With my firstborn, I had a manual pump that I used occasionally so I could make bottles he never drank when I’d leave him home with someone else.
With my second, I had a manual pump and an electric pump, and since she also wasn’t into taking bottles, I became a committed donor to my local mothers’ milk bank.
When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I didn’t even bother buying bottles ahead of time: this mama was going to tandem breastfeed like a boss.
As is often the case, our children have different plans. Born four weeks early, the Cub Twins definitely had a good latch from the very first time I plunked them on the breast, but they needed to fatten up fast and nursing was simply exhausting for them. As soon as my milk came in—starting with those first tiny drops of colostrum—the nurses, my husband, my mom and I bottle-fed them my milk. I would nurse them for a short period if I was in the NICU, then I’d give them my milk in a bottle. When they weren’t gaining enough and weren’t taking their minimum ounces, they both got NG tubes and my milk was dispensed with a syringe, through a tube leading right into their tummies.
When we brought them home after two weeks in the NICU, there were days when I was too exhausted to even bother trying to bring them to the breast. I spent my days pumping and bottling, and bottling became a state of being for me.
I estimate that I’ve spent at least 300 hours pumping my breastmilk since the twins were born. At first I was pumping six to eight times a day. We soon started using some formula so I wouldn’t have to get up to pump at night since I was already exhausted from getting up to feed the twins. It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I had two babies who each fed easily and willingly at the breast for two- and-a-half years—I didn’t expect to be bottle-feeding my twins.
The good news is that as the Cub Twins approach 6 months, they are taking milk “straight from the tap” more frequently. Most overnight feeds are done at the breast, meaning my sleep isn’t as disrupted by bottle-feeding. As long as they’re not overly hungry (and thus extremely agitated) and as long as we are at home, I can get at least one of them to do a full feed at the breast. Now I can get away with pumping thrice a day: morning, noon and night.
As you can imagine, 300 hours of pumping with hundreds more hours on the horizon means I definitely know what I want in a breast pump, and I wish I’d had the Ameda Finesse from day one. When I was pumping occasionally for my bottle-refusing older kids or pumping every night for the milk bank, it didn’t really matter. Nobody’s tummy was utterly dependent on my pump. Now I feel confident in stating that the Ameda Finesse is the only electric pump I want to use.
What’s so great about the Ameda Finesse?
Precise control over suction and speed
Other pumps I’ve tried let you control suction but not speed, or they simply have three default speed/suction settings. The Ameda Finesse lets you control the speed and the suction independently, allowing for 32 possible speed/suction combinations. This is CRITICAL to pumping success.
Not all women’s breasts function the same way. With the Finesse you can pinpoint the exact speed and suction you need to stimulate a let down and then the exact speed and suction you need to keep the milk flowing. The Finesse uses the same Comfort Flow technology as Ameda’s hospital grade pumps. This technology mimics baby’s natural suckling, which is critical to establishing your supply. I am even able to stimulate a second let down if I want to maximize my pumping session.
Hygienic, closed system
You want to be sure that your pump is as hygienic as possible, especially if you have sensitive, immunocompromised preemies. No milk or moisture enters Ameda’s tubing, and no bacteria or viruses make it into your milk while pumping thanks to Ameda’s closed system. It’s the only one !
Easy to assemble
Assembling your pump is a breeze. You’ve just got the three pieces that make up Ameda’s HygieniKit Milk Collection System to contend with: the patented silicone diaphragm is a barrier between your milk and the tubing, the breast flange is a single piece that screws onto all standard bottles, and the valve simply pops into the bottom of the flange.
You can even use the same breast flange with Ameda’s manual breast pump. I packed my manual Ameda pump with me on a last-minute 48-hour trip to Vancouver to visit my Nana in hospital and was able to easily and efficiently pump at Nana’s bedside and in the car. And it was no trouble at all bringing all my expressed milk home through airport security, even without a baby (or two) with me.
If you want to pump on the go, just insert six AA batteries! The pump fits in my fanny pack, so I can wear it around the house if I’m so inclined. Now that I am only pumping thrice a day, I take those twenty or so minutes to actually sit still. I also bring my pump in the car (when I’m a passenger).
- I wish this pump had a built-in battery. That said, I just use rechargeable batteries in my pump if I need to be mobile.
- While by no means obtrusively loud, it isn’t the quietest pump I’ve tried.
I pumped 24 oz while writing this post!
While I know plenty of mothers who enjoy breastfeeding, I can’t say I’ve ever met a mom who enjoys pumping. Pumping sucks, both literally and figuratively. My Ameda Finesse makes pumping for my twins tolerable by making it as easy and efficient as possible. Thanks to my Finesse, I think I’ll be able to achieve my personal breastfeeding goal of having the Cub Twins primarily drinking breastmilk until they’re a year old.
Remember to check with your insurance provider to see if they cover part or all of the cost of your breast pump.
How would you rank the reliability of this compared to the Medela freestyle? My baby is EBF, and I’m only pumping to donate. It’s frustrating when I spend 20 minutes pumping for an ounce – I can easily get 4-5 ounces with my manual pump. Some days the freestyle is great, and other days I’m disappointed.- it seems like there’s a gap in suction due to all the pieces.
I read your freestyle review and it was also very positive, but do you have a preference between the two pumps?
Hi Katie! Great question. When I reviewed the Freestyle I had never experienced any suction loss like you’re describing, and I also had never experienced the insanity of full-time pumping. The Freestyle was what I had when my twins were first born, and it did overall really well for me, especially with its epic portability since its battery is built in. But I did start to experience random suction loss, and I would have to keep reassembling the pump parts until it would have normal suction. Some days it was fine, some days I’d have to reassemble a couple times before the suction would be normal again. I was never unable to achieve the right suction from reassembling, it was just annoying to have to do so. Once in a while with the Finesse I’ll have to pop the suction top off and on once to get suction right, but it’s a much quicker fix. The Finesse has the benefit of the independent control over speed and suction, but the drawback of not being AS portable: it doesn’t have its own battery and its heavier. I prefer the Finesse, but I wish I could marry what I like about both of them to create a SUPER PUMP!