This is Maureen Farrell and Heather ONeal and this is The Milk Minute. We’re midwives and lactation professionals bringing you the most up-to-date evidence for all things lactation. So you can feel more confident about feeding your baby, body positivity, relationships, and mental health. Plus, we laugh a little or a lot along the way.
So join us for another episode. Welcome back to the Milk Minute Podcast. I’m excited for today. Yes. This day has been long awaited. So if you didn’t know, I’ve been hoarding breast pumps so that I can tell you guys about them. And I’ve been creepily watching her, pump her breasts with many different, many different breast pumps when she comes to visit just like looking at her nipple, like a Canary would look at you through the cage.
Just like, what about, how does your nipple feel on suction eight? Turn it up. What happens then? It’s been a journey. It’s been a journey. I’m all for you guys actually out there because I don’t, I don’t need this many breast pumps. But, well, it’s also like partially for me. Cause as lactation professionals, people ask us about pumps a lot and we’re like, I’m sorry, what pump are you talking about?
I’ve literally never heard of that one. Yeah. There’s like a new thing on the market every day. And also I only pumped with the Medela when I had Heidi and also with the, I don’t even remember what the heck I was doing with Theo. I didn’t pump that much, but it was definitely a Medela. So I don’t have, I’m not just over here, randomly pumping my non lactating breasts, trying to figure out what these pumps are all about.
So we rely on you guys to tell us what your experiences are, which we’ve gathered some of, but also Maureen’s been taking one for the team over here. Right. This is going to be my last planned lactation experience. I’m planning no more children and hopefully my actual last one. Right. So yeah, while I’m still making milk, I want to try every pump out there so I actually like have that knowledge.
But I only have six to talk about today because they’re expensive. And if you are a breast pump company listening to this, you’re going to probably hear your name in this episode and we are not going to hold back because this is what the people deserve and we encourage you to make your pumps better.
And we also encourage you to send us more pumps to review if yours is not listed. If anyone wants to send us one for an honest review, I’m more than happy to do that. And you can just email us. But anyway, before that, I realized, I said I had six pumps, but I have eight. There’s actually eight. Anyway.
But I’ve actually not been doing a lot of pumping lately because it has pretty much snowed every day for the last three weeks. So we’ve just been deciding that we should ski and sled and do nothing. Aw, that sounds fun. Yeah. So we’re kind of taking, I mean, I’m still doing some work, but there’s not a lot I can do or not a lot I want to do right now.
My husband’s taking a little bit of a break because of the weather. So we’re like, okay, well, I’m going to go back on call for births anyway, kind of soon so we should just like go skiing. And my six-year-old finally likes it. Like, and he’s skiing for more than like 10 feet. Well, that’s good. Yeah. Like in the past we were like, okay, we don’t want to make him hate it.
So however long he wants to do it, he can do it. And he’d like get to the biggest snowdrift nearby and be like, actually, what if I just played in here? Which is fine, but he actually wants to pull his sister in the sled while skiing which is hard. And I’m really impressed. He’s been doing it and like these are made for it. So it’s a special thing called a Polk.
And it’s like a cross country ski sled with poles that go and then like a harness for your waist so you can pull your kids in it. And it’s really cool, but my six-year-old is tiny and so I have to like double it around his waist. But he’s been pulling her and like, I have to be the one to be like, okay, can I please have her back?
What happens if he pulls her into a situation? Well, I’m right there and she’s harnessed in. So there’s like a chest harness. It’s like a three-point harness that goes between her legs and over her chest. And then I usually throw one more thing around her waist cause she’s tiny. So it’s like, I mean, it’s, you know, she might still get hurt, but it’s actually pretty safe and it’s closed in.
There’s like a vinyl cover you zip over. Oh, I did see a picture of this. Yeah, yeah. It’s pretty safe. And also like we’re not, it’s cross-country skiing, so we’re going pretty slow and pretty flat. Cool. Yeah. Well, that’s awesome. So it’s been fun and we’ve been trying to do that as much as we can. And also my six-year-old, suddenly Griffin just like, got brave about stuff like that.
And now we’ll like hike to the top of one of our massive hills and like sled down an iced over track all by himself. Where we were like, maybe you need a helmet? I’m not sure. Yeah. Maybe, maybe. Yeah. I wished that I liked winter sports, but I don’t. So usually winter for me is a time that I reflect on business.
I, you know, tighten up processes that I already have and start investing in new things to build. Cause summer is usually like you fly by the seat of your pants and like childcare is weird. And so the winter is the time that I kind of buckle down and I do a lot of like really important work in my sweatpants, at home with my computer and like earbuds in so no one will bother me.
Important work in your sweatpants with earbuds is like a whole vibe. It is. It’s like my husband, my husband even this morning, I get up at like 5:45 usually and I try to work before everybody else gets up. And he came in and he brought me coffee and he goes, look at you.
You’re like in your little glory zone here, you’re just look at you working so hard. You’ve got smoke coming out of your ears. It’s not even 6:00 AM. And I was like, get it, go away. Like, this is my vibe. Please leave. And you’re like, and you are taking it down. I’m like, leave the coffee and get out of here. And I love you.
Thank you. I feel that. But yeah, I do have a couple announcements before we get into breast pumps. So speaking of, you know, new things with business, I am finally able to take some insurance for private consults. Yay. So people, if you have Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna or Anthem PPO, which means preferred provider organization, and it’ll say PPO on your card.
So if you look at your card and it says Blue Cross Blue Shield, Anthem, or Cigna with a little PPO on it, you can get visits with me covered or telehealth, and it doesn’t matter where you live in the United States. It’s very cool. And you’ll get covered for more than one, which is awesome. And you’ll get covered if it’s prenatal.
So if you want to link up with me and do a prenatal breastfeeding visit with your partner, so we can go over expectations, talk about potential barriers to breastfeeding that we can get ahead of as well as a breastfeeding friendly birth and what to do if… And that way you’re already established with me.
You’re already in my system. So when you have your baby, if some shit goes wrong, you just send me a message in our little charting system and I know to get you on the calendar and we can even do a tele-health before you leave the hospital. So that is really what I recommend. And that’s why I worked so hard to try to make sure this insurance thing could happen because ideally that is what would happen.
Like you’re already established with somebody. So when things go wrong, if they go wrong, you already know who to call, and you’re not like exhausted digging through your old insurance pamphlet, trying to figure out if anyone is available for you. So I am available. Also I’ve hired another IBCLC. So exciting.
Yes. And her name is Meredith. She’s absolutely lovely. She dropped out of the sky exactly when I was getting very, very busy and I wanted to make sure there was somebody there that could help out when I was not available for emergencies and also to start building her practice. I mean, that’s what this is all about. Is just creating more confident, educated IBCLCs that are on brand with me.
And of course on brand with Maureen too, because we’re not just going to hire anybody. We’re going to hire somebody that truly believes in all of the things we believe as far as empowerment and making sure that your goal is your goal. Not having our own agenda. I hate that. That’s one of my biggest issues with IBCLCs is like, we’re not going to shove it down your throat.
Right. You know, I could go on and on, but so Meredith will be available as well on my website. If she’s not there yet, she will be soon. And I think she’s going to be my Wednesday girl. So if you need something on a Wednesday, it’s going to be Meredith. Awesome. Well, that’s super exciting. And the link is in the show notes and you can, like, all you have to do is fill out this short form.
It takes about two minutes. You put in your insurance info and usually within about five hours, we know if you’re covered. It’s so easy. So if you’re covered, it’s quick. Yeah. It’s weird. It’s like at most I’ve seen it take a day. And then as soon as I get the email, that’s like, oh, congrats. Abby’s covered then I reach out and I’m like, Hey Abby, when can we get you on the schedule? It’s like the easiest peasiest thing. So please go do it. Okay. I’m into it. All right.
Should we do a question? We should. All right. So today’s question is from one of our lovely patrons, Maya K. She says, I guess a question I would have liked to have answered during the whole abscess thing. So history, she had an abscess in her breast. What should I be looking for to distinguish a plugged duct from mastitis? I was already taking ibuprofen because of nipple pain when I developed mastitis, so some of the symptoms were masked. Like I’d never got a fever. When should I reach out to my healthcare practitioner?
And how do I advocate for myself? When I had mastitis, I was on all the websites looking for guidance, but I was just so afraid to go on antibiotics that I procrastinated and kept treating my lump like a plugged duct. Also, it all happened so soon postpartum that I think it was really hard for me to tell how badly I was feeling.
And so the mastitis became an abscess. Anyway, thanks again for all you do. That is a tough one because the fever is the number one symptom that we’re looking for with mastitis, right? So typically when we differentiate a clog from mastitis, clogs have local symptoms, as in, they are just restricted to the one side of your chest that is affected versus mastitis.
