9 Best Breast Pumps for Every Kind of Mom
August 18, 2017
When it comes to prepping for baby’s arrival, choosing the best breast pump isn’t nearly as fun as picking out a cute layette, but the right one can change your life (really!). Pumping not only allows you to collect breast milk when you’re separated from baby, but it also helps breastfeeding moms keep up their milk supply. Plus, pumping lets you build up a milk stash to freeze and store if you’re returning to work or traveling without baby. All good things for women who’ve decided to breastfeed. So what are some top considerations to keep in mind when shopping, and which are the best breast pumps on the market today? Keep reading.
Since the first at-home electric breast pump debuted in the US in 1991, moms have been able to take more control of their schedule. And while all breast pumps promise to do the same thing—retrieve your milk—not all pumps are equal when it comes to a mom and her specific needs. There are many factors to consider, from suction speed and flange style to whether or not the carrying case is insulated. Here, we break down the three main types to help you find the best breast pump for your needs.
1. Electric breast pump. Considered the most popular of the three choices, personal breast pumps allow you to adjust both the speed and suction. A double electric breast pump empties both breasts at the same time, making it an especially efficient choice for women pumping at work. Most electric breast pumps can be plugged in or run on batteries and range from $100 to $500.
2. Manual breast pump. This style pump doesn’t have a motor, meaning you’ll have to squeeze the lever repeatedly to create the suction needed to express milk. While they’re not as efficient as electric pumps, they’re much quieter, smaller and cheaper, making them a great travel option or a good choice if you don’t pump often. Manual breast pump prices are typically around $40 or less.
3. Hospital-grade breast pump. The most efficient type of breast pump out there, a heavy-duty hospital-grade pump sucks at a faster and stronger frequency. It’s also the most expensive type of breast pump—typically above $1,000—so they’re often available to rent.
4. Wearable breast pump. This is the newest style of breast pumps on the market. Rather than having a separate motor that conencts to flanges and bottles, wearable breast pumps combine the motor and milk collection system into a single piece that you wear inside your bra, letting you pump hands-free while on the move. These pumps are pricey, hovering around $500 for a double electric version.
Whether you’re looking for a highly efficient double electric breast pump, something lightweight and portable or a pump that won’t break the bank, we’ve rounded up the best breast pumps available today.
Best Manual Breast Pump
If you plan on pumping a bottle for baby once in awhile (or want a backup pump), you may only need a manual breast pump—and the best manual breast pump for the job is the best-selling Harmony Breast Pump by Medela. It works to produce more milk in less time with “2-Phase Expression” technology, mimicking the fast beginning and slower progression of breastfeeding. And it comes with a convenient stand to prevent spills.
Buy it: Medela Harmony Breast Pump, $30, BuyBuyBaby.com
Best Electric Breast Pump
The Sonata Smart Double Electric Breast Pump, another top offering from Medela, offers hospital-grade performance and high portability, thanks to a rechargeable battery, making it one of the best electric breast pumps in our book. (It also snagged a 2019 Best of Baby award.) Adjustable speeds and presets make it easy to find a setting that works for you. You can even connect to the MyMedela app to track your pumping sessions and get personalized tips from lactation consultants.
Buy it: Medela Sonata Smart Hospital Breast Pump, $360, BuyBuyBaby.com
Best Breast Pump For Working Moms
Continuing our love affair with Medela breast pumps, we’re picking the new Freestyle Flex Portable Double Electric Breast Pump as the best breast pump for working moms (and really, all moms). Efficiency and easy portability are key for working women, and this breast pump checks both boxes. The 2-Phase Expression technology and flex fit breast shields help women produce more milk in less time, which is key when you’ve got back-to-back meetings. The motor is powerful but quiet enough that you can pump while on a conference call, and no one will be the wiser. But what really earns this the title of best breast pump for working moms is that it weighs less than 1 pound (no schelping a heavy pump to and from the office or on work trips), is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand (slip it into your normal work bag and you’re good to go!) and has a USB chargeable battery (so you don’t have to worry about scrambling to find an outlet!). It even comes with a sleek black carry bag.
