Expressing Milk When Out and a Review of The Tommee Tippee Manual Pump

Looking back a month on from my first day away from my youngest daughter I think what I struggled with most was the discomfort from not breastfeeding all day. I had been so focused on how she and I would feel emotionally I hadn’t really considered the practicality of needing to express. Last week I had my second day away from my daughter, but this time I was armed with the Tommee Tippee manual breast pump. Being able to pump milk while I was out made a huge difference to how I felt. 

I was kindly sent the Tommee Tippee manual breast pump to review and found it perfect for relieving the pressure in my boobs from not feeding. Just 10 minutes use in my lunch break was enough for me to avoid the painful engorged stage. It also meant that when I got home Little could feed without being overwhelmed by the speed of my let down.

The Tommee Tippee manual breast pump box, the steriliser box, the pump parts, the closer to nature bottle (with breast milk in) , the milk storage pot and disposable breast pads
What's in the box (with added breast milk)

I have used a double electric pump at home on a number of occasions. It's great and it's efficient, but it's also noisy and a bit of a faff because I have to use both hands to keep it in place. I found that by using a muslin with the Tommee Tippee manual pump I could discretely express one handed and eat my lunch with the other hand. Great multi tasking!

I chose to express in the back seat of my car because I felt more comfortable than trying to find a room at the venue I was at. I had already ruled out using the toilets after last time as I don't find sitting on a toilet seat encourages my let down. Plus I’m not prepared to eat my lunch on a toilet.

The Tommee Tippee pump comes with: the pump (including a spare valve), a 150ml bottle, a microwave steriliser box, a milk storage pot (which can be used as a sippy cup for newborn babies instead of a bottle) and 6 disposable breast pads. The plastic box is really handy: you can use it as a washing up bowl to clean the parts, sterilise them (add water and microwave for around 5 minutes), then you can store all the bits in it while out. It was small enough that I could fit it in a backpack with no worry that the parts would get damaged or dirty.

The open steriliser box with the pump parts in it
Everything in the box ready to take out

It is really quick to assemble. The main pump part screws on to the bottle neck adaptor. A little valve pushes into the bottom of the pump and then you screw it on to the bottle. I found it took a few goes to position the suction cup correctly so that my nipple was central (it can cause pain and rubbing when pumping if not correctly positioned) and then I was good to go.

What are the benefits of a manual breast pump over an electric one?

There are a number of advantages of a manual pump over electronic ones: the obvious difference is a manual pump doesn’t use electricity. While most electric pumps can be operated by main power or batteries I found it convenient not having to worry about having charged batteries, a plug or if the power would run out mid pump. 
The second big benefit is a manual pump is much quieter, which is great when you want to pump more discretely. It's still not completely silent though because you can hear the movement of the pump and the squirting of the milk.
Another benefit which I hadn’t previously considered is how flexible manual pumps are for adjusting speed and suction. While most electric pumps let you adjust these I found it more comfortable and efficient adjusting how fast and hard I squeezed the handle than trying to adjust buttons. This meant I was able to express more milk in the short period of time I had.

The packaging for the Tommee Tippee Manual Breast Pump

How to get a good flow of milk

Initially I found I needed to squeeze the handle more gently and for shorter bursts. After my let down was established longer squeezes with pauses in between was enough to keep the milk going. 
Because my boobs were full it was easy to trigger the let down, but I know from expressing before I need to be relaxed and comfortable to encourage a good amount of milk. This is why I chose to express in my car, with locked doors I felt safe that no one would walk in on me and interrupt me.  It can help to think about my baby or look at photographs if I need to encourage more milk.

I pumped for 5 minutes each side and expressed just over two ounces in that time which was enough for me to be comfortable. I had planned to express some more before I left, but I found I didn't need too. If Little was feeding more frequently in the day I would have asked for some additional breaks to express.

I wasn't worried about keeping the milk for later use, but it was a cold enough day it actually cooled down to about 4 degrees in the car. I took the pump part off, attached the white disk of the milk storage pot then screwed the lid back on. If you want to store the milk for later use I have previously used this cooler bag when I was expressing at work after my first baby and I didn't want to keep my milk in the fridge next to people's pasta salad.

What did I think of the Tommee Tippee Manual Breast Pump?

The pump is easy to assemble and use. I found it a comfortable and efficient way to express milk when out and about. I love that everything you need comes in the box and it is really affordable for anyone who wants to occasionally express milk.

Disclosure: I was sent the Tommee Tippee Manual Breast Pump so I could try it out and provide an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

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