Picking a breast pump is personal. Sure, it’s helpful to read reviews and hear which ones worked best for your friends and fellow breastfeeding mamas, but sometimes, an expert recommendation is exactly what you need. This is especially true in the uber-crowded breast pump market!
That’s why we enlisted our Expectful Lactation Advisor, lactation consultant Carrie Dean, to advise on the best breast pumps. No matter your lifestyle, situation, or preferences, there is a pump that will work for you.
There are many great pumps out there, but how do you know which one is right for you? Different pumps excel in different areas, so it’s important to evaluate what’s most important to you. What type of mama are you? When and where will you use your pump? How much are you looking to spend? Looking for something tried-an-true or modern-and-trendy? We got you. We’ve broken down the best breast pumps based on the features that will best feed your personality type and help you be the happiest mama you can be.
If you’re a mama on the go (whether that means you’re juggling multiple kiddos or just have a busy lifestyle), a hands-free, wireless pump is a great option for you. There are a few on the market, but IBCLC Dean recommends the Elvie. This pump, which sits inside your bra and comes with its own app, will allow you to pump whenever, wherever. No tubes, wires, or tethers.
You’re a middle-of-the-road mama who likes to play it safe. Looking for a tried-and-true pump without any bells and whistles? The Medela Pump-in-Style Advanced is your best bet, says Dean. This model of pump has been used by millions of pumping parents over the last few decades and is the definition of an old standby. Don’t think that means it’s boring though—this Medela will get the job done (and yes, it’s often covered by your insurance company).
You’re always the first to know about trends and love trying new things. If that’s the case, the Baby Buddha may be your perfect fit. This lightning-fast, wearable pump (it goes around your neck!) is new on the scene, and taking the pumping world by storm. Dean says many of the moms she works with appreciate the rechargeable battery and the option to pump either single or double.
If planes, trains, and automobiles are your MO as a working mama, the Motif Duo pump is Dean’s recommendation. It’s pocket-sized, light, and has an uber powerful rechargeable battery (which is perfect for airports, hotel rooms and anywhere else you may find yourself as a nursing mama).
At just $60, the Bella Baby pump is a great option for moms on a budget (or moms who would like to keep a couple of pump options on hand, just in case). Dean says the Belly Baby has tons of great reviews and is a well-known option for a second pump. Remember, though, that your insurance will cover the cost of a breast pump for you, so budget shouldn’t necessarily be a factor in your choice.
If comfort is key for you, check out the Philips Avent Double Electric Breast Pump Advanced. Philips Avent is well-known for their bottles and pacifiers, but they’ve just added this comfy new pump, which is designed with cushions that mimic a baby’s latch and provide a more pleasant pumping experience. Bonus? The awesome pump belt, which makes hands-free milk expression even easier.
For moms who don’t have a lot of time or want to collect milk without actually hooking up to a full-on machine, Dean recommends a Haaka. This little silicone item is called a pump, but it’s really one part milk catcher and one part suction tool, rather than an actual breast pump. Attach it to the breast you’re not feeding on and watch it suction out milk with no effort from you. It’s a great tool to have on hand in the early days to lessen engorgement or build up a few ounces in the freezer.
Looking for high-powered and high-end? For Dean, the best option for moms who want the absolute best in power is the Medela Symphony. This hospital-grade pump will get the job done efficiently and help you build a milk supply, says Dean. It’s more commonly available to rent (as it’s not something you may need to use over a longer period of time) but it can be purchased, too.
There are a lot of good, high-quality breast pumps out there, but the best way to choose one is to carefully consider your personality and lifestyle. Then, decide what fits you best.
Dean advises that picking a pump depends heavily on your breastfeeding goals, as well: ”If you know you’re returning to work or if you have a medical condition, you want to pick a strong, reliable pump (with easy to find compatible parts, like Medela). If you know you won’t need or don’t want to pump often, your investment in both time and features for your pump can be smaller.”
Dean says it’s worth having a simple hand pump (like this Lansinoh one) around, as well, especially for situations when you might want to pump for comfort, but don’t need to express the amount of a full feed: “A hand pump is as great for a working and traveling mom as it is for a mom who only separates from her baby occasionally.”
No matter what pump you choose, Dean stresses that it’s key your flanges (the parts that fit over your nipple) are a good fit for your nipple size and breast shape. “If you’re using a flange that is too big, for example, it’s dragging in the areola and is not as efficient at removing milk.” Different flange sizes should be available from the manufacturer of your pump.
In addition, she advises that you have a good understanding of how to actually use the pump before you get topless and start trying to express milk! Read the directions, watch videos on YouTube or on the manufacturer’s website, or reach out to a lactation consultant for help.
For many moms, pumping will be a substantial aspect of the breastfeeding experience. Do your diligence to try and choose the breast pump that seems to fit you best. Still, it’s important to know that what you think you might need or want in a pump when you’re pregnant can change once your baby is born. An unexpected NICU stay might mean a hospital-grade rental is right for you during the early months. Or maybe a change in job status means you’ll need to pump less….or more! Be open to adjusting and trying something new—different pumps work for different moms.
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