In November we had our third (and final) baby and I knew that, like with our previous 2, I wanted to breast feed this baby if at all possible. However, I also knew that this wouldn’t work if I was as prudish, shy, and embarrassed when it came to feeding in public as I had been the last two times. You see due to the big gap between babies 1 and 2 and then baby number 3, I now have school runs, football practices and swimming lessons to accommodate between feeds and hiding away indoors and feeding in private isn’t always a possibility, yet neither is feeding in front of my 10 year old sons mates either. So in order to make this work I also needed an efficient breast bump.
I’ve used breast pumps with both previous babies, so I knew it was something that should in theory work for me, however the ones I have used previously where manual and took ages. In fact they were pumps that 10 years on they would now be better suited in a museum than in a shop! So I set about doing some research and found a few different electric pumps that looked and sounded amazing, however they all had pretty big price tags too and I was worried that they could be a waste of money.
The Elvie Breast Pump was one that kept coming up time and time again and when the opportunity arose for me to review it I couldn’t quite believe my luck. Having done so much research myself I decided that when reviewing this one I wouldn’t simply write about my experience but I would also try and answer all the questions I had when I was researching breast pumps to see if I could help other mums and mums to be when making their decisions.
What do you get for your money?
The Elvie Breast pump is priced at £249 for a single pump and £449 for a double pump. I have the single pump and for the £249 you get
The electric hub,
a 24mm breast shield,
a 28mm breast shield,
2 bra adjusters,
2 bottle lids,
a USB charging cable
a carry bag
and access to the Elvie App that you can download to your phone.
Is the Elvie breast pump really silent?
One of the biggest selling points of the Elvie breast pump is that even though it is an electrical pump it is silent and therefore discrete and can in theory be used in public. I can’t imagine that anyone ever really wants to express in public but sometimes it needs to be done, think work, family gatherings or even stuck on the tube. A noisy breast pump is the last thing you need so the prospect of a silent one is a huge bonus.
Is the Elvie really silent?
In a word no. You can definitely hear a rhythmic noise as you pump, however it is definitely quiet and could easily be used in places where there is background noise without it being detected but if you are sat in a quiet public place or in a meeting at work the people close to you will be able to hear it.
Is it discreet?
The Elvie breast pump is a great size and shape for using on the go and discreetly. It does fit nicely inside your bra and the bra strap extenders can be used to make you feel more secure. As mentioned above there is a low level noise that comes from the pump although not very noticeable if there is background noise. In addition to this there is also a white light that can be seen through thin clothing although a jumper or cardigan would easily hide this. Obviously if you are using the single pump you will also appear to have one breast bigger and more oddly shaped than the other which wont help you look discreet but again a larger jumper would hide this. I have been using the Elvie during November, December and January so far so although I feel it is a discreet piece of equipment and have used it on multiple occasions in front of people I might feel differently if I needed to express in say July on a hot day. The fact it can be used completely hands free and will stop pumping automatically when it gets full also helps to make it as discrete as a breast pump can be.
Is the Elvie breast pump easy to use?
Yes. The Elvie comes with clear instructions on how to assemble and use the pump. These are easy to follow and once done do not need to be reread for future use as it is straight forward and easy to use. Another bonus is that it can be used with any bottles as you transfer from the pump to your bottle of choice, I recommend the Dr.Browns bottles.
What is the battery life like?
The battery life is not brilliant if I am honest. I have found that as long as I charge it before I want to use it I don’t have a problem but if I forget to recharge it between pumps it becomes slow and sluggish and less efficient. Habit is everything, remember to charge it and you wont have a problem as a fully charged Elvie will easily last for up to 2 hours whilst you express one or even both breasts.
Another good function is that as it has a USB charging point so you can charge it on the go using a power bank and I have even used my in car charger to charge mine whilst on long journeys. (I also used the pump in the car as it really is that easy to use anywhere).
Is the App useful?
The App is easy to down load and set up. It can be used to help you remember which breast you pumped from previously and how much you have expressed each time. Although I set the app up and used it a couple of times I found that it was quicker to just use the Elvie as a stand alone item, however if I had had this app as a first time breast feeding mum I think I would have found it very useful and used it a lot more and can imagine that it reduces a lot of the anxieties associated with breast feeding for lots of mums.
Is the Elvie Breast Pump worth the money?
Yes. If you are in a position where you can afford to spend £249 on a breast pump and are planning on expressing on a regular basis, including whilst out of the home then yes in my opinion the Elvie breast pump is an investment piece that is worth the money. However, if you are going to struggle to afford it, or will only be expressing occasionally and usually in your own home then I do feel I need to point out that other breast pumps are available for a fraction of the price and it is not worth getting in debt over.
Overall I love mine, I use it most days and find the fact I can use it hands free and pretty discretely a god send with having two older children, a baby and a hectic life.
Top tips for first time users
1.Make sure that every part of the Elvie Breast pump is bone dry before you assemble it. If any of the components are wet it will effect the suction ability and reduce the efficiency or even stop it from working altogether.
2. When you have found out which silicon breast shield fits you best put the other one away. At first I didn’t realise that there was two different sizes and found that sometimes my Elvie worked brilliantly and other times it felt loose and I didn’t know why . Once I discovered that the larger one was too big for me and I put it to one side so I only ever had the one that fitted to hand I was able to use it more easily.
3. If you have any problems with you Elvie breast pump at all then get in touch with the company directly as I found their customer service team to be brilliant. They can give you advice, test your Elvie if you think it is broken and replace individual parts if necessary. You can also buy additional parts and bottles if you need to without buying the full set again.
4. Make sure you have a really comfy nursing bra and some good breast pads. These will make your whole breastfeeding journey so much easier.
Overall I am really impressed with the Elvie breast pump and think that it has definitely helped to make my breast feeding journey an easier one. I love that I can use it hands free, it doesn’t leak and will stop when the bottle gets full. For me the suction is powerful without being painful and I am so glad I have been able to use it, I just wish they had been around when I had my first baby 10 years ago.
When you are ready to make the switch from milk to food be sure to read our top tips for weaning article written by Dr. Sophie Niedermaier Patramani from Little Tummy.
(I was gifted the Elvie Breast pump in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own).