Tag Archives: double breast pump

Review: Tollyjoy Double Electric Breast Pump

Posted on by 0 comment

SUPERMOM_TJ_edited_-_Header

Tollyjoy recently launched their latest breast pump at the “Strut Your Bump” event organised by the team behind the Supermom Bazaar. The event was packed with mommies who were expecting, ready to break the record for the Largest Pre-Natal Exercise Class (which they did!), whilst the daddies stood by with their mobile phones in hand ready to catch their wife in action (I hope I wasn’t caught in some super unglam position lor, wasn’t even dressed for the workout!). And the goodie bags! Oh wow, they were packed with some serious goodies.

Goodie bag you get with your ticket

Goodie bag you get with your ticket

Review Goodie Bag

Review Goodie Bag

Tollyjoy is a 老字号 in Singapore. Hubby and I were talking about it after the event, and the things that came to mind when we think about Tollyjoy is their powder puff container (who didn’t love patting it to cause powder clouds as a kid??), their milk powder dispenser, and their signature rubber mat. Eh, all these part of our generation okay. And today’s generation too! I have friends who still use their rubber mat, and I was gifted one for QT too.

But to be honest, I have always only just associated Tollyjoy with those baby accessories, and not breastpumps. As I mentioned previously, Medela was the word when it came to asking about breastpumps, and when it was so costly, one obviously wanted to get the “right” one so you don’t waste money buying another pump just cos one didn’t work out for you.

After having reviewed so many pumps, obviously I jumped at the chance to review Tollyjoy’s latest offering. I wanted to find out how a local brand would fare against the international brands.

20150310_114448

what you get in your double pump set

The first thing that came to mind when I took out the set were the covers for the flanges. How convenient! Pumping in peace is a luxury and goodness knows how many of us do get interrupted sometimes when we are in the midst of pumping. Having the covers will prevent any unwanted bugs from going in, or leaving the flanges exposed for too long, well for hygiene purposes, AND unwanted spillage. #liquidgold

the pump broken down

the pump broken down

Parts

The pump comes with 2 milk bottles, 2 all in one breast flange + funnel, 2 stands, 2 flange covers, 2 valves, 2 diaphragm, 2 tubes, a t-connector for tubes to motor, a motor and a storage bag.

Seems easy enough to put together and assemble. And it is..except I keep forgetting about the diaphragm. See the little circular thing with a hole in the middle? That is the diaphragm. It serves as a backflow protector as well and unlike the ones that I am familiar with, where you just pull it out of the funnel, this one is a screwed in diaphragm. Which is fine..except I keep forgetting about it and just pull the tube off it. Which means I end up washing an extra part! Gaaah. Must.remember.to.unscrew.before.washing. *grumbles*

connecting the diaphragms to the funnels.

connecting the diaphragms to the funnels.

What I love is that I am able to attach the silicon breast shields securely over the breast flanges. It locks nicely over the edge. The silicon breast shields for the Unimom Forte was designed the same way, but for some reason always just didn’t secure itself nicely over the edge.

The translucent valves are also larger than the ones on the other pumps. Does it affect the suction? Not really. If anything, it just makes it easier to wash and it is thicker as well, so could also possibly mean you don’t have to replace them that often, or that they won’t tear that easily.

Bottle size is probably another grief of mine. It is small. =( 120mls. Most of the bottles that come with the pumps are a minimum of 150mls. 30mls is not a lot, but going by the way pump volume increases, it would mean you will need to buy the bigger sized bottles or just keep emptying bottles. I did try fitting the Medela bottles I have but it doesn’t seem to fit. Oh wells. And they don’t come with storage lids, which also means you will need to bring storage bags along if you want to store milk. Having said that, if you buy additional storage bottles from Tollyjoy, they do come with storage lids!

Usage

Like most pumps, the Double Electric Breast Pump has a 2-min let-down phase before going into expression phase. At expression phase, it has 10 levels of suction, which is more than most standard pumps. This pump also comes with a LED screen, so no more recording of time with your phone! Now you can clock-watch on the screen. Urgh. Terrible habit of mine.

