Have you already done your research and would rather jump straight into it? Our most recommend for the best breast pump is the Medela Pump in Style Advanced.
With my first little one, I had no idea the benefits that could come from using a breast pump. Not until I went back to work and wanted to supply my baby with breast milk did I decide to purchase one. Breast pumps are useful for a multitude of reasons which we discuss in this article. We then share the best breast pumps on the market.
Here is our top list for the best breast pumps of this year:
Why Do I Need A Breast Pump?
Let’s look at the most popular scenarios that could call for the use of a breast pump:
- Engorged breasts: A painful but common problem that many mamas face. Caused by an uptick in demand for milk, the breasts become painful, swollen and tender. A breast pump can help relieve you.
- Latch problems: Getting that latch correct is key to breastfeeding. A variety of issues can make it difficult, including preemie babies who lack the development. Pumping will allow you to provide the baby with milk until your little one masters the latch.
- Stimulate production: Milk supply can drop from time to time due to certain medical conditions or otherwise. By using a breast pump, you can encourage the breasts to produce more milk.
- Back to work: For some, direct feeding isn’t possible months after birth. The breast pump allows you to provide that sweet nourishment to your little one, via the bottle.
- Give mom a break: You’ll still be pumping that milk, but if you have one or two bottles lined up, this gives others a chance to feed the baby while you do something else with your precious time.
Types of Breast Pumps
Not all breast pumps are created equal. Determining the type for you depends on your budget and needs.
However, they all contain similar parts, including the breast shield, pump mechanism and milk container. Electric and battery-powered options come with motors.
These pumps don’t require a plug or battery for use. Most use manual expression, although some new options on the market only require suction.
A shield covers the nipple and areola, and once it’s in place, a handle is then squeezed back and forth to draw the milk out. An attached container at the end collects the liquid.
If you’re pumping on the regular, though, you may find it annoying as expression takes longer than with an electric pump. Furthermore, it can make your hands sore.
The majority are single units, meaning you can only pump from one breast at a time.
With a manual pump, there’s no motor noise to disturb the baby. They’re budget-friendly, convenient in size and easier to clean as well.
This powered pump uses an electric outlet to amp up the process. Milk is extracted from the breasts with the help of a motor that suctions it out.
Some come with a built-in battery-powered option in case of an emergency.
With most electric units, suction patterns and speed can be established to help mamas feel it’s closer to their baby’s rhythm. These preferences are adjusted by a dial located on the pump’s control panel.
Electric pumps come in single or double models. They’re pricier and more difficult to clean. But if you’re frequently pumping and efficiency is critical, a double electric breast pump could be what you’re looking for.
3. Hospital Grade
These top-rated breast pumps are designed for use in hospitals by mothers who cannot breastfeed directly after giving birth. They tend to have powerful motors featuring strong suction capabilities.
In some cases, hospitals will allow you to rent these pumps. This means they are used by multiple people, which is something to pay attention to for hygiene purposes.
Hospital-grade breast pumps feature a closed system for this reason. This type of system contains a barrier between the milk collection kit and the motor. It prevents liquids from entering the tubes or conversely, from any particles flowing the other way back to the breast.
It decreases the chance for mold buildup, and lessens the risk of cross-contamination between users.
If you need to rent one of these from a hospital, you will also need to purchase your accessories such as tubing and valves for safe hygiene.
A battery-powered breast pump works similarly to an electric pump. Some come with rechargeable batteries, making them an appropriate option if you’re on the go.
It could take approximately 20 minutes to power up for a single-session charge. Or around 2 hours for a full charge lasting around five sessions.
They also come in single or double models. Beware, some moms report that the suction on battery-powered pumps is on the sluggish side.
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Breast Pump
Baby products aren’t always straightforward, nor are they easy on the wallet. To get the best breast pump for you, have a look at our top considerations.
If you’re out and about frequently or plan on going back to work, this is going to be a key factor. You have enough to carry around as it is.
Manual pumps are best in this category because they’re small, lightweight and come with fewer accessories. However, manual pumping at the workplace could eat up a big chunk of your day.
Electric pumps often have carrying bags with organizational pockets that keep everything in its place. Some of these have insulated portions for storing breast milk. You’ll want to add some ice packs to be on the safe side.
Are you after a single or double unit? A double pump will shorten pump time and increase the size of the unit, making for more luggage to carry.
Extra supplies such as collection bags or bottles are often not included. If this factor is critical for you, make sure to pick up a few extras during your time of purchase.
The more adjustable your breast pump, the better you can track your milk flow and find which settings are best for you.
These factors apply to electric and battery-powered units, as manual breast pumps don’t offer adjustability features. It solely depends on the quality of the pump and user.
The suction level of a given pump is measured by mm Hg, or millimeters of mercury. Don’t worry. Your pump doesn’t contain mercury. If the measurement looks familiar, it could be because it’s used to measure blood pressure.
The maximum suction level for most units is 220–350. Personal pumps tend to fall on the lower end, while hospital-grade units on the higher end.
