Community Curated • Updated 03, 2019
Breast pumps - both electric and manual - have received a place in a mother’s immediate baby essentials kit over the years.
They’ve proven themselves as incredible mother-friendly items, helping mothers who can’t breastfeed for various reasons (illness, temporary physical issues, busy schedule) still deliver their precious milk to their little ones. In fact, breast pumps come in very handy in a lot of situations we take for granted on a daily basis. You may find yourself having a short or even a longer trip, you’ll also very likely find yourself back at your fulltime job, and what will easily get you and your baby through it all is a good breast pump.
If you want to know more about breast pumping and/or are still hesitant whether to use one or not, you’re welcome to check out our special article on it here. If you’ve already decided on it though, but are still getting adjusted to it, make sure to read our article on newbie mommies and breast pumping. For the most essential breast pumping accessories, go here, and for a bigger variety of baby essentials kit, follow this link.
In this text, we’re going to try and answer one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to breast pumps in general, as well as the act of breast pumping. Below you can check out our comprehensive FAQ guide.
With one of the quietest motors we've ever seen in a breast pump, Pumpables Milk Genie takes the cake for one of our favorite pumps. Most breast pumps are noisy and impossible to pump near the baby whereas the Genie is whisper quiet — expressing whilst with your little one or at work won't be an issue any more. The Pumpables team have also been really generous by also offering 3 different breast-shields with each unit to make sure you no longer have to deal with any nipple pain. Honestly, we'd pick this one ourselves and for our friends.
Think a manual pump is lots of work? Think again. The Haakaa is actually zero work. Made from 100-percent food-grade silicone, this one-piece pump attaches to your breast and collects milk using its own suction—no hands (or power source) required. Lots of moms will just pop it on while their baby nurses on the other side to gain a few ounces for their freezer stash. This is about as low maintenance as it gets when it comes to pumping. Better yet, it’s under 20 bucks. The Haakaa is one of the manual pumps we've tried here at BabyGoss and absolutely love. Made from 100% food-grade silicone, this portable pump lets you collect easily on the go. When it comes to expressing, this is about as low budget as you can get.
The Spectra S2 is one of the most popular breast pumps and for good reason. This hospital-grade breast pump delivers huge power with less noise. The controls on the top of the unit allow you to tweak it to your liking to maximise how much you can express in a single session. It uses a closed system, keeping everything nice and clean (make sure to Google some of the open systems to see why this matters.
Quite possibly the ugliest pump we've ever seen, but it does produce when you need it to. You'll mostly find these at hospitals or with lactation consultants — but with such a large range of breast pumps now available, we'd personally give this a pass.
Another closed system electric pump that comes into the market with the goal of being affordable, and cheap. How does it come in at such a great price? Well, you don't get much with it. No extras, no additional milk bags (like the Pumpables Milk Genie) and no real customer support.
Another manual pump we tested was the Philips Manual Breast Pump. The perfect traveling companion, or for when you're on the road. With no cords, absolutely silent, you can get out a few ounces when you're on the move. As with all Philips products, the quality is phenomenal and comes with a helpful website to help guide you along.
For most people, the Medela will be overkill. Whilst other websites have talked about how great this product is, we found it to be overwhelming and experienced issues (Google "medela open system" and look at Google images to see what we mean. As with most electric pumps, it comes with a couple of speeds and settings as well as a battery pack for on the road.
Versatile, lightweight and easy to carry around the house, the BelleMa Effective Pro is a decent breast pump with decent suction. With over 9 levels, all the way up to 250 mmhg, you're bound to get into a good expressing flow with this pump.
The Ameda Purely Yours is a lightweight, easy to transport breast pump under $200. You have the options of using a single or double pump, and can adjust the suction levels and speed to create the perfect expressing environment. Has a closed system like the Spectra range which helps prevents any mold from occurring (make sure to Google this to realise why you want a closed and not open system).
Breast pumps are generally divided into electric and manual ones - the electric pumps are usually more efficient and can pump larger quantities of milk, whereas the manual ones are more practical and portable and can be carried everywhere with you. Electric pumps are also generally more expensive than manual ones (since they have more complex features), and are mains-operated or battery operated in case you can’t find a plug socket anywhere near.
If you need to express milk regularly, then an electric breast pump should be the preferred choice. Electric breast pumps are great for mothers with full working hours, who’ve just returned to work, and for ones who have their babies in special care. These types of pumps are very useful and convenient if you often find yourself with very limited time for pumping milk since they’re much quicker than manual ones.
Some electric breast pumps contain suction and cycle levels that you can adjust separately, which will, in turn, help you choose settings closest to the suckling type of your little one. You can also look for a pump that operates in two phases: the first one being the stimulation of the milk let down, while the second one is reserved for more efficient milk expressing. Make sure to check out our guide on the best electric breast pumps.
Manual breast pumps are more suitable for mothers who express on occasion, often when they’re away from their baby on short periods of time. They’re much more practical than the electric pumps when it comes to portability and lightness - they’re very easy to carry around even in a smaller bag. They also don’t require any electricity, power sockets or batteries. Lots of manual pumps also come with two phases - let down and expression phases, which will make each expression quicker, more effective and in overall just easier to do. For a guide on the best manual breast pumps currently on the market, follow this link.
A Breastmilk Collector is often conceived as an alternative to breast pumps. It’s very similar to a regular manual breast pump, with a shell-like upper part, which catches the breastmilk that can otherwise be lost, soaked up in a breast pad or even your shirt. You can find yourself oftentimes how, while you’re feeding your little one from one breast, the other is leaking precious breast milk. The Breastmilk collector will make sure none of it goes to waste.
There aren’t any special rules or time for starting your breast pumping routine. You can start using a breast pump from the moment your breast start to produce milk, which means you can do it as soon as you give birth to your little one.
Don’t be discouraged if the first couple of times you end up with a small quantity of breast milk. Similarly to breastfeeding, milk pumping also takes practice to make perfect.
The frequency of milk pumping doesn’t have any precise rules of scheduling. It mostly depends on your baby’s and your own needs, as well as daily habits and time management, when you can manage to find convenient space and time of day to do it. You yourself know your body the best and can feel when your breasts are ready to express milk.
If, for example, you’ve got a job that requires you to be separated from your little one for more than six hours daily, this means that maybe you will need to pump a couple of times a day in order to relieve the breast fullness and maintain your milk supply.
When you have a good milk supply, the breasts themselves tell you when the time to pump comes. But, if you have low milk supply, it’s quite possible that you’ll need to pump more often, in order to increase it. In the beginning of the breast pumping process, it may be a good idea to pump one breast, while the baby is feeding on the other. A baby that is breastfeeding will stimulate the let-down reflex and increase the milk flow. Gradually you’ll gain more confidence in your pumping abilities, and this is when you can also start pumping early in the morning or in between feedings when you can feel your breasts being full.
Although breastfeeding should always be the preferred choice, if possible, breast pumping has many benefits that breastfeeding itself can’t provide.
While breast pumping is the second best thing you can get to breastfeeding and is overall safe and good for the baby, there are some slight drawbacks.
We live in a very fast-paced, hyper-modern age and it’s no wonder that breast pumps have gained so much prominence in the last years. They make the working, busy mom’s life much easier, as well as help mothers with babies with different types of conditions that don’t allow them to breastfeed properly.
There are many brands of breast pumps out there that produce both great electric and manual breast pumps. But, since choosing isn’t easy, we’ve decided to make life a little simpler and take the time to pick out the best breast pumps you can currently find on the market. What follows is precisely such a guide. We hope that it’ll manage to satisfy everyone’s taste and needs, as well as budget constraints.