As a parent, how you decide to feed your baby is an important choice. You want to breastfeed, but in a modern world you realize you won’t always have the luxury of being able to nurse baby directly. Whether your baby is sick, you have sore breasts, baby has feeding problems or you need to return to work. But you don’t need to stop breastfeeding.
You CAN have the best of both worlds. Using a breast pump is the perfect solution for you. Finding the best breast pump can be stressful, so we’ve done the time-consuming work for you. This is a list of the best pumps on the market, Check it out.
Best Breast Pump Comparisons 2016
|Medela Pump In Style||Double||High Usage / Exclusive Pumping||$$||4.6|
|Philips Avent Comfort||Single||Frequent||$$||4.2|
|Spectra S2||Double||High Usage / Exclusive Pumping||$$||4.3|
|Spectra S1||Double||High Usage / Exclusive Pumping||$$$||4.4|
|Ameda Purely Yours||Double||Frequent||$$||4.5|
|Spectra Dew 350||Double||High Usage||$$||4.2|
|Medela Symphony||Double||High Usage / Exclusive Pumping||$$$$||4.7|
|Medela Lactina||Double||High Usage / Exclusive Pumping||$$$$||4.8|
|Freemie Freedom Deluxe||Double||Frequent||$$||4.2|
|Ameda Elite||Double||High Usage / Exclusive Pumping||$$$$||4.4|
|Hygeia EnJoye||Double||High Usage / Exclusive Pumping||$$$||4.3|
|The First Years Breastflow Memory||Double||Frequent||$||4.6|
|Ameda Platinum ||Double||High Usage / Exclusive Pumping||$$$$||4.7|
5 Best Breast Pump Reviews
These breast pumps are all great buys. Choosing will ultimately come down to your needs. As with any product, you will get a more efficient breast pump if you are willing to invest a bit of cash. However there are great performing pumps to suit any budget.
Medela Pump In Style
The Medela Pump In Style is one of the best breast pumps you can get for under $150. This pump is so effective. The double pump system will allow you to pump twice as quick. Hands up if you want more hours in your day? Really this pump will save you a lot of time, especially if you are expressing a lot.
It comes with Medela two phase expression system. That means the pump will change suction rate and strength when stimulating the milk; and then when it begins to flow. So you are more likely to collect more milk as this mimic your baby’s natural rhythm. The pump is also very comfortable to use. It won’t nip or rub on the breast at all (when used with the correct size breast shield). This is because Medela provide different size shields. This ensures the best fit regardless of your breast size.
The starter set comes in a smart black carry case. This makes the pump really discreet if you have to use in a public place. If you want a few more extra you can get kits with a backpack or a cooler case. If you’re a working mum looking for a great pump then this is the one for you.
One of the downsides of this pump is that the powerful motor makes it quite loud. A tip to make it a little less noisy is to place the pump in the carry bag and zip it up to muffle some of the noise.
The Spectra S1 tops our list of best double pumps if you are willing to invest a bit of money. Spectra are well known for their high quality, yet affordable, hospital grade pumps. You may be surprised by the compact design. Don’t be fooled, this is a powerful little machine. Not only will it pump with the efficiency of a hospital grade pump; it’s super quiet too. The cherry to top it off is that it’s also very comfortable to use. The combination of these features makes this pump one of the best for yielding large volumes of milk with each pump.
Additionally, the pump is extremely portable, due to its rechargeable battery. This feature will give you so much freedom, with 1hrs usage at full charge. The price is a little higher than other double pumps, but it’s guaranteed to maintain your supply and accommodate exclusive pumping. If you plan to have more babies, this pump is a great investment as it will last for years; even with frequent use.
This Lansinoh manual model made it as a favourite for its price and quality; plus it’s really popular. You will be able to find this pump at most retailers for under $35. It’s a great manual breast pump from a highly regarded breastfeeding brand, with a lot of history. Lansinoh is one of the most respected brands on the market.
