When my daughter Ameli was born I was given a Medela Mini electric pump, which I used religiously a few times a day – even when she was feeding every two hours just to improve my milk supply. I would tuck her in at around 7pm, then go and pump and go to bed myself about an hour later. My husband would then feed her when she woke at 11, using my pumped milk, and then when she woke about at about 2am or so, I’d wake with her to breastfeed again.

This worked really well for us for a while – I was getting plenty of sleep and my freezer was quickly stocking up with milk which served as backup when we were driving or I needed longer stretches of sleep. At about five months, my daughter suddenly refused the bottle, which she has done ever since. I still pump after 11 months of breastfeeding, though, on average four times a week.

medela mini electric pumpSo, why do I like the Medela Mini Electric? Because for me, it works*. It doesn’t try to be a super sleek, ultra luxurious pumping machine. It tries to be a small and effective breast pump and in my view it succeeds.

Although the Medela Swing is the flagship pump for regular use, the Mini is touted as being ideal for short term or occasional use. It is small enough to fit in any overnight bag and most nappy bags and can be used plugged in or run on battery power.

As much as I enjoy breastfeeding, pumping is not my favourite activity, so it’s a real plus for me being able to fill a 7oz bottle in about 10 minutes. The Medela Swing has fantastic suction and adjustable strength to suit your preferences.

The only downside to this pump, especially in relation to another I’ve tried recently, is that it is quite noisy. This isn’t a huge problem for me, as I pump at home and so don’t have to worry about who can hear me, but it’s certainly not the most discreet pump – a point a number of users have already made in online feedback.

Medela state that their pump is unique in mimicking a baby’s natural nursing rhythm in a two- phase expression simulation. Medela puts this down to the research it has put into studying the way babies suckle. From its website:

Medela commissioned Professor Peter Hartmann of The University of Western Australia to undertake a scientific study of a baby’s natural sucking behaviour. Professor Hartmann is an internationally renowned specialist in the fields of breastfeeding and milk synthesis. His research findings paved the way for the development of the revolutionary 2-Phase Expression technology that brings the breastfeeding mother all-round comfort and convenience.

The Medela Mini sells for £50 – £60 depending on retailer and comes with:

  • Medela Mini Electric motor unit
  • 24 mm Breastshield
  • 150 ml Breastmilk bottle
  • Bottle stand
  • Breastmilk bottle lid
  • Breastmilk bottle sealing disc
  • Breastmilk bottle cap
  • Silicone teat
  • Valve with membrane
  • Instructions for use
  • One Diary of a First Child reader can win a Medela Mini. In order to win, just leave a comment below sharing your best breastfeeding or expressing tip or favourite breastfeeding story or simply list two benefits of breast milk. One entry per person.

    The competition will run until mid day (GMT) 27 September 2010 and the winner will be drawn randomly using Random.org and will be announced here. Entries are open to anyone, from anywhere

    You do not have to tweet or share this competition to enter, but doing so helps ensure that I can keep bringing you giveaways every week! You can subscribe to Diary of a First Child by RSS, email or through Google Friend Connect (see the bottom to the right). You can also follow us on Facebook or on Twitter. We hope to see you back again soon!

    * I say for me, because as with most of these things, what works for one does not mean it will for another. For example, I know one person who found the manual pump more effective than the Mini whereas manual would drive me mad.

    The winner of the breast pump is: Natalie Bradley – Congratulations!

    Further Reading:


    Medela Mini Electric Breastpump Giveaway

    1. I don’t really have a good tip. My babe is a preemie and will be in the NICU for a few months. He is doing well though!
      Three benefits:
      1. easily digested (more so than formula)
      2. less chance of baby getting NEC (yuck! – definitely don’t want this)
      3. antibiotics in breast milk for baby

      Thanks a bunch!

    2. how’d I almost miss this?

      Breastfeeding tip. It takes time. Time to establish that breastfeeding relationship, and time to do the actual feeding. Make sure you’ve got a comfy chair, snacks, drinks and maybe an easy book, and settle yourself down and try to enjoy. Those babymoon days pass all too quickly.