You might think this means a more successful pump, but that’s not necessarily the case. Just because the pump can maintain the highest vacuum pressure, doesn’t mean it’s comfortable for you. You should never be in pain while pumping.
Take it more as an indicator of how durable the motor is, not how quickly you’ll get the job done. Pumps that are made for more-frequent use tend to have stronger motors.
Frequency, or speed, refers to how often the pump “cycles”. One cycle consists of the pump creating suction then releasing it, just as a baby would with their mouth.
Healthy nursing babies suckle at around 45–60 cycles per minute (cpm), approximately one cycle per second. Some little ones will suckle closer to two cycles per second. It explains why breast pumps may offer a range of up to 120 cpm.
This indicates that those pumps which cycle closer to this range are better at maintaining milk supply. They’re also more effective at yielding that milk.
Pumps that feature cycling rates below 25 times per minute will be ineffective and as a result, could leave you with sore nipples post-pumping. Look for a pump that meets this minimum requirement.
Many pumps cycle automatically, which makes for a more efficient pumping session. Otherwise, mom has to maneuver the settings herself mid-pump.
3. Power Options
As mentioned above, there are three main power options for breast pumps: no power required, battery-powered, or plug-in units. Whichever power option you choose should depend on how frequently you will use the pump, and if you’ll be traveling with it.
If you’re on the go, this factor will be crucial in finding the best breast pump for you. Some even offer adapters so you can charge your pump in the car. This may be a favorite option for working moms because they don’t need to be plugged in.
Stay-at-home moms may not need a pump with all the bells and whistles, such as an electric pump with a built-in battery pack.
4. Cleaning and Assembling
All pump parts that come into contact with the milk need cleaning with warm, soapy water after use. Valves, shields and bottles included here.
Most tubing doesn’t require cleaning unless it’s part of an open system and has come into contact with your milk.
Just like any other baby product, it’s essential to keep your breast pump as clean as possible. Closed-system pumps are preferable for this reason as they’re easier to keep clean from the inside.
Some pumps contain dishwasher-safe components, making this process convenient. If time is of the essence, it’s something to keep in mind.
Manual pumps are simple to assemble as they require fewer attachments. In general, manufacturers include assembly instructions with each kit available for purchase.
Warranties come in all shapes and sizes, while most breast pump manufacturers have standard rules that apply to their machines.
The motor usually has a longer-lasting warranty than the accessories. As most moms know, the accessories can take a beating, so we look after them the best we can.
For example, Medela, a famous baby-supply company, has a standard warranty for all pumps. They offer one year for the motor and 90 days for parts and accessories.
Regardless of your brand, make sure to register your pump on the brand’s website upon receiving it. You’ll have better access to customer service this way and may find videos or posts to help you troubleshoot any issues that arise.
How to Pump Breast Milk
If you are struggling in using a manual breast pump, here we have found a video to show you some tips for how to pump breast milk:
Best Breast Pump Reviews
Here are the top seven breast pumps on the market today!
1. Medela Pump in Style Advanced by Medela – Best Double Electric Breast Pump
Well known in the world of babies, Medela brings us a double electric pump that has it all (almost). Designed for frequent use, this pump is ready for work.
The unit is made for efficient flow and expression, thanks to its carefully-crafted 2-Phase Expression technology.
A single knob makes customization a breeze, whether adjusting the speed or suction strength. It includes a one-touch letdown button. The motor is directly built into the microfiber carrying bag, making it convenient for on-the-go use.
Medela has working mothers in mind here. The bag is discreet, and the kit includes a battery pack to ensure you’ll never be without power. There are also built-in bottle holders and a pocket specifically for tubing, so mom can stay organized.
You’ll receive four milk bottles and two 24mm PersonalFit breast shields. Differently-sized shields are sold separately by Medela.
When it’s time to pump, but there’s no fridge in sight, Medela has you covered with a removable cooler bag. It contains an ice pack to keep the milk fresh until it reaches your little one.
- Great features for on-the-go mamas.
- Speed and suction customization.
- 2-Phase Expression Technology.
- Carry bag is tall and narrow, so may need emptying to find what you need.
2. Spectra Baby USA – S1 Plus Premier – Best Hospital Grade Breast Pump
If you have a preemie or need a top-of-the-line pump for other reasons, look no further.
Mommies created this hospital-grade double/single pump and it’s designed to get the job done.
It features a closed system making this unit hygienic and easy to keep clean. The tubes stay dry, preventing mold and bacteria growth, further guarded by the included Spectra backflow protectors.
You have two sizes to choose from for nipple shields: two 24mm and two 28 mm are included. Also included are two Spectra bottles and two Spectra duckbill valves.
The rechargeable battery is built-in, making charging sessions convenient. When the battery is fully charged, the machine will suction at a suitable 250 mm Hg.
This electric pump comes with a nightlight for making your way around in the dark. Operating at 45 dB, the motor won’t wake up your little one, either.
An auto-timer with a display provides you with precise pumping measurements, while the adjustable speed and suction settings make it personal and more comfortable.
- Quiet motor and nightlight for evening pumps.
- Two sizes of shields included.
- Closed system for better hygiene.
