Why I Chose My Breast Pump

Why I Chose My Breast Pump

I work in the healthcare industry, so I am used to dealing with insurance and Durable Medical Equipment (DME) companies. Never before, however, have I been a patient. Now I get where the name comes from. Oh my.

Skip to the fun part. My insurance covers 5 different models of breast pumps. Based on the advice of many a learned woman, here are the conclusions I’ve come to (let’s see if I still agree with myself in 2 months).

Ameda Purely Yours Ultra™ Personal Double Electric Breast Pump with Tote & CustomFit™ Breast Flanges


What my insurance told me:

Ameda has Proven Airlock Protection™ Solid barrier prevents moisture in tubing to help protect breast milk from bacteria, mold and viruses while pumping. This product also features CustomControl™ Independent Speed and Suction controls that make it possible for mothers to achieve a multi-phase experience

  • Personal-use pump
  • Dual HygieniKit® Milk Collection System includes: (2) 25.0mm breast flanges, (2) diaphragms, (4) valves, (2) tubing, (2) adapter caps, (1) white connector for single or dual pumping
  • Ultra Suede/Faux Leather Stylish Tote
  • CustomFit Breast Flanges, (2) 30.5mm flanges and (2) 28.5mm reducing inserts
  • Cool’N Carry™ Tote: (1) insulated carry bag, (6) 4 oz. bottles with lock-tight lids, (3) cooling elements, Milk Storage Guidelines card
  • NoShow Premium™ Disposable Nursing Pads and Store ‘N Pour™ StoreMilk Storage Bags 2 pk Samples
  • AC power adapter

Advice I received:

One mom told me, “I’ve never had great supply but I get twice as much from the Medela than the Ameda.”

My thoughts:

Anything to “help protect breast milk from bacteria, mold and viruses” sounds good to me!

Let’s be real, I have no idea what size I’m going to need, but that two different size breast flanges are offered is sweet.

Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breastpump Starter Set


What my insurance told me:

  • Personal-use pump
  • 2-Phase Expression’ technology with one-touch let-down button
  • Adjustable vacuum settings
  • Compact motor unit in a soft bag
  • Compatible with Medela Battery Pack
  • Double pumping kit with: Medium (24mm) breast shields, 2- 5oz/150 ML breast milk bottles and power adaptor.

Advice I received:

I received the most feedback about this pump. I think it is just the most well known. Too many moms told me that they had problems with theirs (sometimes due to lack of maintenance on their part). I don’t know if that statistic is merely proportional to the others, but I’d rather not buy something with that much negative feedback.

My thoughts:

The only brand I had heard of before beginning my research.

I don’t want high maintenance. I’ve already got a baby to take care of.

Freemie Freedom Deluxe Set with HANDS FREE and Concealable Freemie Collection Cups


What my insurance told me:

  • Includes standard 25mm funnels and 28mm funnels, extra pump protection filter, and tubing connection kit
  • Pump connection kit allows you to interrupt and resume pumping at your convenience
  • Includes setup for single and double pumping
  • Pump vacuum is adjustable
  • Cups are made without latex rubber, BPA or DEHP
  • Each cup with integrated breast funnel holds 8 ounces of milk, and can be supported by a variety of ordinary or nursing bras
  • Breast Pump with 64-inch integrated power cord (120-volt AC)
  • Pump weight 3 pounds, 2 ounces

Advice I received:

I think it’s newer because there wasn’t as much information out there. The reviews I read on Amazon.com were more positive toward the idea than the reality.

My thoughts:

Looks sweet for pumping on the sly. I, however, spend my days working from home in various stages of dress (Wahoo for hot flashes, vomit in your hair, and all the other side effects of growing another person!), so it doesn’t seem necessary for me.

Hygeia Q Breast Pump with Tote Bag


What my insurance told me:

Hygeia is the only breast pump company endorsed by La Leche League International. Designed for long-term and frequent pumping needs where the mother has access to electric power. Mimics your baby’s unique suckling patterns.

  • All pump parts that come into contact with breast milk are BPA/DEHP free
  • Pump weight is approximately 2.8 pounds
  • One year non-transferable limited warranty
  • Independently Adjustable Speed & Suction Controls
  • Hospital Grade performance in a personal use pump
  • Allows For Double & Single Pumping
  • Closed system with a bacteriostatic filter to prevent contaminants
  • Includes tote bag

Advice I received:

Lots of love for this pump! One blogger points out that Hygeia “follows the WHO international code of marketing breast-milk substitues [sic],” which seem reasonable to me, and commendable in a for-profit company.

My thoughts:

It has “Hospital Strength” in the name, and I am a sucker for quality.

Aaaaaaand you are endorsed by La Leche League. ‘Nuff said.

