Types of Breastfeeding Pumps

A breastfeeding pump is a device you can use to express milk from your breasts. It can be a useful tool to help you store breast milk for future use, maintain your milk supply when you’re going back to work, and leave breast milk for your baby while with his caregiver. Here I will select the best breastfeeding pumps to suit your needs and budget.

So what are the different types of breastfeeding pumps? 

  • Manual breast pump
  • Electric breast pump (single or double)
  • Battery-operated breast pump
  • Hands-free breast pump
  • Hospital-grade breast pumps

As you can see, there are many types of breastfeeding pumps to choose from. Want to know which one will work best for you? Keep reading to see which would suit you best.

Manual Breast Pump

If you’re looking for an inexpensive pump for occasional use, a manual breast pump would suit your needs. It works by placing the flange onto the breast with one hand while your other hand works to express breast milk. It is an excellent alternative to an electrical pump if you don’t need to pump too frequently. A manual breast pump can also be a good backup to the more expensive electric variety. You can choose between a handle pump or a suction pump where both work very well.

 Here are a few examples of manual breast pumps:

Haakaa breast pump

There are a few ways this pump can be helpful for women. It may work for you, depending on your needs and the frequency of pumping. You can use it just like any other manual pump to express your milk. It can also be placed on the other breast while you are breastfeeding your baby on the other side. This is particularly beneficial if your breasts are engorged or leaking milk where any milk collected can be stored for future use. Some moms like to use it as a back-up pump.

Pros:

  • One of the cheapest yet effective manual breast pumps on the market
  • Compact and handy. It can snuggly fit into your bag.
  • Easy to clean. Can be sterilized with boiling water or a steam sterilizer withstanding temperature up to 250 degrees celsius.
  • No batteries, electric cords or separate parts to contend with.
  • You can use it hands-free when collecting milk on the other breast.

Cons:

  • The calibrations on the side aren’t that accurate to be used for exact measurements.
  • It will take some practice when positioning the pump for correct and effective suction.
  • Does not come as a complete package. Stopper and lid come separately.
  • Less customizable compared to other varieties.
  • The silicone detaches easily. You’ll need to check it carefully to make sure that there is no leaking milk.

Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump

This manual breast pump is preferred due to its swiveling lever design. The lever rotates on full 180 degrees making it a lot easier to pump in your most comfortable hand position.

Pros:

  • Handy and easy to operate.
  • Smooth and customizable handle.
  • It is priced just right for its efficiency.
  • Easy-grip design.
  • No annoying clicking sounds and is almost silent while pumping.
  • Dishwasher-friendly.

Cons:

  • The rubber O-ring may have diminished suction over time, but it is replaceable.
  • Time and effort involved taking it apart to clean and sterilize

Philips Avent manual comfort breast pump

This breast pump has a small handle pump with a unique flange. It is more expensive than the other manual breast pumps due to its distinctive characteristics.

Pros:

  • Very efficient in terms of manual extraction of milk
  • Its texture is soft and features a massage cushion to encourage milk let down.
  • It’s small design makes it easy to carry everywhere.
  • Ergonomic design. No need to bend forward while pumping.
  • Easy to assemble, clean, and maintain.
  • Spare parts are widely available.
  • It features a detachable silicone liner.

Cons:

  • The pump has a one-sized flange that you have to buy separately.
  • You’ll need to buy Avent bottles as the pump does not fit other bottles.
  • The handle isn’t adjustable and movable. You may find it tiring to use during your first few pump or with an abundant milk supply.
  • The lever produces a clicking sound while pumping.
  • More expensive than other manual breast pumps

Electric Breast Pump

An electric breast pump is a mechanical device that requires connection to an outlet so that it can automatically pump milk. Electric pumps are increasingly used more due to the convenience and comfort that their offer, especially for working moms. As they are more stable and can pump quickly, they are an ideal option to help build and maintain a steady supply of breast milk.

Electric breast pumps can either be single or double. 

Single electric breast pump

These feature a single breast shield and can only be used one breast at a time. Single electric pumps are cheaper than the double variety. Mothers can use a single electric pump in addition to a manual pump. Some examples of single electric breast pumps are as follows:

Somex Cornetto Electric Single Breast Pump

It is a portable electric breast pump that features adjustable suction speeds. This mechanism allows mothers to adjust the speed depending on their current needs. The first 3 speeds are ideal for mothers who have just given birth, the middle-ranged speed for mothers who breastfeed regularly, and the last 3 speeds for quick relief of engorged breasts. It also features 3 modes of action – the massage, suction, and auto.

