I have been meaning to put together an article on breastfeeding and that draft has been sitting on the Dashboard since baby V was 8 months young! How time flies! And I can’t believe we’re still at it.
Breastfeeding has become part of my life in my role as a mother. Despite a tumultuous beginning of this challenging journey (every nursing mother seems to have one. Sigh, ladies.), it feels unbelievable that we’re still in this relationship 17 months later.
After returning to work when the maternity leave ended, continuing with milk expression or pumping sessions was detrimental in keeping the supply going. Nursing mothers often return to work to face yet more mountains – being able to pump on-time, having a decent place to pump and being able to express milk efficiently with the right tools. Personally, I’ve been using a double electric pump – the Medela Freestyle, which you’d probably already knew from the previous articles.
It’s absolutely normal for new mums (and dads!) to get confused over the choice of pumps available and the question: Manual or electric? Single or double? And, we are not talking abut burgers here, daddies!
Parents will be happy to know that our own homegrown brand, Tollyjoy, has recently launched their new range of Breastfeeding essentials. Some new parents have recently gotten the chance to touch and feel these products at the recent SuperMom Strut Your Bump event, which I attended too.
The range of breastfeeding products include:
Double Electric Breast Pump – RRP: $ 169.90
Electric Breast Pump – RRP$ 119.00
2 in 1 Massage and Expressing Manual Breast Pump Set – RRP: $ 39.90
Manual Breast Pump Set – RRP: $ 26.90
Washable Bamboo Nursing Pads 2pcs – RRP: $ 4.60
Day & Night Disposable Nursing Pads 48s – RRP: $ 7.90
Antibacterial Disposable Breast Milk Storage Bag 25s – RRP: $ 9.90
For the uninitiated, Tollyjoy is a local brand which manufactures and retails baby care and mother care products under the brands, Tollyjoy and Little Precious. Many parents are often seen lugging baskets full of Tollyjoy’s baby accessories cleanser, laundry detergents and bath products – looks like mums will be eyeing these breastfeeding knick knacks at the next baby fair too!
For someone who has been using the double electric pump, how does a manual pump compare? I had the lovely opportunity to test drive the 2 in 1 Massage and Expressing Manual Breast Pump Set, which is a single pump. It’s lovely to know that the set came packed nicely with a dust bag, yup, similar to the ones which hug your designer bags. Read on for the reviews of this new breast pump set from Tollyjoy!
First, let’s take a look at what the set entails:
If like me, you were wondering what the differences are between the 2 in 1 Massage and Expressing Manual Breast Pump Set and the Manual Breast Pump Set, the key points would be the additional features of the massage mode and the adjustable suction pressure which the latter is not equipped with.
Why do you need the massage mode?
Before expression, the breast is massaged
to get things going to stimulate letdowns and circulation around the breast. When your baby suckles at your breasts, the nerves in your nipples send a message to your brain – behold the wonders of Science! In response, your brain releases hormones that tell the ducts in your breasts to “let down” their milk so that it flows through your nipples. This is called the let-down reflex. (Auckland District Health Board, Recommendations for Breastfeeding: A Guide for Mothers (Antenatal)) The massage mode hence takes on the role of stimulation prior to expression to get the flow going.
So…. How did the breast pumps fair? Read on to find out!
Dismantling and Assembling
As a first time user, I discovered that it wasn’t difficult to figure out which parts to remove and how to put them back. The ease of dismantling and assembling are key points to consider.
Imagine rushing between pumping sessions for an important meeting, you definitely wouldn’t want to be fumbling with all these. It gets very stressful especially when pumping at work (#trueexperience) and the last thing we need is additional things to bother about (besides the bosses’ stares!).
Washing and sterilizing
With the ease of dismantling and assembling, washing is important to prevent any breastmilk from being left in some nook or cranny. Breastmilk is naturally oily, so using an accessories liquid cleanser can help remove that film – this is what I usually do at the end of the day.
Prior to the first use, it is a MUST to wash and sterilize all parts, and this is also highlighted in the instruction manual which accompanies the set. A point to note: don’t forget to remove the Diaphragm (D) for washing. From my experience, during the first wash, it was noticed that the Breast Shield (A) and bottle felt slightly oily. This is normal for plastic materials, simply wash and rinse as they disappeared easily.
Performance During Breastmilk Expression
During use, I have tried both ways of using the breast shield and without, to make a comparison. The breast shield is provided to offer better comfort and fit, and the pump works well with or without it. Personally, the breast shield provided a cushiony comfort which fit me just right.
At the massage mode, the suction is noticeably gentler compared to the expression mode. To choose between massage or expression, simply turn the Handle Knob (G).
The frequency depends on how fast your hands can go! Literally, things are in your own hands. HOHO! With a turn of the handle knob to the expression mode, the suction is increased, and can be adjusted by turning the Suction Knob (C) in accordance to the direction indicated.
The Funnel Unit (B) comes in a one size fits all option, unlike Medela which has several sizes for its flanges. Just a point to note if you are looking for sizes.
During expression, the breastmilk flows down the Stem (E) and into the Feeding Bottle (J). For experiment, I tried fitting my Medela bottles and am pleasantly surprised to know that it fits well! Yay! And just to confirm, I put the Tollyjoy bottle with my Medela pump and the fit was good too. Bonus if you might be using different brands!
Great that the Tollyjoy set comes with the Adaptor for Standard Bottle (I), so if you have their Tollyjoy wide neck bottles, attaching it to the Tollyjoy pump is not an issue either. As we do not use wide-neck bottles, hence I’m unable to test if other brands fit just as well.
In between the sessions, my arms got a little tired (lack of exercise!), maybe because I have stubborn milk ducts (saving my breastfeeding story for another time!) that require consistent and persistent handwork. During usage, however, there were intermittently some points where I couldn’t feel suction despite being at the expression mode.
During the session, I noticed there were some milk that got collected at the breast shield. Not too sure how it got there, but I was surprised and sad (every drop is precious!) and had to carefully tilt the set backwards, gingerly remove the breast shield to let the milk flow back the funnel and into the bottle.
Overall, it is a pocket-friendly investment for mothers who are looking for a basic breast pump with massage functions.
Being a manual set, I’d reckon it would be great for those with fast flow and can get the “job” done quickly. For those who belong to the slow or normal flow categories, you might find it a little tiring since the milk doesn’t seem to be removed as quick as compared to an electric one. But if you have good arms (again, my arm muscles have since deflated eons ago), this is easily tackled.
Expectant mums who are shopping for a breast pump wouldn’t be able to foresee how their flow would be like, so deciding between this manual set and their electric options, it is something to think about along with how long you might wish to breastfeed for and how time-strapped you might be.
Cost-savvy mamas who wish to have an affordable breast pump to help relieve engorgement (especially when baby drinks less than produced, or if you experience oversupply) or would like to build up supply for storage – this is one set which you can consider. For those who are adamant about carrying a ton around, this manual set boasts a lightweight body which makes it so portable and convenient when you’re out and about. Compact enough to fit into your handbag, and others will be none the wiser!
Are you hunting for a manual breast pump? Look out for the Tollyjoy breastfeeding range at leading departmental stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets and baby specialty stores in Singapore. Accessories and spare parts are not sold separately. For more information on what Tollyjoy has to offer, visit their website and Facebook to find out more.