Spectra S2 Hospital Strength Breast Pump


What my insurance told me:

  • Innovative features to fully support breastfeeding
  • Portable and stylish hospital-strength double breast pump
  • Super quiet and comfortable
  • Hygienic closed system
  • Designed to initiate, increase and sustain a milk supply over a long period of time
  • Gentle suckling action and massage mode to encourage speedy letdown
  • Adjustable suction strength and cycle speed, night light with two settings, timer and more
  • BPA- and DEHP-free
  • Double Collection Kit includes standard 24-mm flanges, two sets of tubing, two hygienic backflow protectors, two wide-neck collection bottles, two collection bottle caps, two slow-flow nipples
  • Weighs 4.1 lbs. and has a two-year warranty

Advice I received:

Also received high praise from many nursing mamas.

One mom mentioned that the Spectra came highly recommended in a low supply support group she belongs to. Considering all the women I know who have struggled with low supply, that’s something to consider.

My thoughts:

There are those beautiful words: Hospital Grade! “Quiet” and “hygienic” also make me smile.

Love that it has a mode for letdown.


It was a near toss up between the Spectra and the Hygea. Ultimately, the Hygea had more negative reviews and the Spectra had a two year (vs. a one year) warranty. Plus, it seems quieter than the Hygea. So Spectra it is!

Can’t wait to do a follow up post when babe is here and I can tell you how it works in my reality!

Edit:  I have only used the breast pump a three or four times – while my mother-in-law was in town so my husband could take me out for our anniversary. But I loved it! The best part was the ease of cleaning, especially the fact that the design inhibits milk from getting into the tube so you don’t have to worry about cleaning that! I had more discomfort while pumping than I do while breastfeeding, but it was definitely manageable and, it seems to me, unavoidable. I would give the Spectra two thumbs up!

What I’m Reading: “The Catholic Guide to Depression” and Mental Illness in the Family

What I’m Reading: “The Catholic Guide to Depression” and Mental Illness in the Family

A family member very close to me has bipolar disorder. Type II, which my doctor tells me is good, because that kind is less likely to be passed on to my babies. Which makes me nearly cry in relief, considering it runs in my husband’s family as well.

As a child, it wasn’t talked about, though. I just thought every grown-up took lots of medications multiple times a day. I distinctly remember the spending phases we were all subjected to. Hundreds of dollars spent on Beanie Babies which covered our shelves, valances, dressers, stair rail. The discovery of eBay and daily shipments of cake pans of all shapes and sizes that didn’t stop coming for months. In the days before Amazon prime, it was impressive. How many boxes of holiday decorations is normal? You mean 80 is a little excessive? But that’s only for Christmas! Scarier, more obvious symptoms were well hidden, popping up infrequently enough that we brushed them off as isolated incidents. 

When I got older, I saw that what I was exposed to growing up wasn’t completely normal. But I still didn’t really take note of this. Until my recent experience with counseling, which has, thankfully, brought up a lot. (You’d be surprised at how much you can forget. It truly is a defense mechanism.)

Now, how much is nature and how much is nurture I don’t know. But I was a the definition of a people-pleaser. One look of disappointment  as a child and I burst into tears, vowing to never do X again. That changed when, more recently, my family member crossed the line. A big, fat, red line that they were blinded to after so many years of decisions furthering the desensitization to reality. I had to stand up for the rest of my family, for myself, and for my loved one. And that was not pretty.

For the first time, I realized that this person was really sick. There was a list of diagnoses I didn’t even know existed. This person was disabled mentally and it was not something I could control or fight. I also realized that this sickness was not something I could let control me. I have had to make a lot of hard decisions. I’ve had to work my way through a lot of hurt and confusion.

What role, I asked, is God playing in all of this? With refutations of the problem of evil I am familiar. Physical evil’s presence makes sense to me in a fallen creation. Moral evil, too, has its place in realm of free will. But what is this? How responsible is my loved one for the pain this person causes? Can someone with such physiological abnormalities be capable of holiness?

A woman I know mentioned to me a few years ago that her husband was writing a book on depression. I didn’t think much of it at the time. I am so glad to have heard of it now.



You can find the book for sale here.

There is no pat answer that allows us to judge another person’s soul, in life or in the science of the medical realm. And we have to be careful not to conflate psychological problems with  spiritual ones or vice versa. But they definitely overlap because we are physical and spiritual beings and cannot live one life for God and church friends, another for our boss and colleagues, a third for our family… This person’s actions hurt me personally and have had ramifications far beyond, I’m sure, what they realize. But Dr. Kheriarty’s book, while more of a basic introduction to the topic, is helping me forgive my family member their harmful decisions, see them as a child of God whom He has destined for Heaven, and at the same time recognize that their illness is not benign and take the steps I need to be healthy myself, for my own sake, and that of my husband and children.