What makes this breast pump a little different from the other pumps is the memory function. Well, obviously apart from the Unimom, which uses a dial, the other pumps that I have requires you to set the suction level yourself after the let-down phase. With the memory function, all you need to do when you are at the desired suction level, just hit the memory button to press and hold for 5 secs. The next time you pump, you just hit the memory button again and voila, you are at your desired setting!

No need to mentally count how many times you have pressed the damn button in your sleep deprived stupor. Haha.

AND..(this gets a little cheesy), this pump comes with music accompaniment should you wish it. It’s true! The pump actually comes with three melodies so that you can enjoy some classical music whilst you are pumping, or use it to try and mask the sound of the pump, like those sounds of water played when you use the toilet in Japan to mask the sound of you peeing. =P Similar concept. Whilst I appreciated the thought that went into the design of this music accompaniment, being a musically inclined person, it annoyed me more than anything else cos it wasn’t three full melodies but snippets of melodies. So it was jumping from one melody to another..very distracting!

But hey, that’s me. You might enjoy it! =P

The flanges. They are smaller than your usual flanges, and only come in one size. Having said that, the funnel is HUGE! So I guess you don’t have to worry about size if you have big nipples. Hrm. Okay, most of the time the flanges do the work around areola, having a bigger flange doesn’t mean it may massage the breast to express more milk. So having a smaller flange would sorta make sense. However, with a bigger funnel. HRM. How would that work for someone with smaller nipples? or a smaller areola? I consider myself to be an average sized (i.e., 24mm for Medela, Regular for Pigeon), so the flange/funnel worked fine for me at suction level 5 (highest I would go before it got uncomfortable for me). I actually liked the extra space around the nipple. Mine would chafe against the side of the 24mm Medela flange (could probably mean I got the wrong size).

flange size

Usage wise, the assembly of the parts is pretty straight forward. Attach suction tube onto diaphragm, attach breast flange with silicone cushion, attach valve onto funnel, screw bottle on and we’re good to go. 2-min let-down phase and then feel free to adjust your settings to your liking or press the memory button for previous settings . If you feel that you do not need 2 mins for let-down, you can go straight to the regular pump settings. Enjoy the music if you like!

pump settings

Comfort level. The silicone cushion is gentle against the breast and there is sufficient room in the flange for the nipple as well. I used it with my hands free bra and the small flange really works well to fit in the hands free bra openings. It didn’t feel like it was falling off easily due to the size.

Noise. Compared to the other pumps, I would say the noise that the pump makes is average (Louder than Pigeon Pro & Unimom Forte, as loud as Medela & Tommee Tippee). One other grievance is the beep it makes when you turn on the pump. This would probably be a con in my books especially if you pump in your room with your baby sleeping in the same room as you. Also, the music doesn’t have a volume control, just one volume and should you accidentally press the music button (sits next to the on and off button), it will come blaring out in the quiet of the night. YIKES.

In conclusion, at S$169.90, this electric double pump is a decent economical buy if you are looking for a no frills pump.

Together with the launch of their new range of breastpumps, Tollyjoy also launched their new Day & Night Disposable Nursing Pads. In a box of 40, the nursing pads boasts of 3D side leak guards for added protection, which is totally new to me. Having tried two brands of nursing pads (one that made me ITCH soooo bad, the other a little stifling but bearable), I wondered how this could be any better. I have pretty much given in to just wearing dark tops and hoping for the best when I am nursing kiddo in public. #nursingmomwoes (yes, at 14mos pp, nursing QT still triggers letdown!)

20150402_103300

Upon opening the box, I was pleasantly surprised to see each pad in a sweet individual packaging with perforated line for easy removal. Just split the perforated lines, and take the pad out.

just split between the perforated lines

just split between the perforated lines

The pad felt really smooth to the touch. It was not scratchy and the leak guards didn’t bother me either. Now you wonder, why are they called day and night nursing pads? That’s where the leak guards come in.

side leak guards and non-woven fabric surface

side leak guards and non-woven fabric surface

If you are using them during the day, your leak guards go horizontally, so they catch any leak at the bottom. If you are using the pads at night, your leak guards go vertically so they catch any leak at the sides if you sleep sideways! How is that  for consideration?

20150402_103927

A box of 40 + 8 free go for a reasonable S$7.90. Pretty good deal!

