Breastfeeding can be a very stressful time especially if you are not producing enough of what your baby needs. Women all across the world have turned to breast pumps for the answer and have found great results. If you have been on a long search for the best breast pump then you have come to the right place. I have found the top five breast pumps on the market and I want to share them with you.
Each of these pumps below have something unique about them that put them in the category as the best. We also explore topics such as how to clean your breast pump and why you should pump breast milk. If you have any questions about any of the information you see below or products you see below please don’t hesitate to ask!
Why Should You Pump Breast Milk?
There are many reasons to why a mother would want to start using a breast pump. The first reason being the most common to pump is to start a milk supply. The breast pump can help you collect a milk supply for you to have around for the baby if you are unavailable to breast feed. This also allows you to have other people feed your baby instead of the mom always having to do the job. It is good to let dad take over on some of the feedings as well so he can have that bond with the new baby.
Many women have to go back to work after maternity leave so they will be going almost 10-12 hours without being able to feed their baby. These mothers turn to breast pumps for the answer. If you are pumping you will gain a constant supply of milk. In simplest terms the more you pump the more milk you will produce. You can freeze and refrigerate milk for your baby that can be thawed out and used right away. Even if you are a stay at home mother it is highly unlikely that you will be able to be attached to your baby 24/7; so breast pumping is beneficial for everyone.
Here are a few reasons you might have to start pumping breast milk
Engorgement: With my first child I had this issue almost every time I would breastfeed. Sometimes the breasts get so filled with milk that they become engorged and in so much pain. I did not have a breast pump with my first pregnancy and I regret it because it could have saved me from the pain. The breast pump will reduce the volume of the breast and soften them making them feel not so hard and painful.
Not producing enough: Breast pumps can play an important role in creating more milk for your baby. In simplest terms like we have said the more you pump the more you get. This can help mothers with babies not eating enough or even if you feel like you’re constantly feeding your child, it shouldn’t be like that. An extra stimulation will create more milk.
Latch: Sometimes it’s extremely difficult to establish a good latch with your breast and the baby’s mouth. This could be for many reasons; the most common reason being that most women have inverted nipples. In this circumstance you either need to get help from a breast feeding class or start pumping to express all that milk. If you do not express the milk in a timely manner you will dry up and stop producing milk which then you will have to look to formula.
Working Moms: We touched on this subject above but it is extremely important if you are a working mom and you want to continue breast feeding that you invest in a breast pump. This will allow you to have a milk supply at home for your baby to have while you are gone at work. It is important to start building your milk supply a week or two before you go back to work. If this is hard to build then always try to pump after your baby feeds especially in the morning your body is usually producing more. You will need to travel with your breast pump to work and pump on breaks or you will become engorged and in pain.
Best Electric Breast Pumps
The main difference between the manual breast pumps and the electric pumps are that electric pumps require a battery and or an electrical outlet. Electric breast pumps have a much greater suction power than a manual pump will have. There are different types of electric pumps; there is the single electric pump that will only pump one breast at one time. The most commonly bought is the double electric breast pump that will pump both breasts at the same time. The double electric pumps are a huge time saver because both breasts will be pump both in the same time as it would take to pump one.
Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump
The Medela pump in style is our choice for the best electric breast pump! This electric breast pump comes with a ton of accessories that will make your breast pumping experience a great one. This is a double electric pump which means you can easily pump both breast hands-free or if you choose you can just pump one breast at a time. This pump is really great because it has a two phase expression technology which means you can pump into different styles. The first being setting the nozzle to the desired speed you want it to pump. The second using the let down which if you have a lot of milk will help pump it out easier without spraying. This mimics the breast feeding ability of a baby.
The bottles are BPA free which is very important when looking at baby products. Each bottle can hold up to five ounces of breast milk which is nice because some breast pumps only hold around 2-3 ounces. The tubing can get milk stuck inside them so make sure you are cleaning your breast pump after each use so nothing clogs up your pump. This breast pump comes with a power adapter and a battery pack. This is a great feature because sometimes you need to travel and pump and the battery has a great battery life to get a few pumping sessions out of it before having to recharge it again.
You can get this pump with a tote carrying bag or the backpack. It’s completely up to you, whichever one you would like to have better. Each styles comes with of course the adapter, the battery pack, three bottles, two breast shields, two lines of tubing, and a convenient cooler to transport breast milk when you are on the go. You are going to get all of this accessories along with this pump that make it the best electric breast pump on the market this year.
The Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump is our choice for the best electric breast pump. It’s for moms who need to pump several times a day weather you are a working mom or stay at home mom this pump will work amazingly for your needs. It comes with a battery pack so you can pump literally anywhere without an adaptor. It comes with a cooler so if you are pumping away from home your breast milk will not spoil out in the hot sun. The last feature that really gets me excited about this pump is the ability for it to mimic a baby’s sucking power which will help you get more milk out. The two phase expression technology is truly amazing when pumping to save you time and get the most milk out for your baby!
Spectra Baby S2
The Spectra baby s2 is our next choice if you are looking for an electric breast pump! This pump is super lightweight only weighing a whopping three pounds at the most. This is one of the less expensive electric breast pumps making it our choice for best budget friendly electric breast pump. Even though it’s a more affordable breast pump it doesn’t lack in quality. This pump has a super strong sucking action that actually most closely resembles the sucking action of a baby.
Another great feature that this breast pump comes with is that it is a closed system. This means that the milk you pump doesn’t actually go near the motor of the machines. This means it is very sanitary and that your baby will be getting the purest milk. Another great feature that comes with this pump is the letdown mode which allows you to pump to certain intensity then then when the milk starts coming out you can switch back to a regular setting pumping mode.
You can pump just once breast or even both with this pump. Pumping two breasts as once is of course faster but you do have the option to only pump one breast if you want. My absolute favorite feature on this pump is the night light. This pump has a built in light that has two settings of brightness. This is perfect for late night feedings and you don’t want to turn on a giant light in the room. It comes with a dim light that is just bright enough to see to pump, breast feed, and even change your baby’s diaper. This is the top choice for best affordable electric breast pump.
Even though this pump does not come with a battery pack to travel with it is still one of the best electric breast pumps on the market. It is super affordable for any momma to be able to afford with a great quality to back it up. It comes with a closed system making it extremely easy to clean. This makes the tubing in the pump closed where milk will not get inside. My favorite feature is the night light to pump in the middle of the night without waking up your partner y turning the light on. Lastly it comes with a letdown mode which is always important when considering when buying a pump. These are the reasons why we made this part of our list as the best electric breast pumps on the market.
Haoqin Micro Cube Breastfeeding Pump:
Another product we found to be a great electric breast pump is the Haoqin Micro Cube. This is a single breast pump that will work for one breast at a time. Some moms choose this over the double electrics because it’s lighter, more portable, and more affordable. Since it has such a lightweight design you can transport this anywhere you desire discreetly. It comes with an adaptor so you can easily plug it into any outlet. The one downfall is it is not battery operated at all so it will have to be plugged in to work.
This pump will impressively hold up to five ounces of milk at one time so you can either pump right into the bottle provided or into pumping bags that can hold more than five ounces. All the accessories it comes with are the pump, pipe, bottle, nipple with lid, cable with adaptor, and a draw string bag. This pump is great for mommas that have to work that need something small and quiet to use to pump while on their breaks.
We love the fact that this is a super lightweight electric pump. Most electric pumps are heavier and bulkier which make them hard to transport with all the other baby gear you have to carry. This one can fit easily into a purse. This is a very affordable option when buying an electric pump. It’s one of the cheapest electric pumps I have seen on the market. It is a great alternative to work with a manual pump without spending a fortune. This can be used with the bottle provided or even with breast milk storage bags. This made it on our list of the Best Breast Pumps for 2017 for these reasons.
Best Manual Breast Pumps
A manual breast pump is a hand operated pump that requires not electricity or batteries. This is usually a one breast pump model with a leaver and flange that will create the suction as you pump the leaved into the bottle. As you pump the milk will travel down a tube into the bottle. This process may take longer than an electric pump would take and also will be more labor intensive since you need to pump it yourself.
So mothers have both a manual and an electric pump. They usually use the manual once you already have been practicing pumping for a while. The manual is extremely lightweight and small so it easily fits in a purse for on the go travel. Once you are used to breast pumps this may be a great choice for you and your baby to have when they aren’t eating as much during the day.
Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump
The Medela Harmony manual breast pump is our choice for the best manual breast pump on the market today. Remember manual pumps are perfect for moms that don’t need to pump multiple times a day. The Medela pump is super lightweight that you can bring it literally anywhere you go. You can fit it right into a purse or diaper bag and can literally pump anywhere. Manual pumps make no loud noises because you are doing all the pumping yourself. So you can do this discreetly at home or even if you are a working mom who has to go to the bathroom to pump.
