Community Curated • Updated 03, 2019
There are various reasons why you’d want to pump. It’s always good to have an alternative to regular breastfeeding, and a breast pump offers just that. With the right one by your side, you can be sure you’ll baby will reap all the benefits from your expressed milk - and, you also won’t have to feel guilty or insecure when you’re not around to breastfeed.
Breast pumps come in two varieties: electric and manual ones. In this guide, we’re going to cover the electric ones and try to answer some of the most important and pertinent questions that you may have when it comes to using one. So, if you are still in the process of considering to get a breast pump, you’re welcome to go through this introduction and hopefully, by the end of it, things will get a little clearer. In the meantime, you can also check our guide on breast pumps in general, as well as another one on manual breast pumps.
If you want a truly effective, time-saving breast pump, then S2 by Spectra is one of the best ones you can find on the market. This easy-maintenance pump has a special system that keeps the air that passes through the tubes connecting the pump and expressed milk perfectly dry - so no need to clean the tubes at all! It's a closed pumping system which prevents the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms that can develop during the pumping process. This breast pump also contains customizable settings perfect for different kinds of body responses that mothers have during the incredibly important months of breastfeeding. The super quiet motor will keep you and your baby at ease while pumping, completely unbothered by noise. The nightlight option is another great asset of this pump, making it a perfect option for those late sessions of pumping. The pump also remembers the settings from previous sessions and will make sure to remind you what you used last!
The Spectra Baby Portable Electric S1 breast-pump is loved for its practicality and effectiveness by moms and lactation consultants everywhere, and it has rightly deserved its spot on Amazon's choice list. The inbuilt rechargeable battery and the lightweight design of the pump allow for better mobility and are especially suitable for working moms, giving them all the comfort and confidence they will need in keeping their baby healthy and well fed at all times. This pump has digital controls, making it very easy to use; it also provides a better, more user-friendly experience in enabling mothers to choose rhythm and suction speed that suits them best. The S1 Breast Pump also has one of the quietest motors out there, adding to its practicality and non-intrusiveness into everyday life. It also contains a “massage mode” that helps simulate the natural suckling of the baby and helps with the suction. With its “backflow protection”, the S1 will successfully protect your breast milk from harmful microorganisms.
Тhe Signature Pro Electric Breast Pump by Lansinoh is a rather effective pump for the low and affordable price that it offers. It's lightweight and portable, like other smaller pumps of its kind, but it can be a bit of a nuisance for more sensitive ears – it's definitely not the most discreet pump you can have. Comfort is also not its forte - it can make the sucking experience a bit uncomfortable and users have reported feeling sore after using it, on account of its plastic cones. The pump does include two-phase expression technology, in an attempt to emulate the natural nursing of the baby. The pump also includes a timer so it gives you better control of your pumping time. All that being said, the good news is that it's cheaper than a lot of pumps on this list, and we're not surprised that it's a number one bestseller on Amazon. It's a solid budget-friendly electric breast pump you can find without and it does deliver on essential functionality.
The BabySteps Electric Breast Pump is a smaller type of breast pump and one from a lesser known brand - which, nevertheless, doesn’t take away from its quality! It's also one of the most affordable pumps that you can find on the market. Portable, compact and super quiet, it makes for a very practical pump. You can easily carry it everywhere since it only weighs 0.9 pounds! With its delicate design and the silicon covers on its flanges, it’s comfortable and easy on the body, whereas the suction is made to feel even and natural, mimicking the baby’s own natural ways. Amazon reviewers have hailed as the best smaller-sized pump that they have used, specifically praising its power and suction qualities.
Medela has been on the breast pump market for quite a while and it does maintain its credibility when it comes to quality and variety of products. It is, however, one of the more expensive electric breast pumps on the market, so if you're looking for something within a 100$ price range, this one might not be for you. The Medela Swing Pump, like other Medela pumps, contains a unique patented design which is researched based and is purported to allow mothers to pump their milk in a lesser amount of time. This technology is supposed to resemble the nursing rhythm of the baby, enabling bigger feelings of comfort and better efficiency. This pump will definitely serve its purpose as an electric breast pump and might be one of the more affordable big-brand names out there. The Medela Swing does come with its own set of design flaws, however. Marketed as a quiet and portable pump with a lightweight motor, it does its job fairly well, but instances of low durability and problems with the cord and tube connectors have been reported by customers on Amazon.