As a manual pump, you’ll need to do all the work by hand, to create suction. Some may fins this is too much hassle, but it is convenient if you only want to pump on a rare occasion. It also means that there is no noisy motor churning away, making expressing very discreet. There an attraction to a pump which can be used incognito, especially somewhere like the workplace.
One of the best features it its ergonomic handle. It’s easy to grip and comfortable whilst holding the bottle and pumping. We love that the perfect grip gives you no hand discomfort whilst expressing. This makes it much easier to pump at a constant and comfortable pace, making a session a lot quicker. This breast pump is a great option if you want to pump on the odd occasion or buying a pump ‘just in case’. The price range also makes it very budget friendly.
Expressing with this pump is a slightly different experience. Why? The Freemie Deluxe is a hands free pump which allows you to pump with your shirt on. This gives you so much freedom to work, play or rest, during a successful pump session. You can use the pump as a double or a single. We wouldn’t recommend using the single without have a breast pad to prevent leakage from the other breast. This pump is great if you have very limited time to express. You can now multitask by using it whilst driving, preparing food or tending to your children.
The breast shields look like two little storage pots attached to the motor. They cup around the breast and you express the milk directly into the shield. Once finished you decant the milk into your feeding bottles. It’s as simple as that.
The Medela Lactina the best breast pump on the market, hands down. This is an extremely luxury product, you’ll need to consider investing a lot of money. However it still works out as cheaper than purchasing formula for one year, and will last longer. This pump comes as the highest rated pump on the market and you will not be disappointed with its performance.
You need to consider this pump if you struggle with severe lactation problems. If you have twins or a premature baby then this is the pump for you. It’s also a great buy for exclusively pumping, especially if you plan to have more babies. You can guarantee this will maintain your milk supply due to its high powered motor.
Let’s be honest this pump is not very pretty. Plus it’s heavy and cumbersome. But it wasn’t designed to look nice; it’s designed to express milk quickly and effectively. And that is what it does best. If feeding your baby breast milk is important to you, then don’t waste your money on mid-range products which are not guaranteed to maintain your supply.
Which Type of Breast Pump Should I Use?
A breast pump is used so that you can continue feeding baby breast milk when you cannot put them directly onto the breast. You may be returning to work, baby is ill, you have breast problems or you just want a few hours to yourself. Whatever your reason there is a breast pump out there to suit all needs from occasional expressing right up to exclusive pumping.
Breast pumps are powered either manually or with an electric power source.
Manual Breast Pump
Also know as a hand pump, these are designed to use your hand to power the pump suction. You can only pump one breast at a time with a manual pump. Benefits of a manual breast pump include being:
- easy to maintain
We would recommend using one if you will be using the pump rarely or travel a lot. If you have a condition which restricts movement in your hand, then there are foot powered breast pump available. However we would recommend using an electric breast pump.
Electric Breast Pump
These pumps are more efficient than manual breast pumps. They are available as home use pumps or hospital grade pumps. Home use pumps are designed to pump for medium usage, i.e. if you are looking to pump milk once a week to twice a day. These pumps are most often used if you need a pump to return to work or building your milk supply.
A hospital grade pump is designed for heavy usage. If you are looking for a pump which will handle at least 5-12 daily expressing session then you should consider these. The motors are sturdy, reliable with enough efficiency to keep your milk supply high. You may have been advised to use a hospital grade pumps if your baby is premature; you have supply issues; or you have twins or multiples. These pumps are very expensive to buy, however some models are available to rent.
Single Electric Breast Pump
This type of pump only has one breast shield and bottle attached to the motor. This means you can only express from one breast at a time. If you’re looking for an electric pump to use less than twice a week, then consider a single pump. You’ll save money as single pumps are often cheaper than the double counter parts. You have a little more freedom to get tasks done as you will still have one hand free whilst expressing. To express both sides with a single pump will take around 20-40 minutes, depending on the pump efficiency.
