Thursday, October 27, 2011

Finding the best breast pump

I am biased to breastfeeding. Of all the motherhood duties, it lands on top of my list. I guess because it's one thing I'm capable of doing while maintaining a career on the side (contrary to the popular belief). Thank goodness I am able to exclusively breastfeed my first-born, by expressing milk at daytime and by directly breastfeeding him at nighttime whenever I'm  around.

This doesn't come off easy. I owe my joy of exclusive breastfeeding my son to my ever reliable pump. I finally met "the one", after several trials-and-errors.

In a society where people would rather spend their hard-earned money to bring something to the dining table, buying breastpumps (more so, the expensive ones) is a hilarious idea. Price ranges from as cheap as over a hundred to as crazy as more than 50,000! So, how do you know if you have found the one? Lucky are those who made the right choice at first attempt. Unfortunately for me, it took four pumps (and a fortune!) before I found the perfect choice. (Mas madami pa akong naging pump kesa naging boyfriend!)

As excited first-time parents, we did the routine shopping-for-baby-stuff. My bestfriend strongly suggested investing in a good pump, but thinking that it's a luxury I can do away with, I stubbornly insisted in going for something reasonably priced. So, the husband and I picked up a Pigeon Electric/Battery Operated Breast Pump.

Photo credits to http://www.kaboodle.com/, as it appears in www.mynocturnaljournal.wordpress.com

Comes now the cute and adorable baby (sorry I can't help but insert the adjectives!) and the excitement of trying out the pump. It worked well (while it lasted) and I was able to pump 2-4 oz. per session when my milk supply stabilized.

Upside: You can plug it in and it can collect milk faster than when it's battery-operated. When travelling or when power supply is out, you can still use it by having your 2 *AA batteries ready. It is reasonably priced (mall price is around P3,000?). It's lightweight and extremely portable you can easily squeeze it in your office bag, thus dispensing the need for pump bags. It's easy to use, with very little washing to do afterwards.

Downside: It's rather noisy specially when it's plugged in. It's a single pump, so the time spent in expressing your milk doubles. I spend around 30 minutes collecting, plus a couple of minutes more in preparation and washing afterwards. If you're working, you need to find at least an hour per session in your schedule! That's a lot if you will rigidly follow the every-three-hour-pumping regimen. You also have to constantly clean the motor lest you want it to stop working. That's what happened to me :( After a month, it said goodbye. I tried saving the relationship by cleaning the motor. On good times, it would work; other times it wouldn't. Until one day, it totally stopped as if to say it's not gonna work between us.

After that, I was convinced that it doesn't have to exceed a thousand pesos to be reliable. So I rebelled and opted for the cheaper one. I asked around from friends and I was advised the Farlin manual breast pump, which costs only five hundred, can collect as much as 8 friggin oz!! And this friend just squeezes in pumping sessions between her court hearings! Awesomeness! 

So you can just imagine me beaming in happiness with the thought of not having to spend a fortune to perform my motherhood duties. It's been two days since my Pigeon got busted and I was already having trouble with engorgement, so the need for a replacement pump is of extreme urgency.

So I asked the husband to buy me the Farlin manual breast pump and I gave him the complete specifications. (At that time, he was in Manila while I was staying at the province for my maternity leave). I don't know what went wrong, but just to cut it short, what he got  was a cheaper version (read as P200-ish) of a manual pump that is  not even Farlin. So I asked my mother the same favor, to buy me the Farlin manual breast pump (again, complete with all the specifications). But as luck would have it, what she bought was a much cheaper version (P100-ish). Who wouldn't have post-partum depression when nobody seemed to actually listen to what you're saying? :-( Nonetheless, I didn't judge it prematurely, so when the two pumps arrived, I still gave it a try.

The P200-ish literally, as in literally brought me to tears. Imagine the usual manual pump that our parents used, the one which will reduce you to a milking cow (the goma-type na parang bola). That. Your nipples will elongate like you have lied your whole life! I was already loosing hope that the other one will work, but with engorgement and depression setting in, I crossed my fingers and opened it up. I was just pulling it out from the box when its parts scrambled. Seriously.

That night, I had fever for not pumping out the milk that's been stored inside me for days. That night, I had the worst post-partum depression. That night, I sneaked out of our room and went to the kitchen to cry. Also, I deleted my husband from my BBM contacts :-/

Okay, so the reasonably-priced wouldn't work long, and the cheaper ones would not even start working. Time to forget frugality. "After all, it's for the baby." (Guess we'll be using this mantra a lot from now on.) So, the following day, the husband (who was immediately restored as a BBM contact, by the way) searched the internet for the best pumps available in the market. On top of the list are the contending brands Ameda and Medela. There's also Avent, but reviews would show the first two similarly-confusing names are better. Medela was considered by many to be the best, but I have read comments that it's noisy, so it's not conducive for office-use. And, it's more expensive. 

