Hands-free pumps like the Elvie are a pumping mom’s dream. Convenience, portability, and a small device that’s easily tucked away in a bra or shirt makes for a modern pumping experience that allows you to keep up with your pumping schedule whether you’re working from home or in the office, caring for busy or needy little ones, traveling, or otherwise navigating a busy lifestyle. This post includes our tips and tricks, based on information from the Elvie company and pump users. Whether it’s a bra adjustment, battery issue, or app setting, use these tips to optimize your use of the Elvie pump.
What’s in an Elvie Pump?
When purchasing a double Elvie pump kit, you’ll get two Hubs—the part of the device that actually does the pumping—as well as four 5 oz. bottles, two 24 mm breast shields, two 28 mm breast shields, four valves, four spouts, four seals, four storage lids, four bra adjusters, two USB charging cables, and two carry bags. If you choose the single pump, you’ll have just the one Hub and the parts to go with it. For more information on the parts of an Elvie breast pump, check out the device’s landing page.
How to Use the Elvie Pump
Before using the Elvie breast pump for the first time, you’ll need to charge the device. To get started, you can also download the Elvie app which is used to operate the pump and track output, as well as clean the pump before using it for the first time.
To start a session, press Power to turn the pump on. The Play/Pause button will flash when the pump comes on. Next, you’ll align the pump to your breast. Use the following guidelines to ensure a comfortable and effective seal:
- Your nipple should be pointed towards the center of the Elvie flange.
- To line up for a good seal, lean forward and hold your breast from underneath. Bring the flange towards your breast, again keeping in mind that your nipple is aimed towards the center of the shield.
- Use the markings on the Elvie shield to line up your seal if you’re not sure about alignment.
- Save the pump Hub for last...if you’re struggling to align the shield, place it on your nipple without the pump attached and check your positioning in a mirror. From here, attach the Elvie Hub.
Use the Play/Pause button to start your pump session when you’re ready to begin. If you need to stop for any reason, you can use the same button to pause your pump session. The pump will automatically start in the same mode every time.
The Elvie pump has two modes—stimulation and expression. The pump will start in the stimulation mode each time, a faster rhythm designed to stimulate the letdown of your milk. The other mode, expression, is slower and designed to remove milk from the breast for efficient milk expression. The Elvie pump will switch from the stimulation mode to the expression mode when it detects that milk has started to flow or around two minutes into the session.
You can also change the suction intensity during a pump session. The Elvie pump has seven intensity modes, and you can change between them using the + and - buttons. A higher intensity doesn’t always mean more milk volume, it’s best to pump on a setting that is comfortable for you.
Unlike the Willow pump, the Elvie doesn’t use disposable bags. With the Elvie pump, you express your milk into the reusable bottle that comes with your pump. You can store your milk in the bottle or pour it into another container for storage. This feature can save money, as you don’t need to continually buy bags for your pump, though if you want to build up a stash you will need to have something to store your milk in.
Troubleshooting, Tips, & Tricks
Every pump comes with a learning curve, and the Elvie is no exception. On the market since 2018, many people use this pump as their go-to. These are some of the issues that Elvie pump users have encountered, as well as the solutions offered by the company and other pumping moms:
- Problem: It is difficult to get a good seal on the Elvie pump.
- Solution: Make sure your bra is snug and secure so it can hold the Elvie in place throughout the session.
- Problem: The app isn’t measuring milk accurately.
- Solution: This can happen when the pump doesn’t have enough contrast to “see” and measure the milk appropriately. Try wearing a darker bra so that the sensor can more accurately sense the volume of milk.
Problem: Pump is running out of battery quickly.
- Solution: Limit app use during sessions to preserve battery life.
- Problem: You aren’t getting as much milk as expected from a session.
- Solution: Check the seal, and make sure your bra fits well.
- Problem: Some users report that the “Bottom Release” button on the Elvie pump can break easily.
- Solution: Contact Elvie customer support for a replacement. They are aware of this issue and are typically willing to send a replacement.
- Problem: The Elvie flange doesn’t fit you properly, potentially causing sore or damaged nipples.
- Solution: To adjust the fit, many pumpers use BeauGen Cushions with their Elvie to create a better flange fit. The pump comes with 24mm and 28mm shields, and 21mm flanges are also available to purchase.
If you’re having other issues with your Elvie pump, reaching out to customer support is always a good starting point. However, in the meantime or if you’re wanting advice from other people using the pump, YouTube is full of videos about the Elvie, tackling everything from troubleshooting suction issues to cleaning tips.
How Much Does the Elvie Pump Cost and Can I Get It Through My Insurance?
The Elvie currently retails for $499 for a kit that comes with two pumps, one for each breast. For a more affordable option, some moms choose to only purchase one pump (and pump only one breast at a time) for $279. Most insurance companies don’t offer the Elvie as one of the pumps they fully cover. However, some moms are able to get the Elvie breast pump partially or fully reimbursed by their insurance company. If you’re wondering if you can get an Elvie pump through your insurance, reach out to them and ask about your policy’s breastfeeding benefits.
You can pay for an Elvie pump with a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or use another card and submit receipts for reimbursement. The pump can also be purchased directly from FSAstore.com or HSAstore.com.
Another affordable option is the payment plan through the Elvie website, in conjunction with PayPal credit, that prices the double pump at payments of $83.17/month and the single pump for $46.50/month.
Many moms find the Elvie breast pump a convenient way to pump in the midst of their daily lives. Like any pump, the Elvie has pros and cons, and it’s worth doing your research before investing. Unlike the Willow, the Elvie pumps into a reusable container (rather than disposable bags) which some users find inconvenient and others feel to be cost-saving. Especially for exclusive pumpers, the Elvie can be a big time-saver, offering freedom of movement while you pump for your baby.
Curious to compare the Elvie pump with the Willow breast pump? See our companion post, Hands Free: Willow Pump Tips & Tricks.