When deciding between the several options that house double electric pumps, I chose the tote over the backpack, and even the messenger bag, for one reason: I thought it would probably hold slightly more with that shape. I imagined taking trips; I would want to store not only my equipment, but also some extra bottles in there. The motor is integrated into the tote, but it worked very nicely to store everything I needed in it, and even fit the little cooler pack which comes with this particular set – the Medela Pump in Style, Advanced On-the-Go Tote.
One thing about the Medela brand that deters many is the cost. If you pump a lot, it’s worth the cost, though. You would easily spend as much in formula in two months as you do on the equipment, and if pumping helps you keep your goal of providing your child breast milk around the clock in their early life, you will definitely find it worth it. With a bustier, you can be hands free, and work on something else for the 20 minutes while your body is busy supplying milk for a later feeding.
I’m all about quality – which is why I went by a brand name, even though there was a slightly less expensive, local brand available. Medela has not disappointed me in the mechanical / electrical components’ capacity to work consistently, and the bag is extremely durable and easy to clean. The two phase expression supposedly mimics a baby’s technique as closely as possible.
What It Does Come With
The tote comes with 4 plastic bottles, which are 5 ounces each, and storage caps. It only includes one nipple and ring for feeding – but more on that below.
It comes with a handy mini cooler and ice pack, as mentioned before; this fits four capped bottles perfectly. Other equipment vital to pumping included were: a set of lines (which the air suctions through), size medium 24mm breast shields (more on that below if you are not a medium), one set of PersonalFit connectors (elbow joint like parts which allow for interchanging shields), yellow valves with rubber membranes, extra rubber membranes, an AC adaptor, and a battery pack.
Note: You can, of course, use just one side at a time if you would like – just cover one of the outputs with the attached plug (instead of a line) so that the suction is only coming out of the other side, and hook up that line as usual. You can adjust speeds, and if necessary you can pump separately if one side does better at a certain speed than the other side.
What The Pump Doesn’t Come With
I was very shocked that I needed to order extra parts already when I opened the bag; the pump does not come with enough nipples and rings for the provided bottles. Thankfully, the nipples come in sets of three, and the spare parts bag had the perfect amount of rings and caps to go over the nipples, so that I wasn’t left with a bunch of unmatched parts.
Some other parts were not included, but it would be hard to include them because of the various size options.
Not everyone will use the medium size shields. In fact, many women, upon buying a pump, don’t even realize that other sizes of shields are available.
(Note: a breast shield is the cone that the milk is collected from, not the same as a nipple shield, which is for nursing.)
When trying to order other sizes of shields, you must be extremely careful that you do not order connectors that are attached to the shields, as you cannot interchange them. Many stores sell Medela brand shields, valves, and bottles, but then they fail to provide any connectors, or provide it only in a $50 set, which is good if you need to pick up new lines and other various things as well, but this set still will not provide you with the extra shields. You may find it handy to have two full sets of equipment, so that you aren’t constantly washing your only set.
The sizes available for the shields are:
- S (21 mm)
- M (24 mm)
- L (27 mm)
- XL (30 mm)
- XXL (36 mm)
The lack of availability of the PersonalFit Connetors is the most annoying part of using the Medela system that I have found.
Then you have the bustier, which comes in black or white, and several different sizes, is pretty much a must have. Otherwise you will be sitting there, holding both of the bottles, or propping them against your nursing pillow and hoping you don’t accidentally move and spill the precious “liquid gold.”
The pump can work off of a wall outlet, or off of a battery pack. The battery pack was confusing at first; I was sleepy from feeding exhaustion, and put four batteries in, closed the battery pack, and tried to turn on the pump. I checked to make sure that the pack was plugged in, and it was. I ended up finding an outlet instead.
Later, my husband looked at it for me, and got out 4 more batteries – yes, 8 batteries are required, as there is a whole other side that opens and holds batteries. I used the pack quite a bit, and it had not run out of juice yet. It uses AA’s – at least it’s a readily available battery size, unlike my child’s swing, which runs on D’s. (No batteries included in the initial package.)
The Medela Pump in Style, Advanced On-the-Go Tote is a high quality piece of equipment, which is necessary for your everyday pumping needs. If you are looking to keep organized, the tote provides a simple solution for an all-in-one carrying option, and the parts that don’t come with the pump that you may want to purchase are fairly inexpensive. I love that I can use it without finding a free outlet, as I have an older house, and it’s not always convenient to find privacy and power in the same place.