AD | Gifted for Review
Marketed as the ‘pump for parents on the go’, I was very excited to give Tommee Tippee’s Made for Me In-Bra Breast Pump a go. I’m very aware that my breastfeeding journey seems smooth sailing from the outside, however it has been anything but smooth.We’re now 12 months in, have had 3 bouts of mastitis (one resulting in my right breast producing almost no milk), numerous blocked ducts and complete bottle refusal by the tiny human. I went back to work at 6 months, easing baby into nursery who learned to eat solids and drink water during the day. This, however, resulted in reverse cycling feeds throughout the night. Following advice from a La Leche League Consultant, I continued expressing milk during work hours to maintain my supply, and baby has eventually started taking a little expressed milk via a straw or open cup.
At the start of our journey, I used the Medela Swing Flex. I found that I didn’t get a huge amount of output, which I suspect is due to it not being the most discreet pump. Even though I’m working from home, answering phone calls and emails with half my chest on display made me feel self-concious, and I think the stress may have contributed to the low output.
I eventually moved onto the Pippeta in-bra pump. I like the soft flange, it’s light weight and much more discreet. I found that my output increased, and I was just getting to the stage of needing to order replacement valves when the message came through about Tommee Tippee’s new in-bra breast pump.
So, how does the Tommee Tippee breast pump stand up? Let’s start with what’s in the box, and then move through to my thoughts on the function (had to try really hard to not write a suction/function rhyming joke there).
What’s in the box?
Firstly, I have to say that I am really impressed with Tommee Tippee’s packaging. All recyclable paper/card – HUGELY appreciated. The box itself is also super well thought out. It feels like a moment of self-care with it’s beautiful aesthetics and motivating/uplifting messaging.
In the box you’ll find the pump, two milk catchers, a 24mm and 28mm flange, a bottle/teat adapter so that you can feed straight from the milk catcher (if you have a magical bottle taking baby, i.e. not mine), a charging cable and all of the power adapters that you could wish for. There are also extender clips for your nursing bra and a lovely bag to keep the pump in.
The instructions are fairly easy to read, however I wish that there was a bit on troubleshooting comfort/pain in the troubleshoot section.
Time to use the breast pump
To use the pump you’ll want to charge it first. Slightly annoyingly, it’s a different cable to every other cable that I have at my desk, but because it comes with all of the wall power adapters, this wasn’t too much of an issue. Just another cable to plug into the power-board!
Once you’re all charged, download the Tommee Tippee application onto your phone, and connect the device via Bluetooth. Both the application and the paper manual have instructions on how to do this. The app allows you to control the pump remotely (great if you’re in a video call and don’t want to mess around with the buttons on the pump itself!), and it also measures/tracks milk output. Personally, coming from a software as a service (SaaS) background professionally, the application needs a little work. The device tends to disconnect part way through a session, and I’ve only managed to get it to estimate the volume of milk expressed 1/4 times. When it does stay connected, the remote operation is fantastic – it’s probably my favourite feature.
Now, I mentioned troubleshooting comfort earlier, so let’s talk about it. Here you can see a side by side of the size and build of my two in-bra pumps. The Tommee Tippee pump has a lot more mechanics compared to the Pippeta which makes it slightly heavier, but they’re about the same size overall (Pippeta is 245 grams vs Tommee Tippee being 314 grams). You do notice the weight in your bra. As you can see in the photo at the top of the page, it tilted forward in my nursing bra. I actually had more success keeping it in place in a soft & stretchy yoga bra.
After the first use I was really disheartened. It hurt. The flange is a harder material and the pump has a suction pattern that I was expecting. Quick troubleshooting had me swapping out the flange size & changing from the nursing bra to a yoga bra. This helped slightly, but I still had pain and my nipple was slightly white after a 15 minute session.
The next time I kept the same flange & bra, but popped some coconut oil on my nipple first. This helped a lot. There was still a little pain at times, but nothing quick little wriggle and readjust couldn’t fix.
My third and fourth attempts were much more comfortable and I was able to get a similar milk output to the Pippeta. I tested it during video calls, and even a remote/video training at work, and confirmed with a colleague that they could only hear the pump if I held it right up to the headset microphone. My husband says the noise is quieter than the other pumps, but higher pitched which irritated him more.
Overall, I am really impressed by the branding and technology. I wish that the flange/horn was a little more comfortable and that they included more comfort troubleshooting tips, as I almost gave up after the first session. I love the remote operation of the pump via the Tommee Tippee application, and I’m excited to see what’s next for Tommee Tippee and this new approach to technology for parents on the go!