You have full body symptoms. So typically those look like fever, chills, malaise, just feeling like crap, like you have the flu, but also I can see how that would be masked for just being exhausted postpartum. In like the first two weeks postpartum, you’re you kind of feel like that anyway. You’re like, well, I have body aches.
Huh? Yeah. And especially if you get like a bright red wedge shape thing on your breast, that looks like it’s traveling backwards or any kind of streaking. Definitely, that could be mastitis. It’s worth having it looked at anyway. Yeah. It it’s tough cause some clogs we’ll say, okay, there’s a little lump and a little bit of redness, but some clogs really do cause a lot of inflammation on the breast.
It sort of depends like how easily that’s triggered in your body. You know? Like some people get more swelling when they get injuries and some get less and some get a lot of redness cause they’re super pale skinned and some people get no redness at all. As always symptoms are subjective when it comes to these kinds of things.
And they’re hard to measure, especially, you know, when you’re looking at this set and you’re like, I don’t know. Those kind of sound like me. Maybe not. Also when I’m troubleshooting a plugged duct with a client, I typically ask them to not take ibuprofen for the first 24 hours that we’re managing that plug. Because really ideally, we should be able to remove that clog within 24 hours.
And if we can’t, then we’re going to be in a situation because you’re constantly in milk making mode and it’s just going to get worse and worse and worse. And I want to know if you’re getting a fever. So we hold off for about 24 hours and see if we can’t get that clog out. And then if we start to develop a fever, I go ahead and treat with antibiotics and then we manage just like you would a clog, but now we have antibiotics on board to make sure it does not turn into an abscess because those are terrible.
Right. And I understand the hesitancy to take antibiotics. However, after looking at some of the retrospective data that we have about how many clogged ducts turn into mastitis and all of that, it does make me feel like we should consider it a little more often for those times that we’re not sure what’s going on.
And that’s like, that’s coming from somebody who like who never takes them. Yeah. It’s a tough thing, certainly, but also not the end of the world. I pretty much always keep some really good quality probiotics around both for me and the kids. Do I take them every day? No, but you know, it’s the last thing you’re going to think about when you’re sick enough that you need antibiotics.
So. Keep those in your freezer, just in case. Right. And I’ll just say too, a lot of times I will prescribe the antibiotics and have people just hold onto them. And because when it does start to get bad, it’s two o’clock in the morning on a Saturday. Every fricking time. So I’ll tell people I will order you these antibiotics.
I would love for you to hang on to them. And if you develop a fever, go ahead and start it and then hit me up tomorrow at a reasonable hour and we’ll just touch base and make sure we have a plan. So that’s pretty much from a provider’s perspective, how we think about managing mastitis and plugged ducts.
Cause obviously prevention of an abscess is the number one thing. And if you don’t know what an abscess is, it’s basically when you have enough bacteria in your breast, in the infection that it starts breaking through cell walls and your body starts trying to wall it off and creates a little pocket sack.
It makes us sack. And then it’s incredibly painful and typically full of like all kinds of pus and fluid and white blood cells. And it’s just like the worst rave you’ve ever been to with all kinds of terrible, but also it’s just like lots of mix of different cells and stuff going on. So yeah, and we will link the full mastitis episode that we did on clogs and blebs in the show notes.
Okay. I hope that helps. I hope you never have an abscess ever again also. Yes. Amen.
Heather, did you know, I have an Etsy shop? Yes, I creep on there regularly. Well, listeners, if you didn’t know out there, I have an Etsy shop with my personal artwork on there. I have stickers, posters, t-shirts. But my favorite items are my surprise mugs. I have a couple of color changing mugs featuring my little illustrations of vulvas and breasts.
And boy, are they a surprise, especially when you give it to your boss that you do not like, and they pour hot coffee in it and labias abound. I like to give them to like my mom or dad when they visit. Pour them a cup of tea and watch their face. And really, I think everybody needs these in their home. So if you would like one for yourself or anything else that I make, you can visit etsy.com/shop/thewanderingwom6.
That’s etsy.com/shop/thewanderingwom6, but with the six instead of a b. And of course that link will be in the show notes. Thanks.
Okay. Well, should we jump into it? Are you ready? Yes, let’s get pumped up. Pun intended. Gosh, I don’t know where to start. So Heather, I think you should pick one and we’ll just start there. Okay, I want to start with, what did your insurance cover? Oh, my insurance gave me an option of two pumps. It was the Medela Pump In Style or the Ameda something, like the cheapest pump they make.
And. No, that’s it. You picked which? Oh, I picked the Medela just assuming that that was actually the pump most people were going to pick because I wanted to review it. By the way, the Medela pump is so popular that when people, hold on, how do I even say this? So, because of the pandemic, I have noticed that people keep calling the Medela pump, the Moderna pump, and I can’t stop laughing about it.
I’m like, what, which pump are you using? And they’re like, oh, just that Moderna pump. And I’m like, ah, the Medela pump got it. So these vaccination marketing, that’s funny, bits are working. So anyway, it’s the, Medela not the Moderna just, but thanks for making me laugh. We can start there. All right. So I have the Medela Pump In Style.
This company makes a bunch of different pumps, so, and they are all different and I would have very different reviews of them. And that kind of goes for all of these, right? Like not only the company, but the model really matters. So, this is like the, their newest Pump In Style, not the old one, which I’ve also used and can talk about.
And I think probably that, that’s probably what you used last time, too. Gosh, guys, we’re kind of starting low, but that’s okay. We’re going to build from here. I hate this pump just flat out. I also hate it. I almost have nothing good to say about it. Like it is cheap. Okay. So that’s good. It has to be plugged in the wall.
It does come with a battery pack that’s really bulky, but it doesn’t last that long. It takes like eight AA batteries in the battery pack. It’s intense, but okay. So basically this pump has two different types of suction, so different patterns. And then it’s got a couple of different levels of suction intensity, but I just don’t like any of it.
Let me, let me play it for you. Are you ready? Ooh.
So that’s the, oh God. So this is like the massage mode that tries to just like in, in, induce a letdown. And then, oh, it just sounds like it’s this struggling. This is the expression mode. This, this fucking pump makes so many weird noises. I’ve had so many people call me and be like, is it broken? It’s chirping. And I’m like, actually, probably not.
It’s not. Or like it’s loud. It vibrates a lot. Just like sitting on the table. Actually it vibrates so much that I actually thought that it was supposed to be on its side. Right. At one point, like it sits up in such a way. So I was holding it next to the mic there, so we didn’t have the accessory noise of it, like vibrating on the table because I thought that it was too much.
Yeah. Well, you know, when I had the old Medela Pump In Style, it specifically said, do not put it upright. Oh, right. That one is like the weird sideways one. So when I saw this one, I was like, maybe it’s making this weird noise and it’s not sucking that well, because it should actually be on its side.
But no, no, I read the manual and it says, stand it up. So I don’t understand. I’ll also say many times I’ve had to help people troubleshoot these because they are just not suctioning. Like turn it off, replug it in, put all the pieces back together. And that seems really common. So I don’t know what’s going on there really.
Usually if I have people turn it off, unplug it, basically take their whole dang pump apart and put it all back together very carefully, that solves the problem. I don’t like that. Have you ever dealt with their customer service? No, but I’ve had clients do it and they seem to replace them pretty easily. Well, I’m sure, cause they’re cheap. Exactly.
I will say I did try to use this pretty consistently. I probably used it about 10 times and my output was okay. I probably got, like a couple of times I felt like maybe I emptied well enough if I did some like lots of massage and crazy stuff, but I just felt like the suction either wasn’t good enough or it was hurting.
Hmm. I like, I need some in-between that isn’t there. And I do not like the redesign of their whole flange, backflow BS. Yeah. And also does it tip over? So, it kind of feels like it’s gonna. It’s never tipped over on me before. It’s just so rounded. It’s like an oblong, but tall. I’ll turn it on on the table and turn up the suction really high.
Whew. And it’s just like vibrating the whole table. Now, if you had to get blood up or if you had to get breast milk out of a penis, they would never let something that sounded like that come near it. It’s a lot. I have had a couple of people be successful with this, but more often I’ve had people come to me who are like, just something’s wrong.
I’m not pumping enough. I have low supply. And I’m like, what pump do you have? Oh, the one I got from my insurance. It’s the Medela, isn’t it? I just feel like it’s not, it’s not a good pump and the way that they’ve redesigned, so it used to be that the backflow protector and the like membrane, which is the same as the duck bill for a Spectra, those were separate.
Now, they are one giant thing where you can’t just buy the rubber piece. You have to buy the whole plastic piece that goes over it, and it is $30 to replace. Oh, why? I didn’t actually know that. Yeah. Yeah. I think that sucks. So that’s a money grab. Yeah. So don’t love that. Here I am harsh thoughts and feelings about this pump. Which are valid because you’ve tried eight of them.
