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Babytalk's Breast Pump Picks

Type: Hospital-grade rental

Best used for: A preemie or a baby with feeding problems. Also a good idea if you're unsure about wanting to breastfeed and therefore aren't ready to invest in your own pump.
Pros: Fastest, most efficient pumps available. Inexpensive to rent for short periods of time.

Cons: Heavy and unwieldy; not really practical to carry to work.

What to check out: Many hospitals can put you in touch with a lactation consultant or company that offers rentals. Prices range from $1 to $3 per day, plus $60 for your own personal accessory kit (required).

Electric pumps

Type: High-quality electric

Best used for: Long-term daily pumping, or working full-time outside of the house.

Pros: Much more powerful than mini-electric pumps. Portable.

Cons: Expensive, and not always super-light.

What to check out:
Medela Pump in Style Advanced: A top of the line pump with separate let-down and expression modes, built into either a shoulder bag or backpack case. The rechargeable battery pack allows you to pump even when there are no outlets to be found. ($350; [TOUT_LINK {http://www.medela.com/} {medela.com}])

[TOUT_IMAGE "/touts/BP_playtex_embrace.jpg" "150" "150" "Playtex Embrace" "right"] Playtex Embrace: (right) Earns points for its unique baby-mimicking suction. This pump has five speeds and five suction levels, and the super-soft cups are very comfortable against the breast. All the parts fit neatly into labeled pouches within a black tote bag. ($249; [TOUT_LINK {http://www.playtexbaby.com/} {playtexbaby.com}])

Ameda Purely Yours: A very light (only one pound) and quiet pump that features eight suction and four cycle speeds so you can customize it to your needs. It also works with three different power sources for lots of travel options  -- AA batteries, electricity, and the included car adapter  -- and comes in a tote bag or backpack. ($200 and up, depending on bag style; 800-323-4060)

Manual pumps

Type: Manual

Best used for: Occasional use, or part-time work outside of the house. This type is also great if you need to pump where electrical outlets are not available and without the noise of an electric/battery powered motor.

Pros: Light, simple, inexpensive, and quiet

Cons: Requires a little effort, and you can only pump one breast at a time (unless you buy two).

What to check out:
[TOUT_IMAGE "/touts/BP_avent_isis.jpg" "150" "150" "Avent Isis" "right"] Avent Isis: (right) Gets rave reviews from many moms for ease of use. Once letdown is achieved, some women find that they don't need to squeeze the handle as often as with other manual pumps to keep the milk flowing. Best of all, the whole thing goes in the dishwasher. ($45; 800-542-8368)

Gerber Massaging Manual Breast Pump: combines two sets of massaging pads to simulate a baby's tongue and lip movements on the breast. This pump is very easy to assemble and is dishwasher safe. ($40; [TOUT_LINK {http://www.gerber.com/home} {gerber.com}])

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