Review: Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump

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When Ollie was born, being a first time mom, I was ignorant about how frequently I needed to either latch Ollie or express in order to establish the supply. Donald and I had done our research and bought the Medela Swing, which we believed to be the most economical choice at that point in time. I used the pump really sparingly as it was quite depressing to see the poor milk yield compounded by me supplementing Ollie with formula. I probably used the pump for half a year before it never saw the light of day again.

Well..till I got pregnant again.

Second time round, with Quentin being a pre-term baby and having to spend almost two weeks in the Special Care Nursery, it meant that I had to express breast milk so that I could bring it to the hospital for the nurses to feed Quentin. It also meant that I had to express more aggressively so that I could establish a decent supply. You know..just in case.

During that two weeks, I was expressing every 3-4 hours with a somewhat strong suction. Strong enough to leave a light bruise on my breasts after each session. So when Mothercare Singapore offered the opportunity to trial the Tommee Tippee breast pump, I grabbed it.

packaging

packaging

Peep flap of items included (except storage box)

Peep flap of items included (except storage box)

A silicone cup on the breast. Surely that would be WAY more comfortable on the breast, no? A win already.

I am a major fan of Tommee Tippee products and the pump would complement the products that I have. No more pouring of breast milk around. Another win.

Here are my thoughts on it after a month of usage:

Parts

Tommee Tippee pump parts

Tommee Tippee pump parts

Medela Swing pump parts

Medela Swing pump parts

The Tommee Tippee pump has more parts than the Medela Swing. However, the parts are not too tiny that it is hard to wash. The parts are big enough to be washed with a sponge. It is also easy to assemble the pieces back together. Silicone cup can be separated from plastic funnel for more intensive washing. Although bulky, it actually makes it more comfortable to hold it to the breast, with fingers more spread apart compared to the Swing, where I find my fingers/wrist having to be bent at a sharper angle due to the smallness of it.

Assembled pump

Assembled pump

The pump attaches to a Tommee Tippee bottle, or alternatively, into 60ml storage pot which sits nicely in the Tommee Tippee bottle. This works very well for me as both my kids adapted to the Tommee Tippee teats very easily, so not having to pour the expressed milk from one bottle to another bottle is very convenient for me. Tommee Tippee also has lids for their bottles for easy breastmilk storage (Box of 2 lids for S$6 at Mothercare).

Milk storage pot & Bottle with Lid

Milk storage pot & Bottle with Lid

The valve and membrane for the Medela accumulates milk. When done with expressing, I will need to lift the membrane to empty out any excess milk. I have found that the Tommee Tippee membrane doesn’t collect any milk.

Tube connection to the connector

Tube connection to the connector

One downside to the parts is the tube connecting the motor to the pump. It looks like a generic tube that is easily replaceable. However, attaching it to the pump causes me some grief as it is not easy to fit it in seeing that the tube is soft and does not have a connector to connect both. Perhaps they would like to reconsider this aspect of the design?

Usage / Expressing

Motor

Motor

Upon turning the Tommee Tippee breast pump on, it is on a gentle suction, which is considered the let down phase. The manual suggests that the user remains on this gentle suction phase for at least 1 minute to initiate let down phase. Subsequently, the user may choose the setting that she is most comfortable with to express milk: low, medium, high.

I found the let down phase to be gentle, and surprisingly milk let down was quite quick. Once I found that milk was already being expressed, I didn’t wait for the suggested 1 minute and went straight for the kill by hitting the high suction speed. Unlike the Medela Swing, which had an increased speed for the let down phase, followed by the slow strong suction speed for the expressing, the Tommee Tippee let down phase suction speed was almost similar to the expressing phase suction speed.

What I particularly liked about the Tommee Tippee pump was that the silicone cup actually worked as a massager by depressing/massaging the area around the aerola and breast to assist in the expressing of milk. The Medela, on the other hand, depends on the strong suction to “tug” at the aerola to draw milk out. Using a strong suction level of 7-8, the Medela Swing actually causes soreness to the nipple after expressing, in comparison to the Tommee Tippee pump. Of course I can lower the suction level of the Swing, but it would possibly mean a longer expressing time for the same amount of breast milk compared to the Tommee Tippee.

What I did not like about the Tommee Tippee pump was that I was not able see how the milk was being expressed. The silicone cup made it hard to see through and see whether the milk flow was slowing down. This probably meant that I would have to depend on a set timing to express as compared to being able to see the slow down of milk flow in the Swing (which is what I usually do to decide when to stop expressing). The wide cover over the bottle also meant I could not see if there was still milk dripping into the bottle. I had to shine a light through the cup and bottle using the flash on my phone to see if the milk flow had slowed down and if milk was dripping into the bottle.

Accessories
– Sterilising / Storage Box

Top view: Box with one 150ml bottle and pump parts

Top view: Box with one 150ml bottle and pump parts

Side view: one 150ml bottle with pump parts.

Side view: one 150ml bottle with pump parts.

Now, this storage box is another major win in my opinion. In fact, this set for review couldn’t have come at a better time. When I went down to collect the pump, Quentin was being admitted at KKH for a case of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). There would be moments where I had to be out of the hospital and I needed to pump or bring frozen EBM so that the nurses could feed him whilst I was away. I was a little iffy about using the common steriliser at the ward and was definitely a little sian at the thought of having to bring the bottles and pump home to wash every day. Having this microwave steriliser box meant that I have my personal steriliser catered for Quentin’s Tommee Tippee bottles and pump. On top of that, I do not have take the parts out or find a container/bag to put them. Just bring it back to the ward and put it on the table. Major WIN! The box does have a valve on the lid which allows for steam to escape whilst in the microwave. Upon taking the box out, you can close the valve to ensure that the parts remain sterilised and not be exposed to the environment.

One other detail which I felt was a nice touch on the product designer’s part is handles. The storage box has tiny handles at the sides for you to be able to carry the hot steaming box. The water will boil whilst in the microwave so the box will be VERY hot. Good on ya, Mr./Ms Product Designer.

– Storage Pot (60ml) / Box of 4 pots for S$8.90
To save on space, Tommee Tippee have also designed for their storage pots to fit snugly inside their bottles so that you can directly pump into the storage pots without having to pour the milk around. Should you freeze the EBM in the pot, you can just take the whole pot out, sit it in the bottle to bring it out and thaw/warm it later. Quentin currently consumes 80ml of EBM so I don’t foresee using it very often. However, I can foresee using it to store small amounts of EBM to mix with rice cereal / oatmeal when Quentin starts solids.

FAQs

Where can I find the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump?
The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump can be found at the following retail outlets: Mothercare, Kiddy Palace, Takashimaya Singapore Ltd, Robinsons & Co. (Singapore) Pte Ltd, Isetan (Singapore) Limited, OG Private Limited, & Pupsick Studio
How much is the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump?
The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump is retailing for S$299.

Are the parts to the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump replaceable and where can I find the parts?
You can replace the parts at Not Too Big, a retail outlet and service centre for Tommee Tippee products. Not Too Big is located at Forum Level 2 and is open from 9.30am -6pm.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary set of the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump from Mothercare to write this review. All opinions are solely mine and are written as objectively as possible.

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3 comments on “Review: Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump

  1. […] after I completed the review of the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump, I was offered another opportunity to test out a breast pump by the latest entrant into the […]

  2. May I check if tommee tippee electric pump can be used at a double pump or single pump?

    • I definitely think it will only work as a single pump. I don’t think the suction is strong enough to support a double pump.

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