I have, and I use the old Medela Pump In Style. The same one that you did, maybe it was the Pump In Style Advanced, I’m not sure, but years ago when I had no idea how to pump and I still feel like it was better than this. Yeah. I gave it a good college try guys, and I’m not about it. Okay. Okay. All right. Do I have to say anything else about it?
I mean, charging cable, all good. Yeah. I, oh, you know what though? I will say. Another thing I don’t like ha, so the tubing is now more expensive to replace too, because it’s not just a tube that goes onto a protrusion from the pump. Now there’s a hole in the pump and you have to get a tube that has a hard plastic piece that goes into the pump and a Y.
So, like I’m a big fan of pumps that you can kind of like chop and replace and swap around all of the tubing for, to make them more versatile and to make them work for you. That’s not about it. I’ve also seen a number of people snap their tubing off accidentally where there’s still a piece left inside the pump and they can’t get it out.
Really? So I had a client the other day who, they brought their Medela and I had baby on one breast and I was going to have her pump the other one. And she was like, oh, this one only does two breasts at a time. And I was like, no chance. And she was like, yeah, it only, you have to plug it with your finger.
No, you don’t. You figured it out? I actually got out the manual again and you have to take one of the Y tubes off of the flange and you have to plug it into the top of the Y. So you close the circuit, but it’s not intuitive. Like I actually, I had to get out the manual. I, it was not clear to me that I had to do that until I actually read the directions.
And I’m just saying most of the time when you’re learning how to use your pump, it’s when your postpartum and your exhausted. You have to make it easy. Just make it easier, make it make sense, make it work, most importantly. Make it work, make it work, Tim Gunn. Okay. What’s next?
I’m going to move on to the Spectras cause I feel like these are a direct competition to the Medela and I have two different models of Spectra to talk about today. Ooh. So I have an S1, which is the blue, round orby thing that has a light and then an S9, which is their portable version of like the cheaper one. They’ve got some more expensive models that I don’t have.
And the S2 is the one that, the S2 is just like the blue S1, but it plugs into the wall and doesn’t have a battery. So let’s talk about the S1, because personally, I like this one. Yeah. It’s the S1 and 2, the exact same pump, except for the battery part. So the S2 is going to be more affordable if that’s a problem.
I love this pump and it’s my main pump. She’s my gal. Let me tell you why. So the best thing about this pump, pretty much every pump you can adjust the suction levels, right? How strong it is. This one you can adjust how fast it sucks. The cycles. Right, not just massage and expression mode? No. So there is a massage mode, but then in expression mode, you have, let’s see five different options for how fast do you want it to suck.
That is super useful. So if, but I did find that this pump was not intuitive to use. I had to look at the manual and watch a couple videos. So that’s a downside, right? But so when you turn it on and you press the bacon button, which is just three wiggly lines that looks like a bacon emoji, it does the massage mode and then you press that button again and you have all of your options for the expression mode and you can change all your cycles.
This has a really large range of suction. I feel like it’s a strong pump, but there is a lot of vibration. Okay. Which I like, not everybody likes. Vibration where? Like, in the suction, like in your nipple? Yeah. I don’t know. It just like. I’ve never used it. So that’s a hard thing to explain. Let me, let me play it for you.
It’s not particularly quiet. And again, when I’m doing this guys, they’re like, this is going to be louder than they actually are cause I’m holding it up to a sensitive mic. There’s no tubes plugged in, which actually makes it quieter when you put the tubes in. But anyway, so let’s see, this is the massage mode or bacon mode and I have it turned up really high on suction so you can hear it.
So it’s really fast. That’s 70 cycles per minute. And then let’s see, we’ll start. This is the highest expression mode of 54 cycles per minute. This is 50. This is 46. This is 42. And this is 38. I wonder where they came, came up with those random numbers? Who the fuck knows? I don’t know. Why couldn’t it be like 30, 40, 50, 60?
I feel like if they could do that, maybe they could just let me just choose whatever. Anyway I don’t know if you can even maybe hear it, but there’s just there’s some pumps have straight suction where I feel like the soul is going to get sucked out of my nipples and some have vibration where it’s like not absolutely consistent suction the whole time.
There’s some kind of slight variation to them. Does that make sense? It does. Okay. Whole nipple sucking with the vibration then just a pointed piece of like sucking directly. Yeah, you heard that going like, right. Like purring versus some pumps or like, just like yeah. And I prefer that. Not everybody does. And this is a hard thing about pumping, right?
You don’t know until you try. I will add the Spectra has a nightlight. I love her. Yeah. I like that a lot. Why doesn’t every pump have a nightlight? It doesn’t even have to be on for the nightlight to work. Right. People use, I know people with like six-year-olds that use this as a nightlight still. This thing has a great battery life too.
I charged it last night. It will still have plenty of battery left when I get home. Really? How many pumps would you say you get out of one battery, one full battery charge? I think I’ve done like six. Wow. That’s actually really impressive. Yeah. It’s, it’s good. And that’s why it’s so big and bulky, right?
Like, yeah. But like, why are we doing this? Because we want it to work, right? Yeah. Like I, at this point I’m lugging this around everywhere. If I’m going to be pumping like for more than one time, if I’m gone for a whole day, because I feel like it empties me the best, I pretty rarely have to use like hands-on pumping techniques.
I can get, I’ve gotten three let downs in a pumping session with it, which I love. Wow. Well, that actually brings up why I like it as a lactation professional, because let us remind ourselves that pumping is supposed to mimic your breastfeeding, not her breastfeeding or that person’s breastfeeding, yours.
So if your baby finishes a feed in eight minutes, and the suction changes a certain way, or like you have a very quick let down, you can mimic that with the Spectra very easily and get the most output for you based on how your baby has trained your breasts to be. And I love that. And some people really do need it to go longer.
And some people really do need to do it shorter, and some people have babies that suck like a Hoover vacuum and they need that suction to go all the way up to 12. But I haven’t, I personally haven’t had any clients that we’ve needed to do 12. No, but I will say, so when I started pumping, when Lyra was two months old, pretty much every pump I was using on levels one through three. I am now using much higher levels of suction.
Yeah. My nipples have changed. My breasts have changed. My baby has changed the way that she feeds. So at this point I actually do often go up to 10 or 11 on this. Not for the whole thing. Just for like the last minute or two. You turned it up to 11? Yes. I turned it up to 11. Just like spinal tap. But now my comfort zone is between four and eight, whereas it used to be between one and four.
Well, I love those higher suction settings and I think there’s a big misconception about when people are allowed to use them or if, oh, sorry. I just could never tolerate something like that. And I encourage people to just try it for the last 30 seconds of your pumping session. You don’t have to endure it for 10 minutes.
It’s really meant to be that last push to get the last little fattiest bits out when your baby would be sucking the most. And you know what I actually find works for me? Sometimes I need that to trigger a letdown, but then I can turn it back down. So I’ll be like, oh, I’m not getting a letdown. I turn it up one, milk starts coming out, but it’s not comfortable. And I turn it back down one.
It’s not meant like, think about how your baby sucks. Your baby doesn’t suck like at level seven the entire time. Your baby, if you have a lazy luncher, especially, it’ll be like a 2, 2, 2, 12, 3. Right. All done, you know, so I love the customization that we can use with this.
And it’s just very reliable. Yeah. I like a reliable pump. Yeah. So this feels like my work horse. And also you can see what level you’re on because it has a display that tells you. So when you’re exhausted in the middle of the night, pumping with your Medela Pump In Style, that has nothing but a plus and minus button.
You’re like, wait, where am I? I don’t even remember, like, am I on a two plus suction, a three plus suction? Right. And you have to kind of go all the way back down then and build it back up if you need to think about it. Yeah. Yeah. It just, it, it feels dumber than this one. So I like the Spectra. Yeah. I, so I just realized maybe I should have like thought of an objective number to give these.
I’m not going to do that, but I like this one. Should we do downsides of the S1? Yeah. Yeah. So downsides would be, it is big and bulky, and that is my main downside of this. Well, it’s less likely to get knocked over though. It is, but if you drop it, it’s like a big bang guys. This thing is breaking if you drop it. Downside, it’s shaped like a purse for your toddler who might try to carry it around the house by its cute little handle.
I will say the amount of vibration is a downside for a lot of people. I have had a lot of people telling me I wanted to love the Spectra, but it just didn’t work for me. And I needed a pump with more suction. That’s fine. More suction? I mean just like straight suction and not vibration. Do you know what I mean?
And that’s fine. Totally get it. I like their overall flanges and duckbills and all of that works pretty well. It’s pretty easy to get replacement parts. I love that you can actually, I know we’re, we’re trying to do downsides. I don’t have that many for this pump. It’s kind of expensive. You know it is, but it’s not that bad.
Not, there’s more expensive ones. Yeah. So this it’s not like the dual gold one or whatever. Let me see. You can get it for $200 bucks. Wow. Okay. It’s pretty consistently, you can find it for $200. And the S2 is cheaper because it doesn’t have a battery pack, so you can get that one for $150. So I like it.