What makes this manual pump unique compared to other manual pumps is that fact that it has a two phase expression. This means that this will mimic your baby’s natural nursing pattern. There are two different hand positions on the handle to pump the maximum amount of milk possible. Start in the stimulation phase and work your way to the expression stage. This will allow it to feel just like a baby getting milk from their mother which will help produce more milk.
This pump comes with a few accessories that will help make your life easier. The first thing it comes with is of course the one pump, one handle, and one breast shield. This is what you need to properly pump the milk. Then you will also get two bottles that twist into the pump so you can pump directly into the bottle. Two caps for the bottles so you can store in the fridge or freezer (I suggest if you are pumping to buy breast milk storage bags). Lastly you will get a stand for the breast pump to sit in when you are not using it.
This pump is great because it makes no noise and you can pump quietly and discreetly. It’s easy to transport that you can literally just throw it in a bag and go wherever you need to go. My favorite thing about this pump is that it has a duel setting lever so you can pump two different ways. This is extremely important if you get clogged ducts of milk. You can find what works for you and pump it out in different ways which I think it is the absolute best aspect of this manual breast pump. Lastly the price point is extremely budget friendly making it very affordable for any family. The only negative I would have to say about it is that manual pumps are a lot of work. They are labor intensive and if you’re already a tired momma you may just want to go with an electric pump. This is my recommendation for the best manual breast pump on the market right now.
Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump
This is our choice for the best affordable manual breast pump. This breast pump is at an extremely affordable price point. If you are looking for something that will pump with quality but will not cost a fortune then this is the pump for you. As you know manual breast pumps are extremely quiet and can be used so discreetly without anyone even knowing you’re actually pumping. This pump is perfect for the mom that isn’t pumping every two hours. If you’re pumping once or twice a day this pump will work great for you.
The Philips avent manual pump is actually compatible with all of the Philips avent bottles that they have. They have big ones, small ones, bottles for colic, and newborn bottles. You can fit this pump onto any of their bottle products and pump directly into them. The great thing about this manual pump is that you can operate it with just one hand so you can multitask if you have to and do something with the other hand. It also has an angled neck so the milk will flow directly into the bottle which will prevent leakage from happening. Lastly if all of that wasn’t impressive enough; this manual breast pump comes with two different size breast shields so in case you need a larger size for those engorged days you will have one.
You will be very satisfied with this manual breast pump for the price you are spending. We put this one on our list because it’s the most affordable manual breast pump on the market with a great quality. This breast pump is quiet allowing you to put anywhere. It is also portable being able to fit into a small purse for your convenience. It can be attached to any of the Philips products making it very universal. It has an angled neck allowing the flow of milk to flow smoothly into the bottle. Lastly it comes with two different size breast shields in case you need a larger one.
Things to Consider When Making Your Breast Pump Purchase
We all know what may work for one person may not work for you. Here are a few things for you to ask yourself when you are thinking to purchase a breast pump. Check out our simple checklist and make sure you can answer these questions.
How Much Pumping you want to do: if you want to exclusively pump you will want to choose a breast pump that will be able to accommodate a large load of milk per day. They say you should be pumping between two to three hours each day if you are exclusively pumping. This can turn into a ton of milk. Make sure the breast pump you choose will be able to cope with the load. A manual breast pump is not good for more than three pumping sessions a day. You might want to consider an electric pump if you’re going to be pumping a lot.
Cost: Set yourself a budget of what you plan on spending for your breast pump. Not only set a budget for your breast pump but for all baby gear you are planning on buying. You want to make sure that for what you are spending you are going to get something that will exactly match your pumping needs. If you’re pumping a lot don’t waste your money buying a manual pump. We have listed some affordable but great quality options above for both manual pumps and electric pumps. Save yourself the aggravation and make sure that the money you will be spending will be well worth it on a pump that will fit your needs.
Portability: If you are a working momma and will be traveling with your breast pump almost every day you will want to think about portability. Some of the breast pumps above come with a caring case or tote bag so you can conveniently carry them. Some breast pump brands don’t offer this so make sure you ask yourself the question of “am I going to be taking my breast pump with me?” if you are buying a manual pump this shouldn’t be a big issue because those are extremely portable and can pretty much fit in a small purse if need be.
