Breast pumps are often sold at hospitals, baby supply stores and the baby supply sections of toy stores. They are also available at many online retailers. If you buy a breast pump online, make sure you are buying from a reputable source. Also check the store’s return policy and customer support statement before you place an order.
Before you buy a pump, check the manufacturer’s website or review the instructions on the box. Make sure you can easily assemble and use the breast pump. Keep in mind that if you buy a pump and decide you do not like it, most stores will not allow you to return it for health reasons.
A certified lactation consultant may be able to help you decide which breast pump may be right for you. The International Lactation Consultant Association’s website offers a directory on their website to help find a lactation consultant near you.
Renting a Breast Pump
An alternative to buying a pump is to rent one. Many hospitals, lactation consultants, and specialty medical supply stores rent breast pumps that are safe for multiple users (sometimes referred to as hospital-grade pumps). These pumps are designed to decrease the risk of contamination and each renter is required to buy a new accessories kit that includes breast-shields and tubing.
Please note that the term “hospital-grade pump” is not recognized by the FDA and there is no consistent definition for this term, so individual companies could mean different things when they label their breast pumps as hospital-grade.
If you are considering renting a pump, ask for references from a trusted health professional such as your doctor, your baby’s doctor or a certified lactation consultant. Also check with your local Better Business Bureau and the device manufacturer before renting a pump to ensure that the rental company is reputable and the breast pump you will be renting is safe for multiple users.
Used Breast Pumps
Only breast pumps that are designed for multiple users should be used by more than one person. With the exception of multiple user pumps, the FDA considers breast pumps to be single-user devices. That means that a breast pump should only be used by one woman because there is no way to guarantee the pump can be cleaned and disinfected between uses by different women.
Breast pumps that are reused by different mothers can carry infectious particles, which can make you or your baby sick.
Buying a used breast pump or sharing a breast pump may be a violation of the manufacturer’s warranty and you may not be able to get help from the manufacturer if you have a problem with the pump.
Programs to Help Pay for a Breast Pump
During the prenatal care period, contact your private health insurance company to determine what assistance is provided for breastfeeding and breast pumping equipment, including the assistance of a certified lactation consultant or breastfeeding clinic for supportive care.
Some state health departments offer programs to help women purchase or rent a breast pump. For more information on the programs offered by your state, contact your state health department.
Some women may also be eligible to receive assistance with breastfeeding supplies, such as a breast pump, through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. For more information, contact your state’s WIC representative.