Double Electric Breast Pump
This type of pump allows you to pump both breasts at the same time. A double breast pump is a major time saving strategy with expressing milk. It will take half the time as it would for you to pump with a single pump. If you are pumping more than three times daily you will need a double pump which has a high performance motor to cope with the usage. If you have twins or trouble establishing your milk supply consider a double breast pump. Regular double pumping stimulates your prolactin hormones, to keep your milk supply high. It will take you around 10-20 minutes to empty both breast with a double pump.
Advantages of an Electric Breast Pump
Aside from having more buying choice, there are a lot of benefits to using this type of breast pump.
Better still reduce your pumping time by half and buy a double breast pump. You’ll know how precious time is when you’re a parent. Saving the extra few hours a day without having to sit and express milk will make the world of difference. Just think how much you can get done.
Easy to use
Hold the bottle to your breast, switch on and let the machine do the work. No aching hands or trying to keep at a constant pump rhythm.
Choose a suction rate and strength which is most comfortable for you. You may like it to be turned up to max or need it a little slower. Being comfortable whilst expressing is just as important as the pump efficiency. If you are uncomfortable you hormones will prevent your milk flow.
Sometimes you just need a little more ‘oomph’ to express your milk. The most effective type of electric breast pump is a hospital grade pump. The motor in these pumps are strong and durable enough for frequent use. You would be looking to spend around $1500 for one of these models. However, brands such as Spectra have a range of home use hospital grade pumps to buy at a reasonable price. If you have twins or multiples this type of breast pump will help keep your milk supply high.
You can hire
This option suits those who need the efficiency of a hospital grade pump but for a short period of time. Most commonly these are use by mums with sick or premature babies need to increase supply or have major breastfeeding problems. You can hire for a month at a time until you build up a good milk supply. You can then switch to a home use pump or start trying baby directly on the breast.
Open or Closed System Breast Pump?
The term open and closed system are often used when researching breast pumps. So what does this mean? Or more concerning: why does it matter? Let’s explore these two systems
Open System – The motor of the pump is exposed to breast milk as it is expressed. Usually these are small droplets and won’t affect the motor. The main concern is that these droplets then grow mould, or transmit viral and fungal infections. These is no way of completely cleaning and sterilizing between uses. For this reason an open pump system should never be used for more than one woman.
Closed System – These will have a barrier system (e.g. a filter) to prevent milk reaching the motor. This therefore makes them much more hygienic to use. Do note that a closed pump system does not mean multi-user. Most second hand pumps are resold on the claim they can safe due to the closed system. We will discuss our advice for second hand breast pump later in the article. Hospital use pumps require each woman uses their own dedicated pump accessories.
If you are unsure about the system your breast pump uses, contact the manufacturer’s customer support.
10 Benefits of Using a Breast Pump
Let’s take a look at the ways a breast pump can benefit your lifestyle.
You may have an unexpected illness on a night off. Certain medication and alcohol pass through the breast milk into baby. By using a breast pump you can build a supply of milk to give to baby. This can be until you finish your course of medication or sober up. During this time you remove the milk in your breast and throw it away. This technique is known as ‘pump and dump’.
2. Premature Baby
If your baby is born a little early they may have problems breastfeeding. This is because their suckling reflex is underdeveloped. Expressing breast milk will give your baby perfect nutrition to help them grow and strengthen their immune system. Over supply can also be donated to other premature babies via a Milk Bank.
3. Special Needs
Babies with feeding issues such as cleft palate, infection, jaundice or tongue tie will benefit from expressed breast milk. As baby can’t feed directly at the breast they can receive milk via alternative feeding equipment. This can also help when baby refuses to feed or is too sleepy. Check out our article on alternative feeding methods for babies here.
4. Breast Issues
A breast pump can help if you are experiencing problem with your breasts. Examples of this include:
- Sore nipples
- Breast abscess
- Previous Surgery
- Blocked Ducts
Using a breast pump can help you take a break from feeding. This gives your body the time to heal or for further medical investigations.
5. Time Apart
Breast pumps are ideal for when you need to be separated from your baby. This can be for travelling or having a day trip or night out. Your baby will need to eat whilst you are way. Expressing your milk prevent you from turning to formula for feeding baby. Some companies will even ship milk across country if you are separated for a few days.
