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VI-E. Rental pumps Medela (classic)


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

VI-E. Rental pumps Medela (classic)

Okay. The Classic is a hospital-grade pump. It weighs about 20 pounds
(hence not very portable). It's the pump of choice for women with
hospitalized or premature babies (primarily because of letdown conditioning
with the noise of the pump). It's not a good choice for working moms
because it's big and heavy.
The best--i.e., smoothest--of all the breastpumps is the Medela.
Medela makes two types of rental units. The larger, heavy
cast-aluminum one, far too heavy to carry back and forth to work (just
getting it there once was an effort for me), has no other name than

Anyone with truly serious breastpumping needs--those with sick or
premature babies who cannot nurse, those whose nipples are too sore to
face putting them in the baby's mouth again until they heal, those
whose milk supply has declined and needs to be increased, and those
who have stopped nursing sometime in the last 13 weeks but wish to
begin again-- should get a Medela. Units may be rented from medical
supply houses. La Leche League can put you in touch with a
representative of the company if you wish (LLL is in the phone
directory in most cities, I believe). Sometimes your hospital can
supply one. Many large companies have a pump available for their
employees to use while at work.

The drawback to the Medinas is cost. Rentals start at $2 a day but go
down to $39 (US) a month if you keep the unit for four months or more.
This makes even the most expensive of the small hand-held pumps
economical in comparison. It is unfortunate that you cannot predict
in advance whether you will be among those who cannot use the smaller
pumps. Having the larger Medina is a wonderful luxury, though, if you
can afford it at all.

Renting a Medina can be necessary as an emergency measure when the
milk first comes in if the infant is not nursing well yet. Putting the
baby onto extremely engorged breasts can cause bruising that persists
for days or weeks. Be sure you have the information available on where
you can rent a Medela before you have your baby, in case this happens
to you. It's not a bad idea to go ahead and rent the Medela even
before your milk comes in, to ease the beginning of breastfeeding. You
don't want to pump much as this point, as you don't want your baby to
learn to prefer a bottle to you, but relieving the pressure can be
very helpful. I used a small syringe (without needle) to squirt milk
into my baby's mouth at first because he wasn't getting the idea at
all of how to nurse. (Bottles given him in the hospital caused him to
learn the wrong way--DON'T let them give your baby any glucose water
in the hospital! The sugar tastes just like the colostrum, so the baby
doesn't see why he should learn how to suck properly when the bottle
is easier.)
Depending on your needs, you might consider renting a Medela pump.
These are the big electric pumps that they use in hospitals. Not
handy to carry around. But if you are doing serious pumping, it's
really the only way to go. YOu can do both sides at once, without
having to do anything more than hold onto the bottles, which allows
for relaxation and good let down. I had very little luck with hand
and battery-powered pumps but have done very well with the Medela I
rent for home and the one I talked them into buying at work.
I believe that the BIG Medela sells for $1000. A friend and I bought
portable Medela (the Lactina) for $400 2.5 years ago. I had rented
the big Medela with my first child 5 years ago and spent $200 over 6
months so splitting the cost of the Lactina seemed reasonable (plus we
can sell it when we are done!).
One of my co-workers rented a Medela and after dithering about the
expense for a few months, I finally bought the kit last month and
tried it out. I wish I'd done it sooner. It takes the same amount of
time to pump (10 - 15 minutes), but I get more milk, my arms don't get
tired, and I can read while pumping. There are three of us using one
machine, so the rental expense is only $12.50 each per month.
Depending on how much you have to pay, buying one from your co-worker
might be a great deal, especially if you're thinking about having more

The main thing is to get a pump that works. I think being able to
pump both sides at once is a good idea. The Medela kits come in
single ($15) and double ($30), and the double kit is well worth it,
since you get more milk from both sides at once. (By the way, if you
do go with the Medela, shop around for the kit; where I live, the
hospital charges over $40 for the kit that a medical supply store
sells for $30.)


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