Pros:

  • There is an extra valve and a nipple lid.
  • Comes with a free USB cable for charging
  • It has built-in rechargeable batteries.
  • Easy to assemble and use
  • Minimal noise
  • The closed system design prevents contamination from milk.

Cons:

  • No hands-free feature
  • No power adapter

Elfinbaby Double/Single Electric Breast Pump

This electric breast pump is the best buy for practical mothers because it can function as both a single and double breast pump. It features two modes – massage and suction. There are 3 options available for the massage option, while the suction mode has 9 speeds.

 Pros:

  • It has an LED display and a built-in timer.
  • Affordable and practical
  • Adjustable speed
  • Runs quietly
  • Portable and easy to operate
  • Comes with a bottle warmer
  • Can run with its built-in batteries, USB connector, and power adapter

Cons:

  • You may need to frequently replace the batteries.
  • Plugging the device will reduce its portability.

Double electric breast pump

This variety features two breast shields so that you can pump both breasts simultaneously. This will reduce your pumping time to almost half. It is ideal for mothers who need to pump larger amounts more frequently. Some examples are the following:

Lasinoh Signature Pro Electric Breast Pump

While a cheaper price can sometimes compromise on quality, this isn’t the case with Lasinoh Signature Pro. This affordable device is a good option if you are looking for a quality product that matches your budget. It features three pumping modes and 8 suction levels.

 Pros:

  • Closed system reduces the risk of bacterial contamination
  • Very affordable
  • Fewer parts to clean
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons:

  • The device is only compatible with Lasinoh bottles and storage bags.

Spectra Baby USA S1 and S2 Electric Breast Pumps

Spectra S1 and S2 are the leading electric breast pumps available. Spectra features a massage function to stimulate milk let down. It also has a suction mode with 12 levels. The adjustable speed is ideal to suit the pumping needs of every mom, including those with twins and inverted nipples. Both S1 and S2 have the same features. S2 is a cheaper version as it doesn’t operate on batteries.

 Pros:

  • Portable, lightweight and comes with a comfortable handle
  • Efficient in maintaining your milk supply
  • Pumps very quietly
  • There are plugged-in and battery options.
  • Smooth and chic design
  • Has a memory feature that keeps your previous pumping time on track
  • Easy to clean. The collection bottles have a wide-mouth.
  • Night-light feature
  • The battery runs for three hours once fully charged.

Cons:

  • There is no carrying bag or case that comes with the product.
  • The night-light feature can drain the battery more quickly.
  • It takes time to recharge the battery.

Battery-operated breast pump

This type of breast pump uses batteries to function. Many electric pumps have the battery-operated function.

Battery-operated pumps are ideal for use while traveling. They are cordless, and you can carry them in your handbag wherever you go. You can use them anytime and anywhere provided that you have extra batteries or rechargeable batteries so that it will not run out of power. Some examples of battery-operated breast pumps are as follows:

Evenflo Single Breast Pump

Featuring a portable, lightweight design that can run on three AA batteries, it is a perfect travel buddy for mothers who often pump. If you’re looking for an efficient travel breast pump without spending a lot, then this can be a good option.

 Pros:

  • Chic and portable
  • Easy to use
  • It comes with other free accessories such as a milk storage bottle and a carrying bag.
  • Operates on standard batteries

Cons:

  • Slow
  • Single pump only
  • Suction is not that strong

Medela Swing Breast Pump

Medela Swing is a very portable breast pump that runs on standard AA batteries. It has a circular and compact design and only weighs around 2 pounds. It is perfect for mothers who travel or those who are frequently away from their baby.

 Pros:

  • Features a 2-phase expression cycle like that of suckling babies: stimulation phase and expression phase
  • It only has 5 parts, making it easier to clean and assemble.
  • Operates on standard batteries
  • You can easily find spare parts once they wear out

Cons:

  • Single pump only
  • Produce a loud sound
  • An open system which is risky for contamination

Hands-free breast pump

This type of pump is super convenient because it is wearable. It can discretely fit inside your bra or nursing shirt. With a hands-free breast pump, you can carry out other tasks with your free hands while it collects the milk from your breasts. This variety is ideal for active mothers who are always on the go.

Since they provide the utmost convenience, hands-free pumps are often expensive. Some insurance companies cover the cost while others don’t. If you are purchasing one with your insurance, make sure to check the inclusions with your provider first. Some examples of wearable or hands-free breast pumps include the following:

Freemie Liberty Mobile Hands-Free Breast Pump

This lightweight breastfeeding pump works discreetly under your clothes. You can charge it using a standard USB charger and keep doing the rest of your important stuff while it does the pumping.