I really do want to try the, the big fancy Spectra Gold, but whatever, maybe we’ll see. Maybe I’ll get one for the office? Tax write off. Okay. Should we, should we talk about the S9? We should. This has more downsides, I will say. Okay. So actually I’m going to take this out. I bought an aftermarket cover for it from Etsy that somebody 3-D printed so you can put it on your hip, which is cute.
Anyway. So this is the Spectra S9. It is kind of their cheap portable one. I think they have a more expensive portable one, too. This provides the same massage mode and then one expression mode and less levels of suction. So let me show you, but it has a light up screen, so that’s cute.
Okay. It’s pretty quiet though. Yeah, I like that pretty good. There’s a little beeping I can hear in the mic, but you can’t really hear that in real life. That’s a weird electronic feedback. I don’t know why. And then the expression mode, what level are you on? Eight. This one has 10 levels of suction. So it only has one cycle mode. It kind of feels like, let me see if I can actually figure out which one it is.
It’s pretty close to the 38 on the S1. So it’s, it’s a lot slower. Wonder why? I don’t know. So that is, so I like it and I feel like it’s good for like a shopping trip or something, but I would not use this all day because of that. Because it’s less customizable. But it’s pretty small. I mean, it’s the size of like a, you know, 2002 cell phone, you know, it’s like a very small brick.
Yeah. Very large bar of soap, right? Like, like a giant ivory bar or something. Yeah. But it’s, it’s like, you know, it’s, it’s pretty quiet, honestly. And I’ve actually, this is funny. I was going shopping once and it was before I had the hip clip, so I stuffed it between my boobs in my bra, because they’re big enough that that was totally fine.
And your boobs just ate it up. They just completely devoured it. And it was so funny. Yeah. And it’s just like the other Spectra too. It has a little cover if you want a single pump or double pump. I feel like this one has a much shorter battery life. Maybe like three ish pumps. Still better than, pretty great.
You know other question. Yeah. So I feel dumb. I’m like the dumb pump person here in the room because I haven’t pumped in a long time on my own breasts, but, and actually none of my clients have had this one, which is saying something. Also saying the insurance probably might not cover this one as much, but does it come with an option to do a hands-free like in the cup? You can buy the Caracups.
Yeah. So Spectra sells Caracups that are just like, oh, I mean they’re hands-free cups and you can plug them in. I use the Legendairy cups with it. Oh yeah. So you can buy them. So Spectra sells their own, but you can use the Freemie cups, the Legendairy cups or whatever. So do you think we’re moving away from having the vacuum in the cup for a lot of these pumps?
This is the trend. Put that back in its case. If anyone wants to know where I got that off Etsy, let me know. I’ll try to put it in the show notes. Oh, we should get some that have the Milk Minute. Can you 3d print a Milk Minute logo? I don’t think, I don’t know. I’ll have to ask them. Anyway. I did drop this one on the floor, broke the case and then super glued it back together and the pump still works.
So we should actually get OtterBox to do cases. Do the clip cases like a phone. Yeah. But you know, I okay. But back to what you’re saying about moving away from the motor in the wearable pumps, let’s talk about that after we review some of them. Okay. Okay. I have one more, not wearable pump to review.
So I got a Bellababy. If you haven’t heard of it, that’s okay. This is probably the cheapest battery powered pump that you can get. It’s like $60. It looks like it. Yeah. But I actually, so it is more customizable than I thought, so let me turn it on. Okay. So this has four different suction modes and it’s pretty quiet actually.
Suction modes or cycle modes? They’re kind of both. Oh, so like the faster it goes, the harder it sucks or the slower, it goes, the harder it sucks? So it has, gosh, I haven’t used this one in a while, so excuse me. So two of them are harder suction and two of them are less suction. Do you see that? L one versus L two. L one L two. So these two ones, this one.
And this one are kind of, they’re like massage modes. And so you’ve got, they’re slightly different cycles and different suctions. And then these two and this one are their expression modes that are both slightly different cycles and different suctions. Do you need different suction modes for your massage then? I kind of feel like it’s a little over-complicated and maybe they just should have given us the option to change the suction independently.
Yeah. Okay. So little correction here. It had been a long time since I tried the Bellababy pump and I kind of forgot how to change the suction levels. So there are actually nine levels of suction. I went back and tried them and they are pretty strong. And I was kinda surprised how good that was. Okay, back to your episode.
It has a light up, a light up screen. It tells you how long you’ve been pumping. I have been surprised. So let me tell you what else I did guys. For each of these pumps, I joined like specialty Facebook groups for them and like how to use them and how to do them better because I know like that’s basically what you have to do these days. An astonishing number of people love this pump.
She is cheap and easy. I don’t like it because it’s not customizable. It looks like this one that looks like an EKG strip changes the suction level, every other I honestly. So that one does this like suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, yeah. And on a couple other pumps do that. I think it feels weird, but a lot of people tell me that works for them.
But I, I wanted to get this one because I had consistently read over and over about people loving the Bellababy, because it’s cheap. It’s portable. The battery lasts a long time. So I was like, why not? I don’t love it. I actually hated the flanges that came with it. But like any other pump, you can kind of hijack the tubing and make it work with something else.
So I actually figured out how to do this with the Legendairy cups too. Cause I was like, I should give it a good try. And I was like, okay. My output was okay with it. If this were like my occasional rent of the store pump, whatever. As soon as all these breast pump companies hear these reviews, they’re going to be like, oh my gosh, we’re losing money because people are hijacking the tubing and the flange situation. We got to make it proprietary and it’s, they’re going to pull an apple and be like, oh, just kidding.
You know what, every time somebody does that though, like someone like Legendairy or whatever comes out with a new, like tubing adapter. There are a bunch of companies that kind of, and like Maymom and also like the aftermarket ones just sell random adapters so you can make it all work.
That’s awesome. So these will also work with a hands-free cup then? I think pretty much everything will, if you can make the tubing fit. Wow. Yeah. Okay. So what didn’t you like about the flanges that came with this? Okay, so they were, it came with a flange that was a hard plastic flange with a soft silicone cushion inside, which with the cushion in was a 24 millimeter with the cushion out of it was like a 28.
And I didn’t like the cushions. I felt like they were uncomfortable and pinching. And that’s not my size. So I couldn’t, when I put an insert in it, like didn’t fully seal because it was like an insert in a softer insert and it was all kinds of messed up. And then the, the aftermarket inserts you buy are all pretty much made to go for 24- or 21-millimeter flanges.
So then without the cushion that came with it, they didn’t fit. And I was like, cool. So I don’t like this situation, but I have to give this company props for being super accessible. The pump, you know with the bottles that came with bottle tops and the flanges and everything, the entire thing was like 60 bucks.
Wow. That’s you certainly won’t be able to beat that anywhere else. Yeah. And this would be, I would buy this as like an emergency pump. Exactly. And you can find, I mean, I found a lot of these as like new in box, like open box, but never used deals on eBay. Where they’re a little bit cheaper. You can find these for like 20 bucks.
Oh man. So I do have to say like, if you need a pump and you are low on funds, this thing is probably the most customizable, like the most, it had the most options for settings for a cheap pump. So, okay. We’re going to, whatever that means. After hearing all of that, I don’t really know what to say about it, but it’s not my favorite.
Somebody else can have it from here out. Okay. So those are the only like ones that I have that were kind of the traditional, like motor separate from the flange bottle situation. All of them you can use with wearable cups, but they’re not like made for it. Got it.
So now I have sitting in front of me, four more pumps that are all a wearable situation. Hands-free, cup in bra. So the ones I have today, just so you know, I have an Elvie, Elvie stride, Willow, and an off-brand Momcozy. It’s like, not real, it’s like the same thing as a Momcozy, but it’s like a China cheapie. A lot of people call them. I thought that was good because it’s one of the cheapest ones you can get.
Okay. Okay. So where, where should we start? Let’s start at the Willow, because I feel like they kind of trailblazed in the cup in vacuum. She complicated. Let’s do it. Okay. First of all, just in comparison to other ones, it is big and bulky and heavy. Here, hold it. Oh, wow. That’s heavier than like my entire breast.
This is the, it’s heavier than a grapefruit. Yeah. It’s heavy. It’s really heavy. If you have large breasts like me, you’re going to put this in and be like, well, I feel just like my boobs are now touching my belly button and everything’s really big and I’m Dolly Parton, but not as perky. Yeah. Okay. So I ended up just looking like a weird growth inside your shirt.
So that’s actually something I have a problem with. I have really wide breasts. All of the cups and wearable pumps are like half as wide. So you, so if they protrude very far, it looks like my boobs have boobs. I don’t mean, I’m not laughing at you. No, you should laugh. It is odd and I’m not about it. Like couldn’t they have just made them wider? Just look at what they think.