    3. My tip is to keep trying. When my daughter was born I tried breastfeeding but she just wouldn’t take to it. I expressed milk and we fed with a bottle. Decided to try a breast feeding clinic after 2 weeks, but thought I’d better have another try at home before going and she took to it straight away! Looking back we think she didn’t feed at first as she was born using ventouse and it may have hurt her head when we tried to feed, and after a couple of weeks this wasn’t an issue anymore.
      So if at first you don’t succeed don’t give up! I’m glad I expressed for those 2 weeks so that we could feed 2 weeks later.

    4. First son not too good at breastfeeding (but always tried enthusiastically). Used to take ages to get him latched on properly and then he’d just look up with his big blue eyes as if to say ‘well, i’m on now mum – open the tap’! He wanted the milk, but didn’t really want to work too hard for it. I suffered many an aching wrist using the manual breast pump whilst watching Corrie!

    5. I have learned in the passed few days that I just need to be more relaxed about breastfeeding. I was so worried about when to feed and how much he was eating that I think I was hindering his ability to be relaxed as well. I need to just remember that I am supposed to just enjoy the process of breastfeeding and not analyze every minute of it! I really hope I win this pump as I could really use it to bring with me when I go places. The pump that I do have doesn’t travel very well.

    6. After only feeding my 3 boys for 3 weeks due to many reasons but mainly lack of support and knowledge I was determined to breastfeed my last baby, when my daughter was born I had a postpartum heamorrage and so I thought my chances of breastfeeding were gone but with amazing support from my husband I spent 6 weeks sitting on the sofa getting to grips with feeding my new baby, it was tough but I knew it was the best thing for my baby and having failed in the past I was determined this time to make it through the first hard weeks. I found the support of my husband and my online buddies the most important thing in my success in breastfeeding. It really does hurt in the beginning but by 3 weeks the pain was gone, by 6 weeks I had some time to myself and now at 4 months its really easy! Baby is growing so well, night feeds are quick and out and about is easier every time. My baby has the best start, and I have reached my own goal, its a happy fullfilling beautiful relationship I now have with my special baby x

    7. I breastfed my daughter for 9 months and my son for 6 months. I would have breastfed longer but they both decided to give up of their own accord quite gradually and my milk supply started to diminish. Unfortunately I was never able to express, otherwise I think I may have been able to keep breastfeeding longer by helping to increase the supply with a pump. If I win the pump I will donate it to a friend of mine who is due in a week as unfortunately it is no use to me… (boo hoo)..

      I loved every minute of breastfeeding, even the tortuous first few weeks when I almost cried with the pain of cracked nipples. My one piece of advice to a new mum would be don’t give up too early. It really does get easier as the weeks go by and it is so worth it!

    8. First of all, many thanks for running a lovely giveaway! I had a pump 8 years ago with our first son but later passed it on to a good friend.
      Not sure if that’s a tip but http://www.ulula.co.uk sells a lovely Holle nursing tea. You can ask for samples to try it before buying. I found it really works. Hope it’s OK for me to mention a site? I am just a satisfied customer.
      Another tip: be careful with what you are eating, try not to overdo beans, cabbage, onions, radish, garlic or anything too spicy, as the baby might get colicky.
      I would also say: do not expect the breastfeeding to start smoothly from day 1. I thought I was a pro, as I breastfed my first son for over 2 years, but when my second boy was born 8 weeks ago, it was a learning process all over again, my nipples were sore, as he was biting them with his toothless gums, but after a few weeks he learnt how to do it properly and now is a very content baby once he is by the breast. I am not going to wean him until he is ready himself.
      I am following you on Twitter. 🙂

    9. My tip is that if you feel mastitis coming on lie with a hot flannel on the affected breast and massage the painful lumpy area. Ideally in a bath and try to express from that side whilst massaging. I’ve breastfed in total for 6 years now with 3 children and have never suffered mastitis by following this tip. Sldo savoy cabbage is a godsend for those early days

    10. I’m still happily feeding my daughter at close to 17 months, and I’m hoping to tandem feed if we’re lucky enough to get a sibling for her. Never quite mastered expressing though ~ babies are just so much better at it!

