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The Best Breast Pump For Moms in 2021

Finding the right breast pump can make or break a new mom’s pumping experience. As a Lactation Consultant I have helped hundreds of women pick out what pump will work best for them. With all things, there isn’t one breast pump that will work for everyone, so there are things that you should always consider when searching for that perfect pump.

The first step all new moms should take when deciding what breast pump to select, is to contact their health insurance company to see which breast pump they will cover, as this could affect your options/brands you are able to choose from.

What Should I Look for When Buying a Breast Pump?

When thinking about a breast pump – other then checking health insurance coverage, here are a few other things to consider- when trying to decide which breast pump will work best for you.

#1. Type of pump

The type of pump that will work best for you all depends on you and your needs. When considering the type of pump there are a few categories to pick from: manual, electric, “hospital grade” electric and wearable breast pumps.

Manual Breast Pump: Manual breast pumps are not often thought of as a pump options, but should be. A manual pump is one that YOU do the work. Some women have a hard time responding to an electric pump so a manual can be useful in these situations.

Benefits: Manual pumps can be taken anywhere no need to worry about finding an outlet or making sure your pump has batteries. They are smaller and can travel easily. They are very quiet. They are low in cost. They are easy to clean as they have less parts.

Drawbacks: You can’t pump hands free and you have to do the work (lots of tired hands, and forearms).

Electric Breast Pump: Electric breast pumps are what is more traditionally thought of when thinking about a breast pump.

Benefits: You can pump hands free if needed. You can pump both sides at once (most electric pumps are double breast pumps). You can also typically pump faster than with a manual pump.

Drawbacks: You need electricity, batteries or a rechargeable battery. They can be bigger and louder. They are typically more costly. Some women just do not respond well to an electric pump.

“Hospital Grade” Breast Pump: Some electric pumps get the name “hospital grade”. Most of the time what this means, is the pump is a closed system, and MAY have higher suction power. Closed system means that there is some kind of barrier that prevents  milk from coming into contact with the tubing in your pumping kit, allowing it to go straight from breast to bottle. This means that these pumps are safe to use between multiple users. “Hospital grade” pumps are typically more powerful, so they can be beneficial for women who have concerns with breast milk supply, or have a preterm infant.

Benefits: They can be hands free. You can pump both sides at once. Most of the time they are more powerful. They are a closed system pump so after use, you can sell the pump to someone else safely.

Drawbacks: “Hospital grade” pumps are costly, they can however be rented. They do need electricity or a rechargeable battery. They can be bigger/bulkier than a “normal” electric pump.

Wearable Breast Pump: Wearable breast pumps are newer to the market. These pumps can be placed in your bra so you can wear them throughout the day while they pump breast milk.

Benefits: Wearable pumps are completelywireless and hands free.

Drawbacks: Wearable pumps are costly. They aren’t typically as discrete as you may think. They can be hard to use. You have to make sure they are always charged. Their motor is smaller so they are not able to pump milk as efficiently.

#2. Casual Pumping vs Exclusive Pumping

If you plan on exclusively pumping having a good double electric breast pump would be best. When you exclusively pump your pump is going to be your “best-friend”.

If you plan on just pumping occasionally you could easily get away with a manual pump which is more cost efficient.

#3. Plug in vs Battery vs Manual

Another thing to consider when picking out a pump is where you will be pumping. If you plan on pumping someplace that you may not have access to a electricity, you should choose a pump that can be battery powered, a car port plug in or a manual pump.

#4. Staying at home or returning to work

When deciding on a pump, it is important to take into consideration when you will be returning to work. When returning to work will you have access to electricity, will you be able to find time every few hours to pump at work, how much time will you have to pump? If you are returning to work and do not feel like you will have time and/or a place to pump, a wearable pump may be the best option because you can pump while working.

Here’s How I’ve Determined the Best Breast Pump

Below are the pumps that I have experience with and feel are the best. These pumps are all great depending on what your specific needs are.

#1: Medela Pump in style (Best Value)

This pump is the best value, it is cost efficient as a double electric pump with good suction, and easy to travel with.

The Medela Pump in style is a double electric pump. The Medela Pump in Style offers a compact motor unit which is built into a soft case, making this pump easy to travel with. The cost of this pump is pretty standard for an electric pump. It can also typically be purchased/provided by insurance.