Time: Will you be pumping both breasts at one time? Are you pumping manually by hand? Are you buying a single electric breast pump? You need to ask yourself these questions and ask yourself how much time do you have. A manual pump or even a one electric breast pump can sometime take more than 15 minutes each session to pump. If you’re a working momma with not a long break time you will really need to access how much time you have to pump which can influence which pump you buy.
Suction: Suction can be a tricky thing to think about before buying your breast pump. This will be a trial and error section. Some breast pumps have better suction than others. Also the same amount of suction for one woman may be different for you. It’s best to look for a pump with an adjustable suction.
Power: People lose power all the time; whether its storm related or just a city blackout. This is something that people don’t think about when buying a product until the power goes out and you’re screwed. If you have enough milk in the freezer already then maybe this isn’t an issue for you but sometimes it nice to know you have the option of using batteries on your breast pump. If you buy a manual pump you won’t have to worry but if you buy an electric see if you can purchase a separate battery adaptor for it or if it comes with the ability to use batteries.
What Breast Pump Accessories Should I buy?
When you’re a breastfeeding momma who is breast pumping you may want to consider purchasing some accessories. In no way do you need these accessories but they can really help you during the pumping process and it will make it easier for you. Some of the breast pumps we listed above come with some accessories already but these are some that we recommend.
Breast Milk Storage Bags
If you are wanting to store breast milk two have at least of a week’s supply on hand you will either need bags to store the milk in or some sort of container. You will want to freeze your milk because it will last a lot longer that way. Especially if you are a momma who will be working outside of the home you will want to store your breast milk in the freezer so anyone can feed your baby while you are gone.
Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags
This is my absolute favorite product to store breast milk in. The Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags are perfect for freezing your breast milk because they are made with reinforced seams so nothing will burst from freezing the milk. With most breast pumps you can actually put the bag around the seal and pump directly into the bag.
Another great thing about these bags compared to other breast milk storage bags is that these can actually lay flat in your fridge or freezer. This will make more room for other stuff of course. The affordability on this product is great! You can get this product in all different quantities. This is my absolute favorite product for storing breast milk.
Breast Pumping Bra
Breast pumping bras can be a very valuable accessory. You can literally turn any breast pump into a hands free breast pump. These are great for moms who are pumping a lot during the day. This will give you the ability to do other things also while still being able to pump out that breast milk for your baby.
Simple Wishes Hands Free Breastpump Bra
This breast pumping bra is a breeze to use. It comes in a one size fits most with adjustable clips in the back so you can make it as tight or loose as you want. You can take almost any breast pump you have and it will fit snuggly into this bra giving you the ability to pump hands free. You can make multi-tasking a breeze saving time to get other important stuff done. You can adjust the straps to go strapless or even a racerback style for extra support. I think any mom who will be pumping a lot during the day needs this bra so they can get other stuff done while pumping for your baby!
If you are a working momma and you are taking your child to a daycare you might want to consider purchasing a breastmilk cooler. If your breast pump does not already come with one I highly recommend purchasing one. Whether you are taking a trip or taking breast milk to a day care you want your breastmilk to stay cold and not spoil. The only way to keep it cool is in a fridge or a freezer; well if you have a cooler that is meant to keep breast milk cool it can stay cool all day long without going bad.
Medela Breastmilk Cooler Set
The medela breastmilk cooler is my favorite for many reasons. The first reason being it comes with the perfect size bottles to fit inside the cooler. With your purchase you will get four breastmilk bottles with lids for storage. It also comes with an ice pack that can be taken out and put into the freezer and then put back into your storage container. If you’re a working mom and you need to transport your breastmilk with your baby to different places then I strongly recommended purchasing this product. You will be so happy with the fact that you won’t have to waste milk and that you can keep it cold all day while you are out.
How to Use a Breast Pump
There are basically two sets of instructions when needing to learn how to use a breast pump. You either have a manual pump or an electric breast pump. Remember if you are a momma who is planning on breast pumping a lot then you will want to consider an electric breast pump.
Electric Breast Pump
Start by covering your nipple area with the breast shield; if you’re using a double electric pump then make sure you cover the other side as well with a tight seal to prevent leaking. Turn your breast pump machine on and let the letdown mode process begin to work. This will stimulate the breast all from the machine and let the milk come to the front of the breast.
