When Should You Get Your Breast Pump?

Getting ready to welcome your baby to the world takes a lot of preparation. You need to get the nursery ready, make sure you have the necessary supplies, and get any appliances set up so you understand how to use them ahead of time. One questions that many women ask themselves during this process is about breast pumps. Since you won’t need it until after deliver, when should you get your breast pump? The answer varies and often depends on your insurance provider, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with everything ahead of time.

The Benefits of Using a Breast Pump

While you might think you won’t need a breast pump because you plan to nurse exclusively, it’s always a good thing to have on hand. Breast pumping has many benefits and will help new moms get a well-deserved break. Some of the primary benefits of using a breast pump include:

  • More control over timing
  • Ability to share feeding times with your partner or caregivers
  • Assistance with milk supply issues
  • More breaks to catch up on sleep
  • Relief from engorgement
  • Returning to work

Having a breast pump allows you to supply your baby with vital nutrients and immune support regardless of if you’re getting some much needed rest, back in the office, or going out for date night. It doesn’t mean that you’ll have to stop nursing, so it’s a great tool to have as a new parent.

When to Order a Breast Pump

Realistically, you can order a breast pump at any time during your pregnancy. However, since you won’t actually need to use it until you’ve delivered your baby, most women wait until they’re around the 30th week. To avoid any problems or delays, talk to your insurance provider to determine your qualification for shipping and timing. Some policies require expecting mothers to wait while others will ship one within about 30 days of their due date. If you can, get it early so that you can familiarize yourself with how it works before you have a newborn to care for.

Finding a Breast Pump That’s Best for You

Before you order your breast pump, it’s important to take some time and consider which pump is going to be best for your lifestyle and needs. Some women prefer using a manual pump for more control while others want to be able to pump hands-free so they can work, read, or simply sit back and relax. For help in selecting a breast pump, make sure that you consider all of the different features of each brand.

Manual vs. Electric Breast Pump

The first thing you want to consider is whether or not you’ll want a manual or electric breast pump. There are benefits to each and many women choose due to personal preferences. Manual pumps are great if you’re only going to be pumping once a day or if you’re going to be with your baby most of the time. They’re portable and straightforward to use, giving mothers a greater range of control. Electric pumps are often the preferred option if you’re going to be pumping more frequently or are planning to return to work. It’s easier to build your milk supply with an electric pump since they expel milk much more quickly. Different electric breast pumps have different features, so make sure you do your research before choosing one. If you’re having trouble breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about the benefits of a hospital-grade breast pump.

Think About Convenience

If you’re going back to work, it will be beneficial to find a breast pump that you can easily use during your workday. There are plenty of great options for electric breast pumps that can be used hands-free, so you don’t have to take multiple breaks to manually express milk.  

Consider the Power Source

Some breast pumps need to be plugged in to an outlet to work, others come equipped with a battery pack. Make sure that you know what you need and consider the type of power source that will work best for you. If you don’t want to be restricted with an outlet, get a pump that runs on batteries.

Compare Weight and Portability

If you’re only going to be pumping at home, weight and portability won’t make much of a difference. However, chances are you’re going to want something that’s lightweight and easy to transport. Since portable pumps can still be used sitting down and relaxing, it’s a good way to make sure that you have options.

Look at Price

While it can be tempting to get a used breast pump to save money, avoid doing so. Breast pumps are intimate tools and buying a used one, even if it’s been thoroughly cleaned, still comes with a risk of transferring bacteria. Your insurance provider is required to cover some, if not all, of your breast pump. If you aren’t currently insured, look at your options for open enrollment. If that’s not possible, then price may be an important factor in your decision. Just remember, an efficient breast pump is a great investment for mothers-to-be and can help you get the most out of breastfeeding.

Closed System Pumps

While most manufacturers are making the switch to closed system pumps, it’s still important to double check. Open system pumps are more likely to leak and moisten internal parts, making mold and mildew growth highly susceptible. Double check that the pump you like is a closed system pump to avoid problems down the road.  

There’s no pump on the market that’s best for everyone. It’s all about determining your needs and what will work best for you. Each pump is geared toward different moms, so don’t feel pressured to get the same pump as your friend or relative. Everyone is different and that’s okay.

Getting a Breast Pump Through Insurance

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, health insurance providers are required to offer breastfeeding support, supplies, and any counseling to expecting or lactating women. This includes breast pumps. While your coverage will vary depending on your insurance provider and healthcare plan, you should be able to find at least one breast pump that’s covered completely, making it free of cost to you. Breast pumps are not applied to a deductible and there is no co-pay or co-insurance. If you find a breast pump that you like that’s not covered completely, your insurance provider may cover at least some of the total, drastically reducing your out-of-pocket cost. Be aware that there are limitations as well as exceptions to eligibility, so before you start looking, call your insurance provider to confirm your coverage and better understand the process you’re required to complete. During this call, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask about any qualifications you need to meet, whether or not you can rent a pump, when you’ll be able to order a pump, and your availability to hospital-grade pumps. The more questions you ask, the more information you’ll have. Plus, knowing what you’re eligible to receive before you start researching pumps can make the entire process more refined and less overwhelming.

Once you’ve gotten a better understanding of how your insurance provider works, it’s time to start looking at your options. Do your research on the different types of breast pumps available—there are hundreds currently on the market. Compare different models, look into unique features, and ask your friends or family members about their pumps. Think about your accessibility needs, noise levels, portability, and other important features discussed above.

When you’ve found a breast pump that fits the parameters of your insurance provider, it’s time to find a medical supply company. Make sure that you choose a reputable company like Byram Healthcare to ensure that you receive high quality products, seamless insurance support, with fast and reliable shipping. When you place your order with Byram Healthcare, you can expect to receive delivery within 4-7 business days depending on your insurance specifications.

When to Start Using a Breast Pump

If you receive your breast pump while you’re still pregnant, don’t start just yet. Pumping can actually induce labor so you should wait until the 37th week of your pregnancy unless your doctor tells you otherwise. You can technically start using your breast pump as soon as you’ve delivered your baby but remember that this is an excellent time to practice nursing and bond with skin-to-skin contact. If you have trouble nursing, ask your doctor about recommendations for a lactation consultant to help. When you’ve gotten the hang of things and are ready to share the feeding experience, start pumping and building up your milk supply.

Always check with your insurance provider about delivery times and when you find one you like, order it. While you won’t be using it until after your baby is born, it’s a great idea to get acclimated with all of the moving parts ahead of time. If you need any support or are looking to find the perfect breast pump through your insurance coverage, Byram Healthcare is here to help.