Product Review: Avent Isis Breast Pump

If you’ve decided to breast-feed your little one, congratulations!  You’ve made it past one of the hardest decisions of new-mom-hood!  It’s a difficult call sometimes to decide whether you want to breast-feed, formula-feed, or do a combo, so the fact that you’ve made the decision means you can breathe a little easier.

Some BF moms never have to worry about pumping.  If you’ve read some of my earlier posts on this blog you know that I was not one of those fortunate women.  As a result of having to work full-time outside of the home, I was forced to make a decision to either switch to formula or continue BF and pump.  I chose the latter, as I was determined to BF Little Miss until she was a year old.

I had registered for a $175 double electric breast pump prior to even having Little Miss, but as I expected, no one was able to dole out the dough for such an expensive item.  Before I even had time to consider how I was going to afford the pump myself, Husband’s cousin contacted me.  She had a pump still in near-pristine condition that she wouldn’t be needing again; would I like to have it?  When I discovered it was a double electric pump I said yes eagerly and awaited the package in the mail.

When it arrived I was floored.  It was a double electric pump with its own storage/carrying case bag and three insulated bottle packs, along with half a dozen freezer gel packs, several bags of bottles (three sizes), nipples (four sizes), lids and caps, and milk storage containers with lids.  All in all, I’d guess it was worth nearly $400.  And  I’d gotten it all for free.

Since I was given such a fantastic opportunity to try a top-notch product and use it at least three times a day for six months, I feel I need to pass along what I’ve determined are the positives and negatives of this spendy little gadget.  So if you are considering pumping regularly for any real length of time, listen up!

First, the pros:

  • It’s easy to put together.  Just assemble the bottles (four easy-to-attach pieces make the lid), attach the tube, plug the tubes and electricity cord into the base, plug the base into the wall, and off you go!
  • It’s electric.  This automatically makes this pump fantastic, as no one wants to use a manual pump for more than about 30 seconds, and it takes much longer than that to get a decent amount of breast milk pumped.
  • It’s a double pump.  Once again, this is an automatic boost to this pump’s rating, since a single pump (even if electric) takes twice as long, since you can only pump one breast at a time.
  • It’s easy to clean.  Everything except the tubes (which don’t have anything but air moving through them anyway) is dishwasher safe.
  • The bottles you use to pump are the same bottles you give your baby to drink from, so all you do is remove the pump lid and attach a nipple and you’re good to go.
  • It’s easy to store.  Everything fits VERY easily into the bag, with extra room if you wanted to use this as your work bag.  Toss your wallet and phone into the main part of the bag or or one of its outside pockets, and it’s the only bag you have to carry into work.
  • Every piece is BPA-free.  If you’re worried, as a lot of parents are these days, about the Bisphenol A in plastics, you can rest easy knowing that this pump won’t let any BPA touch your baby’s lips.
  • It’s programmable.  Once you get going with the pumping, you can touch a button on the pump handle and tell the pump to keep up the same pace and rhythm you set up in the previous two squeezes.  If you need to adjust it at any time, tap the button again and squeeze twice in a row the rhythm and speed you want, and hit the button again to set it going automatically.
  • It’s comfortable.  Avent calls them “petals,” but whatever you want to name them, the soft bumps on the part that touches your breast are gentle and easy to adjust for a perfect and comfortable fit every time you pump.
  • It’s quiet.  If you have to pump at work (in a bathroom stall for those not fortunate enough to work somewhere nursing-mom-friendly), this machine is as discrete as they come.  Move it to a soft surface (carpet, upholstered chair, etc.) and/or cover it with a jacket or blanket and it’s virtually silent.
  • You can purchase a pump-holding bra.  This is handy because you can wear it while pumping and it holds the pump in place for you so you are hands-free for multi-tasking.

And now for the cons:

  • It’s heavy.  For what it is it’s relatively small, but if you have to carry it around frequently you will definitely feel every ounce of weight in the pump base.
  • It’s expensive.  This is the most obvious drawback for this particular unit.  Though for a working, pumping mom, this pump is worth every penny, it’s still a rather large commitment if you have to buy it full-price at $280 – and that doesn’t include the extra bottles, nipples, caps, and freezer gel packs, or the milk storage containers.
  • It’s bulky.  Even with the classy black carrying case, it’s a large item to lug around, especially if you commute via public transportation and must switch buses/trains or walk fair distances.
  • The tubes stretch.  Toward the end of my six months of using this pump several times a day, I found the tubes were too easily falling out of the port where they attached to the bottle lids.  Due to being moved around and used so much, they were starting to stretch and didn’t fit snugly in the port anymore.  This led to them falling out, even in the middle of pumping, which meant I had to stop the auto-pump, remove them, reattach the tube, and start again (aka: get everything situated again).
  • The pump-holding bra is incredibly difficult to figure out.  At least it was for me.  It’s a sports bra style, so there are no clasps or adjustable straps, so you have to juggle getting the bra on and then figuring out how to get the pump in its proper place comfortably so that the bra will hold it up.  I never did figure it out because the bra that came with the pump didn’t fit me.

I honestly can’t think of very many cons to this fine machine.  As you can tell I’m quite taken with the Avent Isis Breast Pump and wish every pumping mother could afford one.  The nice thing is that Avent makes a wide range of high quality products produced in England, so most anyone can find something that fits their budget.  Overall, I give this product an A+.

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