Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Review: Philips Avent breast pump and bottles

{Sponsored}

I don’t deny it. I’m a fan of Philips Avent breast pumps. My trusty electric Avent has accompanied me through both my breastfeeding journeys with EV and AA. It has been with me at work and in my travels, and it has never failed me. Honestly.  So I would like to give it a place of tribute here on this blog, because in my humble opinion, it deserves it.

So when I was offered a chance to review the new Philips Avent pumps, I jumped at it. I had seen it at the shops and was almost tempted to get it. However, my thrifty self interfered, and since then, I have been curiously wondering how the new models performed. Deep inside me though, I knew it would just excel. Yes, I am that much of a fan.
Still, the skeptic me in exists, so though I was offered only the manual pump, I gamely gave it a try. 


Out of the box, the pump also comes with a teat, so that immediately, a feeding can be done the moment expressing is done. The new model’s redesign resembles its predecessor in some ways, most notably in terms of the type of parts. There is the silicone diaphragm with stem, massage cushion and white valve. The way all the parts assemble together is similar too, though the top where the handle and silicone diaphragm are situated is slightly at an angle for a more comfortable grip. What I really like about the new design is the white walve, which has a ribbed part that allows it to be easily detached from the pump. It also feels sturdier. 
Where a motor would be in the electric version, this manual version has just the handle attached to the silicone diaphragm. At first, it looked complicated to me and I was wondering how to detach it. In reality, it is really easy to remove the handle from the main pump. Here, I have dismantled the whole pump, which is made up of seven individual parts.

Other the redesign, the new Philips Avent retains its usability. Unfortunately, unlike the electric version, there is no base to cover the pump body when the bottle is removed. As I was more used to the electric version, expressing using the manual pump was more tiring. It was as effective, though as time progressed and my hand became more tired, the level of effectiveness decreased. In this respect, I still personally prefer the electric Avent, as it allowed me to maintain a consistent pump throughout. The good thing about a manual pump is that it definitely helps in toning up hand and arm muscles, which means fewer trips to the gym!
My take on the Philips Avent manual pump? A worthwhile investment if you are looking for a more economic alternative. The only question you have to ask yourself is whether you are alright with building up those tactile muscles.

My loyalty must have rubbed off on the kids, as they are ardent users of Avent bottles too. Like the electric pump, we have been using Avent bottles since EV was born. So this time, along with the Philips Avent manual pump, I was also provided with the new Natural feeding bottle to try out.  
The new Natural feeding bottles are more stylishly designed, with a bell-shaped bottle body, and a wide bottle neck. I like the new shape as it is more ergonomic, perfect for small hands, and the bottles are BPA-free. 


The other distinctive redesign is in the teat. The teat now features oval-shaped petals, which makes the teat more soft and flexible and is similar to the teats on the pump’s massage cushion. In the same way that the cushion makes expressing more comfortable, the breast-shaped teat is designed to make feeding more comfortable and natural for the baby. The bottle’s built-in anti-colic system also works to reduce discomfort, by ensuring that air is released back into the bottle, and not the baby’s tummy.
Which means that AA should adapt to the new bottle and teat quite readily. Unfortunately, it is taking a little longer than expected. And I think it is because AA has grown too attached to his old bottles and teats. So while I do not see any flaw in the new redesign, AA’s personal preference and attachment has so far prevented me from executing my plan of keeping his old bottles and teats in the storeroom. However, I will keep persisting, and I am sure that very soon, AA will use the new Avent bottles like a fish in a pond.

Philips Avent Manual Breast Pump
Pros
Simple design to allow for easy dismantling.
Same comfort level as the predecessor

Cons
Pumping manually is more tiring.
Lack of base cover for the pump body.

My verdict
Design ****
Ease of use *****
Performance *****

Philips Avent Natural Feeding Bottles
Pros
Ergonomic bell-shaped design
More comfortable breast-shaped teat with oval-shaped petals

Cons
Usability depends on the baby’s response to the bottle

My verdict
Design *****
Ease of use ****
Performance ****

Disclaimer: The Philips Avent breast pump and bottles were sponsored by Philips Singapore. No monetary compensation was received for this review, and all opinions and images are my own.

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