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How to Choose a Breast Pump

Find out what features are right for your breast pumping journey.

How to Choose a Breast Pump

There’s no way to describe what it’s like to use a breast pump for the first time. It’s not a fun task, hooking yourself up to a machine and, well…now you kind of know how cows feel, right?! But despite that commonality, pumping varies from woman to woman, and each pump offers different things based on different moms’ needs. Some are more basic and best for pumping part time, while others offer as many technological options as the newest smartphones.

Knowing what fits your lifestyle is essential before picking up a piece of machinery that can cost several hundred dollars. To help us figure out the differences between all the breast pump options on the shelf, we reached out to the digital health care experts at Maven Clinic, who introduced us to lactation consultant Leigh Anne O’Connor. Below, she walks us through the 4 questions you should ask when choosing the best breast pump for your nursing journey.

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1. How often will you use the pump?

If you’re going back to work, you’ll be pumping a couple of times every day. If you’re staying home, then you may be an occasional pumper, if at all. If you’re a working mom, your best bet is a double electric pump, which provides you maximum power and the ability to pump both breasts at the same time. If you’re not going to be pumping that often, a simple hand pump or something like a Medela Swing would suit your needs and not break the bank.

2. How much are you willing to spend?

Keep in mind that cost isn’t a huge issue. Price doesn’t equal function. Sometimes you may be paying for bells and whistles, and it’s up to you if you want, or need, all of that. Hospital grade pumps are known to do the best at pumping, and they can be the most expensive. You can rent one from your local hospital or pick one up online. They usually feature an LCD screen that shows you what speed you’re pumping at.

3. What bells and whistles might enhance your pumping experience?

The bells and whistles vary depending on the pump you buy, and there are even extra accessories out there that can enhance your pumping experience. Speed and suction are two of these, which can be important since different women respond to these functions in different ways. Many moms find that the “let-down” feature (which automatically changes sucking speeds) on the Medela Pump In Style is important for them, while others find that it’s not something they truly need. Hands-free pumping can make life easier, whether you’re working or not, so investing in a hands-free pumping bra is a great idea. This is an item that once you have it, you don’t know how you did it without one!

4. What does your insurance company cover?

Insurance companies covering breast pumps can be tricky, but there are ways you can see if you’re covered. Everyone’s insurance plans are different, so speak to a rep and find out if a pump is covered and if so, where and how you purchase it. Sometimes there can be restrictions, such as certain types, brands and even a cost cap. If you’re unsure if your insurance will cover it and how long it may take to get one, don’t wait. This can be a “make it or break it” situation and if a mother absolutely needs to pump, she should get a pump, or rent one, as soon as possible to avoid losing her milk supply. To possibly avoid this, check with your insurance and work on purchasing the pump of your choice while you’re still pregnant.

Illustration by Talia Handler.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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What you need to know about President Trump's Supreme Court pick

The President has reportedly selected his third SCOTUS nominee.

President Donald Trump has chosen his third pick for the Supreme Court—and he picked a mom.

The New York Times reports President Trump is choosing Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee. An official statement is scheduled for Saturday.

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