Friday, February 20, 2009

Breast pumps.

In December 2007, the approximate cost to formula feed a baby for one year was $2,300. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the inflation rate from 12/07 to now is 4.08%, which means the average cost to formula feed a baby for one year is $2,393.84!

The cost of the popular Medela Pump-In-Style is about *$249. This pump pays for itself in 38 days. Monetarily speaking alone, breast feeding is the way to go! Now, some people will just tell me they qualify for WIC so formula feeding is completely free for them. But keep in mind it's not free, even for them. The taxes taken out of your paycheck pays for it.

*Note: Do ~not~ buy from Babies-R-Us! You will be spending $30 too much, $50 if you take sales tax into consideration. Check out yahoo shopping and you can find deals like this which sells the pump for $249 with free shipping and no sales tax.

I've seen some recent talk about buying used breast pumps out there in internetland, so I thought now may be a good time to repost this link. It's about buying used pumps and what pumps are good and which ones are dangerous to buy used.

Used Breast Pumps <----- click on me!

With the economy the way it is, mommies may be looking at ways to save everywhere and may think a used pump is a good idea. While it ~is~ a good idea for a handful of pumps that are closed system pumps (where it's impossible for milk vapor to reach the motor), most of the popular pumps are not closed.

Many serious diseases like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis and cytomegalovirus can be found in breastmilk. The pathogens can be transmitted to the motor via milk vapor and it can live for quiet a long time. Not as dangerous, but still hard to get rid of fungal infections like candidiasis (yeast infection, thrush) can be transmitted through the milk vapor as well, getting trapped in the motor - passing it right along to the new user.

I was surprised to see another problem of buying used talked about in this article too. It's an issue I ran into with my own pump ...

After using my pump 3-4 times a day for 1 year (Ella's time spent breastfeeding) and 10 months (Allison's time spent breastfeeding), my Medela motor started to die. The motor was just not that strong anymore and it finally got weak enough to really affect the amount of milk I could pump. I only had a 1 year warranty on the Medela pump, but they were awesome, offering me another brand new pump at 50% off.

Motors get worn out with use. This is an unavoidable fact. If you buy a used pump, how do you know the motor isn't getting ready to meet its maker soon? That means the deal you got is now just money thrown away as you are forced to buy a new pump.


nancy said...

M-, your lactation consultant was wrong.

The tubing plugs right into an OPEN motor and the ~VAPOR~ can go right into the motor.

I have a pump in style and if you just pop off that base plate, there is the motor - in all it's glory. It is an OPEN system, not closed. (please go to the link and see that the FDA also lists it as an open system.)

The motor is NOT sealed. You will see the white flange pumping in/out just behind the platic base plate. The base plate is open to the tubing. And while you are right, the milk doesn't spill down the tubes, it CAN. But I have seen the vapor go all the way down the tubes before. Condensation sometimes forms all the way down to the motor. I've seen it.

:) Not trying to argue, but don't want false information to be out here. I deleted your comment because someone may read that and think it's true without reading further.

Sarah R said...

I had the Medela Pump in Style Advanced (still do have it, but it's collecting dust in my cupboard). I had issues with Andrew taking bottles, but I understand I'm in the minority. We probably wasted 40 bags of my milk before finally giving up. My workplace let me take an extra break during the day, so I came home on my lunch and my other break to feed Andrew.

That aside, it was a good pump! Target had it for $249, but you got a $30 gift card when you bought it. So, that's what I did.

I actually liked pumping (maybe I'm a weirdo). I got so much milk! One time, I got 11 ounces in a pumping session. I had to stop and empty the bottles into bags before continuing. OMG!

I totally hear you on the vapor thing. I always had condensation in the lines. After every pumping, I would leave my tubes hanging down the side of my desk to give them a chance to air out.

nancy said...


First of all, you were in my dream last night! :)

Secondly - I never minded pumping either. Not at all. And like you, I'd have to stop to empty before continuing!

As for the bottle issue, this is why I start feeding w/ a bottle by the time the baby is 1-2 weeks old.

Ella had an issue with bottles later on, which was my fault. I did the bottle thing early and then I stopped for 6 weeks or so, only giving her breast. When I tried to give her a bottle (I had avent), she wouldn't take it. I tried every bottle/nipple combination. We really thought we'd simply have to force feed her by syringe or spoon! Finally, on a fluke, trying a CHEAP gerber bottle with yellow rubber nipple I received in one of those baskets (full of cheap crap), she took to it like water!

the mol said...

