Breast Pump - to Buy or Rent from Hospital??

Updated on October 27, 2010
S.T. asks from Denver, CO
13 answers

So I'm due with my first baby in about 4 weeks and plan to breastfeed. I've heard differing opinions about buying a breast pump vs. renting one from the hospital? What are some thoughts from experienced moms out there? Is it worth it to spend 200-300 dollars to buy one or should I just rent? What's the difference? What are the hospital pumps like? help!!!!

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answers from Columbus on

Like Grandma T said (we seem to agree on a lot!) I waited until after my son was born to decide if I needed one. I went back to work when he was 3 months old so I bought a double Medela electric. It was worth it to me because I was under the impression that you can't just sterilize the tubes, you had to buy news ones which was going to be too much of a pain to spend the time to do it. Plus, we are going to have more children so it helped to justify the cost.

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answers from Atlanta on

I guess it depends on how much it costs to rent from your hospital, but it was FAR cheaper for me to buy one, and I bought a nice, electric Medela that cost around $260. Just to breastfeed for 6 months would have cost over double that from my hospital's rental! I wound up only doing it 4 months, but it was still cheaper. I was also able to sell it to a friend for $100 bucks, so I got that back out of it.

**I was also hospitalized a few days after having my first. The hospital pump I was given had a stronger pull, but it didn't yield any more milk than my pump at home.



answers from Washington DC on

Call your health insurance and see if they cover the expense of renting or buying a pump. Few people realize that most insurances do! You may have to have your dr write a prescription for it, but it could save you bundles and help with your decision.



answers from Denver on

Why you want a pump will really help determine what kind you need. If things are going well, consider a purchase. If you are having challenges, rent for awhile.

One thing I'd like to point out is that one difference between a pump you purchase for about $300 or less is a personal use pump. There ARE health risks with sharing or buying a used one of these, even if you replace all of the pieces that physically contact your body. If you do not want to believe the manufacturers on this, check with the FDA and you will see they are classified as single-user products. The exception is the Hygeia brand.

Hospital grade pumps, on the other hand, are safe for use by multiple mothers as long as you have your own parts and pieces.



answers from Philadelphia on

This totally depends on why you need a pump to begin with. If you are a stay at home mom who will rarely be away from your child you probably don't need a pump at all. If you can't breastfeed for some reason, but want to give your child breast milk you probably want a hospital grade pump because they are much stronger. If you are only going to need the pump for 2 or 3 months it is also more cost effective to rent it. I chose to buy mine (a medela pump in style) because I used it periodically for about 4 months and then frequently after I went back to work for an additional 10 months. The pump in style worked well for 2 pumpings a day to keep my supply up and get milk for my son to have while I was at work. I couldn't have rented a pump for 14 months for the same cost as it was to just buy one. Since I was only pumping twice a day it didn't really matter that it wasn't quite as strong as a hospital grade pump, I always got plenty of milk. I did try a hospital grade pump once and didn't get much difference in the amount of milk I could pump.


answers from Sheboygan on

How much would you be spending on the rental? At the time of my first birth, we were a low income family and they rented us an awesome pump for only $10 a month. After a few months I had saved up to buy my own... but I wish I didn't!!! The hospital pump was sooo much more effective than the one I bought. My milk supply went down after I didn't have a great pump. I'd say try out the hospital one and if it's not too expensive, use that! You won't need a breast pump for the rest of your life.. so renting isn't a bad idea. I wish I had kept mine longer! The hospital will supply you with brand new parts (tubes, suction parts, containers for milk.. everything besides the motor itself) so you won't be 'sharing' with someone else who rented it. Good Luck!


answers from Bakersfield on

Breastfeeding doesnt always = having to have a pump. I breast fed for almost 3 years and never pumped once. Do you really think you have to have one? If you feel that you want someone else to bottle feed the baby there isnt anything wrong (in my book) with the occasional shot of formula for the occasion. You might just purchase a cheaper manual style pump for the occasional gorge or to fill a small bottle in a pinch.


answers from Milwaukee on

I rented mine but I breastfed for a LOOONG time and wished I bought one. I probably spent close to $300.00 in rental fees.

