Out of all the things that come with preparing for a new baby, choosing your breast pump is often the last thing on the list. Whether this is your first baby, or you are a seasoned pro at this mom thing, choosing a breast pump can be overwhelming. There are so many choices out there. How do you know which one is the best? The truth there is no “best” breast pump. Sure, your provider or friend may recommend one but ultimately, your breastfeeding (and pumping!) journey is unique to you and your baby. The best pump for you is determined by your individual needs and wants. When determining which pump is right for you, there are a handful of things to keep in mind.
Choosing the best pump for you
Types of breast pumps
Breast pumps can be divided into four categories:
- Hospital-grade breast pumps: Heavy duty, double electric, multi-user breast pump built for a hospital setting. Typically used to establish milk supply for moms whose babies either cannot latch to their breast or are having a difficult time with breastfeeding. If you will be exclusively pumping, a hospital grade pump may be the best option for you. Most moms who choose to use a hospital grade pump rent them as they are very expensive to purchase. If you find you would like to purchase or rent a hospital grade pump, we can help you with that!
- Electric breast pumps: These are the most common type of breast pump, as they are usually covered by your insurance and more affordable than the hospital grade pumps. Most electric breast pumps in the U.S. are double electric pumps, which enable you to pump both breasts simultaneously, saving time. Whereas the single electric you can only pump one breast at a time. Electric breast pumps usually are powered via a cord plugged into an electrical or USB outlet and/or have battery option capability.
- Wearable breast pumps: These are quiet and compact pumps that fit over each breast. They have gained popularity over the past couple of years as they are completely hands-free (no tubing or wires and fit right into your bra) and completely portable. They are expensive, as they typically cost around $500, but not as expensive as a hospital-grade pump. We recommend this type of pump to either an experienced pumper with an established milk supply, or as a portable backup pump (e.g. pumping at work).
- Manual breast pumps: These are generally, more affordable, smaller, and lighter than the other types of pumps, but typically require more effort and time to pump. These are useful in the absence of electricity, on car rides, and for moms to who do not frequently pump.
Features to consider
- Size and Weight: If you plan on returning to work or travelling for pleasure, you may want to consider a small, lightweight, electric breast pump. As a quick example, the Spectra S1 pump is much larger and less discrete than the Ameda Mya Joy, or Medela Freestyle Flex. These pumps can fit discreetly into your purse, bag for work, or a dedicated breast pump bag.
- Battery Operated: Another feature to strongly consider no matter if you are pumping at home, going back to work, or travelling. While most electric pumps are powered via a cord plugged into an electrical outlet, some come with the option of inserting AA batteries, a rechargeable battery or even a USB charger, making it easier for you to pump while moving around your house, at work, or on the go.
- Adjustable Settings: A pump with adjustable suction strength and cycle speed settings will allow you to customize your pumping experience. The more suction and cycle levels a breast pump offers, the more comfortable and effective your pumping experience will be.
- Ease of Use: While some moms like lots of buttons and functionality, others feel the easier to use the better. For those moms we recommend a pump like the Medela Pump In Style. This is a great pump for simplicity and ease of use.
- Warranty: Electric breast pumps typically come with either a 1- or 2-year warranty on the motor and a 90-day warranty on the parts (tubing, shields, valves). Make sure you check the warranty length for each pump you are interested in.
- Noise Level: If you’ll be pumping around people or at work, you may want a pump that is quiet. The decibel levels of electric breast pumps have improved over the last 5 to 10 years but there still are some differences! The wearable pumps tend to be the quietest.
- Connectivity: If you want to track and monitor your pumping time and the amount of milk you are expressing, then you should consider a breast pump with Bluetooth connectivity and an app. Typically these apps allow you to track your pumping sessions and allow you to enter the amount of milk you expressed. Some of the pumps with Bluetooth connectivity include but are not limited to Elvie, Willow, Lansinoh Smartpump 2.0, and the Medela Flex and Sonata.
- Ease of Access: Another thing to consider is how easily and quickly replacement parts can be obtained. Do you prefer to purchase a pump brand that is sold in retail stores near you or are you okay with purchasing spare parts online? We recommend the peace of mind approach! You should purchase an extra set of replacement parts to have handy and in case something happens to the ones that came with your pump. Imagine how stressful it can be if all of a sudden a valve tears and you have no suction?
How Acelleron can help make this decision even easier
To help make this decision easier for you, we have several other resources. Download our Breast Pump Selection Guide or sign up for our free Pump Exploration Webinar. One of our Certified Lactation Consultants will walk you through the different types and brands of breast pumps, things to consider, key parts, general use, pumping tips & tricks, and accessories to help make pumping easier. You’ll also get a chance to ask any questions you may have and get answers from our experts. Reserve your spot at our next Pump Exploration Webinar here.
Each mom’s breastfeeding journey is unique. The “best” pump is the one that suits you and your baby’s individual situation. Remember, we are here to help! When you order your pump, feel free to ask as many questions as you like. We have product experts and lactation consultants ready to answer any question you may have.
We got you mama!