The Elvie Breast Pump was one of the first to come out as a hands-free breastpump. We bought ours in 2019 and have been using it on and off for three years now, read on to hear about our Elvie Breast Pump review, an honest, unpaid recommendation. Plus, we ask (and answer!) is the Elvie Pump worth the money? And most importantly, is the Elvie Breast Pump any good?
A breast pump is one of the unfortunate side effects of breast feeding. Oh, I loved the freedom it gave me to go out for a night, the confidence it gave Dave to take the baby out alone knowing that he could feed them if required, the fact it meant I could go back to work. But my goodness, did I hate the act of pumping itself. Finding the time, setting it up, feeling marginally like a farm animal whilst hiding in a room with a boob out and the pump itself on. The first time around I’d do it during nap time, get up a little earlier or make Dave take the baby but this second time? It just didn’t happen. The rare occasions I get a moment to myself, I spend it on me. You know, sleeping or other such important things, but trust me, those moments are few and far between.
Elvie Breast Pump: A Hands Free Breast Pump
So when I returned to work the second time, I’ll admit to dreading the pump action required. I’d got it out, cleaned it up (top tip: don’t store your breast pump in a damp garage unless you want to spend hours removing mould from it) and promptly started fearing having to use it again. I knew I’d end up pumping in the car as I felt more comfortable there than in a meeting room in the office and yet, I could no longer hide in the back seat thanks to the addition of another giant car seat in our lives – cheers baby. Could I really manage the super unsubtle act of breast pumping in the front seat of the car without exposing myself to the entire world? Enter the Elvie Breast Pump.
Elvie Breast Pump Review
The Elvie breast pump is touted as being a ‘silent’ breast pump. With a catchy tagline about fitting in your bra and your life, it looked like the perfect answer for a busy, working parent. Wire free, rechargeable and compact, it’s designed to genuinely fit within your nursing bra allowing you to pump on the go. It means that in an ideal world, you’d be able to pump and continue your day to day life without people knowing you were doing it; no having to sit with your boob out, no having to find a quiet moment to sit plugged in to the wall and no weird mooing sounds whilst it works. It’s designed to be easy to clean, easy to use and you can even control and monitor it via your smart phone. Oh, and there’s a two year warranty too… pretty good so far!
What’s In The Box?
When the Elvie Breast Pump arrived, I felt a little like I’d bought the mum equivalent of a new iPhone. Honestly, the packaging style was just as sleek as Apple manage. A tiny square box that you open to reveal the pump already sat there waiting for you. Inside is the pump itself, two 5oz bottles to fit into it, two different flanges dependent on your nipple size, two seals, two spouts, two valves, two bottle lids, a charging cable and a carry bag. There’s even a pair of bra adjusters to allow you to extend your nursing bra if you need to to fit it in. Nestled on the top were the instructions on how to get started making it as simple as they first promised.
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What’s The Elvie Breast Pump Like?
Having made sure that the pump was fully charged and downloaded the app, it was time to get started. Some of the reviews I’d read online had mentioned slight leaking which seemed to be down to not checking it fitted properly at the start. The breast shields have little markers on for where your nipple should fit inside to help you judge the size needed; a quick check helped me select the right one for the task and we were off. I did a practice run one night in front of the tv and I was glad I did. It’s worth doing just to understand what’s doing what and how to slip it in to your bra without having to get your whole boob out in public.
Once in place and turned on, you can start the pump using the app. The pump has two modes designed to stimulate your milk flow in the same way that a baby does; a faster action to stimulate letdown and then a slower, longer action once the milk is flowing. The pumping feeling is definitely different to a normal breast pump; it feels far more natural and far less intense than pumps I’ve used (and liked!) in the past. Elvie say that you can move around and do things whilst pumping, and I’m sure you could but I’m yet to try that as I tend to use it either in the car at work or in the evenings sat on the sofa.
The pump automatically shuts off once the bottle is full so you don’t need to worry about overflowing, something that was a concern of mine with it tucked away out of sight. The app does give you milk flow levels and you can manually adjust these at the end of your pumping session to help it create more accurate data something which is nice if you have a rough amount you know you need to produce.
When you’re done pumping, turn if off on the app and remove it from your bra. Be careful to keep it fairly upright as although it wouldn’t easily spill, you don’t want to waste any precious drops. Removing the bottle from the pump is a little tricky at first. There’s a button to press and it pulls out. The first few times I was worried about it slipping as the whole thing is designed so smoothly that there’s nowhere to easily cling on to. However, once you’ve done it a few times it’s pretty easy. Take the rubber piece and the lid off and either pour it into storage bags or put the storage lid on and you’re done.
Is The Elvie Breast Pump Worth The Money?
At £250, the Elvie Breast Pump is not a cheap pump although I did manage to find a voucher code for one of the stockists and got it down to about £210. I took a look on eBay and saw that they’re currently selling second hand for between £150 and £200. As such, I felt I could sell on if I didn’t like it or once finished and get most of my money back.
