Even though you breastfeed your baby, they may still be bottle fed. When you go out for the evening, while at work, or if your partner wants to feed the baby, they can use bottles filled with breast milk.
To fill the bottles, you will need a breast pump to extract the milk. There are many types of breast pumps available, and this information can help you find the best one for your needs.
Breast pump options
Choosing a breast pump
Top 5 best breast pumps
When shopping for breast pumps, you will come across three main types: those which are manually operated, battery-operated or electric pumps. They also have hands-free versions because most pumps must be held in place by your hands, a band, or a nursing bra.
Many women buy manual breast pumps to carry in their diaper bags, so they can pump whenever necessary. Most women produce about 25 to 35 ounces of breast milk every 24 hours, which will fulfill most babies needs for the day. So, a working mother will need to express milk while away from home.
Women who are away from their babies during the day, such as working mothers, will need express milk every three hours for babies who are under six months of age. Having a manual pump with them allows mothers to go into a private area and pump what their babies need.
Since they don’t require power, they don’t make any noises. When you’re pumping milk, its quiet operation allows the privacy you need if you’re in a restroom or a women’s lounge trying to pump milk.
Many breastfeeding moms opt to use battery-operated pumps because they work faster than manual pumps. Also, they can choose breast pumps that allow them to do both breasts at once, instead of one at a time like manual pumps. For moms with an office, a battery-operated pump could be a good option because they can shut their doors for privacy while pumping.
Along with a manual pump for times when they are away from home, many women have an electric breast pump in the nursery. It allows them to quickly express their milk in the morning before leaving for work and when they are home for the evening.
Most models offer the option of pumping one or both breasts at the same time. Many models are “hospital grade,” which means they can be used by more than one woman if they have their own supply kit. Some hospitals, medical supply stores, and lactation centers often rent pumps to women.
However, even though they will never be shared, many women purchase them because they are better at helping to bring in a mom’s milk supply. Non-hospital grade pumps work great once the breast milk supply has been established.
When choosing from the different breast pumps on the market, there are some things to consider in order to choose the best pump for your needs.
The warranties often differ between breast pump brands, so you should get as much information you can before spending money on a pump. If you’re considering a battery-operated breast pump, you should be aware that they usually last one year for one child. They can easily lose strength from pumping three, or more, times a day.
The flange is the part of the breast pump that fits over the nipple. It should fit well with no gaps, and it shouldn't rub against the nipple. Rubbing against it can cause the nipple to develop abrasions that can lead to bleeding and infections. Look for a pump that comes with flanges in different sizes.
Many breast pumps have a dual-phase expression, which is designed to mimic the way a baby nurses. Babies have short, shallow sucks that help produce let-down, which is a reflex meaning your milk is getting ready to flow. Then, as it starts to flow, the baby will take longer, deeper sucks. A dual-phase breast pump mimics these sucks, so there is enough milk produced for the baby needs.
If you’re pumping milk on the go, then look for a breast pump that can operate via battery power or with an AC adapter in your car. If you’re traveling on vacation, then this will allow you to pump from wherever you are at the moment.
Find the lightest pump possible to take with you when going to work or traveling. While five or ten pounds may not seem like much, it can get heavy while carrying it in a diaper bag, a briefcase, or purse. If you pump regularly at work, consider buying a pump with a removable motor to keep at your desk or in your locker, so you don't need to carry it back and forth every day.
To avoid resetting the breast pump every time you use it, get one that has a programmable memory. It allows you to record the pumping pattern you prefer, so it is ready every time you pump. Most of these models also have an LCD display.
If you're taking the breast pump to work, then buy one with a convenient carrying case. They can go over your shoulder, onto your back, or you can get a “briefcase” style case for a more professional appearance. Check for one that offers insulated compartments to store the breast milk after pumping it.
You can buy a hands-free breast pump that has the flanges built into a bra like garment that allows you to keep working while pumping. Most of them pump both breasts at once, so you can get the pumping done in about 10 to 15 minutes.
When considering a breast pump, find out if it is compatible with several brands of baby bottles. If so, then you will have a larger selection from which to choose. Some pumps may only work with certain bottles, so you will know that upfront and can prepare accordingly.
There are several websites that review the different types of breast pumps on the market. These five pumps come up most often as being among the best you can buy.
The Medela Symphony is a high-end electric pump that comes with many of the features you’ll want for successful pumping. It is a hospital-grade breast pump that is made for daily use. If you have inverted or flat nipples, it can help bring them out to make pumping easier.
Women can use it for either single or double pumping, but the double pump kit is sold separately. It also has 2 phase expression to produce faster milk flow so that pumping can be done quickly. It operates quietly, and it is easy to clean.
This electric breast pump gives moms the option of single or double operation. It comes with the necessary supplies to start pumping both breasts right away if that is what you prefer. The flanges, of which there are four, come in two sizes, 2-24mm & 2-28mm.
The Spectra also offers programmable settings with a built-in display, so when you find the setting you like, it will remember it. It also has 2-phase expression.
If you’re on the go and need a breast pump that can keep up with you, then the Medela Pump In Style Advanced is considered one of the best pumps for work on the market. It comes in either a tote bag or a backpack style that carries everything you’ll need to pump your baby’s milk.
The pump is built into the backpack or tote bag, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting it. It can pump both breasts at once, it comes with double expression technology, and it has an AC adapter and a battery pack. There is also an insulated bag for storing the pumped milk.
Related Post: Medela breast pump reviews
If you don’t want to tote a heavy breast pump to work or if you want a manual pump to express when you’re out on the house for a few hours, then the Phillips Avent is considered one of the best manual pumps on the market. It comes with a four-ounce bottle and nipple to allow you to express milk as needed quickly.
The Ameda Purely Yours is another good option for working mothers. It is an electric pump that comes with an AC adapter, six AA batteries, or a car adapter. This handheld breast pump provides a single or double operation that has adjustable speed and suction controls. It comes with a tote bag, an insulated bag for storing the pumped milk, and four bottles.
When choosing from the many types of breast pumps on the market, contact your insurance company to find out what they cover on your plan. Since some breast pumps can be expensive, the insurance coverage may help you pay for the one you want.