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Breastfeed Med. 2008 Sep;3(3):141-50. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2007.0021.

A comparison of the efficiency, efficacy, comfort, and convenience of two hospital-grade electric breast pumps for mothers of very low birthweight infants.

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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.



Many mothers of very low birthweight infants are breast pump-dependent for weeks or months and need a breast pump that is efficient, effective, comfortable, and convenient.


This multisite, blinded, randomized clinical trial compared the efficiency, efficacy, comfort, and convenience of the Symphony breast pump (Medela, McHenry, IL) (SBP) to the Classic breast pump (Medela) (CBP) and also compared these same outcome measures for single- and multiphase suction patterns used in the SBP. All 100 mothers initiated lactation with the CBP and were randomized to single- and multiphase suction patterns in the SBP when daily milk output was at least 350 mL/day. Protocol I included 35 mothers who compared each of three suction patterns in the SBP on two separate occasions (six observations) in the neonatal intensive care unit and used the CBP for all other pumpings. Protocol II included 65 mothers who compared single- and multiphase patterns in the SBP for 7 days and then returned to the CBP for 5 days.


The onset of milk ejection was quicker (P < 0.05) for the single- versus multiphase patterns in the SBP, suggesting that mothers had become conditioned to the unphysiolologic single-phase pattern in the CBP. However, all other measures of efficiency and efficacy were not significantly different, including milk output at 5-minute intervals. When asked to compare the SBP and the CBP, mothers in Protocol 1 rated the SBP as significantly more efficient, effective, comfortable, and convenient than the CBP (P < 0.05), regardless of the suction pattern in the SBP. Similarly, mothers in Protocol II rated the SBP significantly (P < 0.05) more comfortable than the CBP, regardless of the specific pattern in the SBP.


These findings suggest that the SBP was as efficient and effective as the CBP but was significantly more comfortable to use for pump-dependent mothers of very low birthweight infants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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