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Choosing the right breast pump for your breastfeeding journey can be a game changer. A pump that fits your lifestyle can help you succeed and breastfeed longer. But how do you know which pump will be right for you?
Deciding what features you find important is a good first step toward choosing a breast pump. Do you need something portable for work or quiet for those overnight pumping sessions? Do you have a budget in mind or want the ability to find spare parts in a pinch? There are so many options on the shelves today that you’re bound to find one that checks all your boxes.
Do I need a breast pump?
A breast pump is a pretty important tool to have if you’re breastfeeding your baby. Pumping allows you to be away from your baby for more than just a few hours at a time, which will inevitably happen.
It also allows you to hand off some of the feeding duties to your partner and other caregivers. Bottle feeding breast milk is a chance for others to have a special bonding moment with their baby.
What kind of breast pumps are there?
Electric: These pumps require you to be plugged into a wall and are bulkier than manual or portable pumps. However, they are typically more powerful and can remove milk from your breasts faster.
Manual: Manual pumps attach to your breast with a suction cup action and require you to squeeze or hand pump it yourself to express milk. Manual pumps are very affordable but do not extract milk quickly. They’re perfect if you’re going to be away from your baby for a short amount of time and want to remove small amounts of milk from engorged breasts.
Portable/Battery Powered: Portable pumps are typically smaller than their plug-in counterparts and work great if you need to pump while away from home or traveling. Some portable pumps are wearable, meaning you can pump while running errands or at a board meeting, and no one will ever know.
What are some features to look for in a breast pump?
As you explore all the different breast pumps available, put together a list of needs based on your lifestyle. You’ll want to select features based on where, when, and how often you plan to pump.
Open vs. Closed System: You’ll often hear these terms to describe different pump systems. A closed system means that there’s a barrier between the milk and the pumping mechanism. It’s more hygienic and easier to clean but usually costs more than an open system. An open system may be more affordable, but there is no barrier to prevent milk from getting into the pumping mechanism, making it more difficult to keep it clean and sanitized.
Noise level: Besides a manual pump, all pumps will have some level of noise while suctioning away. How much noise you’re willing to deal with will depend on when and where you plan to use your pump.
Weight: Having a lightweight pump is a must if you’re going to be traveling or using it on your commute to work.
Double vs. Single breast pump: A double breast pump can pump milk from both breasts simultaneously, while a single pump can only do one breast at a time. Single breast pumps are more affordable than double pumps but also take longer if you have to pump from both sides.
Some women like having a single pump if their baby is only nursing on one side. They can then pump at the same time on the other breast. Most double breast pumps have the ability to be used as a single pump.
Ability to find replacement parts: Babies eat anywhere from 6-8 times a day for the first six months of their life – that’s a lot of work for a breast pump if you’re not exclusively breastfeeding.
Parts are bound to wear out or get lost, so being able to find replacements easily may be important to you. Some pumps will have universally sized parts that can be found at local retailers, while others may need to be specially ordered from the manufacturer.
Will my insurance cover a breast pump?
Most insurance plans will cover a breast pump at little to no cost to you. Check with them first to see which brands and models are included in your plan. They may have a few options for you to choose from, which is a great way to compare features, especially if you’re on a budget.
Read More: Six Common Breastfeeding Worries for New Moms
Here are some recommended pumps for you to consider in your quest for the best breast pump.
Best Overall – Spectra S1 Plus Premier Rechargeable Double Electric Breast Pump
The Spectra S1 lands at the top of the breast pump list yearly. This cordless pump has many great features, so it’s not hard to see why. It offers double and single pumping, multiple pumping modes, a timer, and a night light for those middle-of-the-night pumping sessions. It’s a closed system for easier cleaning and, from personal experience – has a decent battery life that will cover you for several sessions before recharging. If you want to save a little money and don’t think you’ll need the portability of a battery pack, you can pick up the Spectra S2 instead.
- Multiple pump settings and a timer
- Remembers your settings from the last pump session
- A bit bulky at 3.3 pounds
- Tubes could be longer
Buy Now: https://amzn.to/3T9WDpO
Best Electric Pump – Motif Medical Luna Double Electric Breast Pump
The Motif Medical Luna Pump has quickly climbed up the ranks to be one of the best electric breast pumps available. Weighing in at less than 1lb, this pump is incredibly lightweight and comes with a rechargeable battery so that you can take it anywhere. It has many of the same features as the Spectra – closed-system, quiet motor, LCD screen with timer – but the most notable difference is the power this little pump packs. With ten massage settings and ten pump settings, this pump is made to pump more milk in less time. One thing users don’t like – is lots of parts to assemble and clean.
- Lightweight and portable
- Powerful pump with multiple settings
- Too many parts to assemble and clean
Buy Now: https://amzn.to/3Vv1i6W
Best for Work – Medela Pump In Style with Max Flow
Medela is one of the best-known names in the breast pump game, and this new pump lives up to its predecessors. It comes with a convenient carrying bag and a cooler for when you have to pump away from home. It has relatively few parts to keep track of, and this new version has been upgraded to a closed system. The In Style pump is a double electric pump but also comes with a portable battery pack so you can pump on the go.
