When I discovered the Elvie Single Breast Pump, it changed my pumping experience completely. I wish I had discovered it sooner.
Like most pregnant women, I experienced societal pressure to provide my baby with breastmilk. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that breastmilk is the perfect food for a newborn and recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months, then up to two years and beyond in combination with additional foods. Maternity units promote “the breast is best”. Personally, I had the added pressure to breastfeed after being robbed of the experience first time round. My firstborn son died shortly after birth and I never got the opportunity to feed him.
My expectations about breastfeeding were set by an antenatal class teacher who said babies root for the breast and latch immediately after birth. My daughter didn’t do either of these things. I know I’m not alone in my experience. Shortly after a cesarean section I found myself hand expressing colostrum for hours only to get 2ml at a time and I was in excruciating pain every time she tried to feed.
Unsurprisingly, my daughter wasn’t getting enough milk and so I started to use formula and pump using a traditional electric pump. I was attached to a desk pumping every 2 hours, day and night. The pump made that signature horrendous sound (if you know, you know!) and I felt like a cow udder. It was a slow, laborious and stressful process. After getting a lot of support from a local NHS breastfeeding service, lactation consultant, online, friends and family, I was eventually able to exclusively breastfeed my daughter pain free. However, I wanted to continue pumping too so my husband could bottle feed and I could have some much needed time to myself.
Then I discovered the Elvie and it changed the pumping experience completely.
This life-changing breast pump is a hands free, cordless and silent pump that fits in your bra. It has a sleek design and connects to an app via Bluetooth.
The strength of the pump can be adjusted via the app or manually using the hub, and the amount of milk pumped can be tracked and saved via the app too. I’ve pumped while driving, shopping, doing admin, housework and breastfeeding with this product. I can now also pump while in bed at night without waking up my husband or daughter because it doesn’t make that dreaded noise.
I’ve found it quicker than a traditional electric pump at extracting milk and it’s made the experience so much more manageable. Pumping with the Elvie mostly feels pleasurable – almost like a “flutter feed”. It’s made thinking about going back to work less daunting as I know I can pump at work more easily to maintain my supply and provide milk for my daughter while she’s at nursery.
Are there downsides? Sure, the Elvie does have a *few* shortcomings. Firstly, it’s pricey (£250 per pump at full price) making it inaccessible to a lot of mothers. The battery life is poor (I charge it after each pumping session) and if left unused for a while, it loses its charge. I’ve also experienced leakage and the valve seems to be slow at draining the milk into the bottle, especially with a forceful let down. The suction starts off strong and uncomfortable – it would be better if it started off weaker and could be adjusted from there.
Hopefully, if there is a next generation of the Elvie it will address any teething issues, but in the meantime, it has been a total game changer for me. After a tough start to breastfeeding, my dream to provide my daughter with breastmilk as per the WHO guidelines while being a working mum is starting to look more like a reality.