This breast pump has many other favorable features such as:

  • This pump can be used to single or double pump. Having the ability to pump both sides at once, can save pumping mothers a lot of time. 
  • This pump is easy to use. Which as a new mother you will be thankful for when you are trying to pump when you have a hungry infant.
  • It has a convenient let-down button to help stimulate breast milk flow. This button switches to the perfect speed and suction for letdown, without the hassle of figuring it out on your own.
  • You can get use this pump with batteries or car plug-in adapter. There is nothing worse then being on the go and realizing you NEED to pump now and have no electricity. Having a pump that has the ability to use batteries or a car plug- in adapter will prevent this issue.
  • Overall this pump is smaller: 9.25″ x 7.5″ X 8.5″ and only weights 4.68 lbs. A smaller pump allows you as a new mom, to easily fit it in diaper bag so you don’t have ONE more thing to carry with you.
  • This pump has good reviews for suction ability.  Suction ability is important for a number of reasons including: good suction can speed up your pumping session, good suction also helps empty your breast completely which is important to maintain milk supply.
  • The pump parts are typically easy to find and can be interchangeable with other pump brands like Hygeia. This is a beneficial feature as not all pumps have the same size flanges- so being able to use another pump flange may help a mother find a flange that fits them better. This pump does however, offer multiple size flanges which can be ordered online or purchased in stores. Having a large variety of flanges to choose from can also make this pump more comfortable to use, as finding the correct flange is very important for comfort while pumping.

This pump is perfect for women who:

  1. Plan on pumping away from home- as its small and easy to travel with.
  2. Are unsure on flange size and/or have different size breast- as this pump has a wide variety of flange sizes AND can be interchanged with other pumps flanges.

#2: Medela Symphony (Best Overall)

So if money is not a concern and you are planning on exclusively pumping the Medela Symphony “hospital grade” breast pump is a great option . A “Hospital grade” breast pump can typically be rented.

The Medela Symphony is a double electric hospital grade pump. The Medela Symphony is proven to reduce pumping time due to its motors ability to remove milk faster similar to a breastfeeding baby.

This breast pump has many other favorable features such as:

  • This pump can be used to single or double pump. Having the ability to pump both sides at once, can save pumping mothers a lot of time. 
  • This pump is easy to use with one knob control. Which as a new mother you will be thankful for when you are trying to pump when you have a hungry infant.
  • This pump is one of the quieter pumps- allowing you to pump while baby is sleeping if needed.
  • It has a convenient let-down button to help stimulate breast milk flow. This button switches to the perfect speed and suction for letdown, without the hassle of figuring it out on your own.
  • Feutres a 2-phase expression technology that is supposed to mimic a baby’s nursing rhythm to help stimulate and maintain milk through throughout the pumping session
  • You can get use this pump with batteries or car plug-in adapter. There is nothing worse then being on the go and realizing you NEED to pump now and have no electricity. Having a pump that has the ability to use batteries or a car plug- in adapter will prevent this issue.
  • This pump has good reviews for suction ability, and has been used in nurmors hospitals to help new mom stimulate their breast milk, after birth.  Suction ability is important for a number of reasons including: good suction can speed up your pumping session, good suction also helps empty your breast completely which is important to maintain milk supply.
  • The pump parts are typically easy to find and can be interchangeable with other pump brands like Hygeia. This is a beneficial feature as not all pumps have the same size flanges- so being able to use another pump flange may help a mother find a flange that fits them better. This pump does however, offer multiple size flanges which can be ordered online or purchased in stores. Having a large variety of flanges to choose from can also make this pump more comfortable to use, as finding the correct flange is very important for comfort while pumping.

This pump is perfect for women who:

  1. Needs the benefit of maintaining milk supply due to being away from their infant from long periods of time.
  2. Has a baby who is unable to latch and they need a pump to help establish milk supply.
  3. Has unlimited funds to purchase a breast pump.
  4. Is looking for quicker pumping sessions.
  5. Is unsure on flange size and/or have different size breast- as this pump has a wide variety of flange sizes AND can be interchanged with other pumps flanges.
  6. Wants to exclusively pump.

#3: Willow Electric pump (Best Wearable Breast Pump)

This pump can be very useful for working moms that do not have the time or place to pump at work. It allows you to pump anywhere; it is completely hands and wire free. This pump is quiet and discrete compared to a traditional electric breast pump.

