By: Shannon Stinson

When it comes to choosing a breast pump, it’s not one size fits all. Electric. Manual. Single Motor. Dual Motor. Rechargeable. Wearable. The options are seriously overwhelming. So how on earth do you figure this out and make sure you find what works for you? Take a seat and let’s chat through some tips and tricks on finding your perfect pump!

What is a DME?

DME stands for Durable Medical Equipment. These companies, be it those who ship nationwide or those in your community, provide things like crutches, potty chairs, hospital beds, compression socks, canes, and breast pumps to those in need of medical supplies. Your insurance company contracts with DMEs to provide you with items for pregnancy and postpartum.

Don’t Just Accept What Your Insurance Tells You

You flip over the back of your insurance card, call the number on the back, and hear that you have a limited number of options to choose from. You’re discouraged, but you might not need to be. While there are some insurance plans who specify what brand and where you can obtain your pump, it’s actually very rare. You can utilize Rumble Tuff’s Pump Placement Program by entering all of your insurance info here and one our IBCLC Specialist Maria Itani will process your request and pair you with a DME who can assist you.

Shop Around

DMEs are not created equal. It’s frustrating and super confusing, at a time when that’s the last thing you need. For example, DME A will allow you to receive a Spectra S1 for free, while DME B will charge you an $80 “upgrade fee.” Huh? Same insurance. Different companies. Different prices.

What About Other Supplies?

Yep, you guessed it! Most insurances also cover additional supplies like replacement parts including tubing, valves, flanges, and duckbills, breastmilk storage bags, support belts, postpartum garments, compressions socks, and more. Back to that confusing DME part about shopping around, yep, gotta do that here too. DME A might say you only qualify for a breast pump, but DME B will give you all of the above, for free. Not all DMEs are equipped to be able to ship or provide so many supplies, even though your insurance covers them. Items that are on a subscription like parts and milk storage can be especially hard for some of these shops to maintain, so it’s not that you don’t qualify, it’s that they can’t provide them.

One & Done?

Adding to the difficulties in choosing a breast pump is that you can only choose one through insurance. Further, some insurance plans only allow you one breast pump every three years, while others offer one per pregnancy. If you receive one that just doesn’t work well for you, unfortunately, because they are personal medical devices, they cannot be returned. If you receive a breast pump and it stops working, you can reach out to the manufacturer of that device and inquire about their warranty policy. It’s important to look at each brands warranty, as the industry standard is now two years of motor coverage, but you will find some who only offer one year, while others now offer three!

What About a Wearable?

Most lactation professionals will tell you that depending on a wearable breast pump as your only source for emptying your breasts and maintaining your supply, is not a good choice. Instead, the recommendation is to use your insurance for your everyday, desktop style pump and using your baby registry as a way to request a wearable from friends and family. Wearable breast pumps have smaller motors by nature and simply can’t empty your breasts as well as a traditional pump. Less emptying of your breasts = less milk production which can lead to a tank in your supply very quickly. It’s recommended to rely on your traditional breast pump for most of your pumping sessions, while grabbing your wearable for those times you must be away from home or your office. You can read more about our IBCLCs opinion on wearables vs. traditional breast pumps here.

Good for the Goose, Good for the Gander?

Every body is unique. No two people react to the same pump, in the exact same way. If your friend absolutely LOVED her Zomee, that doesn’t mean that you will as well. It’s best to connect with a lactation professional experienced with breast pumps so they can learn your unique needs and help you with some possibilities.

How Do I Know What Flange to Buy?

Great question and so important! Proper flange sizing can make or break your pump session, your nipples, and your output. Often the flanges that are included in the box, are going to be far too big. Did you know that your nipple changes during pregnancy, postpartum, and even during a pumping session? Many insurance companies are now covering multiple visits with a lactation professional who can help you get fitted properly either virtually or in person. You can locate a lactation professional near you by using the USLCA “Find an IBCLC” tool or by reaching out to virtual providers like Nest Collaborative or The Lactation Network. They can run your insurance and find out exactly what you qualify for. If you can’t see a professional, you can use our printable tool located here and Rumble Tuff breast pumps all include a physical flange fit ruler inside the packaging!

We would love for you to choose a Rumble Tuff breast pump for your next lactation journey! You can learn more about the pumps we offer here and schedule time to connect with one of our IBCLCs at no cost, by emailing IBCLC@RumbleTuff.com.

Happy Pumping!

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