If you are a mom looking for a way to express milk and store it for later, you need a breast pump. But things are not as easy as picking the first breast pump you find on a store or online; you need to pick the breast pump that will better fits your needs.
There are two main types of products you can find: manual and automatic breast pumps (the latter often called electric pumps). This doesn’t mean that one is better than the other, it’s just a matter of perspective, or in other words picking the best alternative for the job.
During the time I was breastfeeding my babies I’ve used both of them, because they are helpful in certain situation. Of course, every product has its pros and cons, so we will take a look at them below.
Manual Breast Pump Pros
As the name implies, manual breast pumps let you express milk but you have to do it by hand, or to be more specific, manipulating a vacuum system. There are many advantages in using this type of pump, the first one is that it is way cheaper than an electric pump. You will find that even the best alternatives don’t cost you more than $30 (they’re usually in the $20s though), even when talking about the best alternatives in the market.
Manual pumps are also very small and lightweight. The whole kit consists of only a few parts that are easy to assemble when to you need to clean it and sterilize it. These pumps fit easily in any baby bag, so you don’t need to have an additional bag to carry it around.
Another advantage of using these pumps is that they are very quiet and easy to use even in small spaces. This comes in handy when you don’t want to attract attention.
Manual Breast Pump Cons
Now let’s talk about the disadvantages of manual breast pumps. The first one is that it can be very tiring on the hand if you use them regularly, many times throughout the day. If you are planning to use a manual breast pump for building your milk stash on the freezer, you’ll have a tough job at hand. It’s not impossible, but it is certainly an option just for moms who want to strengthen their hand muscles!
Another disadvantage is that they express milk slower than electric pumps. This happens in part because your hand and mind (it is a monotonous task to express, express and keep on expressing milk) get fatigued over time. Even the most effective manual breast pumps need you to manually express milk, so that’s something that you need to keep in mind.
Automatic Breast Pump Pros
Automatic breast pumps are oftentimes preferred by working moms or moms who want to build a milk supply, and that’s thanks to the advantages of using one. Let’s start with their ability to express milk fast, steadily and with power. Electric pumps work with piston motors and a pump system that collects milk from your breasts automatically. They are very easy to use and have adjustable controls that let you change both the suction speed and strength.
The best automatic breast pumps come with advanced technology, capable of imitating the natural suckling of your baby, starting fast and then reducing the speed after milk has started to flow. This is an incredibly effective system that pumps milk in the most natural way, without producing discomfort.
These types of pumps can be used regularly, everyday. It won’t tire your hands, and most of the automatic pumps are designed for daily use. You may want to look into affordable hospital grade breast pumps if you need to pump a lot, for example if you have twins.
You can also buy a breast pump bra and go completely hands-free while expressing milk. These bras are designed to hold a breast pump kit securely in place while you take care of other things. Using the battery of the pump you can even walk around your home while pumping!
Automatic Breast Pump Cons
Of course, everything that is useful and convenient comes with a price, and in the case of electric pumps we are talking about a price that is considerably higher than the price of manual breast pumps. Let’s take as an example, two of the most popular automatic breast pumps in the market, the Medela Pump In Style. It’s price is usually around $250 and $300 depending on where you buy it. And if we talk about hospital-grade breast pumps we can make that number even higher!
Another disadvantage of using an electric breast pump is noise. I’ve tried a lot of different electric breast pumps and they all have in common one thing: the humming motor noise. It varies from brand to brand as you can tell from our reviews, but even the quietest breast pump produces that hum. In the best case they are quiet enough not to draw attention to what you are doing so you can pump discreetly or pump one breast while your baby is feeding from the other, falling asleep.
These types of pumps usually have more parts, which means that you’ll spend more time cleaning them. That’s no big deal though, because as time passes you’ll get accustomed to cleaning the parts but it still something that takes some time.
In What Situations We Recommend Using a Manual Breast Pump?
You should use a top-quality manual pump if you are just looking to express milk once in a while. You may be currently breastfeeding your baby but there are times when you will need to be away from home for one reason or another, maybe you’ll need to attend a meeting so you will need to pump some milk to keep your baby full for a few hours.
I’ve used these pumps for a while to express excess milk from my breast after breastfeeding and avoid breast engorgement and they the job just fine.
In What Cases We Recommend Using an Electric Breast Pump?
These types of pumps can prove to be invaluable for moms that are returning to school or work and don’t have enough time to properly breastfeed their babies. Using a double electric pump can help you build a stash of milk pretty quickly, allowing you to store milk for many days ahead (just be sure you label all the bottle correctly with the date the milk was expressed).
They can also be extremely helpful for moms who have twins, allowing them to build and maintain a steady milk supply.
So, What Type of Breast Pump Is Best?
As you can see, to choose the right type of pump you need to keep in mind your budget and the frequency of use. It’s not complicated, but make sure you read reviews and pick a top-quality breast pump that won’t break easily, won’t produce pain when extracting milk and most importantly, feels comfortable to use.
Go to Best Breast Pumps Home