Types of Breast Pumps
Breast pumps come in a variety of styles and price ranges. Selection of a pump depends on
- Hospital-grade electric breast pumps may be needed for high-risk mothers and
babies to establish and maintain lactation during periods of extended separation or
other medical problems. These pumps typically use a “double” pump kit to express
both breasts simultaneously. These pumps are very expensive, and so are usually
rented, though some families pumping for several months may choose to purchase.
Many insurance companies, including the Kentucky Medicaid Program, reimburse for
electric breast pump rental only when a breastfeeding baby is hospitalized. Other
programs, such as Kentucky WIC, can reimburse if there is a medical need and
mother and baby are not separated. A prescription is needed from the baby’s doctor
stating the need for the baby to have his or her mother’s breast milk.
- Personal electric breast pumps are appropriate for women who are breastfeeding
well and also need to pump regularly during the day. These are often women who
have returned to the workplace or to school. These pumps are also able to express
both breasts simultaneously.
- Personal battery-operated breast pumps are also appropriate for women who are
breastfeeding well but also need to pump. These pumps usually express only one
breast at a time. Their motors tend to be louder and less durable than the personal
electric pumps noted above. Many have adaptors to allow them to be plugged in.
- Hand Pumps are appropriate for women who have a thriving, breastfed baby and
wish to pump occasionally. They are also useful for providing short-term relief from
engorgement or for pumping due to missed feedings. There are many different styles
and manufacturers of hand pumps. Most express one breast at a time.