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How to Choose The Right Breast Pump

How to Choose The Right Breast Pump

At some point during the months after you first start breast feeding your baby, you'll probably consider getting a breast pump. Pumping milk not only enables you or others to bottle-feed your baby, it can increase your supply. But with so many breast pump brands and models available, how do you know which pump is right for you? To help you decide, we’ve rounded up advice from Circle of Moms members who are veteran pumpers.

Manual vs. Electric

One of the first considerations when choosing a breast pump is whether you should purchase an electric or manual pump. Most moms say electric breast pumps are more effective, but they are also more expensive. As a result, Circle of Moms member Kairy S. suggests evaluating how frequently you'll need to pump: "It really depends on your needs. If you want a pump for just making a bottle every once in a while, a manual pump is fine (and cheaper). I really liked my Avent Isis. However, if your baby will get a lot of bottles and you plan on going to work, a double electric pump, for instance from Medela, is worth the investment."

Renting vs. Buying

Another factor to consider when researching breast pumps is whether to buy or rent.

Many moms, including Sara B., recommend renting a pump before buying, to try it out. "My hospital rented out pumps. It's a good idea to maybe do that first if you're going to pump, just to see if it will actually work for you. You don't want to spend $300 on a pump if breastfeeding doesn't work out for you or if you can't use a pump, which some women do find they have difficulty with."


Cost isn't the only reason to consider renting, however. As Amanda A. advises: "Rent the hospital pump. Nothing will work the best like the hospital one. I've tried [a] Medela and a pump from Kohl's. But they just didn't work like the hospital one."

If you want to buy but are wary of high price tags, Circle of Moms members have also suggested buying new pumps on eBay, or buying one second-hand and sterilizing it.


Mom-Recommended Breast Pump Brands

There are numerous breast pump brands to choose from; here are four that come highly recommended by Circle of Moms members.

1. Medela  

Medela is one of the most popular breast pump brands. It's also one of the most expensive. As Zandra H. shares: “I have tried a couple of brands and by far the Medela is worth it! It can be expensive so you can also rent a pump as well. But they are definitely the best brand in my opinion.” 

Rebecca K. elaborates on the reasons she likes Medela's pumps: "I have both the Medela Harmony manual pump and the Medela Swing pump. The Medela brand pumps have a let-down feature and suction setting so you can set the pump up just for you. They are also very portable and work on batteries or plug in. They are pricey but if you exclusively pump or pump a lot (at work or for supply issues, etc.) then I would definitely recommend Medela. I have yet to hear anything bad about them other than the price. But really if you were to add up the cost and frustration you get from a cheaper pump, the cost of a Medela is definitely worth it!!"

2. Ameda

 Ameda is another popular breast pump brand. As Heather B. points out, two advantages of the Ameda are that it is a closed system pump, and may be less expensive than comparable Medela pumps: "The one I use and love is the Ameda Purely Yours. It is the only personal pump that has been shown not to allow milk through the tubes back into the pump. It is also convenient to use, in my opinion. Additionally, it is significantly lower in price than the comparable Medela pump, which I consider very important!"  Jacquelyn S. agrees: "I also have an Ameda Purely Yours and I like it - it works well, is small and not too is cheaper too :)"


3. Avent

For infrequent or manual pumping, one of the top brands recommended by Circle of Moms members is Avent. Katherine explains: “If you're just going to pump occasionally, the Avent Isis IQ, or even just the manual Avent pump works well.” Sharon B. agrees: "I also had an Avent manual pump. It was fantastic and it really didn't take much effort to get the milk to come out. It was comfortable too."

Another reason to buy Avent pumps is their affordability, says Shannon D.: "I was recommended a hand pump from the hospitals lactation nurse: the Phillips Avent single hand. It was only $35. It worked GREAT!"

4. Playtex

According to many Circle of Moms members, Playtex's breast pumps strike a good balance between affordability, effectiveness, and comfort.

As Erica L. shares: "I used the Playtex Embrace single or double pump. It has three settings and I used the second setting and it was wonderful. Really liked it because I could use it as a single or a double pump, and it was really simple to use (great for when you are tired)...I would definitely recommend this pump to everyone for affordability, functionality and ease of use."

Monica S. agrees: "I work full-time so I had to express milk at least once a day for a bottle for the sitter. I pumped...using the Playtex double electric pump. I got this pump for about $70 on sale at Babies R Us. I found the suction sufficient at the middle setting...and was able to get between 6 and 8 ounces per pumping session (about 15 min)."

Which brand and model of breast pump would you recommend?



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Image Source: planet_oleary via Flickr/Creative Commons

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