We can all agree on one point – your baby needs to be fed. Luckily, there are a number of choices for women, ranging from nursing to formula feeding. Using a pump will allow your baby to benefit from your milk if you have returned to work or simply need a rest from nursing.
For those who choose to pump, keep in mind that you have a plethora of product choices.
Not all products on the market are equal. Before buying a car or even a car seat, as a responsible shopper you would conduct loads of research, wouldn’t you? The same degree of investigative research should apply to your quest in purchasing a breast pump.
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In fact, I remember devouring pages and pages of market research and testimonials, in addition to visiting shops, calling friends and professionals for their advice. I even – do not giggle – tested out four different pumps at home to determine which was the most comfortable, effective and had the best price to quality ratio.
So, with a wide variety of products to choose from, how do you find the best breast pump on the market? Luckily we have done the research and testing for you – please reference the helpful buying guide below that will ease you along your purchase journey.
- 1 Best Breast Pumps Buying Guide
- 2 Top Breast Pumps 2018 (Guide and Reviews)
- 2.1 Simple Wishes Signature Hands-Free Pumping Bra – best for working moms
- 2.2 Spectra S2 Electric Breast Pump – best hospital grade pump
- 2.3 Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump – best electric pump
- 2.4 Vakey Electric Breast Pump – USB charged electric option
- 2.5 Ashtonbee Food-Grade Manual Silicone Breast Pump
- 3 Breast Pumping Tips
- 4 Breast Pump and Milk Safety Tips
- 5 Conclusion
Best Breast Pumps Buying Guide
This journey is personal and, as such, only you will determine which product is best for your needs. However, this guide will help you decide exactly what you need in a product, whether that product will fit into your lifestyle, and how much you need to budget.
Benefits and/or Limitations of Using A Pump
A breast pump helps you to express milk, simplifying a woman’s life on many levels, especially for women who return to the office or are simply busy outside of the home. In this light, there are a number of less obvious reasons why a woman would choose to use a breast pump.
For example, some women use a pump to stimulate their milk production and, as a consequence, increase their milk supply. Other women need to pump so that they can collect milk to feed a premature baby or one who cannot latch onto their breast. Last, some women use a breast pump to relieve the pain and pressure of engorged breasts.
However, keep in mind that there can also be limitations with said choice, whether practical, emotional or physiological:
- Practical: Ensure that you are pumping in a place where you will be able to later store the milk expressed.
- Emotional: A very controversial subject, some argue that a pump cannot replace the mother-baby bonding ensured by breastfeeding. Personally, I was unable to breastfeed for more than a few weeks and as a result, my son was given the bottle; our bond was never negatively affected.
- Physiological: Excessive use of a breast pump can interfere with milk production if a baby is not permitted to latch on and either way, no matter how excellent a pump, it is not as effective as the baby’s suckling
What to Look for in A Breast Pump
Breast pumps fall into 2 main categories and they are either:
- Manual (completely operated by hand), or
- Non-manual. The non-manual can be electric or battery powered.
Further, there are two different pumping types that are single or double – it is fairly self-explanatory, while single extracts milk from one breast at a time whereas double can be used to extract milk from both breasts simultaneously.
When I first began looking for a pump, many mothers warned me that my journey would be akin to that of Goldilocks and that what might be the perfect fit for one woman might not suit your needs at all. Let us take a look at which type may suit your needs.
These pumps are fully automatic, with variable cycling times and adjustable suction levels to help avoid nipple discomfort. While most electric pumps are double pumps, one can find models that are single.
These pumps are designed for women who have a good flow of milk and for any reason have to express milk several times a day. This is an ideal option for mothers who need to be separated from their babies for a longer period of time (e.g. if they have returned to work).
Electric models have a double kit, and a cyclic rate of 40-60 per minute, a rate that is the closest to the speed of a baby’s suction.
The advantage of these pumps is defined in their portability, potency and lower price.
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Hospital Grade Electric
These are the highest quality and most efficient. Such pumps are normally recommended for women who are experiencing difficulty in nursing during the first few weeks after having had given birth, or when a baby isn’t able to nurse enough to build up your milk supply.