FAQs

Can I use a microwave steriliser to sterilise the parts?
Yes, the parts are microwave safe. I have used the Tommee Tippee Microwave Steriliser to sterilise the parts (on high for 4 mins) and none of them have warped. 

Where can I find Tollyjoy’s latest range of breast pumps?
Tollyjoy’s latest range of breast pumps can be found in leading departmental stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets and baby speciality stores across the region.

Tollyjoy will also be participating in the SuperMom Bazaar happening in August 2015.

How much are the breast pumps and accessories?
The Double Electric Breast Pump is retailing for S$169.90. The 5oz standard neck bottle retails for S$4.20 and the 8oz standard neck bottle retails for S$4.60. The bottles comes with a storage lid and teat.

Tollyjoy does not sell the pump spare parts in retail stores. Should you require, you may contact the Tollyjoy office directly to check on availability.

Are the parts to the breast pumps replaceable and where can I find the parts?
Customers can contact or reach Tollyjoy office/warehouse at Changi South Industrial Estate, +65 6542 6988

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

Review: Unimom Forte# Double Breast Pump

Posted on by 36 comments

Shortly 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 Singapore market, Unimom: the Forte# Double Breast Pump.

Hell yeah! Call me the “breast pump lady” man..(says the husband).

The Forte# is a hospital grade electric double breast pump and is made in Korea. Now, I do own a “modified” double breast pump (I’ll write about that one another day) so I had certain levels of expectations for double breast pumps. On the other hand, the one I owned is not of a hospital grade, so that definitely piqued my curiousity of what the term “hospital grade” meant.

Donald collected the kit on his way home from work since it was difficult for me to lug two kids along with me, not knowing how big/small the box was going to be. Thankfully both kids were asleep when he brought it home. I eagerly pounced on it and was surprised at the weight of the bigger of the two boxes. How heavy was this thing??

Unimom's Electric Double Breast Pump & Switch Kit

Unimom’s Electric Double Breast Pump & Switch Kit

So in the bag was two boxes, the Forte# Electric Double Breast Pump, and a Switch Kit. The Switch Kit allows you to convert the electric pump into a manual pump. Who in the world would want to use a manual pump when you have an electric one?? Okay..desperate times calls for desperate measures. We still put it to the test but more on that later.

Parts
To be honest, when I first opened the box for the breast pump, I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of pieces inside the box. This presentation was a little unlike my other two pumps where you would have a tray with pieces and parts lying nicely. The parts of the Forte# came individually packed in zipped storage bags. The more I unpacked the more overwhelmed I was, considering the manual came in a brochure/pamphlet liked format. Yikes!

The pieces involved in the the box.

The pieces involved in the the box.

Okay..calm down. One step at a time. I’m sure we can do this. So here goes to slowly figuring out the pieces. On first glance, I was a little worried that washing and sterilising the parts were going to be a little  tedious.

the pump set up.

Top to bottom: top cover, large membrane & bottom cover (in one piece), breast shield & silicone massager, white valve and bottle

Now, as the pump comes with a motor and does not allow for the use of batteries to make it more portable, there is an alternative option of buying the Switch Kit to convert it to a manual pump so that you still can bring it out should you need to pump on the go. The Switch Kit did not come with a manual; you pretty much have to depend on the picture on the box to figure out how to set it up. I have not used a manual pump before so it took this “mountain tortoise” a while to figure it out how the pieces fall together.

the Switch Kit to convert the pump to a manual one

the Switch Kit to convert the pump to a manual one

 the manual pump set-up

Top to bottom: Diaphragm cover, handle, silicone diaphragm & stem (in one piece), breast shield & silicone massager, valve.

You see the little hook-like extension on the breast shield? Now you make sure that you hear a click (may be a clack or thwack ..you get the drift) to secure the handle onto the breast shield. There is a little groove under the handle to lock it onto the breast shield. Otherwise the diaphragm cover and whatever that is sitting under it may go flying as I learnt *grumbles*.

