included as one size does not fit all. lol. The pump does with 2 "standard" breastshield one is soft and massages and the other hard but there are about 6 different size cups available if you need a smaller one or larger one. however they are quite expensive considering they are just a bit of plastic!
The Medela Swing has 2-Phase Expression which imitates the baby's natural sucking rhythm and is therefore comfortable and efficient. The innovative technology is based on state-of-the-art research and brings the breastfeeding mother all-round comfort and convenience. Babies change the way they suckle at a mother's breast during breastfeeding.