    11. My best breastfeeding tip is to relax. I think especially with our first babies, we tense up so easily and the baby can feel our tension. My mom told me when I started with my first to sit in a comfy chair, with a glass of water, take a deep breath, relax my shoulders and then allow the baby to latch. It worked wonderfully and now I think I’m pretty much a pro. I’d tell a newbie, not to give up. It does get easier, in most cases. Breastfeeding, in the end, is not only healthier, for baby and mommy, but also more economical and EASIER!

    12. I was able to pump at the hospital to relieve some of the initial engorgement. I was able to use a Medela Symphony pump and took the parts home with me so now I have extra part that are compatible with a pump in style. It was great to have somebody at the hospital show me how to use the pump before trying a similar one at home.

    13. My best tip is to have people who support you! My little guy was in the NICU for a couple of weeks and they did their best to deter me from breastfeeding (it was inconvenient for them to have to prepare milk when I was gone vs. an at-their-fingertips bottle of formula). They did everything from tell me that I would have to supplement anyway, to ridiculous weight tests before and after he nursed, to telling me he couldn’t leave until he hit a certain weight and that he would hit it faster w/ formula etc. etc. If my husband had not been there supporting me 110% I don’t know that I would have made it.

    14. my favorite thing about Breastfeeding is feeding Mason at night time it’s the perfect thing that clams us both down. I love that he gets everything he needs from me. And I love that while I’m at work and he gets a bottle of breastmilk I’m still providing for him!!

    15. I love to breasfeed my baby, and do it every morning & evening. (Un)fortunately I have a full time job as well, so express during the day. When I sterilise everything at night and pack my bag for work, I also put in a 500ml water and snack (eg. fresh fruit, low gi sandwich) to eat while expressing. As all working moms, I struggle to fit in expressing, working, rushing back to kids and eating / drinking is not very high on priority list. I realised I will have to eat healthier and drink more fluids to keep milk supply up.

    16. As I havent breast fed yet, I dont have any tips to share, but I did my homework and can share 2 benefits of breast feeding:

      1) Breast feeding helps protect baby against infections, childhood diabetes, obesity and asthma

      2) Breast feeding helps protect mother againt ovarian and breast cancer and weak bones later on in life

    17. I also don’t have any sucsess story about breast feeding. I try to breastfeed my son 3 years ago for a month but he cry and cry so much with colic that I stoped and put him on the bottle because when try to pumped out milk with the hand pump one there was only 10ml. So I stoped. Now I’m 32 weeks pregnant again and i realy hope I can breastfeed my baby this time. I pray alot about it because I know it’s good for the baby and for the mom.

    18. My best expressing tip would be to make sure that you are warm, relaxed and comfy and are near your baby as this can help with the milk flow and increase your supply.

    19. I don’t have any tips or stories because I’m new to breastfeeding. My daughter is 12 weeks old and is nursed *sometimes*. I have supply issues and now problems with her not wanting to nurse (after a week without due to me taking an antibiotic and being strictly bottle-fed that week). I never knew how much breastfeeding would affect me! When I can’t nurse I actually get depressed. I’ve been told that an electric pump will REALLY help increase my supply and – hopefully – get Baby nursing again!

      For me, it’s true that nursing is the best part of my day. I love those moments with my baby 🙂

      1. @Tiffany, Hi Tiffany, I’m replying to you before the end of the competition because timing is really vital for you if you want to continue nursing! If your supply is really low that will definitely be a reason she doesn’t want to feed. I guess it’s a little like trying to eat soup with a fork – frustrating and somewhat fruitless and you’d probably be starving. An electric pump would certainly help build your supply again, but raelly the most valuable thing you can do is to have her at your breast as much as she’ll allow for a good 24 to 48 hours. Demand creates supply so although it will be a frustrating 1- 2 days, you’ll find your milk supply restored after that, and will be able to let it go down again naturaly at a pace that suits you both.

        Supplementing will cause you problems in the long run, because it fills the baby up so that she isn’t hungry for longer periods which means she isn’t feeding for those periods, which means there is no demand and therefor no supply, meaning tomorrow at the same time, your breasts won’t make milk for that time, so you’ll have to supplement again – I hope that makes sense!

