Should you use a hospital grade breast pump? What’s the difference between a hospital grade pump and a regular, personal pump? Here’s everything you need to know!
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What is considered a hospital grade breast pump?
The FDA doesn’t regulate any standards that a breast pump must meet to be considered “hospital grade,” so breast pump manufacturers may have different criteria for designating a pump hospital grade.
Therefore, “hospital grade” is primarily a marketing term as opposed to a technical term. Many people use it to refer to multi-user breast pumps that can be used in a hospital setting.
What is the difference between a hospital grade pump and a regular pump?
There are a few common differences between hospital grade pumps and personal pumps.
1. Multi-User vs Single User
Personal breast pumps are intended to be used by one person (even if they are closed system pumps).
For example, the S1 and S2 are both closed system pumps, but Spectra considers them personal use pumps, and the warranty only covers the original owner.
Hospital grade pumps are intended to be used by multiple users (for example, in a postpartum recovery ward in the hospital). One way to determine whether a pump can be used by more than one person is whether it’s designated as “multiple user” or “single user”.
Hospital grade pumps tend to be bigger than personal use pumps. If you usually pump in one place and don’t need to bring it anywhere, this doesn’t matter – but if you need to pump on the go, this can be a disadvantage.
Hospital grade pumps may have a more powerful motor than personal pumps, and thus be more efficient and/or effective.
Do you need a hospital grade breast pump?
Many women consider using a hospital grade breast pump because these pumps may be more powerful than personal pumps. Therefore, using one could be a good idea if you’re trying to establish supply from the beginning.
I did an unscientific poll on Instagram as to whether moms that had used one found it more effective than a personal pump:
About half of the respondents found that the hospital grade pump helped them get more milk than their personal pump.
So while it’s not universal, it may help some breastfeeding women produce more milk. However, it’s not an absolute necessity for exclusive pumping.
Which hospital grade pump should you use?
Most people that use a hospital grade pump do so in the hospital, so you might not have a choice in the matter. Additionally, local rental companies may only offer one or two brands.
The most common hospital grade breast pump is the Medela Symphony. Others on the market include the Spectra S3, Unimom Opera, and Ameda Elite.
Should you rent or buy a pump?
The biggest factor in the decision to rent or buy a hospital grade pump is usually cost.
If you decide to use a hospital grade pump, it most likely makes the most sense to rent one. Hospital grade pumps generally cost between $500 and $2,000.
You may be able to use your insurance benefits to rent one at no cost. If that isn’t an option, the price per month is often between $75 and $100 per month.
If you decide to use a hospital grade pump, it makes sense to consider the following when deciding whether to rent or buy:
- How long you plan to pump
- Whether you plan to have (and use your pump for) multiple children
- Whether you can get a multi-user pump second-hand or whether you will be able to resell your pump when you’re finished with it
Where can you rent a hospital grade breast pump?
If you decide to rent a breast pump, you can see if you qualify for it using insurance through Aeroflow Breastpumps. You can also see if your local hospital rents breast pumps (even if you didn’t deliver there).
You can also rent a Medela Symphony directly from Medela.
Have you used a hospital grade breast pump? Share your experience in the comments!