How To Find The Perfect Electric Breast Pump That You Can Use

Electric Breast Pump

When my son was born, I was determined to breastfeed him. I assumed (incorrectly) that babies just know how to breastfeed so it should be easy, right? Little did I know that breastfeeding is a learned process and not something you know how to do the moment the baby latches on to your breast. An electric breast pump may help make the process a little easier.

After coming to the painful realization that breastfeeding was not necessarily going to be an easy process, the nurse at the hospital recommended we work with a lactation consultant. After many unsuccessful attempts at latching on and lots of tears (on the baby’s part, too), we started to get the hang of it.

The lactation consultant also recommended that I get an electric breast pump right away -- something I hadn’t considered or researched at all. Even though I love to study everything, I ended up going on blind faith and purchasing the pump that she recommended. Two babies later, the pump is still going strong and has served me well.

If you plan to breastfeed your baby, it is important to consider the fact that you will likely need a breast pump at some point. And if you plan on going back to work, getting an electric breast pump is important for keeping up your milk supply and pumping adequate amounts of breastmilk.

What Is an Electric Breast Pump?

Electric breast pumps use a motor to help suction and extract breastmilk. They’re usually pretty efficient at emptying the breast, which is important for maintaining milk supply. Milk supply is a supply and demand issue, so if you don’t empty all of the milk at every pumping session, you risk getting less and less out over time.

Types of Electric Breast Pumps

There are three main types of electric breast pumps: single electric breast pumps, personal double electric breast pumps, and hospital-grade breast pumps.

Personal electric breast pumps

If you are planning on returning back to work, even part-time, having a personal electric breast pump is a necessity. This will allow you to pump milk while you’re away from your baby. It will also help you keep up your milk supply by signaling to your body that there is a demand for milk so it should produce more.

The great thing about personal pumps is that they usually come with a tote, milk bottles and a cooler so you can easily store and transport your equipment and breastmilk. Some styles even allow you the option to pump directly into breastmilk bags, which is very convenient.

Single

Single electric breast pumps are great for women who would like to maintain their supply by pumping on one side while feeding their baby on the other. The compact little pumps are usually portable and easy to operate with one hand. They are also great for occasional pumping of both sides but take longer since you have to pump one side at a time.

Double

Personal double electric breast pumps are similar to their single counterparts but more efficient since they allow you to suction both breasts at the same time. These are a great everyday option for the working mom. Most models come with a convenient carrying tote, a cooler and a power adapter or battery option.

Hospital-grade electric breast pumps

Hospital grade electric breast pumps are the more powerful version of their personal counterparts. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recognize the term “hospital grade,” so it is important to note that it is more of a marketing term than a medical one. With that said, hospital grade usually refers to high-end pumps with powerful motors.

While hospital-grade breast pumps are often pricier than personal ones, they do offer some added features that may make it worthwhile to pay more money. Those pumps are usually higher end and feature a powerful motor that helps extract the maximum amount of milk at each pumping sessions.

Also, they are designed to be used multiple times a day, so they are less likely to lose suction over time. They have a closed-loop system that is more hygienic and allows multiple women to use the same pump, which is why this type of pump is used in hospitals. A closed-loop system means milk does not back up into the pump motor, preventing mold and bacteria growth.

When Do You Need an Electric Breast Pump?

Every mom’s breastfeeding journey and situation are unique. If you are like me and your baby struggles with latching on from the get-go, having an electric breast pump is a life-saver. It helped me keep my supply up while we got the hang of breastfeeding and also helped me stockpile milk for my return to work.

Talk to a lactation consultant about when you can safely start pumping milk. You can freeze milk for up to six months so anything you manage to get out will not go to waste. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and then continuing to nurse while adding in baby food.

Things to Consider When Selecting an Electric Breast Pump

There are several things you should consider when selecting a breast pump, including how often you plan to use it, how much you are willing to spend and what types of feature are important to you. Also, added features such as a powerful motor or portable size might be important to you if you plan to pump at work or use it several times a day.

Does medical insurance cover breast pumps?

The Affordable Care Act requires that most insurance plans cover the cost of a breast pump as part of women’s preventive services. Call your insurance company about what type of coverage you have for purchasing a breast pump. Make sure to talk to them before you buy a pump since they may require you to buy the pump from a specific store or website before they cover it.

How We Reviewed

When looking at electric breast pumps, we noted important features such as the power of the motor, the size of the pump as well as the power options -- batteries, rechargeable batteries or a power adapter. Also, we looked at how effectively the pump mimics a baby’s suction patterns so it can extract the maximum amount of breastmilk. We also pointed out added features such as a carrying tote or a removable cooler.

Best Electric Breast Pumps

Below are the three different types of electric breast pumps that you will find online and in stores. The reviews below go over the pump features, its advantages as well as any disadvantages reported by online users. Hopefully, the reviews below will help you get a better idea of the features of each pump so you can decide what would work best for your situation.

Best personal single electric breast pumps

If you don’t plan to pump full-time and only need an electric pump on occasion, consider getting one of the single pumps below.

Medela Swing Electric Breast Pump


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This convenient single electric breast pump has several convenience features to help you pump more milk in less time. This pump is easy to assemble and clean and comes with a belt clip and a battery option for pumping on the go. It can also be used with a power adapter.

The two-phase expression allows you to set the most comfortable vacuum level. It also mimics a baby’s natural nursing rhythm to help you produce more milk. All parts that come in contact with the breastmilk are BPA free.