        If you can get hold of a pump in the meantime, great, but otherwise definitely try just feeding feeding feeding. And make sure you drink plenty of water and eat healthily – which is hard at the moment, I know, but a requirement in successful breastfeeding.

        I understand what you mean about nursing and getting depressed! It’s all the lovely hormones that are released when you breastfeed, and they give you such a lovely bond too.

    20. I have breastfeed 2 children and fingers crossed (and baby appearing on time) will feed a 3rd in the next few days. I would have to say that the best advice I can give is not to worry if you are doing it ‘right’ or how someone else does it – we have to learn all things mainly through practice so do not be hard on yourself and give in because you are ‘bad at it’, persevere, remain positive and remember it is not always an instant knowledge. Practice makes perfect!

    21. I’m a seasoned breast feeder…currently feeding baby number 5. The one thing that I find a godsend is the Savoy Cabbage leaf. When you start feeling a bit hot and lumpy, put a chilled leaf down your bra for instant relief. I’ve never got mastitis and I thank the humble Savoy for that!!!!

    22. I breastfed my daughter right up until she got very pointy teeth and refused to learn not to bite. I am now expecting Baby Take Two and hope to breastfeed with him/her too. With Tori it was really hard to store any milk as we had a freezer the size of a postage stamp but we have just invested in a big chest freezer so with this one I would LOVE to be able to store more up so I can make my partner get up in the middle of the night for feeds too!!

    23. When my first was born there were serious complications. He wasn’t given anything to eat for the first three days. I was pumping during this time with the hospital pump. When they finally decided that he could eat, it was difficult. I had inverted nipples and had to use a shield. BUT, that first time of them latching on and looking into your eyes, there is no other moment like that. I BF for 14 months. I am now BFing my 3 month old and plan on it until he self weans.
      2 benefits of BFing for me are the bonding you have with baby and breastmilk is made specifically for the child for their age.

    24. The first 4 weeks were really hard for me but I just kept going with the support of my OH. It did get easier after that. 2 benefits of breastmilk are that it helps build baby’s immune system and is impossible to mix wrong!

    25. I used to always find that I was most able to express a good quantity of milk straight after giving my daughter a successful feed. It was almost as if my body was in that kinda mood already so I took advantage of that.

    26. I am 35 weeks pregnant with my first baby and I am hoping to breastfeed for at least 6 months and beyond. Although I know it can be hard work I think there are loads of benefits, but in my opinion the most important two are:
      1. Breast milk is designed for babies and has all the nutrition your baby needs, as well as antibodies and other goodies that you just can’t get in formula milk at the moment.
      2. It’s the ultimate in convenience – you don’t have to buy bottles, sterilisers, formula etc, you don’t have to remember to sterilise bottles, there’s no making up the formula while the baby is crying, and you don’t have to take a whole bunch of stuff with you when you go out!

    27. Hello,

      First, I just wanted to thank you for doing this great giveaway.

      I’ve been breastfeeding my son since day 1, he’s now going on 16 months. I began pumping a month after he was born to build up my freezer stash. I returned to work when he was almost 4 months old and by then I had build up a pretty good stash. I continued pumping at work 3x a day until he was 13 months. I really never thought that I would reach 12 months because I had my obstacles, but we overcame each and every one of those and i was more determined than ever.
      Out of all 3 of my kids, this one has been the longest. I had so much support this time around from family, friends including online friends. It really helped me tremendously during the first yr.
      I’m enjoying every nursing minute with him. My son loves to play with my hair, hold my hand, put his hand up so I can kiss it or his foot to either kiss it or smell his it lol. He also does some amazing tricks while nursing too. One he loves trying is a head stand on my belly without unlatching.

      I had so much support that I want to do the same for others. I’m hoping I can win this pump to give to my sister. She’s having her first child in Jan and she’s really determined to give breastfeeding a try.

      Breastfeeding has been so rewarding. It really does get easier as time goes on.

      Best of luck to all who enter! 🙂

    28. Id love to win this. Im currently breast feeding full time (my daughter is 3 weeks old)but I haven’t expressed any yet.

