It hasn't escaped my notice that all of the electric breast pumps in use in the hospital where Lara and Holly were born were made by Medela so I was really pleased to be asked to try out the Medela Swing 2-Phase Electric Breast Pump - a retail breast pump that uses the science and technology of Medela's many year's of experience in medical pumps.
The Medela Swing breast pump is a very simple design, which in my experience is the best type of breast pump to go for. When I was testing breast pumps for the Mother & Baby awards in 2009, the simple cone-shaped breast pumps were more effective than any with fancy designs to 'massage' the breast and in all cases, a simple design is a lot easier to clean and to assemble.
My first observation about the Swing electric breast pump is that it is really quiet - it isn't unnoticeable but it certainly doesn't require me to raise my voice when I'm talking to Mr. B and there is no danger of the noise disturbing Holly.
I also like the level of control I have over the pumping level and style. The 2-phase expression technology means that when you first start pumping there is a slightly quicker but less strong level of suction to mimic the early sucks of your baby that initiate the let-down reflex and causes the milk to start flowing. Once the milk starts (or by default after about 2 minutes) then the second style of pumping kicks in and you can choose to make it stronger or weaker depending on comfort. The level of control and these two different types of pumping mean that I can express quite a lot of milk even in these early stages of breastfeeding.
The Medela Swing breastpump was a lifesaver for me on day two when my breasts were swollen and uncomfortable as the milk came in. When you're tired and in pain it is really useful to have a product that is intuitive and simple to assemble and use. The only even slightly fiddly part of the pump is a tiny flexible valve membrane which I can imagine would easily damage or get lost (down a plughole when you clean it!) but thankfully you can buy replacements readily.
The Medela Swing breastpump comes with a carry bag because you can use it either powered by mains or using batteries so it is suitable for use when travelling or out and about. It also comes with a calma feeding device which attaches to the bottle and has a very elongated teat designed to mimic the nipple when stretched in your baby's mouth - I have yet to use this but will review it again in the future if I get a chance.