Once the real suction starts you will want to pay close attention to your comfort level. How does it feel when it’s pumping the milk? Does it hurt? If it is painful or uncomfortable turn the suction down and if the milk is coming out slowly turn the suction up.
When it is pumping the milk efficiently you can let the pump work its magic. Once you are finished break the suction from the machine and your breast and wipe off any leaked milk. The electric pumps will be a lot easier to get more milk out at one time.
Manual Breast Pump
When you have a manual breast pump you will need to work the breast to get the milk moving from the back of the breast to the front. This is called the letdown; the letdown will automatically happen if you are using an electric pump because there is a setting for it. If you are using a manual pump you will need to massage your breast to get the milk flowing.
The next thing you will want to do is cover your nipple area with the breast shield. You will want to make sure this is a nice tight seal to prevent the milk from leaking out the sides when you are pumping. Hold the shield with one hand while your other hand starts to pump or squeeze the handle.
If you are having issues and the milk is not flowing out try massaging your breast for longer then start again. You can always lean forward and see if that makes the milk start flowing. As the milk starts to flow keep pumping until you have sufficiently filled the bottle or until your production of milk slows down.
How Often Should You Pump Breast Milk?
This can get complicated because it really all depends on how much you are pumping. If you are feeding your baby directly from your breast most of the time then you are most likely pumping occasionally so if that’s the case then you should pump milk in the morning because that is usually when you have the most milk. Or you can always use this tip: you can do a pumping session either an hour before you know your baby is going to be hungry or an hour after your baby has eaten. This is give you milk for both the breastfeeding session and the pumping session.
Women who are only pumping milk and not feeding directly from the breast will need to pump every two to three hours. When you empty your breast milk from your breast this signals something in your body to make more. The tip the more you pump the more you will ultimately produce.
A typical pumping session can vary depending on if you’re using an electric pump or a manual pump. An electric pump especially if it’s a double electric pump will typically only take 10 to 15 minutes. If you are using a manual breast pump it could take a lot longer. The first reason being you have to pump it out yourself and the second reason being you can only pump one breast at a time so give yourself around 20 to 25 minutes using a manual.
How to Clean a Breast Pump
It is very important to keep your breast pump clean and sanitized. You do not want your baby to drink contaminated milk. Any breast pump parts that come in contact with milk should be cleaned after each time you use the pump. Some parts can be cleaned with just soap in water but some parts you may want to put in the top rack of the dishwater. Check the manual that comes with your breast pump to see which pieces can be put into the top rack of the dishwasher.
Some breast pumps can get milk stuck inside the tubing. If this does happen rinse the tubing after you pump to get the milk out as soon as possible. If the milk dries in the tubing it will be much harder to clean it. After you rinse the tubing make sure you hand it to dry. You will want the tubing to be completely dry before the next use.
If you have an electric breast pump you should really wipe it down after each use. It may not look dirty but it’s important to wipe any visible dust off so nothing gets into the tubing or milk. An electric breast pump should never be put into water. Of course as we all know this will ruin your motor and the pump will be broken.
Always make sure before you clean anything to read your breast pump manual and see what they recommended for each piece. This is just a few guidelines for you to follow if you are unsure on how to clean your breast pump.
Can I Buy a Used Breast Pump?
There has been a long discussed debate on this topic for many years. Many people thing it is completely safe to buy used pumps because you can rent breast pumps. The only reason people can rent breast pumps is because that is a closed system breast pump. A closed system breast pump means that there is no way any milk can reach the motor. Most breast pumps that you can buy at a store or online are an open system pump which means that some milk can possibly reach the motor.
This is what makes selling a used breast pump or buying a used breast pump is so dangerous. You would not want to start pumping and get someone’s old breast milk in your bottle. It can be highly contaminated with bacteria which can make your baby sick. The best option is to buy new when considering a breast pump. Whether you are purchasing a manual breast pump or and electric pump always buy new. We have listed a couple brands above with some very affordable breast pumps.
I hope you found this article very informative and helpful especially if you had all these questions rolling around in your brain anyway. I tried to answer every possible question I could think of that come when thinking about purchasing a breast pump. If you have a question that I did not answer or a question on any of the products reviewed please give me a holler with the question. This is my honest opinion of each breast pump on this list. I like every single one for different reasons but my favorite breast pump product on the market is the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump. I think you’re getting the best value with this pump and it answers almost every question in my buying checklist.