      I have a funny story though – when my boobs ‘leaked’ whilst I was out at my local Tesco the other day I carried a bag of frozen veg and a bag of chicken dippers over each boob so when I got to the checkout it looked like my top was wet from those rather than ‘bump milk’ as my 3 year old son calls it! I’m not sure it worked to well but it made my mum laugh when I told her! x

    29. I was feeding my daughter off one breast and expressing off the other when all of a sudden I felt what seemed like a huge gush of fluid.

      The monkey had managed to unscrew the bottle from the pump with her feet (whilst still feeding) and douse both of us with about 3oz of express milk.

      Never made the mistake of feeding her across me while pumping again

    30. I expressed whenever i had a spare moment at home and put the milk in the freezer, this meant that i could get my OH to take over whenever i needed a break but also came in great when i stopped breastfeeding and went back to work as you’re able to store it for 3/4 months i was able to carry on giving my baby one bottle of breast milk per day for some time.

      Two benefits of breast milk: Helps build the immune system, helps mum and baby bonding

    31. Ooh! I have been exclusively pumping for 13 months for my former 29 weeker preemie – I would love to win this little pump! It seems like a great little backup in case my regular pump died or, you know, whatever else. My best pumping tip is to NOT SKIP SESSIONS! Which is why having a portable back up is awesome 🙂

    32. I have used an Avent Manual since I went back to work at 8 weeks. Emily is now 9 months and I still express 4 times a day using the same pump. I did try the Medela Mini once, bought it from ebay, and it really didn’t suit me at all. I think an important thing to note is that it doesn’t “seal” to stay sterile which makes it no use for travelling, but then again they don’t market it as being suitable for that anyway do they? It really is noisy though, I switched in on in the office when it arrived (to make sure it worked) and everyone thought it sounded like a lawnmower! I’m sure for occassional use it is just fine though so whoever wins will be very grateful I am sure. 🙂

    33. I have been unlucky so far with trying to breastfeed my children :(. They were both scbu babies and I dont feel I was given enough support with breastfeeding ( both my children were tube fed). On a positive note I hope to have another baby and look forward to successfully feeding the next one :). Any tips and advice with products etc would be most welcomed.

    34. My tip for expressing:

      I found it very dificult to get the hang of my pump at first, also not helped by the fact my milk was late to come in after a c-section. I found it much easier to express first thing in the morning, when my breasts were full, and after having a warm shower.

      1. @Elizabeth Burton,

        Oops! Pressed submit too soon :0)

        Was going to say I’m so glad I perservered with it. It was the best experience of my life and I really miss it. Roll on No. 2!!!! < Erm did I just say that?!!

    35. What they don’t tell you when you’re pregnant is that breastfeeding can be incredibly hard work in the beginning – but it really does get easier, I promise! Most problems can be overcome and there is a lot of support out there if you need it. Please get help if you support!

      I battled cracked nipples, growth spurts where she fed constantly and a blocked milk duct, but went on to feed my little girl for a year and hope to be able to do the same with this baby due in March. x

    36. I have been breastfeeding for nearly seven months. Two tips I always tell people to remember when breastfeeding is ‘chicken wings’ and ‘cabbage’. Chicken wings was taught to me by a doula friend. While resting babe’s head in your arm and elbow bring babe in to your body to breastfeed. Use your spare arm as a ‘chicken wing’ to pull the babe in close and they feel safe and secure. Works great in the early weeks when you are both learning. Cabbage is quite simple- the cold leaves are great to slip in your bra and soothe those boobies.

    37. I love breastfeeding my baby boy… recently he has taken to squeezing my nipple before feeding, the last time he played this little trick he managed to get a face full of milk, very funny… playing with his food already!

    38. I started breastfeeding my daughter from birth and found it exceptionally hard, many a time I contemplated giving up but couldn’t, knowing it was best for her. Things got a lot better very quickly however when she was 3 months old she started refusing to be fed by anything but a bottle in the daytime. It was heartbreaking, I tried ti coax her into feeding but she was adament!

      She caught tonsilitis at 9 months which must have been very painful. The silver lining if such a horrible time was that finall she went back to feeding exclusively! It was a big relief for all of us.

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