When I got pregnant, I imagined snuggling up with my baby on the couch, bonding as she breastfed. But six weeks after she was born, she started getting extremely frustrated whenever she tried to eat. Countless lactation consultants each had a different theory (“low supply,” “tongue tie,” “bottle preference” and “slow letdown” were thrown around), but ultimately, I decided it was best for the sanity of both me and my baby to pump exclusively.
Only one problem: Pumping sucks. When I was pregnant, I got a Medela Pump in Style Advanced through my insurance, and as I was assembling it, I couldn’t believe how outdated it seemed. Hadn’t this thing been updated at all since the ’80s? Besides having to wash a million plastic pieces constantly, I had to plug it into an outlet, so I was tethered to the wall for upwards of five hours a day. While I had tried the Willow, an amazing high-tech wireless pump that uses Bluetooth to track how much milk you pump, there is a downside: It’s $500 bucks and not covered by most insurance companies, so it’s a luxury many people can’t afford.
Discouraged and ready to quit, I joined a private group on Facebook for exclusive pumpers and everything changed. From which flanges to buy, to how to increase supply without eating only oatmeal for the rest of the year, this group of positive, tough-as-nails women inspired me to keep going.
My new Facebook friends also introduced me to a more affordable portable pump: the Bellababy. The size of a deck of playing cards, it charges with any USB cable and has an easy-to-use digital touch screen. And while my clunky Medela only has two settings (pump mode or letdown mode), the Bellababy has four, each with nine levels of suction. Best of all? It’s only$60 and you can buy it on Amazon.
“The suction is amazing,” writes one enthusiastic Amazon reviewer. “I honestly think it beats the hospital-grade Spectra and Medela pumps I’ve tried. My output seems better with this than any other pump I’ve tried!”
Instead of trying to quickly pump while my baby naps, I can now pump while I hang out on the floor next to her as she does tummy time. And while the Bellababy comes with traditional flanges that make it difficult to hold or feed a baby while wearing them (the Willow still wins in that department), it’s compatible with Freemie cups, making it even more portable and discreet. For women lugging their pump back and forth to work, the Bellababy packs all the power of the Medela or Spectra but at a fraction of the size and a quarter of the price.
At the end of the day, pumping is still one of the most difficult, annoying things I’ve ever had to do. But now that I have a more portable and affordable option and some amazing women to back me up, I’m ready to stick with it for the rest of the year.