It’s a lot of money and a big investment at the time, especially if you’re on a educed level of maternity pay. I have had the Elvie Breast Pump for over three years now and in that time have found it to be invaluable. It makes me feel like I can pump during the day without having to sit somewhere that’s completely hidden and quiet. However, there are cheaper alternatives on the market now such as the Pipetta, and I think you then have to question the value of the Elvie breast pump. It’s well made and it pairs nicely with the app, it feels like a good quality product and it’s quiet to use. I’d suggest that the price is prohibitive of purchasing two which would make pumping faster as you could do both breasts at the same time. As someone with a strong letdown and fast flow this hasn’t really been an issue but it could be. If you’re looking for a double, I’d suggest looking at cheaper alternatives.
For someone who was pumping two or three times a day, I felt more confident with my choice of pump and that it wouldn’t let me down. Elvie have good customer support mechanisms although be aware that this runs out after a couple of years – something I found out when 2.5 years post purchase I found that the pump wouldn’t charge. Thankfully, I was able to get this fixed elsewhere (given that it was already out of warranty!).
Can I Use The Elvie Breast Pump At Work?
It’s quiet. Oh so quiet. But I wouldn’t call it silent. You can certainly hear it going, especially if you’re sat in a quiet room. Yes, I could wear it around Tesco and people wouldn’t hear a thing. But at the same time, I’d look like I had a single rocket boob situation going on so that’s probably more of a winter, wooly jumper event. Because of that, I wouldn’t wear it at my desk but potentially you could if you were in a call centre or something a little noisier than our office.
Elvie suggest you can wear it whilst you feed your baby off of the other breast and if I were earlier in my breastfeeding journey I’d definitely do this. I tried this a few times with my old pump and always got amazing milk production results but the juggle of trying to manage a small baby and a pump at the same time was always one resulting in fear that the pump (or baby) would go flying. Not so with the Elvie Breast Pump.
The design is certainly beautiful and it’s an incredibly subtle pump. I work in a building full of glass offices and I’d be comfortable sat pumping in this in one of those although it does need a bit of boob flashing to get it properly in place. I’d be worried about leaking if I was moving around and bending too much but the reality is that unless you’re chasing children you’re unlikely to use it like that. For my needs, it’s pretty perfect.
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In terms of maintenance, it’s easy going. There are just five washable pieces and they’re easy to clean. I’d recommend a good bottle brush as the bottle design is the trickiest part to get into the corners of but with a brush, it’s easy.
The pump charges well but it does run through battery fairly quickly, especially if you’re like me and forget to turn it off. I use mine twice a week for about fifteen minutes each time and it used about 30-40% of the battery. It’s easy to charge though and because the main body doesn’t really look like a pump, you could charge it anywhere even if you’re a bit squeamish about having it out in the office. Put it this way, I’m just glad to not be faffing with batteries again! The charger is a USB one so if you don’t have a phone charger you can repurpose, it may be worth buying a plug just for ease.
My Elvie Won’t Charge – Help
After packing away the Elvie Breast Pump following our daughter no longer having breast milk during the day, I went to unpack it, nearly a year later and found that it would no longer turn on or hold a charge. Unfortunately, at that point my Elvie Breast Pump was no longer covered by warranty so as a last ditch attempt, I used this video to revitalise the battery on my Elvie Pump and get it working again – I was amazed but it worked and has worked for a year since! Memo to self: don’t put the pump in the fridge as a whole unit as this can cause this issue!
Is The Elvie Breast Pump As Effective At Getting Milk As Others?
When I read earlier reviews I’d heard mixed reports about milk production and how it wasn’t as effective as other mainstream pumps. My personal experience is very different, I don’t know if it’s the different feeling of the suction, the fact that I feel less like a cow or the quieter noise allowing me to relax more but I find I get more milk, more quickly than I did from my Medela Swing (which used to be my favourite!). I would say that a lot of milk production is down to the individual and their level of comfort in their surroundings. For me, the Elvie breast pump more than stood up against other pumps, including a hospital grade one that I used on a number of occasions when staying in hospital with my other children.
Is The Elvie Breast Pump Any Good?
Overall, I would say that the Elvie Breast Pump is good. There are a number of different options now available that offer a similar experience and I would recommend thinking about how often you’ll use it vs the outlay. There are flaws to it; the design is not the easiest to clean or get all of the milk out of, it can get noisier as it gets older and the cost is prohibitive if you’re looking to get more than one. However, it’s well made, easy to use, works well with the app and seems to encourage a good milk supply.
For those who are looking to just use something here and there, it’s probably not for you. I debated it for a long, long time; we don’t know if we’ll have another child and it’s a lot of money to spend. In the end, I knew that I would be worrying about pumping at work and so it was worth the investment for me. It’s turned pumping from something quite dehumanising that I would dread into a time where I can turn it on and sit and read without a care in the world whilst it works.
Is the Elvie Pump overpriced for what it is? Yes. Would I buy it again? Almost certainly.