Breastfeeding Pumps: A Mom’s Review
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There are many different types of breast-pumps out there, all claiming to be the best on the market, and all sold at competitive prices. If you’re a new mom, it can be overwhelming just figuring out where to start.
There are also other uses for a breast pump. While it’s true that a great pump can give a nursing mother more freedom and convenience, breastfeeding isn’t the only use for a pump. In this article, we take a look at these alternative uses, features to consider when buying a breast pump, what types are out there, and most importantly, some of the best brands on the market that we recommend.
Other Uses for a Brest Pump
A lot of people think of working moms as the primary market for breast pumps. All moms are working moms, but for mothers who work outside the home, a breast pump makes it easy to ensure that their little one has access to their breast milk, even when mom is away from home.
Even if you’re not nursing, or are mixing nursing and formula feeding, a pump can make your job easier in many ways - it can:
1. Help With Milk Collection
Many mothers express milk for later use. If you’re not nursing, however, you might consider expressing and donating your milk to an accredited milk bank in your area.
2. Encourage or Increase Lactation
For first time moms, or moms waiting for their milk to come in, using a breast pump can help the milk flow to start.
Nursing mothers who want to increase their milk supply can use a breast pump to do this as well.
If you’re adopting a baby, it’s also possible to use a breast pump in conjunction with certain medications to induce lactation, even if you have not been pregnant.
3. Relieve Engorgement
Your body produces milk on its own schedule, and it’s not always convenient or comfortable. Expressing milk can relieve engorged breasts.
Types of Breast Pumps
A quick look online will turn up a dizzying number of breast pump designs, but pumps fall into two basic categories: manual and electric.
The Manual Breast Pump
A manual breast pump is a low tech, no nonsense option. Manual pumps are easy to use, easy to clean, less expensive, quiet, and require no power source other than your hand. They’re super convenient for moms on the go.
On the downside, they’re less powerful than electric pumps.
The Electric Breast Pump
Electric breast pumps are powerful, and many have adjustable suction and other settings. A single electric breast pump pumps from one breast at a time, while a double electric breast pump draws from both breasts simultaneously. A wearable breast pump is hands free for extra convenience.
Electric pumps are heavier, more expensive, and require an outside power source, such as a battery pack.
Features to Consider
There are a few things to consider when choosing a breast pump.
Hospital Grade Breast Pump
A hospital grade breast pump is extremely powerful and well built. A doctor or lactation consultant may recommend a hospital grade pump for mothers who are pumping for premature or vulnerable babies, or new moms whose milk hasn’t come in yet.
A hospital grade pump is a closed system pump, which means that it has a bacterial barrier. (An open system pump does not). This is because, unlike home pumps, hospital grade pumps are meant for multiple users. They are often prohibitively expensive, so users generally rent them from hospitals rather than buying them.
Construction and Materials
Many breast pumps are made from hard-wearing, easy-to-clean silicone. If you have a sensitivity to silicone, however, it’s important to look for a pump made from other materials.
Levels of Suction
Many electric pumps have different settings for expression mode, adjustable suction, and other factors.
Multitasking moms may prefer a wearable breast pump for hands free pumping sessions.
A rechargeable battery is an eco-friendly option that can, in the long run, be friendlier for your wallet, too.
Accessories and Replacement Parts
Can you easily find replacement parts for your pump? For some inexpensive pumps, the answer may be no.
Pump parts that you may end up replacing include:
The Breast Shield
This is the horn, which fits over the nipple. Some breast pumps come with different sizes of breast shield to fit different nipples.
The flange connects to the breast shield on one end, while the other end screws onto the top of the milk collection bottle. Different brands may have different flange sizes, so be aware!
If you’ve forgotten to charge your battery pack, or perhaps overestimated the battery life, having an extra battery pack on hand can be a lifesaver.
Some of the Best Breast Pumps Out There
There are a lot of different types of breast pumps on the market. How do you choose the best breast pump for your needs? We’re glad you asked. Here are some of our favorite brands and models, available on Amazon and in-store.
The Medela Freestyle Flex Double Electric Breast Pump
The Medela Freestyle Flex Double Electric Breast Pump is a top of the line, high tech, ultra customizable pump that can help you to pump more milk in less time.
Its features include:
- LCD screen
- Personal fit flex breast shields
- USB charging
- Closed system
This could be the best pump for moms on the go as it fits in your pocket or purse.
The Medela Harmony
If you prefer a manual pump, the Medela Harmony is compact and easy to clean and carry.
Medela Pump in Style Advanced
The Medela Pump in Style Advanced is a closed system double electric breast pump for the home user. Its features include:
- Two phase expression
- Nine vacuum levels
- Removable battery pack
Phillips Avent makes both electric and manual pumps. Let’s talk about the manual version.
In addition to being compact and easy to use, their manual pump features a soft, self-adapting breast shield that fits most nipple sizes. It also allows you to adjust both suction and vacuum pressure.
This could very well be the best manual breast pump on the market.
Bella Baby makes affordable electric pumps with great features. My favorite is their portable double pump. This pump features:
- LCD screen
- Four modes
- Nine suction levels
- USB charging
If you’re looking to buy a hospital grade portable breast pump priced for the home user, Spectra makes them.
- Adjustable suction
- Massage mode
- Closed system with backflow protection
- Long life motor
The main difference between the two models is that the S1 has a rechargeable battery, while the S2 does not.
If you’re looking for a manual pump for hands free pumping sessions, the Elvie Curve might fit your bill. The Curve sits inside your pumping bra so that you can quietly and easily collect milk while doing other things.
Willow’s wearable breast pump is a compact, app-driven wonder that sits right inside your nursing bra or pumping bra. It also gives you two ways to pump and store your milk.
Haakaa makes manual breast pumps and milk collectors. You can also buy a manual breast pump with a colostrum collector.
The Ameda Mya is an affordable hospital strength (but not hospital grade) double electric breast pump. The Mya has 10 expression modes, five massage modes, and two-phase suction, for a thoroughly customizable pumping experience. It also has a rechargeable battery.
A Good Pump is a Good Friend
A great breast pump can make your life easier and more comfortable. Do you have a favorite? Did it make our list? Tell us all about it!