Medela Manual Breast Pump: Pros and Cons

medela harmony breast pump

There are times when it can be really helpful to have a manual breast pump, such as when traveling. I found that out the hard way during a trip last year when I really could have used a pump such as the Medela manual breast pump.

Let me tell you a story: I thought I was done with breastfeeding, my milk supply was going down, and I was weaning my baby. I was down to one breastfeeding session per day, so it never occurred to me to take my clunky electric pump along on the trip. After the first day, it became painfully apparent that I was wrong.

A quick online search led me to a local Walmart where I was able to purchase a manual breast pump. It helped me relieve some of the pressure in my breasts so I could enjoy the rest of the trip. If I had thought ahead and planned accordingly, I would have brought a manual pump.

If you need to ​pump occasionally or need a more compact pumping option for travel, I’d highly recommend a manual breast pump. It’s also a great backup option since it can easily be packed in a purse or stashed in a glove compartment.

There are many options for manual breast pumps, but if you want to go with a reliable and well-known brand, check out the Medela manual breast pump.

What Is A Medela Manual Breast Pump?

woman carrying a shoulder bag with medela harmony breast pump inside

The Medela manual breast pump is called Harmony and features a soft-touch, ergonomic swivel handle that makes manual pumping more comfortable. The PersonalFit breast shields come in different sizes so you can find the best fit for your breasts. The Medela manual breast pump is great for travel and as a backup to your electric pump.

How Does A Medela Manual Breast Pump Work?

mother wearing breast pump while sitting

The Medela manual breast pump uses a two-phase technology that mimics a baby’s natural feeding pattern. The stimulation phase helps initiate the milk let-down with fast and light pumps. Once the milk starts to flow, the pump can be switched to the expression phase, which in turn uses slower, deeper pumping suction to bring out the milk faster. The combination of the two phases works similar to the way babies naturally breastfeed.

Comparison Table

 

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Why Buy A Medela Manual Breast Pump?

It’s always great to have a compact and lightweight breast pump that you can use as a backup to your electric pump. A manual pump such as the Medela manual breast pump is great to take on a trip for occasional pumping sessions. Since manual pumps are pretty affordable, it’s nice to have one on hand, as needed.

Where Can You Buy A Medela Manual Breast Pump?

breast milk in a bottle and the sleeping baby

The Medela manual breast pump is available at both online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Local stores that sell it include Target, Walmart, and Buy Buy Baby. You can also find it online on those retailers’ websites as well as at online retailers like Amazon.

Key Featu​​​​res

Some of the highlights of the Medela manual breast pump are the soft-touch, ergonomic swivel handle, which makes manual pumping a little more comfortable. Hand fatigue is common when using a manual pump, so anything that can reduce that is a plus. Also, this pump is compatible with PersonalFit breast shields by Medela, which makes it easier to find the right fit for your breast size.

How We Reviewed

We looked at several different features, including breast shield design, ergonomic handle, and overall weight of the pump. Additionally, we noted issues such as a pump that had many different parts or reported loss of suction over time.

Medela Manual Breast Pump vs. Other Brands

While you’re considering the Medela manual breast pump, check out some of these other options below to compare and decide which one fits your needs best.

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This breast pump kit comes with two different types of manual hand pumps. The first pump uses a combination of a flange and lever to help you get the milk out. It can be rotated 270 degrees so you can get a secure grip. Powerful suction and an anti-slip handle make it easy to pump on the go. Separate air and breastmilk design prevent backflow.

The second pump in this kit is made of soft, food-grade silicone. It’s very soft to the touch and easy to operate with one hand. The unique design allows moms to collect milk on one breast using this pump while breastfeeding the baby on the other breast. It can also be used as a milk collector for spillover breastmilk.

Some of the advantages of this breast pump kit are the fact that you get two different manual pumps. One is great for pumping on the go while the other one is great for collecting milk while nursing your baby. However, some users found they were not getting enough suction and others reported having a hard time fitting the pump to their breast.

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This manual breast pump by Lansinoh has an ergonomic easy-express handle that helps reduce hand fatigue while pumping. It’s lightweight and portable, so you can easily stash in a bag for a quick pumping session. This pump is designed to fit the Lansinoh milk bags for convenient pumping and storage.

The pump comes with two breast cup sizes -- one standard 25mm and one large 30.5mm flange. They feature soft silicone rims for added comfort. The kit also includes a wide-neck bottle, bottle stand, storage lid, and a slow-flow nipple, cap and collar. All parts that come in contact with the milk are BPA and BPS free.

Some of the positives of this pump are the ergonomic handle, different flange sizes, and the soft silicone rims, which add comfort to the breast shields. Also, you can pump directly into the Lansinoh milk storage bags, which makes it easy to store your expressed milk. Unfortunately, some users had issues with getting enough suction and others noted that this pump only fits Lansinoh brand bottles.

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Philips Avent is a well-known baby bottle brand, so their manual breast pump is designed with breastfeeding moms in mind. The unique design of this pump allows you to pump without having to lean forward. The breast cup features massage cushions that help stimulate milk flow and feel comfortable against your skin.

The lightweight, compact design of this pump makes it easy to use on the go. It’s easy to clean and assemble, which is a plus with any pump. It also comes with a wide, breast-shaped nipple for the bottle that helps you combine breast and bottle feeding.