Okay. So this is obviously a representation of what they think the average breast looks like. Yeah, and it is perky and round and a solid B cup, more vertical than horizontal. And like, if it had a nipple, it’d be like pretty high, pretty high or right in the middle. And I think this is a challenge I face with a lot of these is I have nipples that point at my toes.
And these all are made for nipples that point straight ahead of you. Yeah. So they fit weird for me. Okay. Okay. So the Willow I have the bag system, there is a reusable container system. I did not bother spending the extra money. Well, but maybe you should have, because the bags are a dollar a piece. Maybe I should have, because I have so many thoughts on the bags that I will tell you about, but I’m going to put the bag in, in front of you and describe what I’m doing cause it’s actually really interesting.
This, let me say the Willow is the weirdest pump. It is different from every other pump in so many ways, but anyway, it has this giant flange that hooks up to this soft silicone smushy piece with these little knobs on it. And then you put the bag there on the end, and then what you actually have to do is you have to wrench it up so it fits because it’s bigger than the space it fits into. Okay. But it’s vacuum sealed. So you smush it between your fingers and you make it fit into the back of the flange. And then it connects with the motor with magnets. Okay. So let me turn it on. And this will not work if you don’t have a nipple in it.
You want me to put my nipple in it? Because if there’s no suction, it won’t work. Like if there’s nothing to suction on to. I’m just going to whip it out. Okay. For the greater good. This is a gen three, by the way. How many gens are there now? Three. But they’re a little different, so let me turn it on. Did you hear that?
So this weird thing happened in there. Are you making a copy? Yeah. I’m now producing. Am I in a copy machine? Oh, we’re printing now. Can you guys hear this? Let me lower my mic.
It does sound like a printer. That’s funny. And let me, let me, hold on. Let me do that first part over because Ooh, so the Willow provides a continuous suction. And it never stopped suctioning unless you physically break the suction. Really? Really. Oh, I get it. So it won’t work unless there’s a nipple in it.
So it has to have suction constantly, but honestly, that’s kind of what a baby’s mouth does. The outside of the baby’s lips creates the external suction and then the internal suction happens with the tongue. And that’s definitely what they were going for in many ways. Is that this company, for sure, ah, the, so when you take it off, it does this thing where it tries to get all the milk out of that little weird, soft part and pump it into the bag and I hate it.
Okay. That was what you just heard. So Willow was definitely trying really hard to mimic a baby. However it is in your bra and this generation of pump, not all of them, but it automatically changes from its massage mode to its expression mode based on how much milk is in there. Oh. Which I have a problem with, because one of my breasts triggers that and the other has never done it.
Oh. And so I don’t really know, like, so lefty, we’ll just shoot out a half ounce really fast and then that’s about the time that it triggers expression mode and righty, it takes like so long for it to do that with this pump. And sometimes it, like, it just never gets there. So I’m like, I don’t even know if it works on that breast cause I can’t, you cannot physically change it in the app or on the pump. Why? I don’t know. And it sucks. You can change, there’s basically a start and a pause button, a power button, and then suction increase or decrease buttons on the pump that you can change. When it’s in massage mode, you only have access to the first three levels of suction.
When it’s in expression mode, you have access to all of them. How many are there? Seven. I think. What I’m super mad about is that while it has an app that essentially tells you like what’s going on and how much milk is in there, you cannot change the settings in the app. And you can’t change it if you’re in massage mode? You can get, all you can do in massage mode is go up and down the first three suction levels.
So they’re just assuming that everyone’s going to put out at least half an ounce? And also if you do have a slacker boob, like you do, like most people do, and sometimes half an ounce, all my slacker boob puts out that’s okay. She’s good. Which is fine. But like also if someone’s trying to boost supply on that side, they never will be able to, because it will never get to that stronger section phase. No.
So, and if you want to leave these in like a lot of people like these pumps, cause they can pump, leave it in and then another hour pump again, you know, which is great. And you don’t really have to empty it between if you have extra room. But if you don’t, don’t reach into your shirt and break the suction on the Willow, it will continuously low-level suck your nipple the whole time.
Don’t fall asleep with it on. Do not fall asleep wearing these. It, at some point it has like a self-timer some at some point, but. I don’t know, 40 minutes, it turns off by itself? But I have seen some pretty intense nipple injuries from the Willow, because it’s hard to see your nipple alignment when you put it on.
And it has a strong suction and it continuous suction. So it never stopped suctioning the whole time it’s working. However, I will say a lot of people love this pump, right? It’s wearable. As the wearable pumps go, like it has a really strong suction. It’s discrete enough, not the most discreet, you know, but discrete enough. It’s pretty noisy though.
I mean, if you’re walking around with it on and you look like Dolly Parton. Once it’s entered the expression mode, it’s not terrible. Like it gets a little quieter and also like a little more consistent about the sounds it makes. It doesn’t sound like it’s faxing something. So just like it’s making copies in the background, you know?
And I feel like if there’s a, if there’s a little bit of background noise, like you’re working in a noisy clinic, it’s not a big deal. So here’s a scenario. I saw a nurse wearing one of those one time while she was working and then had to run to an emergency. And she was like, it’s the weirdest feeling cause you’re running and like milk is sloshing around in there and she was afraid it was going to get sucked back into the pump. Does that happen with those? I don’t think so. And I will say the thing that people love about these is that they really don’t leak. I can’t really imagine how it would get sucked back.
Hold on. There’s like one drop of milk in here. How it get sucked back into the pump. Does it have a reverse backflow? No. So it doesn’t, it, all of the parts have nothing to do with any other pump you’ve ever seen. So it has this soft flex tube and it, these little prongs on the side, get with the camera here, get pulled. Our Patrons get to see this. It like it like pulls those and hold on.
Do you see those little notches they fit into? Those get pulled to the side and that’s what creates the suction. Weird. It’s like an alien pump. I’m a hundred percent. Yes. So, I don’t think it could physically, like it’s a closed system. It is a closed system? I’m pretty positive. I don’t see in fact, anywhere it could come out.
So that’s why a lot of healthcare workers love this. Cause you can pretty much turn upside down and it’s not going to leak. Okay. You can get reusable containers that fit into these too, which I think have a little bit more leakage sometimes. People have some complaints. My big complaint is that when I have successfully used this and I’ve been like, cool, I pump in it, but I don’t have a large breast capacity.
At the most I’m going to pump two ounces and this is like an eight-ounce bag. And when you’re done, you flip it over and it sucks all the milk out. It also then pumps some air into it. So you can’t like reuse the bag. Oh. And you can’t be like, what if I just used it for a second session and like kept filling it or like in 20 minutes or in 10 minutes to power pump?
Oh, yeah. So I would probably like this better if I had gotten the containers and I might still buy them and try it out and give it a second chance. Or maybe they could send them to you? Maybe if you’re listening and you work for Willow, you can send them to me because I wanted to love it. I tried to love it, and I think I could probably work beyond the massage mode to expression mode if I like really worked my right breast a lot.
But also, can I just say that the research shows that double breast pumping, double electric breast pumping, yields the most output consistently. So we recommend actually pumping both breasts at the same time. And when you have these two individual cups with two individual vacuums that are based on different settings and like some can get there and some can’t, you’re probably not achieving your maximum potential for output, right, with those features.
But I, a lot of people love these. They have a large carrying capacity. How much does it carry? I think, I think you can put up to eight ounces in them. Nice. Something close to that. Can you store the milk in the freezer in those? Yeah. The bags you can freeze. Yeah, absolutely. Most people who use the bags, like those are the only bags they use.
And then you just like cut the top and pour it out. Oh, they’re a weird donut shape though. I don’t know. If you don’t pump a lot like me though, you will also find these bags super frustrating. So if you’re going to try the Willow and you don’t have a large capacity, I would say, try those containers.
Okay. Where are we at with price? Oh, this one is fucking expensive. It’s like $500. Yeah, it is. Let me double check, but it’s five or $600. And I think the issue is when people are looking to buy one pump that they’re, you know, like, oh, I’m going to buy one pump. This might not be the only pump that you want to buy.
This would be a nice extra pump to have for work. I don’t know if this is going to be the one that you want to wear, use around the house. So with it being potentially the extra pump that you have just for work, it’s really not. It’s very cost prohibitive. Yeah. It’s a solid $500 and that’s tough cookie to swallow.
Yeah, it actually is. And for anyone. For anyone. This is one of the few wearable pumps that will be covered by some insurance or you can at least use like an FSA on. I think that was the last time I checked with a patient who was looking at buying this, they said their insurance told them it would be covered. And then at checkout it was actually an upcharge for like $323 or something.
And they were like, oh, so you don’t really cover it? You partially cover it? I’ve known a lot of people though with the nice insurances to get these covered. So anyway, let’s, let’s move on though, to kind of the direct competitor, which is Elvie. Let’s. Okay. So just let’s do a size comparison here. The Elvie is smaller, but has an unfortunate button, right where your nipple would be. Like that protrudes kind of far. So whoever thought of that, like, I don’t know, but it’s much smaller. It has like, you can only fit four, maybe five ounces in here if you’re lucky. So I know that’s a big complaint for people. It’s kind of a different situation. It’s much lighter.
