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Troubleshooting Wearable Pumps

Have You Tried a Wearable Pump But Couldn’t Get the Same Output?

If you’ve ever used a breast pump that plugs into a wall, lugged around a larger pump, or wished you could accomplish something while pumping, wearable pumps sound like a total game changer! These small pumps are cordless. They’re small enough to fit inside your nursing bra or tank. And they allow you to pump, discreetly, while moving around. But not all moms are finding joy in pumping with them. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the common challenges moms face with wearable pumps and troubleshoot these issues based on the advice of a trained lactation professional.

Benefits of Wearable Pumps

We touched on some of these benefits in our intro already but there are quite a few benefits to these babies. If you are returning to work and do not have a comfortable, clean lactation space provided, wearable pumps can help you pump discreetly and with more convenience. Their smaller motors are quieter than their larger corded counterparts. They have less parts that need to be cleaned and stored in your office. And they’re easier to carry back and forth from work.

Moms who work in fields where they aren’t tied to a desk, like nursing, construction, etc. find wearable pumps beneficial because they can continue to work while they pump. We’ve seen many stories of moms who work in hospitals pumping during their shifts, in surgery, and more. When speaking to Sheila Janakos in our Express Yourself Podcast Episode with Healthy Horizons, she told us a story of farm employees being given wearable pumps in order to be able to continue their job and provide for their babies. 

Troubleshooting Common Challenges with Wearable Pumps

Now that we’ve talked about all of the reasons moms love these pumps, let’s talk through some common challenges. We want to start off by saying that these pumps are great options for moms and in no way are we bashing them. 

Limited Suction

These pumps need to be able to fit into your nursing bra or tank. That means every piece of them needs to be smaller, including the motor. Some moms report that these pumps have a weaker or limited amount of suction. 

Limited suction in comparison to hospital grade or pumps with cords is not necessarily a detriment. In fact the stronger suction in other pumps can be damaging to your skin and in some cases, restrict your milk flow. It’s important to find the right fit with your flange. The right fit will create a seal. This seal is imperative to get the most out of your pump’s available suction. 

Too Much Suction

On the other hand, some pumps like the Willow Pump have a stronger level of suction. Moms might find this detrimental to their pumping journey. 

BeauGen’s innovative breast pump cushions can also help here as well. By adding a bit of cushion to your flanges, you can make this pumping experience more comfortable. 

Lower Output

Totally unrelated to suction, some moms report that they get less milk from a wearable pump than they do from another pump. All pumps are different, and a number of different factors can come into play. One common reason for a lower or reduced output can actually be due to the ability to get other things done while pumping. Yes, we’re talking about actually being distracted from pumping. 

The solution here is to find a quiet place, sit down, and get set up with your pump. Initiate the pumping session, and wait until you feel your letdown. Once you’ve achieved your letdown, then you can get up and move about, work, clean your house, even exercise!

Smaller Size Range in Flanges

We’ve heard moms report that there is a smaller amount of flange sizes for these wearable pumps. When we talked about suction, we highlighted the importance of proper fit. You might be thinking well great, these pumps aren’t for me then. 

A solution here is actually our BeauGen Breast Pump Cushions. You can use the cushions to reduce the amount of space available inside of a flange, thus reducing the size of the flange.

Shorter Flange Tunnel

Due to the pump needing to be small enough to slide into your bra, the tunnel of the flanges is generally shorter in these pumps. Most moms won’t notice this or experience it as an actual problem. However, if you’re a mama with elastic nipples, this is most notably a problem.

In our previous point we talked about using our breast pump cushions to achieve a better fit. You can also use them to restrict your nipple from traveling too far down the tunnel. Due to the shorter tunnel, you’ll need to fold the tunnel of the cushion in half. You can find a tutorial on how to do it here.

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