My Playtex Embrace is a very comfortable breast pump, it does have a few design flaws in my opinion. The bottles that you are supposed to pump into have a lip that makes it difficult to pour all of the milk into a freezer bag. I always end up with a little milk left in the bottle. The breast cup also has a groove where milk also gets trapped. Because of this it can be a bit of a challenge to clean everything properly.
I pump quite a bit (6 times a day) so it is really nice to have the soft cups for pumping. I had used a Medela pump at the hospital so I am familiar with both brands and this one is much more comfortable for me.
I really want to give this pump five stars. I liked how much milk I got from it (a lot more than from the Symphony). I like the bag, the portability, ease of set up, etc.
BUT what matters is durability. My first motor broke within four weeks – started making a terrible grinding noise. I called a person I know at Playtex and got two additional motors. Within two weeks, the first of these died. While using the second one of these a week or so later, the suction suddenly went from level 1 to infinity and nearly pulled my nipple off. EXTREMELY PAINFUL. After that, the buttons no longer controlled the suction and I couldn’t reset it. Then it started making a terrible grinding noise and quit entirely. This happened while I was traveling. So, I had to go buy another pump (at this point, clogged ducts had become a serious problem). Throwing good money after bad, I bought another playtex (yeah, I’m an idiot, but see the part above where I really want to like this pump because it *is* comfortable and it *does* get me more milk). That was four weeks ago. Two weeks ago, this motor started doing that thing where it jumps from zero to infinity on the suction and speed (seriously, the opportunity to be injured by this is so great that I’m thinking of complaining to the consumer products safety commission).
In conclusion – four motors in three months isn’t a coincidence, isn’t user error, isn’t a bad apple. It’s simply a bad product.
After reading other reviews, I felt I should put my own experiences out there. With my first child, I had pumped using a Medella pump, and had issues with maintaining suction. After many attempts at getting a replacement pump out of Medella, and being completely unsatisfied with the customer service; I changed to the Playtex Embrace. WOW, no comparison with regards to comfort. I also experienced a more complete empty feeling after my pumping sessions. I used this pump faithfully as I was working full time and with feeding schedule and work schedule would pump 5-6 times daily. The previous review I read with reference to motor issues, I also experienced this painful suction scare and terrible grinding noises. I most often experienced this occurrence while pumping in the car with the car adapter. My husband, being the handyman tinkering type, took apart the adapter to find that the fuse was broken in half inside. He quickly said, well, that’ll do it because the pump was not receiving the correct power flow consistently. I quit using the adapter and didn’t really experience the grinding again when I used regular wall plug in. Now due to deliver my second at any time, I will give this pump another try. Though this time I visited the playtex online store and got some additional breast shields(to help with cleaning convenience), valves and a new car adapter instead of replacing the whole kit as previous reviewer did. I figure its cheaper to try again with the equipment I have than to buy a whole new pump system. The replacement pieces are not that expensive, I just could only find them on the playtex online store only. If you dont want all of the bags that come with the kits sold in stores, you can piece your own kit together for around $150.00.
Playtex has a unique breast cup for their pumps that is truly soft, doesn’t wiggle loose, doesn’t need sizing and compresses only the milk ducts instead of using suction to pull the breast in and out of a tube. I can’t claim fantastic milk production, but the let down is just as fast as with my son and I don’t use a special “let-down mode.”
I bought the Petite, which is a “cheap” double electric breast pump and I’ve received the quality of manufacture I paid for, however, I’m ok with that choice because I didn’t want to commit to the most expensive pumps when I couldn’t examine the parts or review technical information. I’ve used it 3-4 times a day at work for the last 3 months and some things have cracked and worn, but it has never completely failed or done anything unsafe. The Playtex customer service has been excellant and has replaced parts. The Peitite does the job with minimal effort from me (only one speed and 3 suction settings). Overall it’s a good value. If I was more committed in the beginning, I would have invested in the Embrace instead of the Petite.
The Playtex Embrace pictured above is discontinued. The Petite has a different motor and doesn’t come with all the accessories.
In response to the April 2009 comment, the trapped milk in the lip will drain if you remove the cups from your breast before stopping the pump. (No it doesn’t hurt.)
This pump is sooooo slow. I wish I would have gotten something else.
I have had this pump for over four years and love it! Never had motor issues. I used the medela in the hospital and hated it, it was uncomfortable. I did have an issue with my ac adapter not working and I called the company and they gave me a replacement one for free. The first time using it I exclusively pumped and had an amazing supply from just pumping. This time around I pump once daily for the past 12 months and still love it.
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