Pumping is a chore, plain and simple. And serving in the military means you WILL have to pump since separation is a given. So having a great breast pump that is easy to use, works well under various conditions, is durable and can take a beating (in the field), and has a long lifespan is a must. Ardo, is a new(ish) breast pump company that hopes to entice you with the Calypso-To-Go and Double Plus electric breastpumps.
As a breastfeeding mother who pumped in the military, and an IBCLC, I have either owned or come into contact with MANY different breast pumps over the years! A breast pump is a breast pump is a breast pump. They all need to do one thing really well and that is to remove milk from your breasts. What sets most breast pumps apart from one another are the amenities: what settings does it have, how effective is it at removing milk, what extras come with the pump to make your pumping easier or more enjoyable (if there is such a thing…)? Does Ardo hit the mark? Does it offer a breast pump that is effective for military moms? Read below for my review of the Calypso pumps from Ardo. *Breastfeeding in Combat Boots received a complimentary Calypso Double Plus breast pump.*
The Calypso Double Plus came with 2 pump sets with flanges (26 mm and 31 mm), 2 breast flange inserts (28 mm), 2 Optiflow 26 mm flanges, a brush for cleaning, a bottle holder, battery compartment, power adapter, and 2 lip valves (also known as the duckbill valves). The PROS: These pumps are marketed as being extremely quiet and I would agree, it is no louder than a hum (nice for a cubicle farm or pumping in a tent surrounded by fellow soldiers). It is a compact unit with an easy-to-read electronic display. It has a single piston and weighs less than a pound. It can be used with electricity in ANY country in the world with an overseas adapter or with six AA batteries installed. The pump is warrantied for one year *or* an extended 400 hour option (nice for military moms who may use the pump heavily) is available. All of Ardo’s pumps are a true closed system due to the “Vacuum Seal” technology that prevents air and milk exchange between the tubing/flanges and motor (useful for dirty areas or places where HAZMAT may be aerosolized in the environment). All Ardo pumps feature piston construction and the Calypso has 64 settings for independent control of suction and cycling. Something different with the Calypso is that the pump “holds on” to the nipple and then pushes it back slowly during the cycling phases, as opposed to other pumps that let go suddenly and the nipple “rubber bands” back to start the next cycle. This is hard to explain, but it does make the pump feel better on the nipples.
- Easy-to-read display
- Closed system
- 64 settings, independent cycles/suction
- Single or double pumping
- 3 sizes of flanges included
- AC or battery operation, worldwide
- WHO-Code compliant
- BPA-free parts
- 400 hour or 1 year warranty
- Suction not as strong as expected
- No letdown button
- No rechargeable battery
- No timer or memory function for settings last used
- Optiflow flanges are small
As noted under the CONS section, I found that the suction wasn’t as strong as other pumps I’ve tested with my strain gauges nor did it feel as strong to me while using it. As an IBCLC, I am concerned that over time that this might affect milk production if you are struggling with supply issues to begin with. The lack of a ‘letdown’ button that allows for the preset fast cycles and low suction is a must for many moms, and having to remember to do it yourself, or switch it after a few minutes to slower cycles and stronger suction could impact some women’s milk supply (it’s also a pain to manually switch the settings, especially if you aren’t wearing a hands-free bra). A rechargeable battery that can run for a number of hours at full effectiveness is very important for military moms and would be a welcome addition. Motor strength falls off noticeably when using “AA” batteries. While it is great that Ardo includes various breast flange sizes with the pump (cause we all aren’t the same size, right?) the Optiflow soft massaging inserts make the flanges feel too small to me (and I am NOT a large breasted woman), but every woman is different and I am sure many moms would find them useful. Finally, I have received a few first-hand reports of the pump motor just unexpectedly giving out for no apparent reason (which could be a major problem during a deployment or field training). However, this can happen with ANY breast pump and is not a reason to dismiss the Ardo Calypso pumps.
Overall I feel that Ardo is on the right tract and has a solid breast pump. I give the pump a “B” compared to the many other pumps on the market. With a few tweaks and minor upgrades for a 2.0 version it would definitely be a “A” pump. TRICARE covers Ardo breast pumps. Check with your chosen vendor for what they offer and any upgrades available to you. You can view a listing of TRICARE breast pump vendors at our TRICARE Lactation Policy page.
Ardo and Breastfeeding in Combat Boots have teamed up together to provide military breastfeeding mothers with the support they need to be successful at breastfeeding while serving in the military. Enter the giveaway (ARDO) by March 28 and ONE lucky winner will receive an Ardo Calypso-To-Go Breast Pump (with all the items shown) and a copy of the book, “Breastfeeding in Combat Boots” and BFinCB water bottle (pink or clear) total value of $350. Winners will be announced March 31st. In addition, we are pleased to announce that Ardo is sponsoring BFinCB for the months of March and October, to further Advocate, Inform, and Support all military mothers who are Giving the Breast for Baby and Country.
“We support military moms because we support all moms. No matter what unique challenges moms have, we believe in empowering them to breastfeed successfully, however that looks to them. Every mom is a warrior in her own way and military moms are certainly no exception. Our products are an excellent solution for military moms because Ardo, as a company, is committed to making products that moms can use around the world and be assured of the quality and reliability. We manufacture to the highest standards demanded by moms who can choose from many brands in many countries. We are committed to the best customer service, the best products and the best support for all moms.” You can find Ardo on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
Have you used the Ardo Calypso-To-Go breast pump? Did you like it? Is this a pump you would consider for a full-time working mother in a demanding profession? Leave a comment below.