The First Years Breastflow Memory Double Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The First Years is a company dedicated to a multitude of baby products from car seats to breast pumps. They pretty much try to cover the "first years" of your child's life from top to bottom by providing an array of age-appropriate products. This product is meant to be an answer to moms who are frustrated with having to change the settings on suction and speed each time they pump. We liked the "memory feature" but overall, we feel this pump fell short. Read on for more of what we found.
This pump scored a 4/10 for efficiency which tied with our other lowest scoring pump in this area, the Lansinoh Manual pump. We scored this pump low for a couple of reasons, but mainly the "bar" you have to hold on to while pumping. This bar reaches across the front to both breasts where you attach the breast flanges supposedly allowing you to express both breasts with one hand. In concept, it seems that the company was trying to make it easier to pump, however, we found it to be frustrating and even saw our efficiency suffer as it was hard to maintain a good suction without having one breast flange turn just enough to loose suction. You will have much better control holding the breast flanges yourself or using a pumping bra to secure the flanges in place.
We scored this pump a 5/10 for comfort, and once again its not necessarily due to the breast flanges or the suction speed of the pump, it was mainly the bar and handle design. It seemed fine when we initially set it up and make sure it is lined up correctly on the breasts, but as we continued into our pumping session, we found that the bar did not secure the breast flanges tightly enough, and they began to shift around. Not only does this effect efficiency, but it takes away from the comfort as well. Lastly, holding the handle bar isn't very comfortable either. At least if you are holding it up yourself you can rest your arm across your body.
Ease of use
We also gave this pump a 5/10 on ease of use. The actual screen is very easy to use and it is nice to have all your settings saved exactly how you like them. However, we found that most women don't use the same settings every time they pump anyways. To its credit, the touch screen feature is nice and user friendly, and if you are looking for consistency when you pump, this pump will give that to you when it comes to suction, speed and time. This pump's ease of use score mainly suffered, due once again to the bar and the difficulty it causes with keeping your breasts and nipples in the correct alignment.
This pump received a 5/10 on portability as well. While this pump does come with a tote bag and insulated cooler, it is very difficult to fit everything necessary into the tote bag. We hate to continue harping on one bad quality, but once again, it's the bar and handle that make this thing hard to tote around. Its very awkward shoving the bar and handle into the bag. One of our testers mentioned it was like putting together a puzzle trying to fit everything in this bag! The bag is a little on the small side and we were not able to successfully fit the bar and the insulated bag with all the other accessories needed in order to pump on the go. This pump does include a rechargeable battery which is nice for on-the-go situations, but it needs to be charged on a regular basis and it was one of the shortest lasting batteries in our dry run.
This is an open system pump and the parts need to be cleaned regularly. We did notice that some parts were difficult to clean and their was a build up of old milk that was difficult to clean. Still, if you clean each section regularly, it should stay hygienic for you and your baby.
This was one of the quieter pumps we tested and it received a 7/10 in our ratings. It's not as quiet as our Editors' Choice winner, the Spectra S1, but also wasn't as loud as our Best Value Award winner, the Medela Pump In Style Advanced. It may be too noisy to pump next to your sleeping partner or baby, but all in all, we were not put off by the sound.
The First Years Breastflow Memory Double is meant for an every day or frequent pumper. It's a double electric pump that comes with a tote bag and insulated cooler that would best be suited for a working mom or an exclusive pumper. The memory function is also good if you like the pump to work the exact same each time you pump, but your trade-off might be dealing with the clumsy cross-bar feature.
This pump's retail price is $199.00, and would be considered a deal compared to the Medela Pump In Style Advanced or the Spectra S1, our Best Value and Editors' Choice winners. Still, with some of the problems we found, it may be worth your money to invest a little more in a better pump that will still suit your needs.
In our opinion this pump is a good pump, but not the best. If you really can't invest any more money, but want a pump that will work long term, this pump could do the trick. While the memory function is a bonus, for us, the bar and handle was less than ideal.
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