More specifically, some instances when this hospital grade pump is used include: when a baby is born prematurely or if a mother has a medical condition that affects how much milk she produces.
A double collection kit means you can pump both breasts at once, which can cut pumping time in half and drain both breasts more effectively.
These pumps are more portable since they weigh about 2 pounds or, less than 1kg.
More affordable than the electric models, they often appeal to women who either need a second pump as a backup, or want to avoid temporary discomfort in the breasts, so that they can either pump an excess amount of milk at once or maintain the supply at their own pace.
Of course, they are slower than electric pumps and the cyclic rate depends exclusively on your ability to pump.
On the downside, not only do manual pumps generally take longer to use and require more effort, some mothers find them frustratingly slow. In my case, I found that the manual didn’t completely drain my breasts and as a result, I had a reduced milk supply.
In terms of the positive aspects associated with this category, some women like the simplicity and convenient size of a manual pump. Many say that some manual pumps feel more natural because they more closely mimic a baby’s sucking than electric models, and they also like being able to control the suction by hand.
Variables to Consider When Shopping for A Breast Pump
How Much Should I Expect to Pay?
There is a wide spectrum of prices associated with this product. In the United States, there are approximately 85 approved pumps and the price can range from 30 USD for a manual pump to hundreds of dollars for an electric pump at the higher end.
In addition to the actual pump, there are also a number of items one needs to purchase. A simple list can be seen as follows:
- Storage containers or bags
- Products to sterilize the breast shields, bottles or nipples, and
- Breast nipple shields, or a cone-shaped cup that fits over the nipple and areola.
- Nursing bras and tops that flip down or pull aside for easier access
- Reusable and disposable pads to keep milk from leaking at inopportune times
- Hands-free bras so you can do something else while pumping milk
When researching different pumps, consider comments of other mothers.
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Top Breast Pumps 2018 (Guide and Reviews)
|Simple Wishes Hands-Free Pumping Bra||Either manual or electric||▪ Best for working moms|
▪ All in one bra
▪ Compatible with ALL breast pumps
▪ Toxin free
|Spectra S2 Electric Breast Pump||Electric||▪ Hospital grade|
▪ Closed system
▪ Built-in light
|Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump||Electric||▪ No 1 Physician recommended|
▪ Cooler and ice packs
▪ Discreet and practical carrying case
|Vakey Electric Breast Pump||Electric||▪ USB Charged|
▪ Bionic milk absorption
▪ FDA approved
▪ Fits all classic bottles
|Ashtonbee Breast Pump||Manual||▪ Food-grade silicone|
▪ Travel friendly
▪ Simple to use
▪ Easy to clean
Simple Wishes Signature Hands-Free Pumping Bra – best for working moms
This bra is a designed product with prominent features, designs, materials, and good quality for breast milk pumping. It is compatible with ALL pumps available on the market.
- All in one
Hand free pumping bra incorporates best features for your preferred nursing, maternity, and hands-free pumping into one bra. They fit best to your body and becomes convenient in your busy life. In addition, they look like just ordinary bras.
- Exceptional comfort
This product has a soft and stretchy fabric, which makes it comfortable to put it on all the day. It has sewn-in cups, which conceals your nipples with a thin lining. It is made of 83% cotton and 17% spandex for enhanced comfort. In addition, it has four parallel fabric layers fabric, which ensures enough concealing of the breasts.
- Hands-free pumping bra
Pumping on a regular basis can be time-consuming. These hands-free pumping bras give the mother freedom when pumping the milk. It holds the bottle securely and very firmly. Therefore, mothers can keep their hands free and be able to handle other tasks at the same time. In addition, it reduces milk spillage further improving milk production efficiency.
- Adjustable bras
They are designed to guarantee a perfect fit. Its back panel is adjustable up to 10 inches width. Front zipper more so provides 2 inches for more maneuverability between breasts. Therefore, this will allow the mother customize her bra depending on her breast and body size.