Some of the advantages of this pump are the unique design that allows you to relax while pumping. Also, the massage petals mimic a baby’s suckling action, which can help milk letdown. The pump comes with a 25mm breast shield, a natural bottle, low-flow nipple, travel cover, and a sealing disc for milk storage. However, some users had problems with the top of the pump not staying attached to the bottle. Others noted that the pump makes a squeaking noise during pumping.

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This manual breast pump is made out of food-grade silicone and is BPA, PVC, and phthalate free. It’s lightweight and easy to toss in a bag for a quick pumping session. It’s easy to use and doesn’t have many parts to disassemble and clean.

It also comes with a stopper to prevent spills and help you transport any expressed milk. The pump can be cleaned in the dishwasher or sterilized with steam. It works by simply suctioning your breast and drawing out the milk.

Some of the positives of this pump are the compact and lightweight design, easy cleaning options, and lack of parts you need to assemble or could lose. It also comes with a stopper to prevent spills. Unfortunately, some users found that it had unreliable suction and others reported it was painful to use.

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The NUK Expressive Manual Breast Pump is a good option for occasional use while traveling away from home or a backup to your electric pump. The pump’s design allows you to control the suction and speed to simulate a baby’s suckling rhythm. The ergonomic design of the pump's handle minimizes hand fatigue while pumping.

Since this pump has a few parts, it’s easy to clean and assemble. It can be washed by hand or tossed in the dishwasher. The soft breast cushions on the breast shield help stimulate let down and efficient flow of milk while pumping. All parts of the pump are BPA free.

Some of the advantages of this pump are the ergonomic handle, which helps reduce hand fatigue during longer pumping sessions. Also, the pump’s breast shield features soft cushions allow you to express more milk. However, some users reported that the pump loses suction over time and comes apart easily.

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If you’re looking for an affordable breast pump option, the Bumblebee manual breast pump may be right for you. Made from food-grade silicone, this lightweight hand pump allows you to express breastmilk discreetly and effectively.

The one-piece design makes this pump easy to clean in a microwave, using boiling water, in a dishwasher or a sterilizer. It’s BPA, PVC, and phthalate free. Because this pump is portable and can accommodate different breast sizes, it’s a great option for a quick pumping session.

Some of the positives of this pump are the compact size, silicone material, and easy cleaning options. Additionally, the pump can accommodate different breast sizes, which can be more difficult with manual pumps. Unfortunately, some users couldn’t get the proper suction to express breast milk, and others found the process painful.

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With this manual breast pump, the focus is on function over a brand name. The two-phase ergonomic technology reduces hand fatigue and makes pumping more effective and comfortable.

The soft rim on the flanges offers a more comfortable pumping experience and creates a better seal when pumping. This kit also comes with a breastmilk collection bottle and nipple lids so you can feed your baby directly from the same bottle. The quiet operation of this pump makes it a great option.

Some of the advantages of this pump are the ergonomic handle and the soft rim on the flanges, which makes manual pumping more comfortable. The lightweight design makes it easy to toss it in a bag and use it on the go. Some of the negatives of this pump are that it can lose suction over time.

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The sleek and soft silicone design of the NatureBond pump ensures comfort during pumping. The dual ring circular flap design consists of silicone with varying thickness and allows moms to adjust suction force according to their comfort level. The soft, smooth surface of the flap offers a good fit against the breast.

The innovative new pump design has thicker silicone, but it's lighter than before, which reduces suction strain. It includes a stopper that fits snugly at the pump opening to prevent spilling precious breastmilk. Also, the pump comes with a dust cover lid and a velvet pouch.

Some of the positives of this pump are the soft silicone material, which feels comfortable against the breast while pumping. This lightweight pump is made of thicker silicone with an excellent varying thickness that allows moms to adjust the suction force. However, some users with smaller breasts found it difficult to use while others reported a lack of suction.

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This manual breast pump has a soft silicone shield that fits comfortably for manual pumping. The ergonomic handle provides moms control over all phases of pumping. Also, the pump comes with a bottle adapter for both narrow and wide neck bottles.

While traditional pumps are often only compatible with their brand of bottles, the GEO set can fit most leading brands. It also comes with two four-ounce bottles that you can use for pumping. All parts are microwave and top rack dishwasher safe as well as BPA free.

Some of the advantages of this pump are the soft silicone shield and ergonomic handle for a more comfortable pumping experience. One of the great things about this set is that it comes with a bottle adapter that works with both narrow and wide neck bottles. Unfortunately, some users reported challenges with getting all parts clean. Others noted that the valves are easy to lose and there are no spare parts.

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The unique design of the breast shield for this manual pump offers a soft massaging cushion that gently stimulates breast milk flow. It mimics a baby’s natural suckling pattern for more efficient and gentle milk expression.

Made of food-grade silicone, the pump is non-toxic, BPA, phthalate, PVC, and lead-free. It’s safe for both moms and babies, and it’s 100 percent eco-friendly. The lightweight design makes this pump perfect for occasional use while away from your baby.

Some of the positives of this pump are the soft massaging cushion on the breast shield, which helps stimulate milk flow. Also, it’s made out of food-grade silicone and completely non-toxic, giving you peace of mind. However, some users found the handle design made their hand tire easily,

Our Verdict

breast milk inside of breast pump

Choosing the right manual breast pump comes down to your individual needs. To make sure you get exactly the type of manual pump you want, write down three to five characteristics that are important to you and keep them in mind when doing research. This will help you find the right pump.

The best time to purchase a manual breast pump is before you need it. If your electric pump goes out or you end up going on a trip, having a manual pump as a backup can be helpful. It can help you continue breastfeeding or assist in weaning off your baby.

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