Here, hold them. Oh yeah. By like half, half as much. I liked the Elvie more because I was like, this doesn’t feel like I’m putting rocks in my bra. This is funny. The button right on the front is funny because when you put it in your shirt, it looks like you got hard nips and giant boobs. So it’s like a hundred percent. Elvie, hands-free the porn star pump in you.
Yeah. But here let’s see. I like some things about this pump and I don’t like some things. I will say I liked it better than the Willow. Just let’s I’m going to be honest. Okay. At the end, can you list them in order of favorite to least favorite? I’m going to have to try it. Okay. So, but let me turn it on for you.
And we’ll see, and I’m going to open the app because you can control it from the app. Which makes sense, which makes so much sense. And I’m just every time, I’m like Willow, what are you doing? Okay, go to controls. You can do everything from the app as long as you turn this on. As long as they turn what on? They can’t see. Your pump.
Okay. So this is the, the massage mode. Quiet. It is quiet. It’s right up to the mic as close as I can get it. It’s a little clip clopy if it’s right in your ear. Okay. So now I will turn it on expression mode.
It’s actually a really satisfying sound. It is. I like it. This is the most discreet wearable motor pump thing I’ve come across. You know what it sounds like? When you get a brand-new car and you put your blinker on for the first time and it’s that like really nice soft blinker sound in your car.
So let me see. So this has two modes, right? Seven levels of suction. Here’s the big complaint with this pump. A lot of people think it does not have enough section. I tend to agree a little bit. It has, I would say more vibration than the Willow, the Willow’s kind of like straight suck nonstop. Like she’s your no holds soldier.
Okay. Just keep sucking. Smoke them if you got em Willow. Right. What I like about Elvie is basically, as soon as it senses your let down, it changes from massage to expression and it doesn’t take very much milk. Basically, once you start having almost any milk, it changes. It has a little sensor on the bottom, which mine is dirty.
I didn’t clean it very well. That little black part on the bottom though. Hold on. That sense is how much milk is in the cup. It is wildly inaccurate. Okay. The Willow is much more accurate when it comes to estimating how much milk is in there. This thing will consistently tell me I have four ounces when I have one, whatever.
What do you mean it tells you? In the app? Yeah. In the app. The app is like, here’s how much you pumped, which is nice cause you can’t see it. Oh yeah. This however has a million parts compared to the Willow. The Willow has three basic parts when you’re using the bag. This has 1, 2, 3, 4 ,5. And then if you have any inserts, that’s like another part.
What do you mean insert? Like flange inserts. If you’re adding aftermarket inserts to this, you have to cut them because the hole that provides suction is really far up the tunnel. It’s right. Where do you cut them? So most of the inserts will go past this little hole. It’s right there. Oh, so you just have to chop them short.
So that’s something to be aware of. Does that hurts your nipple? No, but if you have elastic nipples, this is a short tunnel. Okay. You’re going to end up with the weird mushroom nips and they’re going to hit the end. There are, I have seen lots of ways to hack this with other pieces, like putting like the Legendairy flanges in, and that makes the tunnel an extra like half inch longer, or even figuring out the Pumpin Pals ones in there.
I mean, guys, if you can think of mashing two pumps together, somebody else has already done it and made a YouTube video. Okay. Sounds good. Here’s the thing that people hate about this pump mostly. It is finicky as shit. You need to put these pieces together all exactly right. Like when you’re putting the bottle on and it has the little duck bill.
If this little piece is overlapped in there, it’s not going to work. It’s gotta be up above there. If this little backflow protector isn’t perfectly on, or if it’s wet at all, it’s not gonna work. So if you’re using the Elvie, taking an extra two minutes when you’re putting it together to make sure every single piece is totally dry and put together exactly right will save your ass.
Yes. That is definitely the biggest complaint that I’ve heard from clients is that the Elvie is very finicky. Yeah. Sometimes it just won’t suck. And I’ve had to just, I just stand there and I kind of like push all the pieces together again. And then it works. Yeah. I will say this plastic piece here, that clips into the back almost looks like, yeah, the flange itself, almost looks like one of those shoe structure supporters that you see at the shoe store, you know, like to keep your boots upright. Right. You know, and it’s just a, it doesn’t look like something I want to put my nipple in. It’s not, I honestly, I don’t like these hard plastic flanges ever. Some people like them better than the silicone ones, but I feel like the BeauGen inserts are really good to have with this.
You sound so cool. I am so cool. BeauGen inserts. Like I missed out on this whole. They’re new. And they, I will have to grab them for you. Maybe I have some in here, but they’re basically just a very thin stretchy insert that only adds like a millimeter, but they’re a cushion. Oh. And they just make a lot of these hard plastic things, more comfortable. Which, which discomfort is it solving?
The one that I feel like it solves for when just like you’re feeling the base of your nipple and maybe a little bit of your areola, just get like sucked against the hard flange over and over, you know, like at some point some part of your nipple areola like it has to kind of come in and out of contact with that.
And it’s uncomfortable. But honestly, like I was shocked how well they worked and I will have to do a whole separate episode about all of the aftermarket inserts and cups and stuff cause it’s too much. That is too much. And I ordered new flange, two new. This is becoming a bit of an obsession. I feel well, I just ordered the LacTeck Motion Flanges and the Pumpin Pals.
So we could do another episode about things like that. Oh, nice. Yeah, you’re welcome. But I just, so I’ve had a number of experiences with different kinds of pumps and flanges where I just felt like there was a little bit of a pinching, no matter what I did. And the BeauGen inserts really helped me with that.
So I’m so, okay. So Elvie, it’s very discreet, both how it fits in your bra and the noise it makes. I like that you can control it from the app. Overall, I like the settings. I think they work pretty well for me. It could use more suction and it could use more capacity for some people and it could, it could be less finicky.
Thank you. It has a left right button on it? So the Willow, it, it tells you which one is left and right, because it has them identified in the app. The Elvie, you just press which is left and right and then it identifies them in the app. So, which I actually, I thought my Willows were broken when I couldn’t get that one to go into expression mode cause I hadn’t read the whole manual. And I also didn’t realize that they were labeled left and right. It’s just a lesson in reading the manual guys. And I was like, why is one just not working all the time? Wait, it’s the other one now, whatever. And anyway, read people, read people.
And you know, I will say about the Elvie, even though it only holds like four ounces, that’s a reasonable amount of milk. It is. Most people don’t pump more than that. However, it does shut off if it’s too full. And if you move too much and it hits the sensor, it’ll shut off. Yeah. The other big complaint people have is that these leak. I have not had that experience. I don’t know if it’s just cause I don’t ever pump that much. Like the most I’ve pumped in here is four ounces one time.
And it was, it was like I was in the car, so I wasn’t moving really. And you weren’t jumping up and down running code or anything. I have worn them to births before, but I haven’t like bent over backwards, you know, doing anything crazy. I’ve just done like regular, like slight bending and cause it just doesn’t feel like you want to bend too far.
So anyway, I will mention that like if you have a very active job and you know you have to pump during it and whatever, Willow doesn’t leak. Elvie maybe sometimes does. Okay. What’s next?
I’m going to do my off-brand colloquially called Momcozy. These are interesting. That looks interesting. Momcozy is just one brand name, but there’s a bunch of off-brand, but suspiciously, similar pumps that are all like probably made in the same company in China, whatever. It’s fine. So anyway, to describe it to you who are listening, it looks like a Legendairy cup. Pretty much exactly the same design as the Legendairy cup, except the pump is this little cubey do friend and it just pops right on the top. A cubey do friend? It looks like a speaker.
It looks like it’s like a tiny Bluetooth speaker. Yeah. It looks like a little square Bluetooth speaker that plugs into a Legendairy cup. Yeah. It’s about the size of my fist. A little smaller is that, so the cup fits about eight ounces, so it’s pretty large. And then the pumps do kind of stick out. If you wore like a baggy sweater, you could probably get away without people really seeing it much.
But it’s not discreet. And so this is another one where the vacuum is in the cup. Yeah, let me turn it on. She’s a lot. Okay. Okay. This is it’s massage mode. It does that freaky thing where it’s like, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck your soul out. It has five levels of suction. And then this is the expression mode.
Yeah, this is strong. Let me just say, this is strong. This is a strong pump, despite only having five suction levels and it is not strong on vibration. It just kind of straight suction. It’s not playing, it’s not here and you play with it a little bit. And I feel like it takes a lot for me to convince my body to give it milk.
