I forgot to mention...at first I intended to rent a pump from my hospital, but they charge about $120 per month--I figured it would make more sense to just buy the Medela I've had my eye on for a while...
seeing you'll be home the first 5 months it is not urgent to get a pump. A manual pump may be good enough to start with (and is much cheaper). How long do you plan to breastfeed for? If it is past 6 months then a good electric pump may be worth the investment.
My 2nd baby is now 2 1/2 weeks. I have pidgeon electric and a cheap manual one. I use both daily. But I have supply issues (due to some other medical issues) and am also pumping to try to increase supply. Many women dont' have supply issues. Your breasts will naturally regulate after the first few weeks.
I started my babies on a bottle in the 2nd week. Not to use every day, but so I have the flexibility of being able to leave them with expressed breast milk. My first daughter preferred the bottle and so I had to insist that when I was there is was me or nothing, and bottle was for when I wasn't around. This current baby is not fussy and anything that delivers milk (boob or bottle) is good enough for her.
i'd get a manual for now and if you need an electric later on, then invest. I loved the medela harmony- so easy to use and portable. It would be very effective for relieving engorgement and occasional pumping.
I would suggest having the pump before delivery. I know my situation is different but my daughter was in the NICU and she couldn't latch. So I pumped at the hospital but the hospital was 2 hours from home and I was released from the hospital at 9pm on a Saturday as stores were closing. So I'm so glad I had my pump already and in the car so I could stay near the hospital near my daughter and pump to establish my supply and bring the milk to her. I know this isn't a normal situation.
My sister in law when her milk came in she was too engorged baby couldn't latch so she had to pump off a few oz before baby could latch. So I'm glad she had her pump.
It's also good to get ik the habit of pumping and storing milk in the beginning :). That way you have a good supply of mullahs back up if needed when you return to work. If worse comes to worse and you don't use the milk you can always donate it. I donate to a woman who underwent chemo and can't breastfeed her daughter.
All excellent advice ladies, thanks so much!
Good suggestion. The harmony would be a good temporary fix.
And if you have problems w/ milk supply or initial latch, hand expression is the prefered method of milk removal.