- Carrying case with cooler
- Multiple pump settings
- Portable and easy to use
- Not as quiet as some other models
- It doesn’t have a screen for a timer or to see settings easily
Buy Now: https://amzn.to/3evJTui
Best Wearable Pump – Willow 3.0 Wearable Double Electric Breast Pump
The Willow Wearable Breast Pump is a truly hands-free pump that you can slip into your bra and discreetly pump wherever you are. There are no cords, it's super quiet, and the pump is leakproof – meaning you can pump in any position without the fear of losing any milk (think bending over to pick up your baby). There’s also an app that will track each pumping session for you and allows you to change the pump settings remotely. Like most wearable pumps, Willow does not come cheap; you’ll have to use the bags specifically made for the pump.
- Hands-free pumping
- Quiet and portable
- Works with an app from your phone
- Can pump in any position
- Limitations on breast size it will fit
- Not as powerful
Buy Now: https://amzn.to/3g8qRe6
Best Budget-Friendly Pump – Lansinoh Smart Pump 2.0
The price tag on this pump is lower than your average electric breast pump, making this one a great choice for budget conscience shoppers. It also has many of the same features as other double electric pumps – quiet motor, lightweight, and multiple pump settings. This pump can be used plugged in, or it has the option to run off AA batteries. It has many parts to assemble, which is a downside to using this pump.
- Lots of parts to assemble and clean
Buy Now: https://amzn.to/3MAFu6c
Best Portable Pump for Travel– Medela Freestyle Flex
This pump is small but mighty, making it the perfect double breast pump for travel. It weighs less than 1lb and comes with its own convenient carrying case with a cooler. The rechargeable battery will last about 2 hours and comes with a USB attachment for charging on the go. It may not be as powerful as other hospital-grade pumps, but it provides ample suction power through multiple settings, a timer, and the ability to program it to remember your last settings.
- Very portable and lightweight
- USB port for recharging
- It may not be as powerful as other pumps
Buy Now: https://amzn.to/3Ti0uR4
Best Fit – Evenflo Feeding Deluxe Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump
Most breast pumps have a one-size-fits-most mentality – but not the Evenflo Feeding Deluxe Pump. This closed-system pump comes with three flange sizes to choose from, with more size options available for you to buy. Replacement parts are also easy to find at local retailers without much hassle. The Evenflo pump has multiple suction settings and comes with its own carrying case and cooler. It may not be as powerful as other pumps, but it's budget-friendly and much quieter than earlier versions of this pump.
- Many flange sizes available for a custom fit
- Not as powerful as other pumps
- It may not work with most standard nursing bras
Buy Now: https://amzn.to/3g9mJdz
Best Manual Pump – Haakaa
The Haakaa manual pump is great in addition to an electric one. Because it’s not very powerful and requires a little work, many women find it useful for short sessions when they don’t want to pull out their bigger pump. It’s affordable and small, so you can use it when you’re away from your baby and need some relief.
Some women will also use it on their opposite breasts to catch milk while their baby is nursing the other side. The Haakaa manual pump is made from food-grade silicone and comes with a lid so you can pop it right in the fridge for storage.
- Great for milk catching and engorgement relief
- Very portable
- Not powerful enough to be used as your primary pump
- Small capacity – only holds 4oz
Buy Now: https://amzn.to/3S2CZdG
Best New Technology – Babyation The Pump
The Pump by Babyation is redefining breast pumping. Babyation has created a hospital-grade pump that is actually comfortable – it’s easier to pump, clean, and store seamlessly. Babyation’s patented vacuum-boost technology creates a suction that mimics a baby's suckle, unlike any other pump on the market.
Why lactation experts and moms love The Pump:
- World’s Smallest and lightest breast shields - made of silicone, they are soft, comfortable, and completely flexible!
- Suction uniquely mimics that of a baby - due to soft silicone breast shields that gently stimulate and compress the nipple (compared to other pumps that use yank and release technique with a hard plastic funnel). In preliminary data from their clinical study, 50% of women express more milk with Babyation than they did while feeding the baby at their breast.
- Easy to clean (fewer parts than any other pump) - you can view a side-by-side comparison here.
- Grab-and-go design has everything you need for a day of pumping - The Pump enclosure is optimized with a built-in ice pack, a place to store all your parts, and extra bottles.
- FDA cleared as a multi-user pump
- The Babyation App enables you to discreetly adjust The Pump, view real-time milk expression, monitor one’s stash of pumped milk, and track a baby’s feedings, whether they’re from pumping, nursing, or bottle feeding.
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We recommend Pink Stork Clogged Duct Tea for your mastitis, engorgement, and plugged duct needs. Also, use our Total Lactation Probiotic and Smooth Vanilla Lactation Tea for your nursing journey. For DHA support, consider our DHA or Total Postnatal + DHA.