- Easy to use
The bra fits easily with or without removing the shirt or nursing bra. It has elastic reinforcement, which secures it for good fit and ensures it does not slip off.
- Bottom line
With its great features such as being adjustable and easy to use, this product becomes very useful for lifestyle improvement as well as for the guaranteed health of mother and child.
Spectra S2 Electric Breast Pump – best hospital grade pump
This is a leading hospital-grade breast pump that offers mothers the assurance that their breast milk is protected from any pathogens as they pump. It is a cost-effective, excellent and hygienic product with other exceptional features designed to meet the needs of moms
- Closed system
There is a physical barrier between the pump and the milk. It is hygienic since it protects breast milk from bacteria and moldiness during pumping. It also keeps the tubing dry and therefore no need to clean the tubing.
- The max suction strength of 250mmHg.
This high-level suction power is a unique feature of this particular pump, and it helps ensure that the breast-pumping process is efficient.
- Digital touch buttons and controls
The pump has a digital touch button that allows the mother to set the pumping speed and suction strength as well as the rhythm that is most suitable for her body.
- Timer and night light
These are very helpful features in the model. The timer will tell you how long you have pumped in the tank. In addition, night light helps the mother see well and operate the pump during the night pumping session.
It is super quiet than most other breast pumps available.
The pump is light in terms of weight compared to other pumps, as it weighs less than four pounds. An AC adapter powers it.
- Adjustable suction
The suction is adjustable in both left down and expression mode to best suit your body.
- Bottom line
Spectra S2 is an effective product for the single user unless it is well sterilized to prevent health risk when in use by multiple individuals. It is effective, hygienic, and easy to use guaranteeing mom’s comfort while expressing milk.
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Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump – best electric pump
What sets this option apart from the competitors is how mobile it is: this is the pump for mothers who are on the go but are looking for a discreet option for daily use on vacation, on the road or at work. This model is especially good for large-breasted women.
- Double electric breast pump
It has a double pumping kit, which is designated for mothers that pump various times within a day. The kit also provides comfortable and efficient pumping throughout the day.
- Battery pack
The battery pack is important as it allows the mother to pump milk anywhere and at any time.
- Vacuum adjustments/ single knob adjustment
These adjustments facilitate a comfortable pump setting.
- Removable cooler bags.
The breast pump has a fitted ice pack. It grips four bottles of breast milk as well as an ice pack in order to keep the bottle cool.
- Built-in Bottle holders and tubing storage pocket
These features prevent milk spills and keep the tubing organized between the pumping sessions.
- Three Stylish micro fibers bags
These microfibers bags are optional to choose. You may choose on-the-go tote, the metro bag, or backpack. They hold everything that you may need in order to pump.
- Exclusion of BPA
All the parts that touch your breast milk are made without BPA. This exclusion is important as it enhances safety for the mother and the baby.
- Metro bags
The metro bags include two sizes of personal fit breast shieldsand a pump, whichis removable in a separate bag. The bags also contain a work surface and storage mesh, which facilitates pumping, and transport flexibility.
- Bottom line
The Medela electric pump, with its removable cooler bags, bottles holders, and metro bags is a comfortable and easy-to-use pump for moms.
Vakey Electric Breast Pump – USB charged electric option
The Vakey electric breast pump is among the most impressive USB charged electric breast pumps in the market. It is comfortable and convenient to use as well as safe, hygienic and easy to handle. Its other additional features are discussed below.
- Safety and Hygiene
It has PP materials, is FDA approved and BPA free. Therefore, this makes it safe for usage for both the mom and the baby. In addition, the bottle can be perfectly dismounted thereby ensuring you can clean all the corners. Furthermore, the exhaust film is important as it prevents the mixture of air and milk, hence it cannot be contaminated.
- Bionic milk absorption
The absorption mode assists moms have surpassed suction. The mode has 9-gear absorption regulation. The mode is just like mouth sucking. In addition, the one-way flux is important as it prevents milk contamination, which can be induced by milk backflow.
- Friendly to mom
Since it has nine settings, you have the ability to determine the right suction power for you and your baby. It solves the hassle and pain of rising milk, storage, and child milk moss problem.
