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Ultimate Guide to Wearable Breast Pumps for Busy Moms

This week I met a mom nursing her 6 week old daughter, while her toddler daughter played nearby. We talked about breastfeeding, birth, toddlers, and everything in between. Her baby’s latch is not great and nursing is painful, but they are going for a lip tie revision consult this week, which should help. In the meantime, she makes sure baby is still getting milk by mostly pumping and feeding bottles. I found it interesting that she owns and uses multiple pumps. She has her Spectra S1, her MomCozy wearable pump (actually two different models of this -- one from the first baby, one from the second), as well as a manual pump. She had great things to say about her MomCozy wearables -- which she uses with a flange insert purchased off Amazon for a better fit. More and more moms I talk to swear by their wearable pumps -- an option that wasn’t even available until quite recently -- and I love that it provides more options and flexibility to fit breastfeeding and pumping into real life.


Electric and Manual Breast Pumps

Until recently, if you were a pumping mom, you were likely tethered to a bulky pump plugged into an electrical outlet. Even if your pump had battery power you couldn’t move around too much without lugging your pump with you. So you were likely stuck in one spot for 15-20 minutes each session (assuming you pumped both sides at once/longer if you pumped each side separately). Yes, there are manual pumps which can be helpful on-the-go, but these still require sitting in one spot, using both hands, and can take longer to get the same amount of output. If you're trying to work or take care of one or more kids, this is not ideal.


Enter: the wearable pump.


Wearable Breast Pumps

Wearable pumps for breastfeeding moms offer a convenient and discreet solution for milk expression. Designed with the busy lifestyle of modern mothers in mind, these innovative devices fit comfortably under clothing, allowing moms to pump on the go without interrupting their daily activities. Whether at work, running errands, or taking care of children, wearable pumps provide the freedom and flexibility that traditional pumps often lack. With features like silent operation, hands-free functionality, and customizable settings, it really is a gamechanger for how breastfeeding moms manage their pumping routines and lifestyle. These pumps not only support mothers in maintaining their milk supply but also empower them to balance their personal and professional lives with greater ease.


In addition to their practical benefits, wearable pumps are also designed with user comfort in mind. Many models come with soft silicone shields that reduce discomfort and promote better milk flow. The goal is to have suction that is gentle yet effective, preventing potential issues like clogged ducts or nipple pain. 


Choosing the right flange size

The silicone inserts for wearable pumps come in multiple sizes. Just like with any pump, it's important to fit your nipple to the proper flange size. Flange size can make or break the effectiveness and comfort of using a breast pump. When you work with a lactation consultant, this is something they can help with figuring out.


Portability

Wearable pumps are portable, which means moms don't have to stay stuck in one place with a pump anymore. They can now freely move around and do other things while pumping milk. This added flexibility can really help cut down on the usual stress and time limitations that come with traditional pumping.


Smart features and apps

These devices are also equipped with smart features, such as app integration, which allows mothers to track their milk production, pumping sessions, and even receive personalized tips for enhancing their breastfeeding experience. The app features are a nice-to-have, moms can get insights about their output and make informed decisions about their pumping and feeding schedule.


Wear them under your clothes

Let's face it. With traditional pumps moms can feel pretty exposed. Even with pumping bras, which can help with feeling and looking a little more discreet with your shirt off, there are bottles sticking straight out from your chest. It's awkward. Many wearable pumps have a sleek design that lets you wear them under your regular clothes without anyone even noticing. It's a game-changer for moms who want to keep things discreet and feel confident. This is super important, especially in public or work settings where privacy matters.


Overall, wearable pumps are a big step forward in supporting breastfeeding moms, giving them more freedom and flexibility for incorporating pumping into their life. As this technology evolves, it's set to revolutionize the breastfeeding experience, making it more convenient, enjoyable, and accessible for moms everywhere.


The downsides of wearable pumps

Some moms report that their wearable pump doesn't have the suction power of their traditional electric pump, or they don't feel it drains their breasts as effectively. It is possible a different model or flange insert could help with this, but it's important to recognize that wearable pumps may not be the solution for every mom, or maybe not a full solution for all pumping situations.


Wearable pumps do not replace the need for paid maternity leave

I also worry that if we adopt the mindset of "wearable pumps make pumping more convenient and allow women to continue producing milk even when they return to work and have to be away from baby" we lose focus on a very real issue -- moms should have the option to take a reasonable, paid maternity leave and not have to juggle pumping and working and being away from baby before it's developmentally appropriate. The mom-baby nursing relationship is more than just milk transfer. Yes, pumps of all types helps get more breastmilk into more baby tummies in more situations, which is fantastic. But our true north should be supporting families in a way that promotes mom-baby closeness and on-demand nursing for as long as possible.


Does insurance cover wearable pumps?

Maybe. Most insurance companies will cover one breast pump per pregnancy, so some pumps are covered partially or fully. However, wearable pumps like Elvie are sometimes considered upgrade items, meaning that an additional out-of-pocket cost will be required. Keep in mind if you go with a combo like the the Spectra S1/S2 (typically covered by insurance) and just buy the Freemie cups to attach to it, that is a workaround. (This is not a truly portable option, but it is hands-free). Also, you can use HSA/FSA funds to cover wearable pumps and replacement parts. With all pumps, you will be responsible for replacement parts even if insurance covers the initial purchase of the pump. All of this being said, it's important to check with your specific insurance company/plan to see exactly what benefits you receive related to breastfeeding equipment (which falls under "Durable Mendical Equipment (DME)", classes, and lactation support services. Find out when you can purchase your pump and from which supplier, to ensure it's covered, in addition to which pump models you can choose from.


Popular wearable pump models

Below are the top-selling brands of wearable pumps and their advantages and disadvantages. See one you're interested in? Click the image caption to view on Amazon for pricing and details.




Momcozy Pump

Advantages:

  • Budget-friendly option with good performance.

  • Easy to assemble and clean.

  • Lightweight and portable.

Disadvantages:

  • Battery life may not last as long as other brands.

  • Suction power may be less effective for some users.

Willow Pump

Elvie Pump

Spectra S1/S2 with Freemie Cups

Freemie Liberty


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