I got my Pump In Style for $200 at Baby Depot. Sound investment for sure, and what a price! Like you, I didn't even think of formula as an option. I got an unopened Pump In Style Advance from my aunt, who had two of them and really didn't use either one. I got both, but someone on Freecycle ended up taking the older one off my hands (she knew that she was getting a used one, which was her issue, I suppose).

I didn't really mind pumping although it required a lot of discipline to take the time out and get it done. I had a lunch break and a preparation period, both of which could be used for anything, so I used part of both of those to pump. I had to be able to say "I'll get that done after I pump" and that was that.

mommybird said...

It's an amazing investment!! My Medela Pump in Style has lasted through exlusively pumping and feeding 2 babies and is still working just fine for this next one as well. There was a point when the motor started to die out (at least I thought it was) and it turned out that all I had to do was replace the little white flaps on the attachments. It worked fine again after that.

Pumping was not as difficult as I thought it would be and was so worth it. When I had to stop and feed formula my babies would spit up more and it was close to $150 a month! Ouch, why pay that much when you can produce it yourself for so much cheaper.

Sarah R said...

Now I'm dying to know what I was doing in your dream...

Oh, and I started bottles with Andrew at 6 weeks, probably too late.

nancy said...

Mommybird - I totally changed all my valves, hoping it was just that. But unfortunately, it was the motor itself that was giving me its death rattle. I'm sure it's not too common, hence Medela selling another one to me for 50% off. We were past the warrenty, but they still helped me out.

MrsSpock said...

I second the warning NOT to buy a used pump. Some workplaces offer an employee discount on pumps for nursing mothers. Mine does! Mine pays for 50% of a Medela Pump N Style. Check with your HR dept.

Jennifer said...

I'm one that used a used pump. My BFF (12+years) had a pump that she only used maybe once since only BFed for 2 weeks and gave up. She's like a sister to me and I know where she's been. ;) It was a crappy evenflo one though. The motor started acting crazy on me and I didn't even pump very often with it.

I knew that I could not rely on it when I went back to work. I bought a Pump in Style advanced for $225 (no tax, free shipping) at They have the PIS for $195. It was worth it.

I didn't mind pumping, but it took so much time in my rushed lunch and planning. It's been nice not having to. I was also having supply issues and stressed about how much I'd get. I know now to start early and get a freezer supply and to watch out for a lipase issue early on (which I had).

Jennifer said...

Oh and Medela's customer service is great. I had gotten a hand pump from the hospital and I noticed when i got home that there was a crack in one of the parts and the replaced the main part with no questions.

Krista said...

I used an Ameda Purely yours pump and I also used an Ameda Holister Elite which is a hospital grade pump, piston driven. Both worked about the same for me.

I bought the Purely Yours new. The hospital grade pump was also reportably new and appeared to be so. I bought it off ebay for $400.

The ameda pumps are ones where the milk and vapor cannot get into the pump (a slicone diaphragm blocks the opening to the tubes completely) but I'd still recommend buying new, unless perhaps buying a hospital grade pump.

I had replaced my valves about every 6 weeks and the diaphragms about every 3 months. I also had to replace my breast shields after awhile because they cracked.

Do make sure to buy breast shields that fit - they make them in different sizes - to accomodate different nipple sizes. The regular size was super painful for me, but the bigger size was fine.

I hate pumping. I was terrible at it too. I muddled through for a year and never needed formula -so it was worth it - but it was a constant stress in my life. I hope my body will respond better if we are able to have baby #2 next year.

mommybird said...

Valves!! Thank you, I totally couldn't think of what to call those and ended up using "little white flaps", I swear I'm not totally stupid.

I'm hoping this baby will latch better than my other two so I don't need to use my pump very often this time and the motor lasts to the end. If it doesn't I will look into contacting Medela, that's awesome that they were so accomodating even after your warranty was up.

Kaci said...

Not really about breast pumps - even introducing a bottle at 1-2 weeks is no guarantee they will take it. Scarlett refused & refused & refused. I have so many damn nipples & bottles that I bought in hopes she would take something!

nancy said...

Kaci, I understand! Ella was that way, but after trying literally EVERY bottle/nipple, we finally found one (very strange one) that worked. They WILL take one if it means finally taknigone or starving.