Beginning Again: Humility and Moving Boxes

Beginning Again: Humility and Moving Boxes

I took the things off the wall first.
I admit it.
except with nail holes
I know that I could have used this week of packing and moving as an opportunity to practice self-discipline, doing the hard task, first. The words from my weekly examination of conscience rang in my head, “Do I do my work when I ought (today, now), or do I deceive myself by leaving it for later, which is the same as not doing it at all?”
Aaaaaaand I ignored them.
I took down the plants I had hung, the aprons from the hook in the kitchen, the images of Our Lord and Our Lady, and then I started on the closet.
And when my husband, the man who packs each box the moment before loading it up on the day of the move, came home and seemed distressed over the walls with nothing on them and the floor with plenty on it, I did what any other God-fearing woman would do: I came up with an excuse.
“It helps motivate me!” I cried, as he laid down on the couch to rub his head without taking off his shoes. “I needed the inspiration to get going!” I lied through my teeth. And the humble, good man that he is, took the blame for overreacting and tried to get back in a pleasant mood for my sake.
As I was setting the table for dinner, I tried to come up with a way to rectify the situation. “Maybe I could put a few things back up while he’s sleeping,” I thought, nonsensically. “Well, he was overreacting,” I rationalized, selfishly.
And while he went dutifully to work on the bookshelf, Internally, eventually, I caved.
Come, Holy Spirit. Why is it that I seek favor in other’s eyes, to appear faultless, when You see me, when You are with me always and know my heart better than I? Especially when this pride causes me to hurt those around me?
The gulf between the dining room and the bookcase shrunk as my pride bubble popped. An apology and scrubbing the oven sound like a good way to begin again.
so we can be this happy
so we can be this happy
Minimalist WardrobeWHAAAAAT

Minimalist WardrobeWHAAAAAT

We are three days into February now, which means that, for those of us in sunny San Diego, winter is over. Although the nights still chill, this is the time of year that I can’t stand to wear my dark, wintry colors anymore. During the colder months, I get into a funk – the good kind – where color makes me gag and I instinctively reach for blacks, greys (grays, greys –  I can never decide which I like better), and olive greens. The thought of a coral or teal slipping into my outfit makes me mentally anxious and physically uncomfortable. Maybe it’s just a sign of a weak will, a poor ability to overcome my initial reaction, but don’t you sometimes face a situation that makes you literally cringe and turn away? An awkward scene in a tv show where you blush and hide under the blanket in embarrassed for the character, a food that you normally like but for some reason looks disgusting to you in that instant and you know if you eat it you will vomit, or a Sam moment a la Garden State where you just have to move your body because you were starting to feel a little too blah? Maybe the last one is just an undiagnosed case of Restless Leg Syndrome, but our bodies and our minds are freakily connected, and once my body senses the release of Jack Frost’s grip, I don’t even want to look at my winter wardrobe other than to put it away.

An unfortunate turn of events has taken place in my life, however; the combination of the season’s change, our imminent move to a new apartment (T minus 4 days!), and the recent flooding of my laptop screen with minimalist wardrobe ideas, plus a body that will shortly go from housing two persons to one-and-a-feeder is pulling my heart strings in all sorts of directions. How I want to de-clutter! How I want to simplify! Un-fancy, you are torturing me! I’d love to have one box for each season. OK, that’s 4. Buuuuuuuut, I’m pregnant. Meaning two boxes for each season. 4+4=8. And then there’s nursing. 4+4+4=12. I know you can and should overlap each “wardrobe capsule”, so each season/state of maternity won’t take up a whole box, but – and maybe it’s my pregnancy brain – this is overwhelming. And messes with my selective OCD (Who wants different sized boxes?! No one! That’s who!). What’s more, all my maternity clothes are dark colors! What am I supposed to wear right now?!? I’M GOING CRAZY!!

So last night found me on my floor with piles of clothes, hangers, and boxes threatening to consume me and with only some tape and a Sharpie to defend myself. I put all of my clothes except for two outfits (Why wear a new outfit every day when you don’t leave the house? Thank you, Spain; from you, I have learned much) into boxes. I then proceeded to ineffectively, though well-intentionedly, labeled said boxes with names like “winter/early maternity/maybe nursing.” Hopefully, my state of mind will be a little more clear on Sunday while unpacking.

goodbye winter clothes, goodbye apartment, goodbye boxes
Goodbye, winter clothes. Goodbye, apartment. Goodbye, boxes. Wow, I need to learn some photography skillz or this blog is gonna be boooooring.

Or I could just remind myself that our new closet has a lot of hanger space and no room for boxes, so I’m just gonna need to hang it all up anyway.

That would save me a headache.