6. Return to Work
Maternity pay may mean you have to return to work sooner than you would like. Using a breast pump means you don’t need to give up breastfeeding altogether. Your employer should make provisions for you to pump at work. You can keep your supply high and build a stash of milk for your baby when they are in childcare.
7. Feeding In Public
Unfortunately breastfeeding in public still receives a bad reputation. If you are self-conscious a breast pump can help you until your confidence builds with feeding. It can also help if your religion requires you to maintain modesty in certain circumstances.
Birth recovery, sleepless night and growth spurts can leave you exhausted. Expressing milk can help you hand over the reins to your partner to give you a break. This also gives your partner the chance to experience a feeding bond with your baby.
9. Exclusive Pumping
This is a lesser known alternative between breastfeeding and formula feeding. It means you express all of your feeds and feed baby through a bottle. This feeding method give you all the benefits of breastfeeding mixed with the drawbacks of bottle feeding. As a word of warning its very time consuming and you need to be extremely organised. Yet for some families it’s extremely beneficial to their lifestyle.
10. Increase Supply
Adding an extra pump session to your feeding schedule can increase your milk supply. The idea is to pump as often as possible between breast feeds. You can also use the pump to remove more milk from each breast after baby is finished. It tricks your body into thinking your baby need more milk, so it makes more.
Disadvantages of Using a Breast Pump
Using a breast pump takes a lot of time out of your day. A session can take around 20-30 minutes. Do that a few times a day and it adds up to hours. Using a double breast pump can cut down on this time.
Milk storage issues
Storing a milk stash can be a problem if you are short on space. Bottles take up a lot of room in the fridge. We suggest using freezer storage bags to save space. If you are pumping away from home you will need a cooler to transport the milk to and from work.
For working mom it can be difficult to find a private place to pump. Even if you employer provides a dedicated space, it may not necessarily be discreet to pump. Some working moms prefer to use a manual breast pump to reduce noise.
As we’ve already discussed expressing can increase your milk supply. For some women it can put it into overdrive. If you have too much milk it can lead to problem such as blocked such or mastitis. If you still need to pump we suggest building a slow supply by pumping for short periods after a morning feed.
10 Top Rated Breast Pump Brands
Let’s explore the best-selling breast pump brand in the USA. See below for our full range comparison table of pumps available from each brand.
A well-known breastfeeding brand with over 80 years’ experience. They offer a range of 4 high quality breast pumps from manual, home use and hospital grade. The Ameda Platinum is a multi-award winning breast pump for pre-term babies and exclusive pumping. They supply over 40 international countries.
A Swiss family company with 20 years’ experience in breastfeeding products. They have a small range of manual, home use and professional pumps you can hire. They are WHO compliant to protect breastfeeding rates. Ardo also adopt a child labour free standard when producing their breast pumps.
A relatively new brand to the USA. The company is focused on working with experts and engineers to provide women with a range of effective pumps. Their current range includes 5 electric options. All the pumps are FDA approved for safety and quality.
A US based company with nearly 100 years of baby feeding experience. The company focused on easy to use products to benefits parents. They have a range of 3 manual and electric breast pumps. Their double breast pump has been awarded various awards for features and affordability.
Invented by a Dr who wanted a hands free approach to breastfeeding. The brand is aimed at those returning to work, or who need to free up time whilst expressing. The company have two models available as well as adaptation kits for other breast pump brands.
This brand are focused on making hospital grade quality breast pumps for moms. There is also a manual breast pump model available. With WHO compliant standard, insurance standard breast pumps and rental option they aim to offer affordable breast pumps to all incomes.
Created by a mom almost 30 years ago the brand has grown into a huge brand for breastfeeding products. You probably know them for their best-selling lanolin nipple cream. Yet they have a range of quality breast pumps. Our favourite manual breast pump is form the Lansinoh range.
