How To Choose The Right Breast Pump For You

How To Choose The Right Breast Pump For You

Andrea Tran RN, BSN, MA, IBCLC

I often get calls from moms asking for help in choosing a breast pump. There is a dizzying array of breast pump choices. It is easy to understand why it makes women feel overwhelmed. 

In order to choose the breast pump that is right for you, first, you need to answer some questions

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Breast Pump

Why Will I Be Pumping?

Some moms pump for an occasional relief bottle. Other moms pump while they are working full time. Some moms pump exclusively. 

How Often Will I Be Pumping?

  • Exclusively pumping
  • Pumping daily – one or more times a day
  • Primarily breastfeeding and pumping for an occasional bottle
  • Pumping only for emergencies

Will my insurance provide a breast pump for me?

  • Most insurance companies in the USA provide new moms with a breast pump. This one is HSA approved. 
  • Some insurance companies have one pump they will send you
  • Other insurance providers will offer a choice of pumps

What Is My Budget for a Breast Pump?

Some women will be getting a pump on their own or putting it on their baby registry.

  • Their insurance does not provide a pump
  • They may not like the pumps offered by their insurance
  • They may want a particular pump
  • Once they start pumping, the insurance pump may not meet their pumping needs.

Pump prices go from $10 for some manual pumps up to thousands of dollars for a top of the line hospital grade double electric breast pump. This is a good affordable pump!

Breast Pump Options:

Manual Pump 

A manual pump is operated with your hand and pumps one breast at a time. If you are super coordinated, you could get two manual pumps and pump both breasts simultaneously.  This one is top-rated on Amazon, and in our top-product list as well! 

Moms often use manual pumps like the Haaka at the same time they are breastfeeding. This is a good option for a mom who wants to build a milk stash but doesn’t have extra time to pump. 

A manual pump is an excellent choice for the mom who only needs to pump once in a while. It is also a good choice for the woman who doesn’t plan to pump but wants something in case of an emergency. 

I recommend moms have a manual pump in their car for any unexpected pumping needs.

Single vs. Double Pumps

Some pumps can pump one breast only. A double pump will allow a mom to pump both breasts at the same time. This is a time saver. Single pumps are more affordable, so if you don’t need to pump that often, and don’t need to worry about milk supply, a single pump might be a great way to go. 

Also, double pumping creates higher surges in prolactin. Prolactin is a key hormone involved in making milk. 

Some moms may have a double pump and only need to pump one breast at times. Other moms want the suction strength of a double electric pump but prefer to pump one breast at a time. The vast majority of double pumps provide this alternative. Be sure to read the instructions, though. There may be specific things that need to be done to the pump so it will operate properly when only single pumping.

Battery Operated Breast Pumps

elvie breast pump

Some pumps work with regular batteries. These are often single pumps.

Other battery-operated pumps like the Willow and Elvie are rechargeable. These two pumps are hands-free and worn inside your bra. Hands-free pumps like these are good options for busy moms or working moms who want to pump more frequently but don’t want to take a full break. 

These pumps are not silent, so you probably wouldn’t want to wear them during a meeting. But if you want to multi-task when you are working on a computer, this type of pump is an excellent way to do that.

Double Electric Breast Pumps

electric breast pump

Double electric pumps are a popular option because they allow you to pump both breasts at the same time, and you don’t have to worry about recharging them. You do need access to an electric outlet or car charger. Using a car charger usually requires a special adapter.

When using a double electric pump using a pumping bra will enable you to pump hands-free.

Spectra breast pumps are very highly rated on Amazon. I have gotten very good feedback from moms about this brand of pump.

Be Flexible When Deciding Which Is The Right Pump For You

While you may have an idea about how pumping will look for you, it may change after your baby arrives. Some Moms didn’t plan to pump much at all and ended up needed to pump exclusively. Some moms planned to exclusively and after their baby was born decided instead to breastfeed primarily.

What Is Power Pumping and How To Be A Power Pumping Boss

Most pumps cannot be returned once they have been opened. For that reason, I do not recommend opening the pump until your baby has arrived, and you are going to start pumping.

When Should You Consider Renting a Breast Pump?