Unfortunately, some users reported an uncomfortable vibration while pumping along with short battery life.

Quality

Usability

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This compact single electric breast pump is light and portable, making it easy to throw in a diaper bag or a large purse. With nine adjustable suction levels, you can find the right level to help you express milk effectively.

As a bonus, the motor is very quiet and will not wake up the baby during midnight pumping sessions. It offers both a battery-powered and electrical plug-in options for on-the-go pumping. All pump parts are made from BPA-free plastic.

However, some users reported issues with the packaging and suction levels. 

Quality

Usability

Support

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Evenflo Feeding Occasional Use Advanced Single Electric Breast Pump


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One of the advantages of the Evenflo single electric breast pump is that it’s designed to be used with one hand, which is great for a busy breastfeeding mom. The compact, lightweight design makes it easy to pump on the go or at work. A closed system design prevents milk from backing up and keeps the motor clean and dry.

The pump allows you to use three AA batteries or a power adapter to pump so you never miss a pumping session. Easy fingertip control allows for quick adjustments to the suction and convenient powering on/off of the pump.

Unfortunately, some users reported issues with the suction.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Best personal double electric breast pumps

For working moms looking to pump several times a day, a personal double electric breast pump is a great option.

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


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The Pump In Style electric breast pump by Medela is a workhorse perfect for moms looking to pump several times a day. It comes in a stylish black tote that also fits everything else you’d need to pump on the go.

The one-touch letdown button combined with a two-phase expression technology helps you get more milk out at every session. The pump comes with both a battery pack and a power adaptor along with a removable cooler bag with a contoured ice pack and four breastmilk bottles.

However, some users reported that the motor loses power overtime and other complained it loses suction.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Little Martin’s Electric Double Breast Milk Pump Kit


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This compact pump features a powerful yet whisper-quiet motor. The advanced rhythmic design mimics a baby’s natural sucking pattern to help you pump more milk faster. It comes with a rechargeable lithium battery and travel-friendly milk bottles.

The cushioned silicone breast shield offers a comfortable fit against the breast and prevents leakage. This pump also offers 20 fast or slow pumping patterns to change suction power based on comfort and available time.

Unfortunately, some users reported low suction and confusing instructions.

Quality

Usability

Support

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If you’re looking for a compact and lightweight electric breast pump, the Medela Freestyle has you covered. It has a rechargeable battery for easy pumping on the go. The two-phase expression technology combined with the adjustable speed/vacuum settings helps you produce more milk in less time.

It also features a digital backlit display, one-touch letdown button, pumping timer and a memory button. The included power adapter lets you choose between battery power and plugging the pump into an electric outlet. It also comes in a discreet tote bag along with a removable cooler bag, contoured ice pack and four breastmilk bottles with lids.

However, some users reported that the pump loses suction over time.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Best hospital-grade breast pumps

While hospital-grade electric breast pumps can be a little pricier, they usually offer a powerful motor that is perfect for moms who pump frequently.

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The powerful motor inside the Spectra S2 electric breast pump offers a maximum suction strength of 250mmHg to help you produce more milk. It features a closed system, which ensures hygienic pumping and great motor performance as no milk can back up into the system.

The customizable settings mean that each mother can set up the pump to meet her own body’s response for optimal breastmilk output. The two-phase cycling in let-down and expression mode is closer to a baby’s natural feeding patterns. All storage containers and pump parts that come in contact with breastmilk are BPA/DEHP free.

Unfortunately, some users reported issues with the tubing not staying connected as well as poor suction.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Signature Pro by Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump with LCD Screen


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This hospital-grade pump offers three pumping styles and eight suction levels that allow breastfeeding moms to match their baby’s feeding pattern so they can pump more milk. The hygienic closed-loop system means no breastmilk backs up into the tubing or motor to prevent mold and bacteria buildup.

One of the great features of Lansinoh pumps is that they allow you to pump directly into breastmilk storage bags for easy transport and storage. The digital LCD backlit display is ideal for night time pumping. This pump also includes breast shields with soft rims for a more comfortable pumping experience. All parts that come in contact with breastmilk are BPA/BPS free.

However, some users reported inadequate suction over time.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Gland Electronics Electric Breast Pump


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This compact and lightweight breast pump features a rechargeable battery with a USB charger that can be plugged into a power bank or a computer. Five different pumping modes, a memory function, and an LCD make it easy to pump on the go.

The closed-loop system with backflow protector is safe and hygienic. Also, the pump can easily be switched from double to single style. All parts that touch the breastmilk are BPA free.

Unfortunately, some users reported low suction issues.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Comparison Table

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Our Verdict

Choosing what type of pump to buy is a very individual decision based on your situation. Think about how you plan to use the pump and what you hope to accomplish with it, so you know what is important to you. Make a list of three to five features that would be great to have in a breast pump and look through the reviews above to see which ones closely match your needs.

The pump that I ended up purchasing, (Medela Pump In Style for those who are curious) served me well for many years. However, I did use a hospital-grade pump for my daily pumping sessions at work, so the Pump In Style only had to serve me during my maternity leave and on occasional evenings and weekends.

It is also important to realize that you may need more than one pump type to serve different functions and that is ok as well. Pumping and breastfeeding are deeply personal, so each mom and baby has different needs. Do what works best for you and your family.

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