How To Find The Perfect Breast Pump To Fit Your Needs

When I found out I was pregnant, I was overjoyed, and then I panicked. As a chronic researcher, I started to freak out about all of the things that I needed to get for the baby. From a safe crib to the best sound machine, I poured over review after review to find the best one of everything for my unborn child. One item I hadn’t considered until the baby was born was a breast pump.

I had assumed (incorrectly) that babies just know how to breastfeed when they’re born. Boy, was I wrong! I eventually found out that breastfeeding is something you and your baby learn together. When I left the hospital with my baby, we still had not figured out the whole breastfeeding deal. Unfortunately, that meant he was quickly losing weight, and I was the proud owner of some very sore nipples. At his first doctor’s appointment, the pediatrician confirmed that he was not getting much of anything when he was breastfeeding.

After making an appointment with a lactation consultant (and shedding a few tears about our predicament), I was ready to figure out this whole breastfeeding thing. The breastfeeding consultant was very helpful and showed me how to get the baby to latch on correctly and how to figure out how much he ate at each feeding. I left the appointment with renewed hope that I can make breastfeeding work. I also walked away with a breast pump from the hospital store across from the lactation consultant’s office. She recommended a breast pump to help me increase my milk production by stimulating more demand while the baby figured out how to latch on and eat correctly.

Having spent zero time researching breast pumps, I just purchased one that was recommended by the lady at the store and hoped for the best. Fortunately, the breast pump I bought lasted me through two babies and became a helpful tool in my breastfeeding arsenal. And the great news is that the right breast pump can help you too, but you're going to be way more prepared to purchase one than I was.

Why Do You Need a Breast Pump?

If you’re planning on breastfeeding, I’d highly recommend buying a breast pump. Even if you plan to breastfeed full time, a pump will be your best friend. Since breastfeeding is a supply and demand issue, having a breast pump can help you simulate additional feedings and increase your supply.

Also, having a breast pump will allow you to build up a supply of extra milk so you can spend more than two hours apart from your baby. And, if you’re planning to go back to work, having a breast pump is essential so you can pump milk that can be fed to your baby while you’re away.

Consult with a lactation consultant on when you should start using your pump, how frequently and for what amount of time. Even if your baby is still a few days old, you can start pumping and freezing breastmilk so you can have some available when needed. You can store freshly expressed breast milk in the freezer for up to six months and the refrigerator for up to five days.

What to Consider When Selecting a Breast Pump

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There are several factors to consider when selecting a pump. There are three main types of pumps: manual, electric and hospital grade. Breast pumps also consist of three main parts: a breast shield that fits over the nipple, a pump that creates suction to express milk, and a detachable container for collecting the milk. Pumps can be manual or electric; electric pumps either use batteries or plug into a power outlet.

There are two types of pumps: single and double. Single pumps extract milk from one breast at a time while double pumps extract milk from both breasts at the same time. Below are descriptions of each type of pump so that you can pick the right one for yourself.

Manual breast pumps

A manual breast pump may be a good option for you if you are planning to breastfeed full time and need to pump only occasionally. Manual models are very compact, about the size of a baby bottle. They rely on the use of a pressing motion from your hands to create suction and extract the milk. A manual pump would also be great for traveling since it doesn’t take up much space.

Personal electric breast pumps

If you plan to go back to work and pump, getting a personal double electric pump is a good option. A double electric pump empties both breasts at the same time for maximum efficiency. These usually come with a carrying case and a cooler to store and transport expressed milk. Power options include a plug-in outlet and in some cases, a rechargeable battery.

Something to keep in mind with personal breast pumps is that they usually use an open-loop system for pumping milk, so it’s best to limit them to a single user. You can also get a single electric pump, but it takes much longer to get out any milk.

Hospital-grade electric breast pumps

The term “hospital-grade pump” is more of a marketing one and not a medical designation. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recognize the term “hospital-grade.” What “hospital-grade” pumps have is a powerful motor for the highest level of suction. They are very efficient at extracting breast milk and are generally pretty quiet. Also, they use a closed-loop system, which allows multiple women to use the same pump. For this reason, they are commonly used in hospital settings.