- Standard bottleneck
The pump has a standard bottle mouth. You can use familiar bottles to store your milk.
It contains the following components, which are packed singly: One breast pump, a nipple with lid, user manual, and USB cable.
The gadget has a petal-style massage pad inside to provide professional massages, providing the most professional massage. Furthermore, it helps to avoid breasts from drooping as well as nipple sores.
The device is lightweight and portable. It weighs fewer than 1.3 pounds. In addition, you only need to have a USB charger and you are good to go. The USB feature allows you to even pump from the car.
- Easy to use
The device is very easy to assemble or disable, clean and use. It is also very simple to keep it sterilized and clean hence assuring proper hygienic, which is very important.
- Bottom line
The device, with its bionic milk absorption, hygienic features, and portability, is an exceptional product that eases the lifestyle of all nursing moms and their babies.
Ashtonbee Food-Grade Manual Silicone Breast Pump
This is a hands-free manual breast pump that is easy to use and maintain. Every breastfeeding mother should have one of these products to toss into her diaper bag when not at home.
- Handsfree breast pump
It is a manual suction pump for breast milk collection. The pump is very comfortable because there are no cords, batteries, wiring, or any charging needed. Therefore, it is trouble free compared to other breast pump devices.
- Efficient and time-saving
The device allows moms, especially those who are always busy and on the go, to collect milk for a ready supply. In addition, they can pump the milk while multitasking on other activities. Therefore, the mother can handle her activities conveniently knowing that her baby has enough milk supply.
- Lightweight and travel-friendly
The pump is lightweight and compact. Moms can go with it anywhere they want. It also has a lid, which prevents milk spill.
- Safety and convenience
It is a safe and easy solution for collecting and improving the supply of milk. It helps you to collect the milk as well as nurse at night and store the milk for night feeding. The device has no chemicals, which may contaminate the milk or endanger the baby’s safety and well-being.
The device has a one-piece design and functionality. It is straightforward. Therefore, cleaning is easy and there is no hard to reach areas where germs and bacteria could gather. All you need is a bottlebrush, mild soap, and warm water.
- Bottom line
Being a hands-free pump, this model is convenient, effective, and easy to use and will help make the lifestyle of modern moms more organized and systematic.
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Breast Pumping Tips
Just as with breastfeeding, when a woman begins to use a pump the milk will often not immediately flow. As such, there are recommending ways to encourage the let-down reflex. For example, a mother can be advised to do one or multiple of the tips below to stimulate milk flow:
- Take a warm shower or bath
- Relax with music or a film
- Meditate to feel calm
- Gently massage a breast towards the areola
- Express from one breast while your baby is feeding from the other
Breast Pump and Milk Safety Tips
There are important safety considerations associated with using a breast pump as indicated by the international food and drug administrations. A few key items to consider with respect to a breast pump are as follows:
- Do not share or rent a pump since they are designed for single users; breast milk can carry bacteria and viruses – including HIV and cytomegalovirus – that can contaminate these pumps and pass an infection to you and your baby. Second-hand pumps are also less effective because motors lose their strength and the seals deteriorate over time, problems that may lead to a loss of suction. (*In terms of rental, the exception would be a hospital grade pump*)
- Avoid buying a used pump since you can expose yourself and your baby to contamination
- Clean pumps between uses with hot water (no need to sterilize each time) but only clean the tube if milk gets into it
- Choose the right sized breast shields because the wrong size can no only impede milk flow but can also cause physical and emotional distress. This video can help.
In addition, there are a number of ways in which to store breast milk after it has been expressed. A number of helpful points can be found at this site but an overall tip is that the process of pumping, storing and using breast milk should be extremely clean and sterile. I find this link to be helpful.
Not all products are the same. And not all mothers have the same checklist when making a product purchase decision because some are driven by price, whereas others are driven by convenience or user practicalities. Whether you want an additional support to your breastfeeding, a replacement, or a transitional option, make sure to carefully read about each product before bringing it home and integrating it into your daily life.
Enjoy the journey of motherhood!