Exclusive pumping, Eping or Extreme Pumping may sound like some sort of new craze breastfeeding sport. You’ll be happy to know it’s simply the term used for mums who use a breast pump to express all their babies feeds. This way the baby is getting breast milk but through a bottle rather than directly from breast.
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Best Breast Pump for Exclusively Pumping
Exclusive pumping is very time consuming for a mum. It is possible to use a manual breast pump, however I can’t promise you’ll keep your sanity. The criteria we’ve based our choice on are efficient, double breast pumps with a long lasting motor. Some of these pumps are a little on the expensive side.
We highly recommend investing in a good quality pump particularly when exclusive pumping. This is our top picks:
1. Spectra S1
Spectra design their breast pumps with hospital grade motors but for personal use. This makes them the obvious choice for an exclusive pumper, particularly if it’s long term. The Spectra s1 has a motor life of 1500hrs, which means if you exclusively pump at least 8 feeds every day this pump will last almost 2 years.
With a maximum suction of 320 mmHG which is much stronger than even the Hospital grade Medela pumps which have a max of 250mmHG. We love that this pump always rates highly for how quiet it is, which is a nice surprise for such an effective motor. Another great feature is that the pump runs for up to 3 hours on full charge when used with the battery option. If you will most likely be using the pump at home whilst sitting down to relax, then we suggest this model as your first option.
2. Medela Freestyle
This pump is out top choice if you’re one of those people who is always on the go and dislikes sitting still for too long. The Freestyle was specifically designed by Medela for exclusive pumping. It’s an extremely efficient pump which can use as a double or a single pump. Surprisingly its really small for the efficiency it gives when pumping, and that’s so you can carry it around easily.
Couple this pump up with a hand free pumping bra, which you need to buy separately. You will free up so much time to get those other important day to day tasks done. This is one of the few breast pumps on the market to come with not only a cooling bag for storing milk on the go but a carry bag to hold your pump, and it’s surprisingly stylish.
3. Ardo Calypso Double Plus
This pump has only been on the market for a short time and is already multi- award winning. It ticks all the boxes for tailored comfort levels with its 64 combinations for speed and suction strength. This pump is our top choice for mums who are looking for a high quality pump at a good price.
Keep an eye out for great deals on the Calypso double plus as various online can get you a real bargain. The best part is that you get lots of accessories, including various breast shield sizes, so no extra expenses to ensure you get the best fit.
Hiring a Breast Pump
If you want the efficiency of a top quality pump but only require it for a short period of time then consider renting a Hospital grade pump . If you are on a tight budget ask your midwife or Health Visitor about any schemes available in your area to help with the cost of hiring a breast pump. These are our recommendation for breast pumps to hire:
You only have to read the reviews for the Ameda Elite to see that it’s one , if not the, best options when hiring breast pump. Not only is it cheaper to rent than other brands or models , but the Ardo team are extremely helpful with quick service. All pumps are delivered straight to your door and can be arranged over the internet or on the phone. The pump is available to buy but it’s extremely expensive.
If you want to know more about hiring the Ameda Elite or their sister model the Ardo Carum then check out the Ardo Website.
This is a highly effective breast pump, It’s very easy to set up and the dials are easy to control. We recommend this pump if you have a premature baby as it is often the model used by hospitals. Medela hospital grade pumps are their only ‘closed system’ model, making them more hygienic. This means your milk will not come into contact with any machinery and only the disposable tubing and collection bottle.
If you want to know more about hiring the Medela Symphony you can search their map which will show you the nearest places to rent the pump in your area.
Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk FAQ
Why do mums exclusively pump?
There are lots of reasons why a mum may not wish to put her baby directly on to the breast including problems with babies feeding, problems with mums breasts or nipples, health problems or simply through personal choice. For most pumping mums the extra effort is worth it so that baby still gets breast milk as an alternative to switching to formula.
Exclusive pumping is a lot of hard work, as it has all the hassles of pumping and formula feeding. Our top tip to surviving exclusive pumping is to get yourself into a good pumping schedule and it will just become part of your daily routine, like changing a nappy.
How often would I need to pump?
A newborn baby will feed around 8-12 times a day, so you’ll need to pump enough to meet this demand. This usually means expressing every 2-3 hours for around 15-30 minutes each time. This may mean that 3-6 hours of your day needs to be dedicated to pumping when baby is a newborn. Pumping this frequently is important to maintain your milk supply. A breast pump won’t be as effective at emptying your breasts as a baby. Pumping overnight is also important. This is when your hormone production (prolactin) is highest and ensures your milk supply stays high. Try to set a realistic schedule to pump. Allow for times when you may be held up away from your pump. As your baby gets older the number of feeds will reduce, so will start to get a bit more freedom from the pump.
Do I need a special breast pump?
Ideally if you are exclusive pumping then you need to invest in a good electric double pump. Double pumps are the secret weapon of keeping a great milk supply when expressing milk, as it tricks your body into producing more though supply and demand logic. See our recommendations for breast pumps below. It is not recommended to buy a budget pump for exclusive pumping as the motor will quickly burn out and you’ll be replacing it within a few weeks.
Do I need any special accessories?
Other than a breast pump, you’ll need all the usually equipment that is required for bottle feeding. You may want to invest in:
- Bottle cleaner
- Storage bottles/ bags
- Freezer bags
- Pump carry bag
- Bottle cool bag
- Hands free bra
When it comes to teats you may want to use regular bottle teats to keep expenses down. You also have to option to invest in some specialist teats. These help your baby to mimic the suction of breastfeeding. Check out our guide to the best bottles for breastfeeding babies.
How much should I pump at each feed?
Do not follow formula volume guidelines when using expressed breast milk. A breastfed baby will need less than you would give in formula. Breast milk is nutritionally complete for baby and meets their needs with less.
There are fantastic milk calculators available from at the links below which will help you to tailor volumes to your babies needs:
Babies usually reduce their breast milk consumption around the 6 month mark. This is when they begin to eat solid foods so you should be able to drop a few feeds by this stage.
Where can I read more about exclusive pumping?
You may feel like your alone with the decision to exclusively pump. It’s a baby feeding choice which is still quite alien to the UK (even amongst professionals). You’ll be happy to know there are support groups out there for women just like you. I found the the babycentre ‘pumping mummies’ group to be an invaluable source of information whilst pregnant and in the early days. Be sure to check it out as you’ll find a lot of women in your position. They are more than happy to help answer any questions you have, no matter how ‘big’ or ‘small’.
Mama Milk also highly recommend the book ‘Exclusively Pumping Breastmilk‘ by Stephanie Casemore. It’s crammed full of advice for exclusive pumping mums right from making the decision to EP until you decide to wean baby.
Remember you can do this!
It’s hard work to exclusively pump, but the benefits to baby are immense. Positive thinking plays a huge part in increasing milk supply when you’re a pumping mum.
If your an exclusive pumping mum, we’d love to hear your tips for other mums in the comments below.