I rent an ameda lactaline from our local surestart place and I use it every day. I think it's very good (although I haven't used any other brand of electric pump). It's certainly much easier than the handpump to express with. I feed ds off the left side only during the night and then express of the full (!) right side in the morning. I have been impressed - the only thing I had to do was buy a steam sterisliser as I just had microwave sterilisers, but you can't microwave the version of the pump I have. I also find it useful being able to pump both breasts at once when ds is at nursery - instead of his morning feed. I'm happy to discuss further if you have any specific questions
I bought the ameda lactaline (recommended by an MNer ) and I think it's good, quite quiet and comfortable. I use it everyday I'm at work. Like GLM I haven't tried any other electric one so can't compare but agree it's easier than a handpump and of course much quicker being a double.
when i was breastfeeding DS, i had a medela electric pump and found it to be slow and not very effective.
so this time i am going to try the ameda. from what i have seen on various websites, there is the ameda lactaline and there is the ameda elite. the ameda elite is selling for about US$1000! and that is the one that can be rented from NCT. that is the hospital grade one. i am desperate to breastfeed properly this time
GLM, that is what i want to do pump both at the same time! anyway, i am only 4 months preg, so it will be awhile yet !
heron, there are several MNers who exclusively pumped, as for various reasons the babies didn't/couldn't/wouldn't latch on. IIRC they nearly all used the lactaline to do this. I personally have the Avent Duo which I used every day in work from when ds3 was 6 months old till he was a year. I pumped twice a day and generally got about 6oz in the first session and about 4 in the second session. Took about 10 min to empty both breasts. I found it brilliant but it is over twice the price of the lactaline and as I have never used the lactaline can't compare them.
Heron, my advice is to google Dr Jack Newman, Kellymom and read any information on there on the early days of breastfeeding. Bookmark the links.
Other excellent sites are www.normalfed.com and www.HowBreastfeedingWorks.com, and www.biologicalnurturing.com.
In addition, go to a Babycafe (google it), an NCT bumps and babies group or other Babygroup run by one of the four breastfeeding charities at your hospital, Surestart centre. This will help you make friendships with women who are already feeding which will also increase your chances of feeding successfully. Also the facilitator of the group won't be a stranger if you do have problems early days so it will be less intimidating to turn to her for help.
Lastly, take the numbers of the breastfeeding helplines to hospital with you and don't be intimidated in ringing them if you need them on day one.
Good luck. Hope you get off to a flying start.
Notice, I have not said anything about pumps. they are not usually needed to get bfing going if your baby is healthy and term. Don't sweat the pump thing.