This breast pump has many other favorable features such as:

  • This pump utilizes a rechargeable battery that should last up to five pumping sessions.
  • This pump is super easy to clean as it only has two parts to clean and they are dishwasher safe.
  • This pump offers “smart” technology that will adjust suction based on breast milk output, plus has multiple suction settings.

This pump is perfect for women who:

  1. Are working who has no place or time to pump at work.
  2. Has a higher budget to purchase a breast pump.

#4: Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump (Best Manual Pump)

If you are looking for a manual pump Lansinoh Manual Breast pump is the best option.

This breast pump has many other favorable features such as:

  • This hand pump is super easy to use.
  • It has two pumping modes, one to stimulate let down and the other to maintain milk flow.
  • This hand pump, like most, is easy to assemble and easy to clean.
  • The design of this pump futures ergonomic express handles which reduces hand fatigue.
  • This breast pump is compact: 7.8″ x 7.6″ x 4.1″, so easy for on the go use.

This pump is perfect for women who:

  1. Are casual pumpers
  2. A mom that does not respond to an electric breast pump
  3. A mom that does do not have easy access to electricity- due to work or living arrangements
  4. A mom that just wants a backup hand pump.

#5: Spectra S1 & S2 (Best for Budget)

For mothers that may be on a budget, but still want the convince of a closed system, double electric pump, the Spectra S1 or S2 is the best option. It can typically be purchased/provided by insurance.

This breast pump has many other favorable features such as:

  • This pump can be used to single or double pump. Having the ability to pump both sides at once, can save pumping mothers a lot of time. 
  • This pump is one of the quieter pumps- allowing you to pump while baby is sleeping if needed.
  • the pump has two pumping modes one to stimulate letdown, and another to maintain milk flow. It does offer a convenient “massage” button to help with letdown.
  • The difference between the Spectra S1 and S2, is the S1 can use a rechargeable battery compared to the S2 which has to be plugged in.
  • It is a closed system pump- preventing milk to get into the pump/tubing system- which can make clean up easier.
  • This pump has an LED screen and night light, making pumping in dim lighting easier.
  • This pump is light weight, weighing in at only 3 lbs.

This pump is perfect for women who:

  1. Is working mom who is on a budget and has a well established milk supply

#5: Lansinoh Smartpump 2.0 (Best Smartump)

For mothers who want to track every pumping session and milk output, and who wants the convenience of a quite double electric pump.

This breast pump has many other favorable features such as:

  • This pump can be used to single or double pump. Having the ability to pump both sides at once, can save pumping mothers a lot of time. 
  • This pump has an ultra quiet motor – allowing you to pump while baby is sleeping or if need to pump discreetly
  • the pump has two pumping modes – let down and expression modes with automatic switching. This allows mom to pump without having to switch any settings once milk starts expressing
  • You can get use this pump with AC adapter, batteries or car plug-in adapter. There is nothing worse than being on the go and realizing you NEED to pump now and have no electricity. Having a pump that has the ability to use batteries or a car plug- in adapter will prevent this issue.
  • The smart technology also allows your pump to remember you settings you had during your last pumping session, so no need to remember which section level you used last time.
  • Uses Bluetooth to automatically track pumping sessions with the Lansinoh Baby 2.0 app
  • It is a closed system pump- preventing milk to get into the pump/tubing system- which can make clean up easier.
  • This pump has an LED screen, so easy to see settings.
  • This pump is lightweight
  • Lansinoh also offers ComfortFit flanges that are softer and more flexible.

This pump is perfect for women who:

  1. Is a pumping mom who wants/needs to keep track of each pumping session and milk output.
  2. Plan on pumping away from home- as its small and easy to travel with.
  3. Is wanting to exclusively pump.

Verdict: Your Best Breast Pump 

If you want the best value for money, the Medela Pump in Style.

If your budget isn’t an issue, you need to establish or maintain milk supply and you want the best of the best, pick the Medela Symphony.

If you are a working mom with no time or place to pump, pick the Willow Wearable breast pump.

If you are looking for a manual pump, pick the Lansinoh Manual Breast pump.

If you are on a tight budget, the Spectra S1 or S2.

If you are a tracker, and want a pump to do the tracking for you, Lansinoh Smartpump 2.0.

Picking the best breast pump just depends on your needs. Just enjoy the pumping and breastfeeding experience.

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