Pros: portable, easy to use, works good and fast, discreet bag
Cons: they should provide some extra accessories, price (ends up worth it)
Before I gave birth, I had notion that when I went back to work I would be able to use a hand pump the express my milk and not have to have the expense of an electric pump. Boy, was I wrong. It was taking forever using the hand pump and I was getting very discouraged, almost to the point that I was going to stop breastfeeding and switch to formula when I went back to work. That is until I meant the Medela Pump In Style Traveler. It was recommended to me by the lactation consultant at the hospital. She warned me it was expensive but told me that it was well worth it.
I bought the traveler version of this pump based upon the recommendation from the salesperson at the store. She said that the traveler version vs. the regular Pump In Style allows you to remove the motor for any reason (maybe to leave it at work and lighten the weigh of the backpack going back and forth from home) and also has a battery pack and charger to make traveling and pumping easier.
The first few times I used it (this was my first baby and I was very inexperienced with pumping) I got a little frustrated and thought I had wasted my money. At that point it was not that there was anything difficult about the pump but just that it takes time to learn this new skill. In fact, the pieces used for the pump were a lot easier to put together than the manual pump I had tried to use and there were fewer of them. Setting it up was very easy.
After a few days of trying, I finally began to see some positive results as I became more acquainted with the pump. I had read that sometimes milk let-down is a hard thing to achieve, especially when you are at the office away from the baby. People have recommended bringing a picture of the baby and looking at it to help stimulate the milk let-down. This pump's backpack even has a clear slot for you to put a picture. I have found that I don't need anything but this pump to stimulate let-down. After about 3-5 pumps milk starts to come out and generally it takes about 15-20 minutes to nearly fill 2 of the Medela bottles if I double pump. That is another great benefit to this pump. You can do both breasts at the same time, and you actually get more milk by double pumping. It takes some practice to get a routine for getting set up but it becomes easy. I can even use the computer with one hand now while double pumping.
The backpack is very nice looking. It is discrete, very durable and no one knows what is in it. I have a few complaints, or rather improvements for it though. Since it is intended to be taken places, I would like to see it slightly larger in order to accommodate a few things I might take with me like my wallet and checkbook and compact. I still have to carry a purse with it and I think it would be nice if I didn't have to.
The other thing I think it should come with (especially because of the cost) are extra of the little white rubber things that have to be put on the ends of the part that goes into the bottle to filter the milk. These things get lost so easy and they only gave me 2 extra. I also would like to see an extra set of tubes and I would like to see it come with all the available sizes of breastshields (the part that goes against the breast) to accommodate different sizes. As it is, you have to order the other sizes, and ladies, we all know that none of us are the same size and that just cause it says "large" doesn't mean it is ;). I wouldn't even have minded paying a few dollars more for these conveniences. I also had to buy 2 more sets of bottles (4 bottles each) in addition to the 1 set they give you. I really actually need one more set but am making due without it. I imagine everyone develops their own system for storing the milk but I leave it in the Medela bottles until the night before I am going to use it and them transfer the necessary amount to the bottles he drinks from (the Medela nipple wasn't working for him), but be warned that you probably will end up buying more bottles, especially if you double pump 3 times a day like I do. You need at least 6 bottles for that. The bottles I was able to get at Baby's R Us, but the rest of the stuff (tubing, shields etc.) I was able to buy quite easily at www.mybreastpump.com. The shipping was super fast and the prices competitive. Plus I liked that they accept Paypal payments. There are many others places online that sell the accessories as well. Just search for Medela accessories.
The pump itself comes with the following:
Backpack type carrier that holds everything you need to pump including a small cooler bag and ice pack. It also has a zipper pocket on the side and an open pocket on the back both of which come in quite handy.
Pump motor with A/C adapter and a separate battery pack should you need to pump where there is no electrical outlets available. A car adapter is available but sold separately. You can find them at www.babycenter.com. The pump motor itself has a speed setting that also works as the on switch and it also has a suction knob to increase or decrease the suction. This makes it very nice to be able to set the pumping speed and intensity that is most comfortable for you.
Two plastic breastshields (the part that is cone shaped that goes on your breast), two connector pieces (to connect the breastshield to the bottle and to the pump), two yellow adapters (that hold the white rubber pieces that kind of filter the milk through), four white rubber pieces and 2 clear rubber hoses (to connect to the pump).
Four plastic bottles with lids and nipples (my son didn't like their nipples, we transfer to the Avent).
A cooler bag with handle that fits inside backpack.
A plastic ice pack that has grooves in it to fit snuggly in cooler bag with 4 bottles. If you need more than 4 bottles (purchase separately as mentioned earlier) I recommend picking up a regular, more flat type ice pack that will allow you to fit 6 bottles plus the ice pack in the cooler bag. The ice pack they give you is pretty big.
Overall though, this pump is allowing me to do the best thing possible for myself and my son. I had originally intended on breastfeeding for six months but because of this pump I can and plan on easily going for at least 1 year.