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limerick breast pump 


Having a reliable and effective breast pump makes pumping less miserable and helps maintain a mother’s milk supply, if she needs to be separated from her baby or if the baby has difficulty latching or sucking properly. If I were buying one breast pump today, I’d buy—or even better, request my health insurance cover—the Limerick PJ’s Bliss Standard, because it’s effective, comfortable, and quiet.

After 33 hours of researching 55 models of breast pumps and testing 14 of those models (nine electric; five manual) for a total of 18 hours over the course of seven months (including one 800-mile move for this family of five and my very first bout of mastitis!), as well as interviewing two International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) and several representatives of breast pump manufacturers, we found that the Limerick PJ’s Bliss Standard sucks–in the absolutely best possible way.


Expectant moms who anticipate they will regularly need to be away from their baby within the first year of life. For many moms, hand expression of milk is a viable (and free!) alternative if they would only need very occasional access to a pump. (Here’s an excellent but NSFW video showing an effective technique for hand expressing milk.) However, there’s no question that having a reliable pump (either manual or electric) on hand can ease a new mom’s anxiety about the potential need to be away from her baby, either so that she may pump milk in advance of her absence (especially if baby is still feeding every 2-3 hours) or to relieve engorgement upon her return, if baby is asleep. Additionally, some parents may feel it’s helpful for mom to pump a bottle so that her partner may participate in a feeding. And then there are the times when a mom has sore nipples and pumping and bottle-feeding is an interim solution while nipple pain gets resolved or baby’s latch improves with the help of a lactation consultant. In short, there are plenty of times when a pump may be useful, even if a new mom isn’t planning to return to full-time employment or leave her baby on a regular basis.

For moms who are struggling with low milk supply or those with premature babies or other situations where baby is not yet an effective feeder, Kate Sharp, an NYC-based IBCLC, would recommend renting a heavier-duty hospital-grade pump. The good news is that breast pumps are now covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act, so moms should expect and demand that this pump be covered. However, despite the new healthcare law, insurance companies have interpreted their obligation to nursing mothers in a wide variety of ways. You can check out how well your insurance company has served nursing moms by referring to the National Breastfeeding Center’s Breastfeeding Policy Scorecard. Moms can also reach out to breast pump manufacturers for help dealing with their insurance companies.



Before moving into the details of breast pumps and our testing, it may be helpful to have a bit more background on breastfeeding and milk production. It seems pretty miraculous: the idea that not only can a woman’s body grow a baby inside of it, but that once that baby is born, its mother’s body can continue to sustain its life solely through breastmilk. Being a mammal is pretty cool.

Pregnant moms may notice some leakage from their breasts as early as halfway through their pregnancy. (But don’t worry if you’re not leaking; that’s no reflection on whether your breasts are preparing for your baby’s eventual arrival!) At this point in time, milk production is driven by hormones (and not the supply-and-demand we often hear about when discussing breastfeeding), and a mom’s breasts are producing a thick yellow-ish fluid full of antibodies and immunoglobulins called colostrum. Available in small quantity (to match baby’s marble-sized stomach) in the breasts until a mother’s mature milk comes in (usually 2-3 days after birth), colostrum is important as a baby’s first food, as it is extremely nutritious (often referred to as “liquid gold” because of its golden color and value to the baby) and easy to digest; it also has a laxative effect for newborns, helping them to pass their tarry first stools known as meconium and thus expel bilirubin, all of which helps to prevent jaundice.

At birth, the delivery of the placenta causes a sudden drop in progesterone/estrogen/HPL (human placental lactogen) levels, and when progesterone levels drop when prolactin levels are high, this cues a mother’s body to begin full milk production, which may lead to a feeling of engorgement when a mom’s mature milk initially comes in. Luckily, shortly thereafter, control over milk supply shifts to supply-and-demand, so that feeling of engorgement should subside, as baby nurses frequently (8 to 12 times per 24-hour period) and empties the breast.

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