After the initial pump, the assembly of the parts didn’t seem as daunting any more. Firstly, as the top cover, large membrane and bottom cover of the electric pump set-up did not come into contact with the expressed milk, there was no need to constantly detach it from the tubes to wash and sterilise them. You could pretty much leave it like this:

post pumping

post expressing

At the same time, unlike the other two pumps I have, the breast shield is one entire piece compared to the funnel & the connector on the Medela Swing, and the silicone cup & the hard valve on the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Single Pump. This was a plus point as I did not constantly have to worry about the parts falling off / getting loose after moving about, nor did I have to wash an extra part!  The other plus point about the design of the breast shield was that due to the angle of the funnel-like area, it would not allow for any pooling of milk as it flows directly into the valve.

breast shield

breast shield

As much as there are pros to the design of the breast shield, there are the downsides to it too. The design meant that I had less one part to wash, but it also meant that it was harder for me to wash some parts of it, mainly the narrow area after the opening of the breast shield. You would probably need to invest in a tiny brush to wash that area.

Although having the breast shield in one piece meant no loosening of parts, it also meant that it was harder for me to use it together with my hands-free breast pump bra. Most people using a double pump would have probably invested in a hands-free breast pump bra for convenience and I am one of them. By having two parts to the breast shield meant that I could insert the funnel into the pump opening in the bra before attaching the connector with the bottle to the funnel. Having the breast shield in one piece meant that I had to put on the bra, and stretch the pump opening in the bra to fit the breast shield through. This could potentially mean more wear and tear on the bra in the long run.

Forte# vs Swing: handsfree breast pump bra

Forte# vs Swing: handsfree breast pump bra

I have tried attaching other brands of milk bottles to the breast shield to see if it would fit. Unfortunately Medela bottles do not fit with this breast shield. There is however a wide cap adaptor available for wide neck bottles like MAM and Avent ones.

Usage / Expressing
Electric option
Now, this pump does not have different settings for let-down reflex and speed/suction. It has just one dial, and you have to figure out what kinda works best for you to trigger the let-down reflex. The speed of the suction also remained constant through the various strength of suction as compared to the longer suction/tug at a higher strength for the Swing post let-down phase.

Let’s just say the Forte# and I had a rocky start, probably because I was new to this dial thing. Not having a let-down phase like the Medela Swing and Tommee Tippee pump kinda threw me off a little.

On my first attempt, I started by turning about 1/3 of the dial. I have to say this silicone massager is a step up from the Tommee Tippee silicone cup. Where the Tommee Tippee silicone cup massages the aerola to express the milk, the Unimom silicone massager actually massages the breast and the aerola to draw out the milk. I could feel it pulsing around my breast to help with the expressing. The expressing was really gentle at 1/3 in, so gentle that it did not seem to express anything at all.

So I turned another 1/3 of the dial. The suction was still very gentle. It could be that I was used to the stronger suction of the Swing, or even the Tommee Tippee pump. Physically, I felt almost as though there was no suction going on, however, visually, I could see the tug of the nipple getting longer. And again, there was still no milk being expressed despite having a full breast on one side. Hrm. I was getting a little disappointed. Still, there was room to move the dial, so I moved it to the maximum. This time round, I could feel the suction and finally it triggered the let-down reflex.

There we go. Phew! It took a while (about 10 minutes) but once you are on the go, it got better. For me, at maximum, the pump triggered my let-down reflex a couple of times, which meant a fairly good flow of milk being expressed. All this and without the pain of a strong suction. I was comfortable through the entire 20-minute session. I was able to see the milk being expressed and the milk dripping out of the valve into the bottle.

By my fifth attempt, I figured to go in straight at 2/3 of the dial to trigger the let-down of milk. It worked. Different people need different suction strength to trigger the let-down and for me, because I was used to the strong suction of the Swing, I had to start off with a fairly strong suction before I get the let-down. A friend who is a working mom had mentioned that for her, a pump that could trigger a let-down quickly is a major plus point for her because waiting for the let-down means being away from her workstation for a longer time. So I guess it really boils down to figuring out what works for you.

Expressing subsequently got smoother for me and hey, I think both the Forte# and I are pretty good friends now eh? I wouldn’t say best friends only because the design of the breast shield is being a little brutal to my handsfree breast pump bra.

Having the silicone massager around the breast also assisted in expressing more milk in my opinion. I usually express about 100ml for the first pump of the day, however the Forte# yielded 120ml. Hey, an extra 20ml is still an extra 20ml. We all know how precious breastmilk is!

