[AD – Unpaid Promotion. Elvie sent me a pump but didn’t ask me to write this blog post and have no control over what I say here]
You’ve got to feel a bit sorry for the humble breast pump. I mean, it’s not the most glamorous of items, is it? Whether you use a manual (and sit there pumping away at it, getting a sore hand after a while) or an electric (and have to sit near a plug socket with the loud “mooo-ugh moo-ugh” noise they often make), it’s not a FUN activity.
And actually, it can become something that you start to dread. Back when the twins (currently six months old) were newborn, the Infant Feeding Team at our hospital had us on a feeding plan which involved me breastfeeding the babies every three hours, then immediately afterwards, I’d express milk which would then be given to them as a ‘top up’ after the following feed. (We’d also top them up with formula if we needed to, too). Which meant that I began to dread expressing a bit, because after breastfeeding the babies and then giving them a bottle (all of which took around an hour!) the last thing I wanted to do was plug my breast pump in and sit there, expressing for half an hour or so. Partly because I was physically tired and partly because I’d then only have 90 minutes or so until the NEXT FEED! Honestly, it’s relentless in those early days, isn’t it?!
So, yes, breast pumps aren’t something that people LOVE to shop for. “Ooh, I’m so excited to choose my ideal pump. Which one should I go for?” isn’t something you hear many mums-to-be exclaim on a pre-baby shopping trip.
But when I started to hear people talk about a new breast pump which was totally different to the rest, my ears did prick up. The Elvie, apparently, was wireless, could fit into your normal nursing bra, and was almost silent as it expressed milk. It actually did sound too good to be true.
I saw adverts pop up on social media for it, saying: “The world’s first silent wearable breast pump. Fits in your bra, and your life. No tubes. No wires. No noise.”
Then I saw a few influencers and bloggers talking about it on Instagram – they all raved about it. I saw a photo from one person sitting in the back of a taxi, expressing. Another posted a photo of her on a train, expressing. Another told me that she uses the Elvie to express on the school run. I mean – WHAT? – you can express milk on the school run? It was all blowing my mind a little.
But the sticking point, for me, was the price – £249 for a single and £449 for a double. It’s a lot of money. Could it really be worth it?
Fast forward a few weeks and I got my hands on an Elvie pump.
Even opening the packaging felt more like unboxing a new device from the Apple Store, than a breast pump. A little note told me that the Elvie pump was already built and ready to be charged and used – all of the other pieces were spares. So immediately, it felt easier than I’d expected because as anyone who’s bought a new breast pump will tell you, just working out where all the small pieces go can make you feel like you’re on The Crystal Maze (“Get out! Get out! You’ve got 3 seconds left!”)
I’ve used the Elvie pump once a day for the past few weeks, and here’s what I think…
It’s easy to use. You charge the Elvie by plugging in a regular micro USB cable. Once it’s charged, you can use it wirelessly. You pop your breast into the back of the pump, and sit it in your regular nursing bra. It comes with a plastic ‘extender’ clip which makes your bra strap a bit longer, to accommodate the pump in your bra cup.
You press ‘on’ and that’s it. You are pumping.
So how loud is it? It’s REALLY QUIET. Not totally silent. If you were sitting in a silent room, you’d be able to hear a little whirrr noise. But if you had any kind of background noise – a TV, a radio, a car engine, a train engine, people talking – then you wouldn’t be able to hear a thing.
It also feels quite gentle, as it pumps. Some pumps really suck and pull at your breast, but you could easily forget that you’re wearing the Elvie.
If the bottle on the bottom of the Elvie pump (which holds 150ml) fills up, the pump will automatically stop. And otherwise, it’ll pump for 45 minutes before stopping. There have been times when I haven’t realised it has stopped (that’s how quiet and gentle it is….) until ten or twenty minutes later.
There is an Elvie app which monitors milk volume in real time, tracks pumping history for each breast and controls the pump remotely. But I haven’t bothered using the app, and you don’t have to use it to get full functionality of the pump.
The Elvie really does feel like a total game changer, when it comes to expressing milk. If you were wearing a baggy top or jumper, you could go out and about wearing it (a tight top would look a little odd, as you’d look like you have one massive boob – I’m wearing the Elvie in the above photo). Before, I’d have to express using both hands to hold the pump (I was using a Medela Swing double pump) and now, I can pump hands-free which means I can work, I can eat lunch, I can do all sorts of things while I express.
I use a single Elvie pump, and I pop a Haakaa pump on the other breast at the same time, and it collects around the same amount of milk as the Elvie. (Totally love the Haakaa by the way – check them out here – they’re £12.99 so at the other end of the scale, price-wise, to the Elvie.)
So – is the Elvie pump worth the money?
Clearly, this is totally subjective. For me, the amount of ‘freedom’ that the Elvie pump gives me – expressing is no longer something I dread or have to carve out time to do – and how easy it is to use, means that I think it is worth £249. When I think about how much many of us spend on baby kit – pram, pushchair, car seat, cot, high chair – part of me thinks ‘We don’t need another really expensive thing to spend money on!’ but the other part of me thinks that spending this money can have huge physical and mental benefits to a mum. So I think I’d save money on the cot or pushchair, and spend it here.
But that’s just my opinion, based on my experiences and needless to say, many people just aren’t in the position to spend £249 on a breast pump. If you’re reading this and thinking you don’t have the money, or that you couldn’t justify spending that much, then I repeat my recommendation for the Haakaa – it’s bloody brilliant.
Now, in the interest of total transparency, Elvie sent me a pump to try out. They didn’t ask me to write anything about it here on the blog. When I tried it out, I was so impressed, I just really wanted to spread the word – I think if anyone can afford one, they really should get one! I haven’t felt the need to gush about the pump because they sent me one. I genuinely just think it might make the lives of some new mums a bit easier if they know about it. If you’ve tried it, let me know what you think of it. Or if you love a different breast pump, let me know…