A hospital-grade rental pump is the best choice when a baby is not breastfeeding at all. It also should be considered if a baby is not feeding effectively.

  • A premature baby
  • A sick baby who is unable to breastfeed
  • A mom who plans to exclusively pump right from the start
  • A baby who is small or has a physical condition resulting in ineffective feeding.
    • Cleft lip or palate
    • Down’s syndrome
    • Other neurological or physical conditions that interfere with effective feeding

Pumps For Moms Who Are Exclusive Pumping

I would advise a mom who is going to be exclusively pumping to start with a hospital-grade rental pump. She should use this for the first month of pumping. A rental pump will provide her optimal stimulation while she is establishing her milk supply.

If she wants to transition to a purchased pump, I recommend that she keep the rental for the first week that she is using the purchased pump. This will allow her time to see if the purchased pump is enough to maintain her supply. 

How To Produce More Breast Milk When Pumping Without Hating Your Life

Is It Okay to Get a Used Breast Pump?

Most breast pumps sold are considered to be a personal item from a hygienic standpoint. They are intended for one mom to use for one baby. 

I do not recommend using a personal pump that has been used by someone else. There are two reasons for this.

  • Personal pumps have a motor that will operate at maximum function for a certain period of time. After a while, they will wear out. My experience has been that most of the time, there is a slow decline in function as opposed to the pump just stops working altogether. A failing pump can result in reduced milk production when pumping.
  • Another reason I don’t recommend used pumps is that bacteria and viruses can be transmitted by breast milk. This can depend on how the pump is made. I have heard of people taking them apart and finding mold growing inside the pump. Since this is your baby’s food, you don’t want to take chances.

I have had people tell me that the used pump they were getting had barely been used. I worked with one client who told me that. I had worked with the mom who sold her the pump, and I knew that first mom was using that pump several times a day for eight months. I guess people have different definitions of what barely used means.

For all these reasons, I do not recommend getting a pump that has been used by anyone else.

Rental pumps are made in such a way that contamination is not a concern. Their motors are manufactured to last for heavy-duty use for years. 

Now that you know what to consider when choosing the right pump for you, it is time to start shopping!

Top-Rated Breastfeeding Necessities Every Mom Needs

Top-Rated Breastfeeding Necessities Every Mom Needs

There are some very important breastfeeding essentials that make life much easier as a new mommy. Breastfeeding can be stressful, complicated, painful and rewarding. There are some top products on the market now, that breastfeeding mommies can use to increase milk supply, pump more milk, make breastfeeding less painful, and find more comfort in breastfeeding your baby.

Our list is comprised of breastfeeding essentials that have been used and rated by breastfeeding mothers, and that hold up to our standards on being high quality, comfortable, well-manufactured, successful and the ablility to make life much easier.  These are the breastfeeding products that have ranked as the best products for breastfeeding moms.

The top-ranked, hands-free breastfeeding pump:

best ranked hands-free breast pump

When looking into the top hands-free pumps, we felt that the Elvie Pump because of the amazing reviews on their website. They offer a single or double, so you can do one side at a time, while nursing baby on the other. Many of the mothers who’ve used this product report that they were able to pump easily, hands-free, and sliently.

There is an Elvie Pump app, that hleps monitor milk supply volume when pumping, as well as control the pump remotely.

The pump is also very smart. It swtiches modes from stimulation to expression when it senses a let-down, so you can get the most out of your pump session. There is a 90-day warranty, and it does qualify for HSA/FSA.

This is a great video discussing the product, and we highly recommend you grab it on Amazon for free shipping!

Best Manual Breast Pump:

best manual breast pump haakaa

The Haakaa is a newer manual breast pump that is helping many woman pump more milk. The Haakaa has thousands of top-rated reviews on Amazon, and we completley agree with all of them. Many mothers are surprised at how a simple product can bring them such a great supply, and we have experienced the same.

Best Breastfeeding Cover:

breastfeeding cover the best

This breastfeeding cover is affordable, ranked as Amazon’s #1 choice, and we’ve tried it. It is comfortable, easy to wash, can be used as an infant seat cover, and comes in many different colors and patterns.

