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VI-B. Battery pump options Mag Mag


This article is from the Breast Pumps FAQ, by bweiss@cs.arizona.edu (Beth Weiss) with numerous contributions by others.

VI-B. Battery pump options Mag Mag

I have friends who've used the MagMag. I think it comes with its
adaptor (Gentle Expressions didn't) and as far as I know is quite
satisfactory, and I think is more comfortable as it comes with a soft
piece that fits to the breast (Gentle Expressions has a hard plastic
piece). Be warned that some people seem to find pumping very painful
(I didn't) and therefore don't do it.

I used the Gerber breast pump for the first few months, and then when
I returned to work, I rented a Medela pump (that did both sides at
once) for $1 a day. The Gerber one was fine. When people talk about
Gerber and MagMag they seem to think that they are comparable. You may
want to consider the Gerber because it can be bought at discount
stores like Toys R Us (they are cheap for non toy items).
Definitely go with the MagMag--I have one and it works great--if you
think you will use it for awhile, also order at least one spare of
each of the parts (except for the motor and adapter) because they wear
out with time--plus you will always have a clean set if you're in a
rush. I have also found that some plastic bottles can double as the
collection bottles--but you have to make sure they fit OK onto the
pump so there is no room for air to escape...good luck.
I'm sure you'll get lots of replies on this one. But, since you asked
specifically about the Mag Mag, I can at least give you my opinion on
it. I used it sporadically for about 5 months, just to freeze some
milk for emergencies and to let my husband feed Dylan once in a while,
too. The first time I used it, it hurt like hell. My nipples swelled
up incredibly and were very sore for two nursings afterwards.
Subsequent pumpings were tolerable, but I never was able to simulate a
let-down response with the pump alone. I would then have Dylan nurse
on one breast while I pumped the other. At least then, I would be
assured of a let-down. But, he then objected to the sound of the
motor (not *really* loud, but apparently loud enough to annoy him).

Apparently, there are much better pumps on the market than the MagMag.
Next time, I'll probably just rent a Medela. I think the key is that
if you find a pump that you like, or at least don't find too
uncomfortable, you're more likely to have a successful pumping
experience. If you end up with one you don't like, or one that is a
bit of a pain (like my experience with the MagMag), you might
eventually give up on pumping. For me, as a stay-at-home parent, it
wasn't a big deal since Dylan always got the "fresh" stuff on demand.
If you're planning on returning to work, the issue is much clearer.
My understanding is that the Medela is the closest thing to simulating
the actual sucking of a baby, which is quite different from the Hoover
style of the Mag Mag :-)
I used the MagMag with the AC adaptor. I was just great! I never had
any problems with it. In fact I bought two to make quick work of
pumping at the office! None of the pumps work *great* with batteries
but they're good to have for emergencies (like when we were stuck in
the car for 4 hours with no where to stop and *plug in* ;-). The
MagMag has a "pressure" valve so that you can keep the suction
comfortable. It has two sizes of nipple shields, too. You can use it
with one hand and the bottle is 2-3 oz. larger than most pump bottles
(only 4 oz) and I needed the larger capacity! I got the bag that's in
the catalog to go with it. I just used the old Playtex 4oz. nurser
bags with twisties to seal them. Don't go for the larger bags cause
some days, the kid won't finish and there you are stuck with half to
put down the drain!

Other pumps that I investigated were either too awkward physically,
not powerful enough, or had no AC,etc. Good luck in your search (and
with the pumping)!
I have heard that the magmag is effective but painful.
Ok, I'm going to name names here. I've compared the Medela Lactina
(with double pump kit) with the MagMag battery pump. Expressing takes
me about 20-25 minutes with the Lactina, while the MagMag took 35
minutes to empty one side only. The little motor on the MagMag takes
a good 2-3 seconds to make a good vacuum, so the pump cycle was about
twice as long (and in fact, I was almost as fast using the Medela
manually). Medela's claim of "faster pumping with a dual system" sure
holds true in my case.
We used rechargeable ni-cad batteries. My wife liked this because she
could use it anywhere, without having to find an outlet. We went
through two MagMags in about a year's worth of pumping. I could
probably build one from scratch, I've been inside of it so many times
to clean it out. It seems very sensitive to any milk which makes it
inside. Most times when it stops working, I open it up, and can't
even see anything, but a good cleaning of the pump diaphragm with a
Q-tip and soapy water makes it work again (both had this problem). We
also tried a cheap manual bicycle-pump-type model (don't remember the
brand) during the interim between MagMags (A drop destroyed the first
one). That was more trouble than it was worth. Near the end, she
just started hand-expressing, because it seemed less of a bother than
getting the pump out. What do MagMags cost? I think we paid about
$30 at one of the local discount stores. So I'd say we paid about
$30+$15+$30 for the different pumps. If you get a good recommendation
for a reliable pump that's a little more expensive, remember that we
spent about $75 going the "cheap" way, not to mention the hassle of
the periodic dis-assemblies. Good luck!
I used three different types of pumps (Magmag, Gerber, and Madela).
The all pumped the milk directly into bottles, and all three used a
the standard bottle thread. You dont need to use the ones they
include. The magmag bottle had a wide rimmed cup, but the lid had a
smaller opening that you attached the pump too. A standard bottle will
fit it.
I used a MagMag; it was ok. But if (or rather when) I'm in that
situation again, I'm going to rent a Medela -- faster, more powerful,
and can express both sides at once.
I bought the MagMag. It was no fun. I really sweated for 1/2 hour to
get out 4 ounces. Battery or AC, I tried them both... I ended up
renting a Medela electric pump. It pumps out both sides at once, no
sweat. In 1/2 hour I'd get 8 ounces.
I liked my mag-mag OK. Off batteries it wasn't too strong, but I only
used them in the car or other times when wall current wasn't an
option. This time I'm thinking of renting a Medela. I hear that
they're worth it (faster, easier) if you're pumping regularly, which I
was and expect to be again. They're definitely not portable, though,
so I'd think about buying the mag-mag as well if I didn't already own
For my first pregnancy, 3 years ago, I bought the MagMag so I could
have the A/C ad battery options. The pump was awful. It hurt, got
almost nothing out for your effort and was hard work.
I broke my right arm when my oldest was 5 months old, so I bought a
MagMag since I thought I wouldn't be able to use the Kaneson. The
MagMag just didn't work for me at all. It didn't have enough suction
to induce my letdown reflex. I ended up using the Kaneson with my
left hand. Mine cost about $15 on sale 4.5 years ago, so it's
relatively cheap to try out.
I had a Mag-Mag pump which I thought worked pretty well (although it
took some getting used to!) but which broke down after about six
I found a $40 Mag mag at a garage sale barely used for $8!!! I really
liked it alot. Be careful if you get it tho to release the suction
when it gets to be too much. The thing is pretty powerful. I didn't
like namuals but then again you could probablly say I'm lazy. I
wanted the manual at first, to work on my upper body strength but when
you're whipped from the first months of motherhood..... I guess it
just wasn't for me. :-)


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