Monday, June 28, 2010

Hygeia Enjoye Review

Last night I was up pretty late blogging about breastfeeding, how it's portrayed in various articles, my own experiences with it, and some things I feel really need to change.  I talk a little about my own difficulties with nursing my daughter and some ways to help encourage breastfeeding and point out, as is often overlooked that formula should be a last choice after other alternatives to breastfeeding, at the breast, are exhausted, such as expressed/pumped milk and donor milk.
One of the issues I had with nursing my daughter was horrific and painful engorgement which made it nearly impossible for her to latch, so one of the options I tried was to pump a little to relieve the pressure before nursing.  However, my breast pump was pretty awful.  It was a handheld Evenflo manual pump where I literally had to squeeze the trigger mechanism like on a cleaning product over and over again, much to the dismay of my breasts and of my forearms. It was hard to keep my breast positioned right while manually pumping. It was exhausting, there was no decent rhythm to it and all in all, I was lucky to get nearly an ounce.
Fast forward ten years, yet another ridiculous hand held manual pump by Evenflo. This one has a better sized cup and a more ergonomic handle, but ultimately still was a pretty miserable excuse for a breast pump.
I felt pretty overwhelmed at the notion of trying to produce enough milk to spend one feeding away from the house each week.  I felt like a pumping failure.
I'm not going to lie to you and say that when I got to review the Hygeia Enjoye breast pump that all the sudden my yield went way up.  It's not about the magic pump that suddenly makes your breasts behave like a fountain.  If you look at any breast pump expecting it to increase your production in one sitting, you're going to be very disappointed.  But a better pump will pump more efficiently, more comfortably, and with less energy output on your end.  The Hygeia Enjoye does all these things.
                        


I'm not wasting my time and energy on repositioning it and curving my back funny to get my hand into the right position beneath my breast to work the pump mechanism without breaking suction and having all the milk coming out run down my chest instead of into the collection bottle.  This means I don't get as rapidly frustrated and have the opportunity to spend more quality time with my pump, and *that* is what helps build your productivity, so to speak.
My output is still not wonderful, but I know I don't spend the kind of time I need to to build it to where I'd like it. Ideally, I'd like to be able to give my son a breast milk sippy every day at lunch and still have frozen milk saved up to donate. I'm not there yet. But I do like this pump and I think that if I were a little more dedicated, I'd definitely be able to get there.
Let me tell you what I like about the Hygeia Enjoye.

It's more comfortable than other pumps with which I've tried to pump in the past.

It has a really nifty feature where there's this little button, well, two buttons actually.
See the green one? See the black one?  See how it says "Play" and "Record" on it? That's the brilliant feature that allows me to record whatever sound is going to help assist let down and encourage milk to come out best. For some women, it's the sound of their baby crying, mine has this weird hummy "wobba-wobba" noise Snapdragon makes when he's tired, because tired baby means nursey baby.  Does it really help? I think so.

I can pump both sides at the same time, or just one if that's what I'm in the mood for.  I don't like having to slave over one breast for fifteen to twenty minutes while the other leaks through a nursing pad or drips down my belly.  Especially in the beginning I had an issue with letdown on one side meaning let down on the other, and with a dual breast pump, no milk is wasted, and that's a big deal.  I never understood the expression "cry over spilled milk" until I started pumping.

I can adjust the speed and strength of suction.  This means that if I'm particularly sore because *some baby* decided that teething and nursing were great friends, I can use a slower, gentler setting than on a day when I'm right as rain and in a hurry.  Best part? I can speed up without giving myself carpel tunnel.

It's mobile. It doesn't weigh too much more than my husband's laptop computer. (Does this mean he needs a new laptop?) With all of it's accessories, the bag and everything it weighs in at 7.58lbs. That's less than a gallon of milk weighs.  That's not too bad.  Just the pump (though why would I be carrying JUST the pump?) is only 2.8lbs.  With both plug in and rechargable battery options, it's a great option for working moms or moms who will need to pump on the road.
About the weight- I have a Medela Pump in Style that a friend gave me when I was first struggling with my manual pump which feels heavier to me, isn't quite as comfortable, and makes me nervous because it's supposed to be a single user pump and while the added power and convenience was nice, there's always a thought lurking in the back of my head "isn't it single user for a reason?"  You can read about the reasoning in my friend Amy's post "The Problems with Medela."  You can also read her take on Hygeia.

My favorite feature is the one to which I just alluded.  The Hygeia Enjoye is a Green breast pump in that it's reusable by multiple women.  To my knowledge, Hygeia makes the only breast pumps for home use FDA approved for multiple users.  This means that if you buy the Enjoye and it doesn't work for you, you have options other than chucking it in the trash or giving something potentially unsafe to a woman struggling to feed her infant.  It also means that if the Enjoye does work for you, you can then pass it on to your friend when you're done with full confidence that if she has her own Personal Accessory Kit, it's a safe way for her to pump milk for her baby.  Plus she'll have the added benefit of tips from her friend.  It's a win-win-win.

Remember that bit about if it doesn't work for you?  Well if you try it out and just really dislike it, they have a 21 day return/exchange policy called their "Total Compatibility Guarentee."

Hygeia is WHO Compliant.  This means a lot to me because the WHO code helps save lives, and when other companies which make great products don't bother to follow the WHO code, it means other companies feel less inclined to follow it, and it means that mothers get bombarded with the wrong messages, thus reducing the number of children exclusively breastfed at 6 months, which is, in my opinion, a tragedy.  (Which is, I'm sure, quite the run on sentence.)

They have GREAT customer service.  I love that if I have a question about their pump, pumping, or even breastfeeding I can often find @HygeiaKate on Twitter and she's full of good information, very supportive, and has been a blessing to have in the breastfeeding help and support community, even before I ever so much as laid a finger on a Hygeia product.  I love that even if she isn't on, she'll get back to me when she is.

All the parts that you come into contact with, or your milk does, are BPA/DEHP free.  I personally prefer my baby's milk to be non-toxic, so this is total win in my book.

Also, you should know they have a 3 year warranty.

Drawbacks-
It's not my cuddly baby.  Not that any pump is, but if given an option, I still pick the baby.

Baby likes the tubing. he thinks it's fun to play with, makes a pretty necklace, and might make a great teether. Keep the tubing away from the kidlets.

As with all things, there's a learning curve, and without some sort of pumping holder, you're not going to be able to do anything with your hands, like type reviews of nursing pumps or become a sudoku warrior.

In the end, I like it because it works, and works comfortably, for me, is a safe item, is produced by a company with ethical standards, supports breastfeeding at the breast and not just the sales of their products.
They're priced competitively with the nearest similar products from other companies, but theirs is the only recycle/reusable one and frankly, the only one I'm comfortable recommending for that reason.

You can search where to buy or rent a Hygeia breast pump here, or you can order online from the Hygeia website.  If you have any questions, I'm sure their customer service department would love to hear from you and help you out.




*I'm not including pictures of me using the product or of the milk I've pumped because I'm really not comfortable with posting pumping pictures and I don't want to start a discussion on how I can up my yield or whether or not my milk looks like I've eaten too much garlic.  Sorry folks, not today. I love you anyway.

Disclosure: I was sent a Enjoye for free to review and then pass along when I'm done with it, because they're FDA approved for multiple users, so yes, it is temporarily living here, and I didn't pay for that, and the next mom who gets it isn't going to have to pay for it either. She's just going to have to replace the bits that directly contact her and her milk.

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