Price Range

The price range for breast pumps varies quite a bit depending on the type of pump you’re looking to purchase. Manual pumps are a lot cheaper than their electric counterparts, but they can be limiting when it comes to regular pumping. On the other hand, electric pumps are a lot more efficient, but they are often bulkier and may require an electrical outlet. 

Keep in mind that the Affordable Care Act requires most insurance plans to cover the cost of a breast pump as part of women’s preventive health services. Call your insurance company to find out what coverage you have when it comes to buying a breast pump.

How We Reviewed

When looking at different pump options, we considered several factors such as the ease of use, the available accessories, the weight, and customer reviews. The price range is also important, so we have a wide range of price options in our review, so there is a pump for everyone.

Best Manual Breast Pumps

Below are some of the best manual pumps available.

​NatureBond Silicone Manual Breast Pump Breastfeeding Milk Saver Suction


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The company makes this Naturebond breast pump entirely out of 100 percent food-grade silicone, which makes it stand apart from other pumps on the market. It’s very soft and comfortable while still providing enough suction to help you express milk. This portable pump is BPA free and easy to pack in a diaper bag, making it perfect for travel.

Some of the advantages of this pump are the lightweight silicone design along and compact size. It comes with a silicone stopper, dust cover lid, and a velvet pouch for easy storage. Unfortunately, some users reported that they the pump loses suction over time and it didn’t work well with smaller breasts.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump with Stimulation and Expression Modes


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This Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump comes with an ergonomic handle that helps reduce hand fatigue while pumping. The pump comes with two shield sizes so you can choose the one that fits your breast better; the shields also have a soft silicone rim for added comfort.

For added convenience, this breast pump allows you to pump directly into Lansinoh milk bags for easy storage. The pump is BPS and BPA free. It also has fewer parts than other pumps for easy assembly and cleaning.

Some of the positives about this pump are the easy-express handle, compact size, and breast shield size options. As a bonus, it’s compatible with Lansinoh storage bags and bottles. Unfortunately, some users had issues with the suction and could not get a good enough seal to express milk.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Medela Manual Harmony Breast Pump


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The ​Harmony breast pump by Medela offers a 2-Phase Expression® technology to help you produce more milk in less time. It’s designed to simulate the two distinct phases of how babies breastfeed – the stimulation phase and the expression phase. The pump is BPA free and comes with one size breast shield, two five-ounce breastmilk bottles with lids, a nipple with a collar, a stand, and two membranes.

Some of the advantages of this pump are the lightweight design and two-phase breastmilk expression technology. Unfortunately, some users reported a loss of suction over time and a need to replace the O-rings that are part of the handle design.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Best Personal Electric Breast Pumps

If a manual pump is not what you are looking for, here are some of the best electric breast pumps.

​​Medela Pump in Style Advanced Double-Electric Breast Pump with On-the-Go Tote


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This Medela pump is one of the most popular double electric breast pumps on the market. It comes with a convenient on-the-go tote that lets you store everything you need for pumping. The patented 2-Phase Expression® technology with one-touch let-down button helps you produce more milk in less time.

The pump comes with a battery pack that lets you pump anywhere, anytime. Also, it has the option to plug into an electrical outlet. The stylish microfiber tote has the pump built-in with additional space for pumping accessories.

Some of the positives of this pump are the on-the-go tote and the single know speed/vacuum adjustment for comfort while pumping. It also comes with a removable cooler bag with a contoured ice pack that holds four breastmilk bottles. On the other hand, some users noted that the motor could start losing power over time.

Quality

Usability

Support

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​​​Medela Freestyle Breast Pump


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This is the second Medela pump on our list because the brand is that good. The Freestyle breast pump from Medela is very lightweight and portable, helping you keep up with pumping on the go. The rechargeable battery means you don’t need an electrical outlet to pump. The digital display features a memory button, timer, and a backlight. The one-touch let-down button simplifies pumping.

The pump comes with two sizes of personal fit shields to help you find the right size for comfort. A portable carry bag helps you pack everything you need to pump on the go.

Some of the advantages of this pump are the compact size, battery operation and one-touch let-down button. Unfortunately, some users reporter inadequate suction and issues with the battery holding a charge. It’s also the most expensive pump on the list.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump


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The Ameda pump is a lightweight and portable pump feature adjustable speed and suction to help you find the right comfort level when pumping. It also comes with a shoulder bag, a breastmilk cooler, four milk storage bottles and three ice packs. It’s adaptable for single and double pumping. The pump is BPA and DEHP free.