BTW, you can buy new tubes, it's the pumping unit that costs the most. I'd check Craig's List or E-Bay to see if you can find one.



answers from Denver on

•The kind of pump you may need depends on whether you will be home or working and how well your baby picks up on breastfeeding at the beginning. As others have said, you may not need a pump.
•The difference between hospital grade pumps and personal use pumps is not the amount of suction; it is in the smoothness and shape of the suck/release curve the motor creates (which equals comfort & efficiency). The hospital grade pumps are the gold standard: if you have a baby who can't nurse at the beginning, it's best to start with a hospital grade to ensure you have gotten the best start possible. There are no "do-overs" with establishing a milk supply. Most likely the hospital will start you pumping, giving you the tubes and bottles if you need to pump at the beginning.
•If your baby is breastfeeding well and you need to be away regularly, a personal use pump is more economical and will probably last you through as many babies as you want to have. Medela is the best known because all the hospitals in the Denver area use Medela. You can't go wrong with a Medela, but there are other options.

If you want to see/touch and learn about options before you deliver, we have them all on display at Bosom Buddies. We do rentals too, but as someone else pointed out, there are other places who rent besides hospitals: My Sweet Beginnings, Nurture.




answers from New Orleans on

I was totally going to spend the 300+ to buy a Medela but opted for the Lansinoh double electric because there is no need to sterilize the tubing! It is so easy to use, works great, and was only $100 on Amazon. I ended up buying for work and one for home. It's been a year and they are both still working great.



answers from Springfield on

My son was born early and taken shortly after birth, so I had to pump. Later at home I used my sister's pump (Medela double electric), and I did not feel it was nearly as strong as the hospital grade. I probably wouldn't have cared or even noticed if I had not had that experience. So, with my second son, I rented a pump for 4 months. Totally worth it to me.

Definitely ask about the cost to rent. It was $50 per month at our hospital, but my Sister In Law only had to pay $25!



answers from Denver on

In my experience, hospital rental pumps are usually the Medela Symphony and run between $65 and $80/month for the rental. I rented one of these with my first baby, and not only did we end of spending more than it would be to buy a pump, I found the Symphony to be very uncomfortable (bordering on painful). With my second baby I did alot of research and ended up buying the Avent Isis double electric pump from Amazon. Not only is it under $200 (so you break even vs renting a hospital pump for 3 months), it was much more comfortable (I never felt anything close to pain while pumping) and I was able to express ALOT more milk than I ever was with the Symphony. When my first son was 4 months old and eating 6 oz., I was only able to get about 3 oz. after 20 minutes of double pumping w/the Symphony, so I wasn't able to keep up with his needs when I went back to work. I was able to pump 3-4 oz. in 10 minutes when my 2nd son was a month old and eating 3-4 oz. per feeding.

Just my experience, but hope it helps.



answers from Denver on

I had to pump with my first son because he was in the NICU for 5 weeks. I used it with my second son when I went back to work. I would wait. The hospital will give the tubes and cones and anything else you need to get your milk in. You can rent one if you think you need it but I am with the other moms if you are going to be home you might not. Another place to consider renting from is in Littleton if you need it Michelle will help you out. And don't forget you can ask friends as long as you have the tubes and cones that is the only thing that touches your body the rest is just a pump. Don't fall into the pressure you might not need it. Just wait and see. The hospital pump or rental from somewhere will work in a pinch and remember Babies R Us is open till 9:00 and you can always buy it if you need it. Good Luck :) Oh but don't skimp you should pay for the medela if you need it. It's worth it. If you are going to flatten your boob like a pancake every couple of hours you might as well do it with the best tool!

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