August 1 marks the first day of World Breastfeeding Week. And, well, unfortunately, I don’t yet have another “outside baby” to breastfeed to celebrate. I wish I had more exciting news to report today! But I’m still a big advocate of breastfeeding so I wanted to post nonetheless.

Note: Although breastfeeding was my choice with Nora and is my plan for baby #2, I want to make sure to point out that I am supportive of ALL means of feeding babies. Nursing, exclusive pumping, formula feeding… I’m not judging. And I’m not pushing. I am not at all trying to partake in any “mommy wars.”

I view my experience breastfeeding Nora as a privilege. It was something that I set out to do, and worked hard at—but I recognize that there are many women who try so, so hard and it still doesn’t work out for them. So I went into it with small goals. Get through one month. Get through three months. Get through six. Then power on through to a year. I was lucky in that I made it almost 13 months before Nora and I called it quits, very peacefully and without issue.

Blessed. That’s how I felt.

I hope to be able to do the same with baby #2, if he or she ever decides to grace us with his/her presence.

Anyway, I’m a working mom. As all working moms out there know, it adds a whole ‘nother level of complexity to the commitment to breastfeed. Because pumping? Pumping kind of sucks. (Exclusive pumpers—I completely bow down at your feet and kiss the ground that you walk on, by the way.) But it’s a necessary “evil” when you have to return to work.

Have you ever researched breast pumps? It’s insanity, I tell you. There is a lot of information out there. Right before I had Nora (literally, the day before I had her), I went into Babies ‘R’ Us, armed with registry completion coupons + 20% off coupons + gift cards, and bought my Medela Pump-in-Style Advanced. That thing pretty much became an extra appendage for the following year. Like so many moms, it seemed automatic that Medela was “the choice.”

I used the pump every day, multiple times a day. I obviously didn’t have any major issues with it, since I did make it to my goal of 1 year without supplementing. But there were little things that were annoying. Cleaning the parts, for instance. Those little white membranes? A complete pain in my ass (and Michael’s, because hi, he did a lot of the cleaning, too). And the horn connectors with all of the little nooks and crannies that were impossible to reach with a bottle brush? Always seemed dirty. I also had a few problems with milk and/or moisture getting into the tubes. Ew. Anyway, it was fine. But after using the pump for a year, it had certainly seen better days.

In preparation for baby #2, I pulled the Medela pump back out recently, and you know, it seems like it will probably work fine. But I also figured that if I was going to commit to doing this again—for hopefully an entire year, again—that maybe I should look into what other options I have. Because after all, I know what it’s like now.

One golden nugget of information that I found out from friends: Did you know that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, breast pumps are now REQUIRED to be covered by health insurance? Yep, as of August 1, 2012. Now, don’t go getting too excited, because of course there are loopholes. Something about how your insurance plan had to have been renewed since August 1, 2012 (I looked into it—mine “renewed” on January 1, 2013, making me eligible). AND, the insurance companies vary on what exactly they will cover, including the type of pump, the brand of pump, etc. Mine, for instance, will only cover in full a single pump. So if I want a double electric pump, I have to pay an upgrade fee in order to get one. It’s still cheaper than having to pay for the whole thing out of pocket, of course, but it’s not free. But thanks to my excessive Googling of the subject, I found that some women’s insurance plans do cover the ENTIRE thing, which is amazing. So, if you’re expecting, you should definitely look into it with your insurance.

The other thing that I did was research breast pumps again. And I came across what I believe to be the king queen of all breast pumps: the Hygeia EnJoye. My first thought was WHO KNEW? I mean, seriously, have you ever heard of Hygeia? I hadn’t. And it’s a shame, because I swear, I think they’re a hidden gem. There were a few things that attracted me to Hygeia’s pumps right off the bat:

    1. It’s designed to be a multi-user system, meaning that once you’re done with the pump, it can be handed down or sold, or at the very least, sent back to Hygeia for recycling… it does NOT end up in a landfill. That was one thing that always annoyed me about Medela; women are made to feel like they’re breaking some kind of law if they dare pass their pumps onto family or friends.
    2. The simpler parts! They are supposed to be much easier to clean. YAY.
    3. It’s hospital grade. When you’re a pumping mom, every ounce is like gold. The ability to maximize output and supply, and to be able to pump more ounces in less time? Awesome.
Hygeia EnJoye Breast Pump

I read a lot of reviews, and there are a lot of moms out there who are in love with their Hygeia EnJoyes. And HOORAY! I get to try one. It’s actually a little bit sad how excited I am about trying a new breast pump, but such is the life of a 39-weeks-pregnant lady. I obviously had nothing to compare my Medela to during my first time around, so I’m curious to see how my experience differs with Hygeia now. And I have grand plans to share a review with all of you in the coming weeks… you know, once I am actually producing milk again and HAVE AN ACTUAL BABY to feed. Minor details. :)

In the meantime, Happy World Breastfeeding Week. I hope that all of you currently nursing mothers and graduated/retired nursing mothers are not only proud of yourselves, but grateful as well. And to all of the formula feeding mothers, cheers to you, too. It’s not easy to keep a baby satisfied and growing, no matter your method of feeding. We all deserve some recognition, right??

Any nursing and/or pumping moms want to share their experiences? Have you heard of or tried Hygeia? In love with your Medela or Ameda? Inquiring minds want to know.

Disclaimer: Hygeia is providing me with an EnJoye breast pump for me to use and review in the coming weeks. But all opinions expressed within this blog post (and future blog posts) are my own, and are completely honest.


6 Responses to Celebrating “Mama’s Milk”: World Breastfeeding Week

  1. Hooray you got the pump!! So glad it worked out! I hope you love it as much as I did! :)

  2. Janelle says:

    I actually used a manual pump – Avent. From the sounds of it most mums do end up using electric ones, but i was happy enough with the manual that i didn’t feel the need to upgrade. I used (i think) a Medela in the hospital for colostrum when we were having latch difficulties. The Avent was very easy to clean and i used a microwave steriliser once a week. Like you, i only pumped when i went back to work, which thanks to my job’s fantastic paid maternity leave was at 8 months. I pumped for 5 months.

    Will be interested to hear how you find this new pump!

  3. Jude Kuipers says:

    Loved this post! I, too, have no “outside baby” to nurse, but it is a fond memory. Well written! -Jude

  4. I’ll be interested to hear your experience. I was intrigued by things I heard about the Hygeia. I have a few friends that got this brand and had problems a few months in with the pump dying or parts wearing out. Definitely look forward to seeing how it goes for you, because it does seem to have a lot of advantages over the Medela.

  5. Britton says:

    I have the Simplisse/Dr. Brown’s breast pump and love it. It’s designed to feel like a baby suckling. I started out using a hospital Ameda and then got a Medela insurance-grade sort of Pump in Style for going back to work at 7 weeks postpartum. I hated it – it was so painful and harsh. I ended up finding the Simplisse/Dr. Brown’s pump on Amazon and ordered it. SOOOOOO much more comfortable. The customer service is also great. They have a money back guarantee, too. If you end up not like the Hygeia, I recommend this one. Oh, also, not sure how you pumped at work with Nora, but I rigged up a contraption using a My Brest Friend (love that, too!!). I cut two holes in its surface – one for each collection bottle. So it supports your breasts while you pump, and leaves your hands (relatively) free for turning magazine pages, adjusting dials, etc. My baby is 5 months old and we’re still going strong!

  6. […] day before I gave birth to my little Vivienne, I wrote a post in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week. In it, I mentioned how I sort of “started over” with my research of breast pumps for […]

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