Some of the positives of this pump are the adjustable speed and suction, convenient shoulder bag and breastmilk cooler. Some users reported that the pump could lose suction over time and issues with the adjustable controls.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Best Hospital-Grade Breast Pumps

Finally, the last type of breast pumps we are going to present you are the "hospital-grade" pumps.

Spectra Baby USA – S2 Plus Premier Electric Breast Pump


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The ​Spectra Baby USA hospital-grade breast pump offers completely adjustable settings, including adjustable suction and two-phase cycling in let-down and expression mode. The pump has a maximum suction strength of 250mmHg as well as the ability to be used as a single or double breast pump.

It also boasts a quiet motor, time and night light for nighttime pumping sessions. All pump parts and containers that come in contact with breastmilk are BPA/DEHP free. The pump comes with a 12 volt AC power adapter.

Some of the positives of this pump are the completely adjustable suction and two-phase cycling mode, as well as the quiet motor and night light. Some users reported issues with the valves and tubing falling off during pumping.

Quality

Usability

Support

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​​​Signature Pro by Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump with LCD Screen


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The Signature Pro hospital-grade double electric breast pump comes with a smart app to help you track and simplify breast pump and breastfeeding sessions, baby’s activities, and more. It uses Bluetooth technology to connect your phone with the pump. Another advantage of this pump is that it allows you to pump directly into Lansinoh milk bags for easy storage.

The closed-loop system ensures no milk backs up into the tubing or motor to prevent mold and bacteria buildup. This lightweight pump has fewer parts for easy assembly and cleaning. All parts that come into contact with breastmilk are 100 percent BPDS and BPA free.

Some of the advantages of this pump are the smart app that helps you track your pumping sessions, an easy-to-read digital LCD back-lit display idea for nighttime pumping and a carrying tote. Unfortunately, some users reported low suction and an uncomfortable fit.

Quality

Usability

Support

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BelleMa Melon Comfort Double/Single Electric Breast Pump


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One of the cool things about this BelleMa Melon Comfort Double/Single Electric Breast Pump is the independent dual control for the left and right pumps, allowing you to adjust the suction on each side. Also, there is no suction reduction when you use both pumps simultaneously. The pump features an LCD touch screen, a built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery, and a memory function that remembers the last setting.

The pump is lightweight, portable, and offers a silent motor. The closed system anti-backflow design effectively stops the backflow of milk into the tubes and motor.

Some of the advantages of this pump are the rechargeable battery, silent motor, and dual suction control while pumping. Unfortunately, some users experienced overheating and loss of suction.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Comparison Table

PRODUCT
RATING
PRICE
No products found.

NatureBond Silicone Manual Breast Pump Breastfeeding Milk Saver Suction

Cell

No products found.

No products found.

Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump with Stimulation and Expression Modes

Cell

No products found.

No products found.

Medela Manual Harmony Breast Pump

Cell

No products found.

No products found.

Medela Pump in Style Advanced Double-Electric Breast Pump with On-the-Go Tote

Cell

No products found.

No products found.

Medela Freestyle Breast Pump

Cell

No products found.

No products found.

Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump

Cell

No products found.

No products found.

Spectra Baby USA - S2 Plus Premier Electric Breast Pump

Cell

No products found.

No products found.

Signature Pro by Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump with LCD Screen

Cell

No products found.

No products found.

BelleMa Melon Comfort Double/Single Electric Breast Pump

Cell

No products found.

Our Verdict

Buying a breast pump is a personal decision. It depends on how you plan to use your pump and what features are most important to you. No matter what you are looking for though, there is a pump on this list for you.

It’s important to make a list of what features are a must-have in a pump and what features are just optional, so you have an idea of what to consider. Breast pumps boast many different bells and whistles that may or may not fit your unique needs.

Even if you plan to breastfeed exclusively, you should consider buying a breast pump to help with milk supply issues and engorgement. Also, having a few ounces of milk stashed away means someone else can feed your baby while you’re away. Having a pump ready to go before you give birth means you’ll have one less thing to worry about once the big day comes.

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