Ooh, I like this. Yeah, this one has a silicone flange. You have a silicone flange, which I like, feels like I’d put something in there. Yeah, no, it’s actually comfortable. And it, you can fit other inserts into it too. And it just has one tiny hole at the top to pour the milk out and it doesn’t leak, except here’s the problem.
Let me show you. So with, there’s a bunch of cups that are designed this way, including the Legendairy cups, where the front of the cup is this silicone flange circle that you mush on there. When you’re putting it in your shirt, if it’s gets caught at all on your bra or your collar of your shirt, when you’re putting it in and it moves out of place just ever so slightly, then everything you pump will go right into your bra.
Oh my. And that has happened to every single person I’ve ever known who has used one of these pumps. Listen up pump brands. So yeah, it is very flimsy. So a lot of people who this is their main pump actually just take a piece of masking tape and tape the bottom so it doesn’t happen. And I’ve had it happen where I put it in and I swear it was fine, but like it moved weird in my bra and caught on it and then leaked.
So you do it like this, you pull this up, you pull the vacuum off and then you pour it out the top. You pour it out this little hole. Okay. Yeah. I mean, that is the biggest design flaw. I will say the suction thing, that’s individual. I know so many people who love the suction on this. I just feel like my nipples feel a little bit assaulted by it.
Like they want more massaging and less pulling. Okay. They want more vibration, less whatever that is. I wonder how people find out if they’re. They just have to try, which sucks. They ask their partners. They’re like, all right, now I want you to get on my nipple and I want you to purr like this, and then I want you to get on there and just suck, like you were sucking for your life.
And that’s how we’ll decide. Yeah. I wish there was a way for me to be like, if you feel like this while you’re breastfeeding, you like this. No guys, this is the shitty thing about pumping. But I will say this is cheap. Two of them was like $150 bucks. That is like the cheapest pump in bra wearable thing.
I would say I have Tupperware at home right now that is five years old, that has better, yeah, better top to bottom clipping in. What am I trying to say? Better ceilings? Better? Yeah. The seal on this, where the flange fits over the cup is just flimsy. This also feels like it would not be dishwasher safe.
I have no idea cause I don’t have a dishwasher. I wash all my dishes by hand. That’s why she’s better than us, you guys. It’s not a choice. It just literally won’t fit in my kitchen. I don’t know if it says they’re dishwasher safe or not. Like the Freemie cups are not dishwasher safe. I have the box over there if you want to look later.
But anyway, I, I like the overall design of the cup aside from that. And I will say when I have, like, I have used this pump maybe five times. I didn’t like the suction, but it has gotten a decent amount out. You know, it’s like, if I can relax enough through the part that I don’t like, which is that like third suck from hell on the, like a massage mode.
If I can stop cringing, when that happens, I actually do get a letdown. It’s okay. It works better if I use the like vibrating heaters that I put in, I usually have to use those with these. Vibrate, like the external vibrate, the LaVie or the Frida Mom or whatever. Hey, Momcozy sent us.
Momcozy has one now, too. And it’s nice. It’s very nice. I did a TikTok on it and it has three different warming settings and three different, or no more than three, like four ish, maybe five vibration settings. You gave it away didn’t you? I did. I had it for one day and a patient came in and had this horrible clog right in her nipple.
And I was like, and she had just come from the hospital, straight from discharge. So I was like, take it home, order me a new one, bring it to me next week. That’s great. Okay. One of the other downsides of this, I have to say is that it’s so top heavy. Yeah. So it sits in your bra a little bit weird. And I feel like if I sit it so the actual motor is in like, there’s my bra over it, then it pushes the whole thing toward my body from the top.
And it’s more prone to opening on the bottom. Oh, don’t like that. Whereas if I flipped, I like pulled down the top of my bra so it fits just under the motor, that fits tighter. But then it also kind of feels a little loosey goosey cause it’s top heavy without any support. Yeah. That’s interesting. Yeah. So you know, some good, some bad, but it is cheap.
As far as wearable hands-free pumps go. There is a new one that is like this called the Imani from Legendairy Milk and I think it’s actually FDA approved. I think a lot of these guys are not FDA approved. What does that even mean? I don’t know. People were freaking out about it on Facebook groups so I thought it was worth mentioning. I don’t know if it matters. The FDA doesn’t approve a lot of things that we use all the time. So anyway, if that matters to you. I, of course the Legendairy Milk one came out like right after I bought this one and I was like, oh. I kind of want it, but I didn’t get it. Someone give, send Maureen your one that you’re not using anymore.
Thank you. I did see though there was another person on Instagram who did a review between this one and the Imani one. She was like, they’re not identical, but they’re pretty similar. So I was like, okay, fine. I won’t buy it. Okay.
The last one I wanted to review is kind of a hybrid of the two systems we’ve been talking about. It’s the Elvie Stride, which is similar to like the Freemie Independence, where you have a pump with a hip clip and then tubes and wearable cups and that’s the system it comes with. Similar to the S9 also, right? Except the S9 comes with flanges and bottles. So you would have to buy the cups separately, but yeah, similar in that, it’s a little hip pump anyway.
So I’ll just let you listen for a second.
That’s the massage mode.
And this is the expression mode.
Kind of just sounds like a vibrator, guys. Like a really intense vibrator. Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s really quiet. It doesn’t do as much clicky stuff as the original Elvie. It has 10 levels of suction as opposed to the 7. However, I will say level 10 on this one and level 7 on the OG Elvie are not that different.
Okay. Good to know. It automatically switches from massage to expression after about two minutes, which I really appreciate because sometimes you’re sitting there pumping and you realize you forgot to switch. Yeah. And then you’re like, seriously, I’m moving for 15 minutes. I forgot to switch. I’ve been massaging for fifteen minutes and that doesn’t work for everyone.
This is a brand-new pump. There have been some glitches. It like literally just hit the shelves like three months ago or something. Insurances definitely approving it because insurance is covering it! It’s cheaper than the cups that have the vacuum in them. I forgot to tell you how much the original Elvies cost.
So let’s do a comparison here. So the original Elvies are about the same as the Willow. They’re like $500 maybe $550 and then this one is about $200. Yeah. Wow. Cheaper. I really like the cups on it actually. They are a much smaller, lower profile, a much lower profile. And they’re pretty simple to use and it has the same tubing as the Spectra.
Just saying. How does the cup compare to the Elvie cup that’s like in, to the original Elvie? To the original. It’s smaller and there’s no pump in it so it’s light, it’s just cup. I like not having a heavy thing in my bra when my boobs are already heavy and this pump is really small. It fits in, it’s smaller than my hand and it’s lightweight.
It fits on, you know, it has a little hip clip. My, the biggest complaint I’ve heard about this pump is just it doesn’t have strong enough suction, you know. But I feel like we’ve heard that about every pump. Yeah. And it, that, again, it’s a personal thing. Not everybody needs a strong section. I’ll say when I use this pumping, I feel like I get as much as I get with just about any other wearable cup.
Now I will say after trying a bazillion of these, I feel like, and after reading a lot of other people’s experiences on Facebook groups and on, you know, other people’s businesses where they review these too, it seems like for most people, they are not able to remove as much milk with a wearable cup or wearable pump versus the old-style flange bottle.
Wonder why? Not totally sure about it. I have a theory. Oh, tell me. My theory is, is that your supply does not like pressure in any way. And when you wear a cup in your bra, the bra is actually pushing the cup deeper into your chest wall and that’s how you actually stop a letdown and decrease supply is by pushing your breasts against the chest wall, which is why, just quick little aside, I prefer the Haakaa to the Elvie curve.
The Elvie Curve is $50 first of all, and it’s very structured and it goes in your bra. It’s really intense and it pushes against your chest wall and people don’t get as much out of it. The baby won’t kick it off, which is nice. Do you guys want us to do a review of all of those different stuff like that? Like the Haakaa lady bugs and the regular Haakaa and the Elvie? Let us know.
Cause I have a bunch of them and I’m happy to review them. Yeah, sure. But we’re not going to do it this time. I hear this though, because really with any pump, you need it to be very securely against your chest so that it doesn’t break suction. And if there’s too much in your bra now, most of these come with bra extenders, that’s fine and well, but you still have to have it tight enough that you don’t lose suction. Yeah.
Props to Elvie again for making this pump totally customizable through the app. You don’t have to touch the pump to make it work. You can just use your phone. Willow, get on it. Like that is such, anyway. It just seems silly that they have an app, but you can’t do that.
So yeah, like I, I like sort of like this pump again. I feel like this would be an okay part-timer but like I would not full-time pump on these. Okay. I’m going to ask. Number one, pump for people that just exclusively direct breastfeed most of the time, but when they need to pump at home, they’re typically pumping at home.
What’s your go-to? What’s your recommendation? Number one? Like how often are we pumping it? Like once a day. Oh, if we’re just doing it like once a day and you just need like a little bit of extra milk now and then for some stuff, like I would totally get a hands-free like China, cheapie, Momcozy knockoff thing.
