Pumping Mamas: A Breakdown on How to Buy A Pump

When our first was born I registered for a manual pump to compliment breastfeeding which I was confident would be an easy task since its natural.  Not so easy it turns out.  I had a beautiful, healthy and even happy baby unless we were trying to feed him in which case he was a screaming terror.  He had a bit of jaundice in the first week so it was important for him to have plenty of milk so I used my manual pump and started pumping.  We were then able to feed our baby in silent bliss.  This was the beginning of the end for breastfeeding but I wasn’t about to fork out money for formula when I had all this milk available for free.  So I continued pumping and attempting to breastfeed to no avail.  I began to pump full time with a manual pump.  A few weeks go by and I figured I should buy an electrical one.  So I bought a small but nice single electric pump.  Used that for a month and bought myself a second small but nice single electric pump.  Finally after a couple months more I forked over the money and bought a nice double electric pump.  The double electric is just what I needed and in the end I pumped for over 10 months, I could have gone longer but truthfully the full time pumping became tiresome.  Number 2 is here now and exclusively breastfeeds and actually refuses to drink from a bottle.  Needless to say a double electric pump is overkill and I am back to using the manual pump if I need one. 

Here is your guide on how not to do what I did.  Manual pumps are inexpensive so I urge everyone to get one.  I took my manual with me on outings since its small enough to fit in the diaper bag but still does the job in case we were out longer then planned.  Even when pumping full time I felt my manual pump did a better job of clearing a plugged duct so I am glad I had it around.  Which manual pump to get is important since when it comes to breast pumps you get what you pay for.  Some of our favorites are:

Ameda One Hand Manual Pump

This ergonomic and compact manual pump earned the High Design-Innovation Quality from Design Zentum Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany. It’s easy-to-use and allows you to vary the frequency and degree of the handle squeeze for more effective pumping.  Multiple flange sizes available.

AVENT Isis Manual Pump

The Philips AVENT Manual Breast Pump was the first ever designed to stimulate milk flow in a way that closely mimics the suckling action of a baby. The AVENT Isis manual breast pump has not only been clinically proven to be as effective as a hospital-grade electric pump – it was rated significantly more comfortable and pleasant to use.  Only one flange size available, may not be suitable for some women.

Medela Harmony Pump

The Medela Harmony is preferred by 9 out of 10 moms over other manual pumps.  Produces more milk in less time with 2-Phase Expression® technology.  This pump is also upgradeable to electric pumping with other Medela pumps.  Multiple flange sizes available.

For stay at home mothers a manual breast pump may be all you will need.  Mothers who work away from the home either part-time or full-time will want a double electric pump.  There are some affordable double pumps that will work well for mothers pumping daily.  All of our recommended pumps mimic your baby’s unique suckling patterns with customizable speed and pressure controls.  Here are our favorite double electric pumps:

Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump

The Ameda is amazingly compact and lightweight, weighing in at only a pound.  The unique design prevents milk and moisture from entering tubing, saving you time by keeping the tubes clean.  We love that this pump operates using 3 power sources – AC adapter, AA batteries or optional car adapter allowing you to use this pump anywhere.  Multiple size flanges available.

Avent Twin Electric Pump

The Philips AVENT Twin Electronic Breast Pumps take the clinically proven design of our manual breast pump to the next level thanks to an electronic memory. It notes the speed, rhythm and suction level at which you’re expressing, and then automatically continues it for you.  The AVENT does not come with multiple size flanges so this would not be an appropriate pump for women with smaller or larger nipples.  Only works with Ameda baby bottles.

Hygeia EnJoye

Hygeia Enjoye features the unique Hygeia CARE Button for Customized, Audio, Recording, Experience so you can record your baby or other sound to enhance your breastpumping experience which is recommended to help mothers with supply issues produce more milk.  The Hygeia can be shared by multiple mothers when each has her own personal accessory set which means it is safe to find this pump used to save cash or sell it once you are done.  Three models available depending on what power supply you want to use: external power, internal rechargeable battery, or external battery pack.  A car charger is not included but is available for purchase.  Hygeia only makes one flange size but mothers have reported that the Medela flanges will fit this pump meaning women of all sizes can use this pump.

Medela Pump in Style

Using the same philosophy of their manual pump Medela promises more milk in less time with their 2-Phase Expression® technology when pumping at Maximum Comfort Vacuum.  The Pump in Style comes in several styles; the shoulder bag, the backpack, and metro bag.  All of the styles include external power adapters and battery packs.  A car adapter is available for purchase separately.  Multiple size flanges available.  May have to clean tubes more often then some of the other high end pumps.

For mothers who will be pumping full time due to their babies not being able to breastfeed should look at renting a pump.  If you can get a prescription from a doctor, the cost of the pump may be covered by most insurance companies.  If you are unable to get a prescription and you plan to use the pump longer then 5 months you should check out the options above before making the decision to rent.  Also working mothers who plan on pumping less then 5 months might also look at their renting options but don’t forget to consider future babies’ needs into the mix.  To help you find the right pump we have included the details of the leading rentals to help aid your decision.  Unfortunately sometimes finding the right pump requires trial and error since every mom’s comfort level is different.


Elite: 6lbs, 30-60 cycles per minute, AC powered(battery and car adapter optional), multiple flange sizes available.

Lact-e: 11lbs, 48 cycles per minute, must be plugged in.


Endeare: 35-65 cycles per minute, AC & rechargeable battery (car adapter optional)


Classic: 5lbs, 48 cycles per minute, must be plugged in, multiple flange sizes available

Lactina: 5lbs, 48 to 60 cycles per minute, AC, battery and car adapters, multiple flange sizes available

Symphony: 7lbs, 48 cycles per minute, AC and Battery powered, multiple flange sizes available.

Which ever pump you choose be sure to find the right flange size for yourself.  Research has shown one-third or more new mothers pump more comfortably and effectively with a larger flange! When do you need a larger flange size? If you feel discomfort when pumping, even on low suction, or pump less milk than you believe you should.

There are a few accessories on the market making life easier for the frequent pumper.  First off our favorite hands free bands/bras are Pumpease and Made by Moms Pumping Band.  For comfort we love the Pumpin Pals inserts because they allow you the freedom to sit back without spilling precious milk.  For freezer storage we love Lansinoh and Medela bags.  Lastly our favorite same day use storage system is the Playtex Drop-Ins Breast Milk Storage Kit.  This Playtex kits fits on most breast pumps (does not include AVENT).  You can use the same liner for pumping, storing, and feeding which means you don’t lose any milk in transfer.

– Contributed by Melissa