Which breast pump is best?
For most babies, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding be the recommended source of nutrition for at least their first six months. There are times when it’s more convenient to give your baby a bottle, though, so using a breast pump lets you give your child nutritious breast milk even when they’re unable to nurse.
A breast pump mimics the natural suckling movements that your baby uses to feed at your breast and gathers the milk it extracts in a storage container. You can then refrigerate the milk to feed your baby at a future time. If you’re looking for a highly convenient pump you can use anywhere, the Elvie Wearable Double Electric Breast Pump is the top option.
What to know before you buy a breast pump
Breast pumps are available in four main types. They’re all effective, but one type may be a better option based on how often you pump, how old your child is and any medical issues you or your baby may have.
Battery-powered breast pumps are usually the most compact option, so they work well if you don’t pump often or are traveling. In addition, they’re lightweight and generally more affordable than other types. However, a battery-powered pump works more slowly and isn’t as effective for simulating a baby’s natural sucking cycle.
Hospital-grade electric pumps are large, efficient pumps that you typically find in hospitals and lactation centers. You can sometimes rent them from medical supply shops too. They usually feature controls that let you adjust the pumping’s intensity, pressure and rhythm, so they work pretty quickly. A hospital-grade electric pump is an excellent choice if you’ve just started breastfeeding and are having trouble establishing a milk supply. It’s also an effective option if your baby has trouble latching onto your nipple or for preemies or babies with medical issues.
Personal-use electric pumps aren’t as powerful or effective as hospital-grade models, but they’re lightweight and easy to use at home. They typically feature multiple suction levels and cycles. A personal-use electric pump is ideal for working mothers or anyone who has to be away from their baby for prolonged periods. Most personal-use pumps come with a storage case and other accessories like milk containers. They’re the best choice for long-term nursing.
Manual breast pumps feature a lever or bulb that you use to create suction manually to extract the milk. They’re compact, lightweight and more affordable than other pumps. A manual breast pump doesn’t make much noise either, but it takes much longer to pump with one. It can work well for travel or if you rarely pump, though.
You can find plenty of breast pumps that feature attachments that let you pump both breasts simultaneously. This design can help cut your pumping time in half, which is extremely helpful if you pump at work. Double-pumping can also boost your level of prolactin, a hormone that helps regulate your milk supply.
What to look for in a quality breast pump
A letdown setting mimics your baby’s natural sucking cycle, so the motion is rapid and shallow initially, then transitions to slow and deep. This feature helps trigger your letdown reflex, so your milk is ready to flow, making it much easier to collect milk when pumping.
Adjustable speed, rhythm and suction
A breast pump that offers adjustable speed, rhythm and suction settings allow you to choose the perfect option when pumping, so you’re much more comfortable.
You can find some breast pumps that record your preferred settings, so you don’t need to reset the pump every time you use it. This feature can come in extremely handy when you need to pump in a hurry.
Many breast pumps come with an adapter plug that fits into the power outlet in your car. That makes it easy to pump on the go without worrying about where to find an outlet.
For any mom who takes their breast pump to work every day, choosing a lightweight model that’s easy to carry is essential. Some pumps are more portable than others, so shop around to find an option that’s easy to take on the go.
Many breast pumps come with accessories to make the pumping process as easy as possible. You can find models that come with a carrying case, tubing and even milk containers for storage.
To make your breast pump even easier to carry with you, some models come with a backpack. Not only can the pack hold the pump itself, but there’s also room for any needed accessories.
BPA is a chemical found in certain plastics that may be harmful to your baby. Opt for a breast pump that’s BPA-free to prevent any chemicals from leaching into your breast milk.
How much you can expect to spend on a breast pump
Breast pumps typically range from just under $50-$500. Manual breast pumps are the most affordable, costing $10-$50. Battery-powered pumps range from $50-$100, while personal-use electrical pumps cost $100-$500.
Breast pump FAQ
Does using a breast pump hurt?
A. Pumping can feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but it shouldn’t hurt. If you’re experiencing pain, you may need to reduce the suction level. It can also help to moisturize your breasts beforehand to prevent chafing around the nipples. However, if you are experiencing significant pain, speak with a doctor or lactation consultation to see if there is a problem.
How long can you store breast milk in the fridge?
A. In a sealed container, breast milk stays fresh in the refrigerator for three to five days. If you freeze your milk, you can use it for up to six months.
What’s the best breast pump to buy?
Top breast pump
What you need to know: This quiet, discreet electric pump offers a wearable design that makes it easy to pump anywhere.
What you’ll love: The pump is extremely compact and lightweight. It doesn’t make much noise when pumping and you can wear it inside a nursing bra for discrete use. It’s easy to put together and clean. The free, connected app controls the pump and tracks volume.
What you should consider: The app experiences glitches and other issues with inconsistent performance.
Top breast pump for the money
What you need to know: This breast pump isn’t just more affordable; it also offers plenty of innovative features to make pumping easier. It isn’t quite as durable as some higher-end models.
What you’ll love: It expresses milk quietly and gently. It offers two-phase expression technology and LED touchscreen controls. It’s one of the most portable models available. It features an extremely long-lasting battery and allows for cordless pumping on the go.
What you should consider: Some buyers report that the pump breaks down after only a few months of use.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This hospital-grade pump boasts a reasonable price tag, despite its excellent performance and durability.
What you’ll love: It’s lightweight and convenient to take on the go. It works well for both pumping on the go and pumping at home. It doesn’t contain any BPA. The double pumping kit makes it easy to pump quickly and efficiently.
What you should consider: It’s relatively pricey, but it offers top-notch performance.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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