Founded in 1961 by a Swiss family the company has expanded to over 90 countries worldwide. With over 30 years’ experience in the USA it’s hands down the world leading breast pump brand. They have a huge range of high quality, award winning products and accessories to meet all lifestyle needs.
A brand set up in 2012 by registered nurses and certified lactation consultants. They focus on what moms need: effective and affordable breast pumps. They have one of the most extensive breast pump ranges only second to Medela. Spectra is already well established in the UK and Australia.
Breast Pump Range Comparison
|Brand||Manual Pump||Single Electric Pump||Double Electric Pump||Hospital Grade Pump|
|Ameda||One Hand||-||Purely Yours||Elite, Platinum|
|Bellema||-||Mango, Mango Plus, Mini||Melon, Effective||-|
|Lansinoh||Manual||-||Affinity Pro, Signature Pro||-|
|Medela||Harmony||Swing||Freestyle, Pump In Style||Lactina, Symphony|
|Philips AVENT||Manual comfort||Single Electric Comfort, Isis IQ||Double Electric Comfort||-|
|Spectra||Handy Plus||M1||Dew 350, S2||S1|
Breast Pump Features
Knowing what breast pump features will offer the greatest benefits is whole article in itself. If you don’t know what to look for check out our breast pump buying article here. Let’s start by giving you an idea of features which make a breast pump really stand out.
Speed and Suction Control
Having the ability to control the speed and strength of a breast pump is the most important feature. Why? Comfort is vital when expressing. If you are uncomfortable you will express less milk. Adjustable suction allows you to zone in one which is comfortable for you.
When your baby breastfeeds they use two techniques to extract the milk. They start with short fast sucks until the milk flows. Then they change to long, slow sucks. A breast pump which mimics this action will express more than one without. Quality ranges such as Medela and Spectra include this in their electric breast pumps.
Using a breast pump can take a lot of time. The ability to pump hands free will allow you to multi-task as you pump. The only truly hands free pump in the Freemie Deluxe. Other brands such as the Medela freestyle can be used with a hand free pump bra. This give you the freedom to move around whilst you pump.
Any good quality breast pump should be BPA free. This is a chemical used when making plastic products. There are health concerns when children use BPA for long periods. It is thought to cause health and development delays. It’s especially important with feeding products as these chemical can leech into your expressed breast milk.
What Do I Need To Pump Milk?
Unlike breastfeeding, using a breast pump needs a few accessories to get the benefits. Most breast pumps will come with the pump and a basic collection bottle. But what do you do when the milk is expressed? Let’s take a look at what you need for your expressed breast milk.
At some point you’ll want to feed your baby your expressed milk. This is what you need for feeding your baby:
- Bottles – They type of bottle you use will depend on preference. Most women opt for high rated reliable brands. If you want to avoid plastic bottles opt for a glass or stainless steel alternative.
- Nipple – Most people simple use the nipple that comes with the bottles they choose. We recommend opting for a breastfeeding friendly nipple to avoid nipple confusion. These mimic the action of breastfeeding and make baby less likely to reject the breast.
- Alternative Methods – If you prefer not to use bottles there are alternatives. Check out our full bottle alternatives here. These can also help babies who are unable to use bottles to feed.
If you want to wait before feeding you baby the expressed breast milk you’ll need to keep it stored safely. You may also want to build a breast milk stash for future use. This is what you’ll need:
- Breast Milk Bags – Bottles are great for storing milk for a few hours, however they are bulky. Breast milk storage bags are perfect for long term storage in a freezer.
- Cool Bag – If you are pumping milk at work, you’ll need to store it until you get home. A cool bag is perfect for commuting to and from work without spoiling your milk.
Breast milk attracts bacteria and mould growth. This means you need to regularly clean and sterilize your breast pump and feeding equipment. This will prevent your baby being exposed to infection or illness.
- Soaps – You don’t need any specialised soap as regular dish soap will do. Some moms prefer to use specialised breast milk soap as the high fat content of breast milk can leave a grease layer.
- Brush – Bottles and nipples have a lot of small edges which harbour bacteria. A bottle brush get right into all those areas and rids them of hidden nasties.
