Monday, January 28, 2013

Medela Harmony Product Review

I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed my babies. What I didn't know before my daughter was born was how much work it could be. I didn't realize how long it could take to learn to latch on, how sore mastitis and thrush could be and that there was a learning curve for positioning a nursing cover in such a way that I could see my daughter while keeping us covered from the world. It hasn't been easy, but it has been very worthwhile. One of the things that has made it easier is my medela harmony breast pump.

Medela Harmony Manual Breat Pump
As I have said before, I researched many items before my daughter was born. Every item on my amazon registry (which is the BEST place to do your registry, since you can use any shops on the web) was carefully researched and chosen. I had decided that a tried and true medela double electric pump-in-style was the way to go. I could pump both sides at the same time at work and it came in a trendy bag for transportation. It had great reviews. However, no one bought it for me. I looked at used pumps but even those were expensive for my budget. I had heard that some insurance companies will pay for breast pumps, but mine wouldn't. A friend gave me her used medela swing electric single pump and an unused medela harmony that she had been given at the hospital. I needed to get new parts for the medela swing, since it was used, so I opened the medela harmony instead.

Just by taking the pump apart and looking at the engineering I could tell that it was brilliant by design. Every piece makes sense. It is very easy to take apart and clean. Boiling water can easily sterilize each piece. The pump can be used with other standard bottles, including the evenflo glass bottles that I already have. It is compact enough to throw into the diaper bag and take with me and I can use it in the car because it doesn't require electricity. The pump is also quiet to use- much quieter than the electric pumps I have heard. There are two different ends to the pump handle. The shorter end causes shorter quicker pulls to bring down the milk, and the other end works with longer pulls to effectively express the milk. I find that the harmony pump is effective and quick to use. My pump has a softfit breast shield, which medela no longer makes. I have read that Pumpin' Pal makes an angled breast shield that fits the pump and is very comfortable to use as well.

I remember the day my milk came in. It was my fourth day in the hospital and every time
my daughter would latch on she would end up overwhelmed and choking. She couldn't nurse until the milk slowed down. I would pump off the first ounce so she could effectively nurse.

When my daughter was just a few weeks old, I had an allergic reaction to something I ate and I was rushed to the health center for a shot of prednisone and a shot of benedryl. I was also given a prescription for benedryl to take over the next few days, but unfortunately, I would not be able to nurse during that time because the medicine would go right into the milk. I was so thankful to have a stash of milk already in the freezer. My daughter never went hungry and never had to resort to *fake milk* to fill her belly. I didn't want to lose my milk supply, so I continued to "pump and dump" until several hours after my last dose of medicine.

Later in the summer I had a clogged duct that turned into mastitis. I had heard of mastitis in cows, but I had no idea how miserable it could be. It was so hard to nurse my sweet baby girl. I could let her touch my chest with her hands at all. It was like fire and it extended up my chest nearly to my shoulders and to the sides under my arms. Just a brush of my arm caused pain to spread and take my breath away. I tried hand expressing in a hot shower. I tried massaging out the clogged ducts. I nursed and nursed and pumped and pumped. Eventually I had to get an antibiotic at the health center to help me kick the infection. Unfortunately, the antibiotic caused us to get thrush. Thrush is nasty yeasty stuff. Mastitis is painful, but thrush is more annoying. I only noticed pain when my milk was coming in when she would nurse. She had white patches in her mouth and a nasty rash on her bum. I continued to pump to keep my milk supply stable, but I didn't keep the milk. I was afraid that the yeast would survive freezing and re-infest us later. I am not sure if it works that way, but I already had quite a stash in the freezer, so again, I did the "pump and dump" routine. We used lots of acidophilus and good hygiene to battle the yeast, but eventually we got some medicine from the doctor as well.

When I went back to work in the fall, I never ended up getting the pump-in-style and after giving the medela swing several tries I didn't really use that either. I found that the medela harmony was faster, smaller, quieter and easier for me to control than the swing was. I bring it to school and pump in the middle of the morning, about the time my daughter is taking a bottle at home.  I bring home the milk and put it in the fridge for her to drink the next day.  I am not storing as much milk now as I had been, mostly because I have more than she will ever use and I am pretty sure that most of it will be wasted. When flu season hit this small town with a vengeance, I was very careful to nurse her often and we were blessed to have only a touch of the lighter symptoms.

I very highly recommend the medela harmony pump. It runs about $24-$37 on I don't think I will ever need another pump.

It is important to note that I did not recieve any products or compensation from Medela for this review. I am not in any way affiliated with Medela. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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