mother in hospital bed looking down at newborn child

Learn about the benefits and drawbacks of these high-powered pumps

If you’ve been reading about the various breast pumps on the market, you’ve probably heard a lot of different terms: personal-use, hospital-grade, single or double electric, hands-free, manual and more. It can feel like info overload but having so many options available means that every mom can find a match for her unique needs and lifestyle. (Not sure which one’s right for you? Take our quiz or reach out to our team!).

For some moms, a hospital-grade breast pump may be a helpful option. Want to find out if a hospital-grade pump would be a good fit for you? Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of this powerful pump type.

What is a hospital-grade breast pump?

Hospital-grade pumps are “closed-system” pumps, meaning they have barriers in place to prevent milk and other fluids from entering the motor, which reduces contamination and makes them safe for multiple users. They are typically used in a hospital setting but can also be rented for personal use.

A lactation consultant may recommend a hospital-grade pump if you’re experiencing lactation issues, if your baby is experiencing medical issues or is in the NICU, or if you just need the extra pumping power.

Benefits of hospital-grade pumps

1. Effectiveness

Hospital-grade breast pumps are more powerful and effective than many personal-use pumps. This added strength better mimics your baby’s natural stimulation and removal of milk, which is especially helpful for moms in that first month or so when they’re still establishing a milk supply.

2. Efficiency

Because these pumps are so powerful, they’re also more efficient. That translates to shorter pumping sessions, great for moms who have to pump often or quickly or who want to store a large quantity of milk. More milk in less time? That’s a no-brainer.

3. Great for exclusively pumping

While many moms can benefit from a hospital-grade pump, they are an especially good fit for those moms who need or choose to exclusively pump, who have medical issues that require a high-powered pump, or whose babies have difficulty latching and nursing. This pump helps build a strong milk supply when a baby isn’t nursing directly by regularly “emptying” the breasts to stimulate and maintain milk production.

Drawbacks of hospital-grade pumps

1. Bulky size

Hospital-grade breast pumps are large in size, making them heavy and not very portable. Since these are often used while in the hospital or for the first few weeks after having a baby, home portability shouldn’t impact you too much. However, if you’re a working mom who’s frequently on the go, this type of pump is not your best option (unless you can get your workplace to purchase one for all nursing moms at the company to use—it sounds like a dream, but we’ve heard amazing stories like this!).

2. Expense

Renting a hospital-grade pump can be expensive, depending on how long you plan to use it. Of course, in certain instances, the need or benefits outweigh the cost. And for some moms, their insurance plan may cover all or part of the rental fee.

However, if your plan doesn’t cover the rental cost, you may opt to rent a pump one month at a time. Ashland Women’s Health offers a very reasonable monthly out-of-pocket cost, and you can keep the pump for as long as you need, even if it’s just for one month, to get your milk supply where it needs to be for you and your baby.  Whatever you decide, it’s worth assessing your options and doing the math.

3. Need to connect with a provider

When renting a hospital-grade breast pump, you must work with a reputable provider to ensure the pump is high-quality, clean and in excellent condition. While this isn’t a major roadblock, it’s something you’ll want to keep in mind. Get in touch with your hospital, ask your doctor or insurance provider for recommendations or have our team at Ashland Women’s Health set you up.

Not only can we help you receive your free, insurance-covered breast pump, we can also assist you in renting a hospital-grade pump. Contact us to pinpoint the best breast pump for you and your lifestyle. We’ll do all the legwork to make sure you have what you need for a successful breastfeeding journey.