Okay. Because it’s cheap. It’s easy. You can do the dishes while you’re wearing it. Like yep. Okay. Number one pump for people that work from home, but don’t have access to their baby all day? Yeah. If you’re going to be away from your baby for a long period of time out of all of these, I would choose the S1, the Spectra.
Okay. What about people that work at jobs where they’re up on their feet all the time for a long shift and will often do like three twelves in a row, like nurses or 24-hour shifts, like our fire Marshall friend, Michelle, you know, what about those? Yeah, that’s tough. So I have a hard time recommending any of the fully wearable hands-free pumps for a significant portion of people’s milk expressing, because I feel like all of them have the potential to lower your supply because they’re just not as efficient.
However, if you absolutely cannot take a break and can’t like, remove yourself from physical work, whatever, I would strongly consider like the Willow or Elvie situation, but it’s really hard to say what’s going to be better, but they’re expensive. Right? So you can easily do something like the Legendairy cups or the Elvie Stride cups with like the Elvie Stride pump or even the S9, like I can’t answer that. So complicated.
It sounds to me like there’s not going to be one pump for those people. I know. I think you are two pump people. I think you have the S1 or yeah, I think you have the S1 on battery for your break time. And then I think during those non break times you need the Elvie Stride or, yeah, probably cause it’s economical, first of all. And that’s what I do, right?
Like I, so when I’m in the car driving, if I have a long drive, I pump and I use wearable cups hooked up to my S1. If I am actually actively working a birth, I’m going to either use my Elvie Stride or my OG Elvie and bring my S1. So when I have downtime, which is like, it’s unpredictable, I don’t have a boss. I don’t have anyone who can take over for me.
If it’s a four-day labor, you know, it’s just me and my assistant and maybe another midwife. And so I’m going to have my OG my Spectra 1, my workhorse. And when I have downtime and I’m sure no one’s going to throw a baby out or hemorrhage, I sit down and I pump with that and I do full drainage.
And then right when I’m done, I put on my wearable cups, even if they’re not hooked up to a pump or if it’s not on and I keep them on, because I never know if I’m going to be able to take a break in two hours or if I’m even going to be like, Ooh, I know I can’t take a break now. I should go put a pump on.
So I just put them right on. I think people are really surprised to hear that there’s not one pump that’s going to work perfectly for them. I think it’s annoying because insurance companies seem to tell us what we should be doing, you know. And really, I think they’re missing the mark as far as like, yep. You should pick the pump that’s best for you.
And it’s like, okay, first of all, I don’t know what that is and what’s going to respond with my body. And also that these insurance companies are assuming that you are always the same doing the same things. And that’s just not true. I mean, I like the Elvie Stride for nurses, because they can run to a code and they’re not sloshing around everywhere and they don’t leak. And they can do chest compressions on somebody with that Elvie in their pocket and it’s going to stay.
You can run that tubing under your shirt and just put the motor on the back of your pants. But like, yeah, it’s not going to maintain a full supply if that’s all you’re pumping with. Sorry, it’s just not, you know, and I mean, same with like the Willow. I think a lot of people, once they have an established supply can make something like this work, but I’ve seen people who end up exclusively pumping and like, this is what they start with.
And I just feel like it never fully brings in a supply for them. It’s hard for me as a provider because when people come to me with their pump and they’re having supply issues and they’ve just spent money on a consult with me, and they’ve also spent money on all the lactation gold herbs and all the, all the cookies and they’re doing all the things.
And I’m like, I’m sorry, but you’re really, you need like an S1. I just told somebody that the other day where they got a Medela through insurance and I was like, can you afford another pump? Yeah, yes. Go get an S1. Yeah. Or can you rent the Symphony? The Medela Symphony pump from your hospital. Those are so great.
That’s what I’m saying. Like the model matters. Not like I hate all Medelas. The Medela Symphony I have a girl crush on like girling hard, love that pump. Is that why you want me to get one for the office? A hundred percent. So you don’t have to pack all your pumps. So I can just use that while I’m here.
Okay. Anyway, if you get one, I would love you forever. It’s fine. I already do though. I’ll do whatever you want, honey. But like, you know, Spectra makes like three other models of pumps. I mean, like, you know, it’s just even the Willow, like the gen one and two versus the three are different. They don’t do that.
They do something different with the massage to expression mode, not the same, like half an ounce or whatever. I don’t know. It’s tough. There are too many options and also not enough. Yep. So there you have it guys. There, you have it. I have no conclusive answers for you, but kind of what I’m hoping and all this is if you’re like thinking about pumps or maybe you tried one in the past and it didn’t really work for you is that you hear that there are options and they’re all different. And that there are a number of different things you should consider when buying a pump. That’s not just price and portability.
We also want to consider suction, vibration, battery life, how it fits for you, how it feels for you, where your nipples sit on your breast. Like, I think that’s a huge problem for me with these wearable pumps. And I found that they work better if I take a little tea towel friend and roll it up and stick it under the pump in my bra. Because I feel like when I stick it on my nipple and then I kind of pull it upright so it fits, I have so much breast tissue up here that there’s almost like a void in the bottom of my bra. That doesn’t work. Speaking of all this, I have to pump. So we need to wrap this up. Yeah. Wrap it up.
I know this was a lot of information, but it’s something that you all have asked us repeatedly to do. So I hope this is helpful. One thing we’re going to do is in the show notes, we will put a timestamp for each breast pump review. We’ll put a timestamp for each breast pump review. So if there’s one in particular that you want to go back and listen to, you can skip directly to that.
Yeah. I’m so sorry. I mixed up a couple of them in talking in comparison, but hopefully that will help. And you know, don’t just take my perspective as like the authority, because my boobs are not your boobs, you know? I would listen to our review, maybe read a couple of other reviews before you make a final choice, especially if it’s something like the Willow or the Elvie where you’re spending $500.
Although I will say, props to Spectra and Willow’s customer service, because I have had a lot of people who have had telehealth appointments with them where they get properly sized by a real human being or that pump. And if it’s not working, they do send them a brand new $500 pump. So, you know, it’s definitely like most customer service for these are pretty good.
So don’t forget if you’re having a problem, just call them. Yeah. Sometimes they do not even care what the problem is. They will just send you a new one. Yep. Exactly. And great. Thank you. Thank you very much. All right, everybody. It’s time to do an award. Okay. What are we doing today? Who gets one? Also I’m proud of you, Maureen, for doing all of these pump recon.
Thank you. I’m happy to do more if companies want to send us them, or someone has discounts or a pump they never used. So feel free to email us at MilkMinutePodcast@gmail.com. Thanks.
Maureen, tell me about that new milk storage option that you have. My Ceres Chill? Yeah, your Ceres Chill. What is that? It’s an amazing portable thermos you can pump straight into and with only a handful of ice, it keeps your milk cold for over 20 hours. So you’re telling me I don’t have to bring a cooler to work for my breast milk anymore?
Absolutely. It comes in a bunch of cute colors too. So listeners, if you want to get one, enter promo code MILKMINUTE15 when you purchase your Ceres Chill. Yep. That’s MILKMINUTE15 for 15% off your Ceres Chill breast milk storage option.
Today’s award goes to Cindy H. She says, my first son never wanted to latch. He hated the boobies. I don’t know who cried more, me or him. I ended up exclusively pumping and pretty much always supplemented because I never produced enough. Fast-forward to now, second baby is three months old and we are going strong with exclusive breastfeeding. It was definitely hard on my mental health trying to breastfeed the first baby, but this time has been a dream. Sure. It can be a lot to take on, but especially with COVID, I’m so grateful to protect little man.
And she posted a picture of the cutest little baby with headphones on and we are obsessed. It’s so great. I love it so much. And let’s see, what award should we give you, Cindy, for the amazing job that you’ve done?
And by the way, I love that people are choosing to work through breastfeeding issues a lot more persistently now because of the pandemic, because they are acknowledging basically as a culture, we’re acknowledging that breast milk is really, really good at helping prevent viral transmission with respiratory tract infections and help babies get better, faster and pass antibodies.
We’re going to give you the Antibody Empress Award. Oh, that’s cute. I love it. Cause you’re breastfeeding through a pandemic and it’s really hard work and you’re doing great for your little baby. You sure are. So we are super proud of you and thank you for being a part of our breastfeeding group, Breastfeeding for Busy Moms.
And yeah. I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Milk Minute Podcast. The way we changed this big system that is not set up for lactating parents is by educating ourselves, our friends, our families, and pump makers, pump manufacturers. If you enjoyed this episode or any other episode of the podcast, please consider contributing to us on our Patreon or helping us out by telling a friend.
Yes, we love it when you tell friends. The more the merrier. You can find out more about that on Patreon.com/MilkMinutePodcast and if you guys ever have questions, awards, whatever, you can email us at MilkMinutePodcast@gmail.com. Especially if you want to send me a pump. All right. Pump on people. Until next time.