What Are Hospital-Grade Breast Pumps? Why Do I Need One?
When shopping for a breast pump, the first thing you may notice is that they tend to be split into two predominant categories: hospital grade breast pumps and personal breast pumps. The most obvious difference between these two types of pumps is that personal pumps can be manual, while hospital-grade breast pumps are almost exclusively electrically operated. But there are many more variances between the products and their leading features. In this article, we endeavor to shed some light on how a hospital-grade breast pump differs from a personal pump, and how it can assist new mothers when expressing breast milk.
What’s the difference between a hospital-grade breast pump and a personal breast pump?
Firstly, we want to clarify that the term ‘hospital-grade’ is not regulated and that its meaning is not set in stone. Many manufacturers of breast pumps advertise their products as ‘hospital grade,’ and frequently this title will go hand in hand with the term ‘multi-user.’ A hospital grade breast pump is designed to be used by several mothers, who each attach their own accessory kit to express milk. A few other common features of hospital-grade breast pumps are as follows:
- Extremely efficient, meaning less time spent pumping!
- Exceptionally hygienic, due to their closed-system design.
- Optimised for single or double pumping.
- Often incorporate controls which allow the mother to customise the pumping rhythm to mimic their child when nursing.
- Quiet and user-friendly.
These features, of course, will vary depending on the brand, make and model of the advertised ‘hospital-grade’ breast pump. Relevant clinical studies or professional institutions may support some hospital grade breast pumps. Others will be considered ‘hospital grade’ because they are closed system breast pumps, designed to be used safely by multiple mothers. It’s important to carefully consider the features of each hospital grade pump that you look at, and not to presume that all makes and models are the same.
Are hospital-grade breast pumps hygienic?
As a new mother, you may understandably be wary when it comes to hygiene and your baby. So the thought of sharing a breast pump with other mothers can seem like it increases the risk of sharing germs. But this couldn’t be further from the truth when using a closed-system breast pump! Closed-system breast pumps are incredibly sanitary and safe for you and your baby. Closed-system means that there are barriers in place which prevent breast milk and other fluids such as sweat from being carried through the machine, and back into the milk collected. A closed-system breast pump will eliminate the risk of cross-contamination, thereby making it safe for multiple mothers to use the pump by attaching their own milk collection and accessory kit. These kits form a barrier of protection, ensuring the breast milk, kit tubing and pump are kept safe from potential impurities like bacteria and viruses while pumping. All multi-user breast pumps used in hospitals should be closed-system breast pumps. Many personal breast pumps also use a closed system for enhanced hygiene.
Which Mothers may need to use hospital grade breast pumps?
There are no specific requirements for using a hospital-grade breast pump. Any mother wishing to express milk efficiently and safely with the assistance of a breast pump can use one that is deemed ‘hospital-grade.’ However, a hospital grade breast pump is often used by mothers who remain in hospital after giving birth. This can be for any number of reasons, including if their baby was born preterm and is in the NICU. In this case, a mother may need to be expressing breast milk up to eight times a day, and require an extremely efficient, dual breast pump.
Hospital grade breast pumps are also commonly used by mothers who are experiencing difficulties when nursing their baby. It may be due to latching problems or instances where the baby is falling asleep early during nursing. Whatever the case, being able to pump milk allows mothers to feed their babies breast milk, even if they are encountering challenges with nursing.
Mothers returning to work can also benefit from hospital grade breast pumps. While in this situation, a personal breast pump will often suffice, mothers may choose a hospital grade option for increased efficiency and comfort. It’s worth noting, however, that hospital-grade breast pumps are often not as lightweight and easily portable as personal breast pumps. However, hospital grade breast pumps such as the Ameda Elite are available with convenient carry bags for transportation.
Interested in purchasing a hospital grade breast pump such as the Ameda Elite or Ameda Platinum? Or wish to know more about whether a hospital-grade breast pump may be the best option for you? Contact Us to discuss our range today!