One thing I didn’t like about the silicone massager was that, unlike the Tommee Tippee silicone cup which was sealed around both ends of the funnel, this was just cupped around the opening. Which meant that milk would seep between the silicone massager and the breast shield (see how short the silicone massager is). It would then leak out if the pressure between the shield and the breast was lessened. Also because of the design of the shield, removing it out of the handsfree breast pump bra was more difficult and I had to reach inside to wipe off milk that had pooled on the silicone massager so it wouldn’t leak onto the bra/top/pants.

The motor, whether a low strength or high strength, is ridiculously quiet. Almost like white noise. Even the husband was impressed at how quiet it was. The Swing at high strength does sound as though it is straining.

Manual option
Again, I have never used a manual pump before. I have a couple of friends who used one; one said she got nothing out of it, the other was using it all squeaky (I could hear the squeak of each pump!) and when she emerged from her room, the output looked miserable. Not a very good impression obviously.

So when I finally gave it a shot, I wasn’t expecting much. When I started depressing the handle, I could feel the suction. However, I lost the suction 5 depressions in. The top cover had loosened and was not making a tight seal. It wasn’t until a couple of uses later that I realised the diaphragm had to be “locked” around the edges of the breast shield in order to form a tight seal, kinda like how the silicone massager sits on the breast shield. Once the diaphragm sits snugly on the breast shield, I could pretty much pump with one hand, or if the breast has softened after it has almost emptied, I would use another hand to press the breast shield against the breast so as to ensure a tight seal around the breast.

the seal between the breast shield and the top cover

the seal between the breast shield and the top cover

Having said that, once I got that issue out of the way, manual pumping was actually a breeze. Because I could control how fast/slow I could depress the pump, it triggered milk let-down fairly quickly. I was able to express 100ml in about 15 minutes. Having to constantly depress the handle for 15 mins also didn’t tire my hand out as I thought it would.

how far I needed to depress the handle for expressing

how far I needed to depress the handle for expressing

Accessories
Bottles/teats/disk
The pump set comes with two bottles, bottle covers, teats, caps and disks. This makes is really convenient as it works as both a milk bottle and a breastmilk storage bottle. The teat is also designed to fit any standard neck size bottle. I tried the milk bottles on QT twice; once fed with by my mom and another by me. Both of us decided that we (including QT) didn’t like the bottle. For me, there wasn’t a valve that allowed air to escape whilst QT was drinking, which meant that he would just keep sucking and it would get to a point where he would have difficulties sucking because of the pressure inside the bottle when no air was going in. I would have to pull the bottle out, allow air to enter the bottle before resuming the feed.

And some of us moms know that when you interrupt the feed sometimes, it is hard to get the baby to resume the feed. Argh. So major negative point for me.

Bottle stand
The pump set comes with two bottle stands, which is a godsend. Sometimes the amount of milk I express is not enough to counter-balance the weight of the breast shield and the bottle tips over. Argh. I can manage with a single pump, but when it comes to two bottles, I am not taking any chances with spillage of milk. The bottle stands are fairly deep so it holds the bottles snugly and you don’t have to worry about it tipping over.

 

FAQs

Can I use a microwave steriliser to sterilise the parts?
Yes, the parts are microwave safe. The silicone massager may deform slightly when heated, however upon cooling, it will return to its original shape. 

Where can I find the Unimom Forte# Electric Double Breast Pump?
The Unimom Forte# can be found at the following retail outlets: Mothercare, Kiddy Palace, Pupsik Studio & Smart Little One

How much is the Unimom Forte#?
The Unimom Forte# is retailing for S$299, and the Switch Kit is retailing for S$19.90. Currently, there is an ongoing promotion where you can get a Unimom Forte# bundle at S$249 consisting of the following items: the Forte#, Switch Kit, Cooler Bag with 5 bottles & 2 ice packs included, and 25 pcs of breast milk storage bag

Are the parts to the Unimom Forte# replaceable and where can I find the parts?

You can replace the parts at Not Too Big, a retail outlet and service centre for Unimom 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 Unimom Forte# from Mothercare to write this review. All opinions are solely mine and are written as objectively as possible.