While the On-the-Go Tote might seem as very handy with all the items it includes along with the pump itself, it is still a rather pricey deal. With a wide variety of pumps on the market, the Medela Pump in Style might not be your first choice. Although advertised as the #1 physician recommended breast pump in the US, user experiences have deemed it a product that is largely overrated. Plus, the motor is not as durable as in other pumps on this list in its price range. The Medela Pump does contain the basic options you will need in a breast pump: customizable settings depending on the needs of the mother, as well as several suction speeds. This product also comes with a removable cooler bag which can hold a contoured ice-pack to keep the milk cool and up to four milk bottles.
You can start using your pump (the same goes for a manual one as well) as soon as you’ve established your breastfeeding routine, which is usually around the sixth week after your baby is born.
It depends on a couple of things. Some mums just prefer one type of breast pump (manual or electric) over the other. When it comes to using an electric breast pump, this often has to do with the amount and speed of milk expression that the electric one offers (which surpasses the manual ones), as well as the fact that electric breast pumps allow you to express milk with a lot less effort.
With an electric pump, once you put the cup on your breast, consider the milk expression already done. This, in turn, saves you much more time in the long run, it regulates your pumping patterns, and, what’s often taken for granted - spares your hands from doing all the squeezing.
Electric pumps are great for mothers who have a full-time job, travel frequently, have a lot of tasks to do throughout the day, have twins or multiples (and thus need more milk extraction) and just generally mothers who struggle with other personal and health issues in their life.
The largest part of electric breast pumps on the market is mains-operated, which means you’ll usually need a power socket to use one. There are however rechargeable breast pumps, as well as battery-powered ones which can be very practical if you often struggle with finding a power socket.
Electric breast pumps consist of a set of options that are designed to make your breastfeeding sessions painless and as comfortable as possible. Electric breast pumps contain:
Suction that is tailored to mimic the sucking patterns of your baby
Has a high number of sucks per minute
Has adjustable suction levels
Some breast pumps also contain a double-pumping function which allows you to pump both breasts at the same time
They require much less effort to use than manual pumps
When it comes to milk expression, they’re faster than a lot of other methods out there, including manual pumps
They offer a more comfortable breastfeeding experience because of their wide variety of settings
You can find a bigger choice of models - such as hospital-grade pumps, as well as double breast pumps
Flexible use - sometimes you can even rent an electric pump (like with the hospital-grade pumps)
Electric breast pumps are very convenient for mothers who:
Mothers who’ve had complications during pregnancy or are at high risk of early delivery - sometimes a prematurely born baby with a low weight might find it too strenuous to suckle.
Mothers with twin babies - this, of course, requires a bigger amount of milk expression and the electric breast pump can provide just that, without exhausting the mommy on a daily basis.
Working moms - mothers who need to start working almost immediately after giving birth think of electric breast pumps as lifesavers. Since they’re not able to be physically present with their little one throughout the whole day, the electric breast pump is there to save the day and provide them with a custom schedule of milk expression that will cover daily supplies of breast milk.
Moms that have a low milk supply - the suction power that the electric breast pump can produce may have a stimulative effect on the breast milk expression in mothers who usually struggle with low milk supply.
Moms that have a large milk supply - mothers who have more milk than their baby can consume. In such cases, the electric breast pump effectively expresses their excess milk, which later on they’re able to store it for future use.
Electric breast pumps are not perfect and they have their own downsides. Some of these include:
Impractical for transport - some electric pumps can be rather bulky and difficult to carry around. There are some lightweight options available on the market though.
Noisier than manual pumps - electric pumps are louder than manual pumps because of their motor and can be bothersome for moms who want more discreet breastfeeding sessions, or who happen to pump when their baby is nearby or sleeping.
They’re more expensive than manual pumps
They require more time and effort when it comes to sterilization
Mains-operated breast pumps are dependent on a plug socket.
Electric breast pumps are a very convenient option for a lot of mothers out there. They offer enough flexibility and efficacy when it comes to milk expression, and it’s no wonder busy and working moms simply love them (you can check out more about working moms and breast pump accessories here).
But, sometimes it takes time to find the right one, and you shouldn’t be discouraged if you find that it doesn’t work the first time. If this happens, you may want to consider getting a different model, one that would suit you better. It’s often possible to get a refund on a newly purchased item. If you want some fresh insight into breast pumping or maybe a little brushing up on old tricks, check out this article.