We opted for the Ameda Purely Yours, but since it's a US Product, we had to wait for the unit to be shipped to its local distributor.  In the interim, I had to use the Farlin Manual Breast Pump. 


Photo credits to babycompany.com.ph

Upside: It is amazingly painless! When I was using the Pigeon, I thought that the pain I'm experiencing is the way it's supposed to be. But with Farlin, I was suprised that I didn't actually have to be cruel to myself to get milk. It can actually collect more despite it's being manually operated. It's very quiet, in fact, it has no sound at all! And of course, it's affordable. 

Downside: You have to wash every bits and pieces of it, and I really hate washing. Needless to say, since it's manually operated, I grew a brand new Vina-Morales arms by using it for just a few days. And since you have to rest your hand every now and then, it will take you more time to complete the pumping session.

Then one fine day, LBC delivered my brand-new AMEDA PURELY YOURS Double Electric Pump. Hallelujah! 





  • Individually adjustable cycle and suction controls
  • Closed system design prevents milk and moisture from entering tubing
  • Keeps outside air away from milk
  • Weighs less than 1 pound
  • Can run on A/C adapter or  6 AA batteries
  • BPA-free
  • Comes with 220v Euro plug
  • Parts made in China; Assembled in Mexico
  • 1 year warranty
  • P8,800
  • Information taken from http://www.babymama.ph/, the local distributor of Ameda.


    It looks a little complicated, but believe me, it isn't. Can I just say, it's the best thing that's ever happened to my breastfeeding mission. (Sobra naman 'yan! Dapat may bayad na to from Ameda for positive feedback!)

    Upside: It has the Cycles and Sunction settings, which allows you to adjust the frequency/rhythm of the pump and the level of the sunction - (in non-mother terms, you can adjust the level of pain that you can tolerate without sacrificing the volume of milk that you can collect). It's a double pump, so you'll be finished pumping in no time. For working mothers, this should be one of the considerations in choosing a pump. You wouldn't want your office firing you for inefficiency 'coz all you did the whole day is to pump milk. With Ameda, in fifteen minutes or less, I'm done. Including the preparation and the washing, it takes me more or less 30 minutes. It's also quiet, I don't think my neighboring room notices whenever I'm pumping save for my closed door.

    Downside: Obviously, it's very expensive. It is priced at P8,800, but you also have to pay for the shipping fee (minimal if you will have it delivered in Metro Manila). While it weighs less than a pound, the entire paraphernalia (the bottles and the hygienic kit itself) would require a separate bag if you're going to the office. Other than that, I couldn't think of any.

    I've never been very OC when it comes to taking care of gadgets. It's the husband who's maingat like that. But with my Ameda pump, I really make sure everything is in order before I keep it in it's special bag. I freak out everytime it doesn't function, only to find out it wasn't properly plugged in. Yes, I sound like I'm growing a love affair with it. It's so sulit I think I'm gonna use it to feed my dream basketball-team-kids!


    Some people would think breast pumps are a luxury. More of kaartehan. For our parents who weren't exposed to these kinds of "essentials",  it would take a lot of explanation why we need them. I'm just thankful that my mother supports me with this whole "breastfeeding mission". (But when she asked me how much this costs, I just shrugged off and said, Ewan ko kay Kristan! LOL.) Aside from my mother, I also owe it to my husband who supports me all the way - from searching for the best brand to having it delivered right to my doorstep.


    If you are a working mom who believes breastmilk is really the best for babies, I say you just need two things:


    1. "The One" Breastpump;

    2. And an "Incredible Absorbing Man" who will put up with all the drama that goes with it.

    I am just so lucky I have both. :)

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Welcome to my world!

    Getting pregnant is easy.
    Being pregnant is difficult.
    Motherhood is the hardest.
    But, motherhood, with a career on the side, is unimaginable.


    Don't get me wrong, though. As the cliche goes, you get your reward in motherhood. A real smile, a soft touch, a warm hug. All these (and more, as you go along) will definitely make you want to carry on.


    But experiencing everything for the first time is another matter. As for me, I relied heavily on readings. I've read books on pregnancy and motherhood probably as much as I read my codals way back in lawschool. I scoured the internet for helpful sites, facebook and twitter suffering from a major setback in my cache. I analyzed reviews, signed up on motherhood clubs, really, the works.


    I asked around for tips from family members and relatives. I gathered opinion from friends who are mothers themselves. So far, the first few months had been forgiving. In the end, its your intuition and motherly instincts which will wrap up everything that you have gained from all these sources.


    And then, the maternity leave ended. Suddenly, you realized you have another career waiting for you to pick up. (I meant another career, because motherhood in itself is a career. I'm sure stay-at-home moms would agree). And so, the havoc begins.


    As I join the workforce in the daily grind, I hope to be able to perform better as a mother than as a lawyer.  I am no expert. In fact, I am continuously learning. And this blog is designed to help other mothers out there, and help me out as well, as we continue on this wonderful journey.


    Read on. Let's learn together. This is gonna be fun!
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