- Dry rack – Dissembles pumps and bottles can take up a lot of space to dry. A bottle drying rack is designed to hold all these small pieces in a compact space.
- Sterilizer – You will need to sterilize bottles, nipples and breast pump parts to remove harmful bacteria. Opt for a steam sterilizer, boil in a pot or sterilizing fluid.
Cost of a Breast Pump
Before you buy a breast pump consider the cost of using one. Let’s explore where you expect to pay when it comes to breast pumps.
This will be your greatest expense. Although you can find a breast pump to suit all budgets. Typical costs are:
- $20-$40 manual breast pump
- $60-$400 home use electric breast pump (single or double)
- $1500-$3000 professional breast pump
If shelling out this much isn’t an option you can get the benefits of a professional pump by renting instead of buying. The cost is around $50 a month, with an additional $50 to purchase your own tubing, breast shield and collection bottle.
We’ve already discussed the breast pump accessories you’ll need for expressing. Most accessories are fairly inexpensive on their own, but can quickly add up. By bottles can be purchased fairly cheap in bulk. However if you opt for specialist bottle they are expensive and you’ll need a few. The same goes for bottle nipples.
Electric breast pumps will require you to have a power supply to use them. Most are rechargeable with a mains power. These are fairly low energy and won’t use a lot of power. You may also have a battery powered option. You have to be savvy so they don’t become a wallet drain. We recommend using rechargeable batteries, otherwise the cost of replacement batteries quickly adds up as they drain fast.
Overtime part of your breast pump or accessories will wear out and need replaced. Make sure it’s easy to get replacements for your pump, or it could get costly. Without proper maintenance of tubing and membranes your breast pump won’t work effectively.
Regular cleaning and sterilizing is part of maintaining your breast pump. This stops small part becoming clogged with milk. It also keeps mould and bacteria from growing on the pump.
You may also need to replace nipples or bottles as your baby grows, to suit their feeding needs.
Buying a Used Breast Pump
High quality breast pump for frequent pumping can be expensive. Double electric pumps start around $100. Hospital grade pumps run upwards of $3000. At these prices you may be considering buying a used breast pump, but is it a good idea?
Let’s tack a look at the pros and con of buying a second hand breast pump.
- Save Money – A use breast pump will usually cost around 50% of the retail price. IF you are on a tight budget it means you get a higher quality pump with more feature for your budget.
- Reduces Waste – If you are eco minded you may not feel the need to buy a new pump. By buying used you save a usable breast pump from being thrown in the trash. Buying second hand cuts down on land waste and more plastics in the environment.
- No warranty – All single user breast pump brand will have a requirement of single user for a valid warranty. As soon as the pump is sold in the warranty is invalid. Multi user pumps are exempt from this, however you may need proof of purchase for warranty claim.
- Health concerns – Single user pumps are recommend for one person use on. Regardless of where the breast pump is an open or closed system. This is because there is no guarantee that the pump is sanitary where it comes into contact with breast milk. You more than likely don’t know the health of the previous owner. That puts your baby at risk of life changing infections.
- Pump life – With a used pump you never know how long it will last. Most breast pumps have a motor which can run for a certain number of hours before is packs up. If the previous user was an exclusive pumper or has expressed for a number of children it may be close to its end. You could get a few year use or a few day, there is no way to tell.
New or Used Breast Pump – Making a Choice
With these things in mind you should be able to make an informed decision about whether to buy new or used breast pump. Consider if the cost saving of a used pump is work the risk to your baby’s health.
When it comes to single user breast pumps we would advise you not to buy one second hand. If you absolutely must buy a used pump buying from a friend or family member is a safer option. You will more than likely know there health status and the breast pumps history. Buying from somewhere like eBay or craigslist is far too risky for your baby’s health.
Multi user breast pumps are safe to buy from unknown sellers with regard to health. You would need to buy new tuning and collection kits. The issue is that these will still be fairly expensive to purchase. You concern should be with the lifespan and wear and tear on the pump.