Pros:

  • Cheaper when compared to other hands-free varieties
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Operates very quietly
  • Fits any standard micro USB charger

Cons:

  • Takes time to assemble
  • The tubing is quite long for a wearable breast pump.
  • Does not resemble the natural shape of the breasts
  • Does not have a smart app

Willow 2.0 Breast Pump

Willow features a very discreet design that resembles a woman’s breasts. It also comes with a smart app where you can monitor your pumping sessions on your phone.

 Pros:

  • Lightweight, breast-like design makes it easy to wear under your nursing bra or shirt
  • Works fast with a high milk yield
  • Works beginning on a stimulation mode towards expression mode
  • With a smart app for easy monitoring

Cons:

  • Hard to clean due to uneven shapes of the parts
  • You can’t skip the stimulation mode.
  • Collection bottle is sold separately
  • Comes with only one unique charger. You’ll need to wait for one pump to get recharged before you can charge the other.
  • Produces a louder sound compared to other wearable varieties

Elvie Pump

It is a wearable breast pump that almost has the same functionality as the Willow, with almost the same price. It features the most silent sound while it’s working.

 Pros:

  • Wearable, breast-like design
  • Transparent breast shields make it easier to check if you wear it correctly
  • Comes with 2 chargers so that you can charge them simultaneously
  • Easy to clean
  • Extra parts are included in the package

Cons:

  • Suction is not that strong and has moderate speed
  • The smart app doesn’t tell how much milk you’ve collected, so you’ll have to check it manually and enter the amount on the app

Hospital-grade breast pumps

A hospital-grade breast pump is a powerful device that is designed to be used by all mothers. It uses a very strong motor power and a closed system mechanism to prevent the risk of cross-contamination.

It is the top choice to initiate or stimulate lactation while a baby is still in the NICU, is too ill to breastfeed, or if you have a preemie or twins. It is also used to build the milk supply of mothers who have medical concerns.

Hospital-grade pumps are very costly. You may find some varieties for sale on the market, but most of them are electric pumps that only mimic the strength of hospital-grade pumps. Hospital-grade pumps are available from medical suppliers. They are also usually available for rent. If you’re going to rent one, you’ll be required to purchase your own accessory kit.

 Some varieties of hospital-grade pumps are the following:

Ameda Elite

Ameda Elite is a hospital-grade breast pump that features less complicated usage. Attach the pump, and you can focus on taking care of your baby while it collects your breast milk. 

It is built for use in clinical settings. Mothers who wish to continue using it at home can also rent one.

 Pros:

  • Features separate dials for suction and speed control so that you can customize your own pump settings
  • Portable when compared to other hospital-grade breast pumps (weighs around 6 and a half pounds)
  • Built-in dual bottle holders
  • Has a carrying bag for easy transport
  • Closed system mechanism prevents contamination
  • More budget-friendly

Cons:

  • Does not have the two-way expression mechanism
  • Not as comfortable as the leading variety

Hygeia Enjoye Cordless Breast Pump

According to Hygeia, all of their breast pumps are hospital-grade. Hygeia Enjoye is an innovative product that combines portability and functionality. It is ideal for everyday use.

Pros:

  • Cordless and portable
  • Rechargeable batteries that can run for up to 4 hours when fully charged
  • Packaged with a personal accessory set 
  • Adjustable settings

Cons:

  • Valves may slip off the pump base when sterilized
  • The suction is not as strong as the other hospital-grade varieties
  • Produces a loud noise when it’s working

Medela Symphony Plus

Among the most popular hospital-grade varieties of breast pumps are made by Medela. Medela Symphony features a 2-phase expression technology that imitates the natural sucking rhythm of a newborn. It can continuously collect your milk once it is turned on. 

It is available for sale online, but most women prefer to rent as a cheaper option.

Pros:

  • It has two separate membrane units for single or double pumping.
  • A let-down button allows you to go back to stimulation mode
  • Closed system mechanism makes it very hygienic
  • Very efficient
  • Gentle pressure on the breast for utmost comfort
  • Works very quietly

Cons: 

  • Most expensive
  • Cyclic frequency can’t be changed
  • Bulky like most hospital-grade varieties

These are the different types of breastfeeding pumps along with their leading brands in the US. They all differ in their functionality, portability, and prices. Did you find which one to suit your needs?

References:

https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/breast-pumps/types-breast-pumps

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