The Best Breast Milk Storage Bags:

best breast milk storage bags

The Elvie Pump doesn’t come with storage bags. Teh milk is collected into the resuseable pump bottles, which then the milk can be poured into various types of storage bags, and we think these are the best on the market.

We love that these ones can go straight into a bottle, so you don’t have to pour them into a bottle. You can connect them to the Kiinde bottles, and have the baby feed directly from the bag. They also have a twist-top, which keeps your milk more portected from spilling. We also love that you can pump directly into the bag (with this adapter for various pumps), which saves breastfeeding mamas a precious few extra minutes of work. There were some reports of issues with the seal on a few of the Amazon reviews, but we didn’t experience that issue. We found these bags to be easier to use, and less leaking than the standard bags.

Best Affordable Breastfeeding Pump: 

best affordable breast pump

This pump has is very similar to our runner up, but we felt this one was so affordable. Many mamas want a breast pump as a back up, or when needed, and don’t need an expensive caddilac version. Our runner up has thousands of positive reviews, and our first choice is newer, but Amazon is offering a coupon with this product, which makes it even more affordable. The pumps are light weight, easy to assemble, easy to clean, and don’t take up a lot of space when packing and carrying.

Best Portable Breast Pump For On-The Go:

Portable Breast Pump

This is a great, well-reviewed protable breast pump. Many working mamas pump while on-the-go, mainly driving. One mama in our group would pump for twins at home on the way to work, and on the way home. Sometimes it is easier to have a pump for the car, and one main one at home. It saves time and transporting various equipment moving from place to place. This pump is light, simple and affordable to use when you need it. It has hundreds of positive reviews, and we felt it did exactly what it was supposed to do.

The Best Luxury Pump Bag:

luxury pump bag

The Sarah Wells Abby Breast Pump Bag is made specifically for breastfeeding mamas wanting a bag that is a little more stylish than the standard pump bag. It is high-quality, easy to clean, well reviewed, and super classy. There are a few different designs and patterns, but the classic black looks so clean and classy, we decided this was our best choice for the luxury pump bag option.

Best Affordable Pump Bag: 

affordable pump bag

This is a great, simple pump bag with back pack straps to make it easier to carry around. It is light-weight, easy to care for, and has the right amount of compartments for all the things. It is easy to keep clean with a bottom cooler spot to keep all the milk. A really great buy for pumping mamas.

Best Bottle Cleaner: 

Knowing if your bottles are clean is really important. Being ablel to properly clean them yourself is hard as a breastfeeding mommy. This system is a complete steam that is a higher temperature than your dishwasher, which is why it is really an awesome product to have.

The Best Pumping Bra – Hands Free:

the best pumping bra

This is a hands-free pumping bra by Bravado! designs, which we’ve been fortunate to be able to try. They make high-quality, soft nursing and pumping bras that hold up to the demands of frequent use. There are mulitple colors available, and hundreds of positive reviews from pumping mamas.

The Best Nursing Bra: 

This nursing bra by Kindred Braverly is a top-rated, comfortable and well-made nursing bra that mothers love, and we do too. It is described as the most comfortable nursing bra, and we agree. There are many styles and colors, which helps keep it personal and fun as well.

The Best Nursing Pillow:

nursing pillow

This is the best nursing pillow because it has support for mamas back, and support for baby. It also has a holder for anything in the front, and basically looks like the perfect nap spot.

The Best Milk Catchers:

milk catchers

These are fabulous milk catchers, that will help you save all the milk you can. We recommend these because they are efficient, pour easily into storge bags, and have amazing reviews. A fairlly new design, we were very impressed how well they worked.

The Best Lactation Powder:

the best lactation powder

We highly recommend this lactation protein powder, which is formulated for weight loss as well. Many mamas struggle with sugar cravings, weight loss, nourishment and milk supply. This powder tastes amazing, blends as a smoothie, mixes with water or milk, and makes the perfect snack or meal replacement.

This is our list of the top breastfeeidng essentials. There are numerous products we can recommend, but these are the essentials that every breastfeeding mama needs to surviving and thrive.

The top-rated breastfeeding essentials every breastfeeidng mama needs.