Breast Pumps come in many shapes and sizes. This Breast Pump Guide will help you decide which breast pump is best for you. Whether you’re a Stay-At-Home Mom or a full-time working Mom, there’s a breast pump specifically designed to meet your needs.
- Manual Breast Pumps
- Single Electric Breast Pumps
- Double Electric Breast Pumps
- Hospital Grade Breast Pumps
Manual Breast Pumps are great for mothers who occasionally need to pump, either because they’re engorged or because they’d like to have a few extra bottles available for when Dad handles night feedings. Manual breast pumps are also great travel companions. They’re easy to assemble, whisper quiet and easy to use, lightweight and portable, and best of all, there’s not cords , batteries, or tubing to worry about. Manual breast pumps are also extremely affordable. Prices can range from $20 to $60.
Keep in mind, manual breast pumps require you to squeeze a lever or pump a piston to create suction. Some can be operated with one hand, while others require two-handed operation. You can only pump one breast at a time, and some women have trouble emptying their breasts completely. Other women claim that they’re manual breast pumps works better than their electric. I will admit, having the control in your hands is kind of nice, as opposed to an automatic electric pump. You’re in charge of speed and vacuum. Some women like to pump one breast while their baby nurses off the other, and a manual breast pump works great for that, especially since it’s quieter than an electric, but you’d have to have one that offers one-handed operation.
If you’re planning to pump a lot, either because you’re going back to work, or your little one is having trouble nursing, a manual breast pump is NOT recommended. Also, if you’re trying to establish your milk supply, a manual breast pump is NOT recommended.
Check out the below list for some of the best manual breast pumps on the market.
Single Electric Breast Pumps are great for mothers that need to pump occasionally, or moderately. In other words, if you need to leave Baby with Dad a few times a week while you go to the gym for a 2 hour workout, a single electric breast pump should be more than enough. It’s also great for mothers working part time jobs.
Most single electric breast pumps are battery operated and come with an AC adapter. They’re usually pretty lightweight and portable as well. Some prefer the single electric breast pump when traveling, mainly because it’s less work and more efficient, however, they do tend to go through batteries quickly. Some offer vehicle lighter adapters with different voltages for traveling. Keep in mind, depending on the power source, some breast pumps may not be able to run at full power, therefore the higher the voltage the better.
Most single electric breast pumps offer speed and vacuum adjust-ability, come with a standard 24 mm breast shield, bottles, nipples, caps, etc. Most come ready to use with all the extra parts you need, as well as some spare parts for replacement. Some of the higher end single electric breast pumps offer different expression phases designed to mimic a baby’s natural sucking rhythm. These are best for a quicker let-down response. It will typically take you about 15 minutes to pump one breast, therefore a pumping session may last a total of 30 minutes. Keep in mind, single electric breast pumps are intended for moderate use, say somewhere around 4 to 5 times a day. Some single pump motors just aren’t strong enough for frequent use, and if over-used, may burn up. If you’re looking to pump between 8 to 10 times a day, a double electric or hospital-grade pump is recommended.
Single electric breast pumps are much more efficient than manual breast pumps, but they also cost more, anywhere between $50 and $150 dollars.
Double Electric Breast Pumps are perfect for working mothers, designed for moderate to frequent use. So in other words, if you need to pump around 8 to 10 times a day. They are also perfect for mothers with baby’s that are unable to nurse. Having the ability to pump both breasts simultaneously cuts pumping time in half, letting you express more milk quickly. If you’re struggling with a low milk supply, lactation specialists recommend using a hospital grade breast pump, however, a double electric breast pump is the next best thing.
Double electric breast pumps are more powerful, offering more CPM (cycles per minute) with a higher vacuum strength. Some double electric breast pumps are nearly as powerful as the hospital-grade breast pumps, which are top of the line.
They’re heavier than the single electric breast pumps, but usually no more than 8 pounds or so, therefore still portable. In fact, some double electric breast pumps come with carrying totes, or backpacks. Some are attached to the totes while others are freestanding.
Along with a powerful motor, double electric breast pumps are fully automatic, offering adjustable suction levels, or vacuum levels, as well as speed. Like the single electric breast pumps, some of the higher-end double pumps, like the Medela’s, also offer different expression phases designed to elicit a quicker let-down response. Some even offer one-touch memory which gives you the ability to save your favorite settings and recall them for later use.
Most double electric breast pumps also come with two 24 mm standard breast shields, however some models offer multiple sizes, giving you the option of finding the best fit. Along with breast shields, most also come with plenty of accessories like bottles, caps, nipples, and spare parts.
They’re stronger, faster, more efficient, and more expensive, ranging in price from $150 to $450 dollars.
Check out the below list for some of the BEST Double Electric Breast Pumps available.
Hospital-Grade Double Electric Breast Pumps are intended for mothers who need to pump constantly, whether it’s because Baby is unable to nurse, or you’re trying to establish your milk supply, these pumps are designed for constant use every day. Hospital-grade breast pumps are built with extremely strong motors, capable of cycling up to 120 CPM in stimulation mode, anywhere between 50 and 70 CPM in expression mode, with a vacuum strength range of 50 – 250 mmHg.
Hospital -grade breast pumps are not very portable. They’re heavy and bulky, and most don’t come with a battery pack option, however, there are a few models, like the Medela Symphony Plus, that do come with a rechargeable battery.
Most hospital-grade breast pumps offer both speed and vacuum adjust-ability, as well as multiple phases of stimulation, a let-down option, and a memory option that will retain settings. These pumps are proven to produce a faster let-down, therefore allowing you to pump more milk in less time. Hospital-grade breast pumps have also been proven to completely empty ones breasts, therefore helping a mother establish or build their milk supply.
Hospital-grade breast pumps are the only pumps designed for multi-users, in other words, each user must purchase their own personal pump kit which includes all the tubing, breast shields, and collection containers. The multi-user feature is what makes hospital-grade breast pumps popular rentals. To buy one outright would cost around $1000.00, to rent one from your local hospital will cost anywhere from $1 – $3 dollars a day, or $30 to $90 dollars a month.
If you plan on pumping constantly for over 11 months, you may be better off to purchase your own hospital-grade breast pump. Or, if you plan on having more children, you may want to buy instead of rent. In some cases, mothers who choose to rent a hospital-grade breast pump eventually find that they can’t live without it, or realize that the money they spent renting could have purchased one. Also, mothers of premature baby’s or baby’s with a condition that makes nursing difficult may find that their insurance company will cover the cost of a hospital grade breast pump with a doctor’s prescription. If you’re eligible for WIC, a program funded by the USDA, they may be able to help you with the cost of renting a hospital grade breast pump or even in some cases, supply you with one. So it’s not a bad idea to check with you local WIC office. If you’re interested in WIC, check out this link, USDA – Apply for WIC.
Check out the below list for some of the BEST Hospital-Grade Breast Pumps available.
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