- Customer service could improve, slow response time.
3. Portable Electric Breast Pump – Dual Use by YIHUNION – Best Breast Pump for Working Moms
This imported closed-system breast pump features a single-bottle mechanism. To further enhance the hygiene of this unit, it has a backflow system, keeping the tubes free of germs.
Its convenient size and user-friendly design make it a fantastic option. The pump features a split-use system. The motor is placed on top of the bottle when on the go, and when at home, the motor can be set beside you.
Its 900 mAh lithium-ion battery holds charge for approximately six pumping sessions and is juiced via a USB. No need to find an empty electrical outlet. Instead, use your computer, iPad, or power bank.
The LCD screen lets you adjust the suction and frequency at eight different levels. A massage mode is included to provide a natural sensation of suckling. It helps mom relax and may amp the milk supply as a result.
Ten milk storage bags and an insulated cooler bag come with this kit.
- Convenient split-use design.
- Eight levels of customization.
- Supply parts are dishwasher safe.
- Heavy for breast with motor on top, may need to use hands.
4. Medela, Swing, Single Electric Breast Pump by Medela – Best Electric Breast Pump
Another one by Medela, this breast pump contains similar features but in a compact, single-bottle unit. Its travel-friendly size and lightweight motor make it easy to fit in a variety of bags.
The unit also contains the 2-Phase Expression technology, unique to Medela. Phase one is meant to stimulate the breast, while expression is left to phase two.
The company finds this design to more closely mimic a baby’s nursing routine, claiming it pumps faster and in less time.
Flexible charging options include using this pump with an AC power adapter or taking advantage of the battery, which lasts one hour.
Thankfully, the easy-to-use controls make for more comfortable pump sessions, including adjustable speed and vacuum settings.
We can’t forget the portability features offered by this unit. The belt strap and shoulder carrying strap allow you to wear it around the house, so you’re not stuck pumping on the couch. A drawstring bag is included for storage.
- Convenient portability features.
- Easy-to-use controls.
- 2-Phase Expression technology.
- This pump is loud.
5. Medela Harmony Breast Pump by Medela – Best Manual Breast Pump
This model is designed for occasional use, not for regular pump sessions. The soft-touch handle features an ergonomic, swivel design to make it comfortable in your hand.
Medela didn’t forget its technology here. Although this unit is manual, you can adjust the suction power. After stimulation occurs (phase one) and the milk starts flowing (phase two), use the longer end of the handle for more robust pressure.
One PersonalFit 24mm breast shield is included. Other accessories are sold separately, aside from two bottles with caps and one bottle stand to prevent it from tipping over. No fretting over spilled milk, here!
If you’re looking for a simple machine without the fancy add-ons, Medela has you covered.
- Simple design.
- Ergonomic handle.
- Manual customization of suction.
- The handle’s “o ring” piece is low quality, will need replacing.
6. Haakaa Manual Breast Pump by Haakaa – Best Budget-Friendly Breast Pump
This manual breast pump is among the best sellers and has won awards for all the right reasons. The all-silicone unit has been recommended by professionals across the board and moms to boot.
It’s discreet, slim in design and doesn’t require any accessories to pump. The best part? It doesn’t require you to actually pump by hand. In fact, there’s not even a handle on this one.
This unit suctions straight onto your breast and gets the job done without any manual labor. If need be, when you’re at home, you could even use it to catch any remaining letdown. This extra milk would either be lost into a nursing pad or shirt otherwise.
BPA, PVC and phthalate-free, it’s made from safe materials for both you and baby. It’s dishwasher safe and ready for sterilization.
Without the need for any assembly, cords or batteries, this machine may be the most straightforward pump on the market.
- Award-winning, hands-free design.
- Two sizes available: 3 ounces or 4 ounces.
- Only one pump is included.
7. Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump by Philips – Best Classic Breast Pump
When you imagine a manual breast pump, this is probably the one you have in mind. Many of my friends have used this pump, and I’m sure yours too.
This BPA-free Philips pump is compatible with other Philips products, including bottles and milk storage containers. The convenience factor may make the difference for you as extra supplies are essential to have on-hand.
Included is one bottle with a newborn nipple, one travel cover, and a sealing disc for milk storage, so none goes to waste when transportation comes up.
The cushioned shield is measured at 25mm and is soft to gently prepare the breast for pumping. Its overall design is small and lightweight, making it easy to hold and keep in position throughout the process.
Both a smaller and a larger cushion are available for purchase separately.
The unit is easy to clean and store so you’ll spend less time taking care of that and more time with your baby.
- A classic model that stands the test of time.
- Cushioned shield.
- Many parents complain of a loud squeaking noise.
Best Breast Pumps Summary
Our top choice for the best breast pump has to be the Medela Pump in Style Advanced by Medela. Not only does this machine pull double-duty, but it’s also equipped for an on-the-go lifestyle.
The built-in motor makes transportation easy, instead of lugging things around separately. A battery pack and the bottle holders are also convenient when not at home.
Lastly, Medela’s technology means you have more control of the speed and suction, compared to other devices. What more could one want?