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- If you’re a nursing mom who plans to spend more than a couple hours away from your baby, pumping is a necessary evil.
- It keeps your milk supply up and ensures your kiddo has enough to eat.
- The Medela Pump In Style Advanced is a great option for moms who want to get their pumping done quickly and easily.
Whether you’re running an errand, taking a short trip or heading back to work full-time, you’ll need a good breast pump to get you through those times when you can’t breastfeed your baby directly. Using a breast pump when you would normally nurse your baby is critical since it tells your body you still need to make milk. It also helps you build up a supply of breast milk that others can give your little one while you’re gone.
It’s rare to find a mom who actually enjoys pumping, so choosing an effective breast pump that works best for your situation is all the more important. There are a number of expert reviews of breast pumps, and they’ve also inspired a ton of real-world feedback on retail sites. I also took into consideration my own experience pumping on and off for my two young sons. All of those perspectives yielded our picks for the best breast pumps.
We’ve included an easy-to-use model for working moms or any frequent pumper, an equally efficient pump that’s also ultra-hygienic, a unique pump that keeps your hands completely free for multitasking, a lightweight single electric pump that’s great for travel, and an inexpensive manual pump that’s ideal for occasional use.
Here are the best breast pumps you can buy:
- Best breast pump overall: Medela Pump In Style Advanced
- Best closed-system breast pump: Spectra Baby USA S1
- Best breast pump for multitaskers: Freemie Freedom
- Best breast pump for travel: Yunbaby Portable Breast Pump
- Best manual breast pump: Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump
Updated on 02/14/2019 by Steven John: Added a new travel-friendly breast pump, updated prices, and updated formatting.
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best breast pump overall
Why you’ll love it: The Medela Pump in Style Advanced offers a hard-to-beat combination of efficiency and ease of use, making the tiresome chore of pumping quicker and less frustrating.
A longtime favorite of moms who have to pump frequently, the Medela Pump in Style Advanced simply outclasses most other double electric breast pumps on the market. One of its signature features is portability.
The pump, while not the lightest at more than six pounds, is built into an inconspicuous black tote bag (or backpack, if you prefer) that holds everything you need — tubing, bottles, breast shields. There’s even a removable cooler bag with an ice pack to keep milk at a safe temperature during a long commute. When you’re ready to pump, you simply unzip a little panel in the tote, which reveals all of the controls and tube hookups.
As convenient as the Pump in Style Advanced is, it’s also ultra-efficient. With this pump “you can empty both breasts in a short amount of time with great comfort,” says Baby Bargains. Part of that is thanks to Medela’s two-phase expression technology, which mimics how a baby first stimulates milk flow at the breast, then settles into a slower sucking pattern. Suction is easily controlled with a dial.
It’s also worth noting that Medela parts and accessories are widely available at big-box stores, and Medela makes five sizes of breast shields that help make sure you can find a comfortable fit. Also, if you’re away from an outlet, you can use eight AAs in a pinch.
The main con of the Pump in Style Advanced is that it’s an open system. That means there’s no barrier between the pump itself and the parts used to collect milk, so there’s a higher risk of mold or bacteria growth, particularly in the tubing. Baby Gear Lab testers noted condensation building up in the tubing after six pumping sessions, and while they say suction was as strong as ever, “we were concerned with the risk of mildew building up.” Testers there also ding the Pump in Style for being a bit noisy, a concern echoed by many Amazon reviewers.
Overall, it’s still your best bet for pumping quickly and easily on the go.
Pros: Very fast and efficient, two-phase letdown, adjustable suction, comes with several accessories, pump is integrated into an easy-to-carry pump or backpack, parts are widely available
Cons: Expensive, heavy, open system means tubes are at greater risk for mold and mildew growth
The best closed-system breast pump
Why you’ll love it: The Spectra Baby USA S1 uses a hygienic closed system that is quiet, easy to use, and simple to keep clean.
The double electric Spectra S1 may be less well known than our top pick, but it has been giving the Medela a run for its money ever since it was released. It’s lighter than our top pick at only four pounds, and while it doesn’t have the included tote, it does feature a rechargeable battery. There’s no need to worry about having a zillion AAs on hand if you’re away from an outlet. And as a closed system, the tubes are less likely to collect moisture that can become a breeding ground for mold.
Like the Medela, the Spectra has a special mode to stimulate let down before switching to a slower suction once milk is flowing, and testers with Baby Gear Lab even give it a slight edge over that pump for comfort and efficiency. They also say it’s nice and quiet, with an unobtrusive “shhhhh” sound. Many Amazon reviewers who’ve used both pumps agree that the Spectra is better on both accounts, and they love that it also has a gentle nightlight and a timer with an automatic shutoff for drowsy nighttime pumping.
What’s not to like? Spectra isn’t the household name that Medela is, so as Baby Bargains notes, parts are pricier and not as readily available. There are less breast shield sizes available, too, which could potentially be a deal-breaker for larger- or smaller-chested women.
Many Amazon reviewers complain that everything except for the pump is cheap and flimsy. Frequent complaints include bottles that don’t secure well to the flanges and tubes that don’t stay connected to the pump. It’s also worth noting that Baby Gear Lab’s Spectra pump simply quit working after six months of use.
However, most agree that it’s a good breast pump for those who want a closed system. If you’re worried about the price, you can check for Bed Bath & Beyond coupons on our coupons page.
Pros: Very fast and efficient, two-phase let down, adjustable suction, quiet, can use regular power or batteries, closed system is more hygienic
Cons: Doesn’t come with tote, parts more limited and harder to get, milk collection kit is flimsy, some durability concerns
The best breast pump for multitaskers
Why you’ll love it: The Freemie Freedom makes it possible to pump completely hands-free — even in front of other people — without the need for a special hands-free bra.
As its name suggests, the Freemie Freedom double electric aims to liberate moms who have to scuttle to some dark corner of the office in order to pump. The system features eight-ounce concealable cups with integrated breast shields that go under your top and actually sit inside your bra while they collect milk. That means the shields and bottles aren’t hanging off your chest like usual, making it easier to pump without complete privacy or move more than a few inches without leaks and spills. The Freedom is also a closed system, so there are fewer worries about perfect pump hygiene.
But does it work? Yes, says Exclusive Pumping. The reviewer says you’ll be able to “type on a laptop or bottle-feed a baby” while pumping away. Another big boon is that the pump isn’t as loud as others. Pregnancy and Newborn says that the motor has a “consistent quiet sound” that doesn’t strain and get louder when you turn up the pump’s power.
While anyone who’s around will still realize what you’re doing, it’s miles more discreet than other options, most Amazon reviewers say. Lucie’s List loves that all of Freemie’s “bits and pieces are much easier to clean than with the traditional setup,” though notes that the cups aren’t dishwasher-safe.
There are a few downsides, of course. Baby Bargains says you may be sacrificing pumping power in order to keep things less conspicuous. For a lot of moms, that’s a big consideration — after all, most just want to get pumping over with as fast as possible — and some Amazon reviewers say it makes more sense to get the Freemie cups separately and a more powerful pump from another compatible brand. You’ll also be adding the extra step of pouring milk from the collection cups into bottles or freezer bags. There is no battery option, either, so you can’t go cord-free.
Regardless, it’s a decent option for moms who want to have a bit more freedom of movement while pumping.
Pros: Can pump with bra and shirt on, quiet, adjustable suction, collection cups can be used with several other popular pumps, closed system is more hygienic
Cons: Not powerful enough for some, must pour milk into bottles or bags after pumping, no battery option, cups aren’t dishwasher-safe
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