Buy it: Medela Freestyle Flex Portable Double Breast Pump, $325, BuyBuyBaby.com
Best Portable Breast Pump
Sure, you can snag a standard double electric breast pump that’s compact and lightweight, but for the best portable breast pump, consider the Elvie. This innovative breast pump features two “hubs” that each combine a motor and milk collection container into one unit that you can then place inside your bra cups. As a wearable breast pump, it’s completely wire- and tube-free, meaning you can get up and go about your daily routine while you pump. Ah, freedom! It’s billed as the world’s first silent breast pump, so you can express milk on the go without everyone around you knowing what you’re up to. Monitor how much milk you’re expressing with the free app.
Buy it: Elvie Double Electric Breast Pump, $499, Skinstore.com
Best Wearable Breast Pump
Like the Elvie, the Willow—another all-in-one, wearable breast pump—lets moms slip it into their bra and pump hands-free while going about their daily lives, whether tackling house chores, taking conference calls, meeting up with friends or even lying down to read a book. That’s right—with this wearable breast pump, you can lie down or bend over all while expressing milk! It doesn’t come with any of the usual cords or long tubes—instead, the flanges, milk collection bags and ultra-quiet motor are combined into two separate pumps that you slip over your breasts and into your bra. Willow senses your letdown and automatically switches phases from stimulation to expression. You can track how much you’re pumping and for how long using the corresponding app.
Buy it: Willow Wearable Breast Pump Generation 3, $500, shop.willowpump.com
Best Hands-Free Breast Pump Accessory Kit
Without a special pumping bra, even the best breast pumps don’t always offer hands-free freedom. For those who have a traditional electric breast pump but don’t want to sit there holding their flanges, Freemie Collection Cups are the best hands-free breast pump accessories. It connects directly to your pump motor (via closed system tubing) and replaces the original accessories—but unlike the flanges and bottles that came with your pump, you can slip the Freemie cups inside your regular bra under your shirt and keep your hands free for other things. It’s compatible with many of the leading breast pumps, like the Medela Pump in Style and Symphony, as well as the Spectra S1, S2 and 9Plus, among several others.
Buy it: Freemie Collection Cups, $60, Amazon.com
Best Breast Pump for Travel
Going on a road trip and it’s a given you want to travel light? The Philips Avent electric breast pump is the best travel breast pump. It’s small, with fewer parts for easy cleaning. And it boasts intelligent design: The neck is angled for sitting and pumping comfortably, while the included bottles and nipples are shaped more like mom to help baby switch back and forth from breast to bottle. Bonus: you can pump right into them—meaning fewer bottles to pack.
Buy it: Phillips Avent Double Electric Breast Pump, $195, Walmart.com
Best Hospital-Grade Breast Pump
The Spectra S1Plus electric breast pump packs the best of two worlds: It has the strength and high performance of a hospital-strength breast pump, but its built-in rechargeable battery means you can bring it just about anywhere. Another winning feature is its closed system, which prevents milk (and therefore bacteria, mold and viruses) from backing up into the tubing.
Buy it: Spectra S1Plus, $200, Amazon.com
Best Affordable Breast Pump
You don’t always need a pricey, hospital-grade breast pump for high-tech efficiency. Meet the Lansinoh SmartPump 2.0, one of the best affordable breast pumps around. The motor quietly powers three pumping styles and eight suction levels, so you’re sure to find a setting that works for you. Plus, it’s lightweight and can be battery-powered for mobility. It also connects via Bluetooth to Lansinoh’s free tracking app, letting you record milk volume as well as log each session date and time. The best part is, you can score a best-in-class breast pump for far less than other leading double electric pumps on the market.
Buy it: Lansinoh SmartPump 2.0 Double Electric Breast Pump, $128, Amazon.com
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