A hospital grade electric breast pump is one of many terms a new mother will become aware of after giving birth. Being a new mother is an amazing time, but it comes with certain challenges, not least of which is the stress of trying to feed your new bundle of joy. Breastfeeding is recommended for various health benefits but there are times when it just isn’t possible. When there is a health condition with mum or the new born, breastfeeding is not advisable. In such situations, expressing milk is the next best thing. It means your baby still gets all those essential nutrients in a safe manner. Breast pumps also make life easier on the mother, who can express a little extra and split night-feeding duties with their partner.
The ultimate in milk-expressing convenience comes from electric breast pumps, which can be attached to a breast, turned on and left to do the work while new mum gets some welcome, and probably much-needed, rest. There are even double electric pumps that can express milk from two breasts simultaneously, reducing the amount of time spent expressing. The Ameda Elite Double Breast Pump also has airlock protection that keeps the air from the pump coming in contact with the milk.
This should all sound great to a new mum but the reality of breast pumps is a little more complicated. There are a multitude of brands to choose from, terms like “hospital strength” to decipher and the task of getting your hands on one of these pumps to contend with.
What are “Hospital Grade” Breast Pumps?
A hospital grade electric breast pump is a particular type of breast pump that you may find yourself using if you give birth in a hospital. There are plenty of electric breast pumps available on the high street and online that purport to be hospital grade but this term can be a little misleading.
Often interchangeable with the phrase “hospital strength“, manufacturers of consumer breast pumps use this language to signify a greater-than-average suction on their product. And, while their pump may indeed have more powerful suction than the competition, it is not merely suction power that makes a breast pump “hospital grade”.
In truth, a hospital grade electric breast pump is any breast pump that is deemed suitable to use in a hospital. There are no unified standards for what this is. The ability to function as a breast pump is a baseline expectation for this kind of machine but the build quality and durability are considerably more important for equipment intended for use in the medical profession.
While the average retail breast pump may see a few months of use and never get used again, hospital grade electric breast pumps will see far more regular use over a far more extended period. This means that hospital grade pumps must be considerably more durable than their consumer grade counterparts.
Should I Use Hospital Grade Electric Breast Pumps or Retail Ones?
The human body isn’t always as reliable as we might like, and breastfeeding is not immune to this kind of uncertainty. One of the trickier aspects of starting breastfeeding, other than getting your new born to cooperate, is establishing a milk supply.
New mothers often complain about embarrassing incidents involving involuntary milk leakage at inappropriate times but getting that milk flowing in the first place is not always as simple as it might seem. It takes robust and consistent suction at regular intervals to establish a healthy milk supply, something that consumer pumps are not always capable of. For this reason, we recommend using a hospital grade breast pump. Also. a higher quality breast pump, like the Ameda Finesse Breast Pump, allows for a smoother and more consistent milking.
Where Can You Get a Hospital Grade Electric Pump?
Unfortunately, hospitals don’t tend to rent their pumps out, so you would have to be receiving treatment to benefit from the use of one. It is possible to purchase or rent them from other places, however. At O’Flynn Medical, we offer very competitive prices on the best hospital grade pumps.
Renting breast pumps is a popular option as it means you get the benefit of a far higher quality pump at a lower cost. You would only need to buy a flange kit (they can’t be shared between users for hygiene reasons).
How to Use an Electric Breast Pump
It is essential to remember to sterilise the pump and various parts before use. If you’re unsure how to do this, consult the pump’s manual before continuing. When you are ready, set yourself up somewhere comfortable. An average session will take 30 minutes, so be sure to prepare something to keep yourself entertained. If you have a double electric breast pump, you can express with both breasts simultaneously and halve the time it takes per session.
When you are ready, follow these steps to use your electric breast pump;
- Wash your hands thoroughly
- Assemble the tubing and flanges and connect them to the pump.
- Fix the flange in place over your breast (or breasts). If done correctly, this should not be painful. Be sure to use the correct size flange.
- Turn the pump on and gradually increase the intensity until the milk is flowing. Again, this process should not hurt. If you increase the strength and it becomes uncomfortable, turn it back down again.
- When finished, clean your pump and parts as instructed in your pump’s manual.
It can help to think about your baby when beginning to express milk. This can trigger something called the “let-down” reflex, which causes your milk to start flowing. Incidentally, this is the same mechanism by which new mothers involuntary lactate when they hear a baby crying.
Every mother’s experience is unique, so it would be wrong to say any particular method is best for everyone. But there’s little doubt that a hospital grade electric breast pump will provide a better experience than a consumer grade alternative, both in comfort and output. Establishing milk flow is easier, the fittings are more comfortable, and the machines are more reliable.
And with the ability to rent these devices at competitive prices, there’s no reason not to make your breastfeeding experience as convenient as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Making any decision around your little ones can be stressful and there is a lot to consider when deciding on which type of breast pump to use. Read on for short, simple answers to some of the most common hospital grade electric breast pump questions.
What is a hospital grade breast pump?
Hospital grade breast pumps are durable, lightweight pumps. These pumps are designed for breastfeeding mothers with medical issues that are preventing them from being able to breastfeed their babies. Such medical concerns include genetic problems with the baby.
What is the difference between a hospital grade breast pump and a regular breast pump?
While there are no specific standards that define what makes a breast pump “hospital grade”, they are typically more robust than the consumer alternatives. A hospital grade electric breast pump is often far more durable than conventional breast pumps, as they are designed for much longer product life with far more frequent use.
What is a “hospital strength” breast pump?
The term “hospital strength” is little more than a marketing phrase used to indicate a more potent suction. Use of the phrase does not inherently mean the product is superior. As there is no universal standard for “hospital strength”, the phrase is somewhat meaningless.
Do hospitals rent out their breast pumps?
Hospitals do not typically rent out their breast pumps, which makes things awkward for new mothers. Rather than leave you to make do with a cheap consumer alternative, you can rent a hospital grade electric breast pump from O’Flynn Medical.
Are hospital grade breast pumps better?
The most significant difference between a hospital grade electric breast pump and a consumer grade one is the build quality. Hospital grade pumps are designed to survive many uses over a long period, so the quality of the product needs to be up to the task.
What is a hospital grade double electric breast pump?
Double pumps allow you to express milk from both breasts at the same time. These pumps can be ideal for mothers who are breastfeeding more than one baby or halving the amount of time spent expressing milk.
What is the best hospital grade electric breast pump?
In our opinion, the Ameda Elite Breast Pump is superior when it comes to quality and performance. Comfortable, discreet and hygienic, this pump has a range of features, including double pumping.
Will any breast pump fit?
Any hospital grade electric breast pump will come with a range of different attachments (often referred to as “cups”, or “flanges”). You can attach the one that best suits your body for the most comfortable fit.