When you are looking for a breast pump, it is hard to know which one is best for you, especially if you are buying to get around tender or sore nipples.
Keeping it simple and finding a breast pump that fits your requirements is essential to extending your breast milk or breastfeeding journey.
Should I choose an Electric or Manual Breast Pump?
The first decision you will make when buying your breast pump is whether to buy a manual breast pump (hand-operated) or an electric breast pump (mains- or battery-operated).
You will need to take into consideration how often you will be pumping, how long you will need to use the pump, and how much time you have for expressing milk.
If you are sharing feeding responsibilities and will be away from your baby at work, making time to express during your working day is a must to prevent breast engorgement or mastitis.
Electric Breast Pumps
Electric pumps are the preferred option if you will be expressing regularly, if you have a baby in special care, or are returning to work. They are also extremely useful if you have very limited time, as they are quicker than manual ones.
Look for an electric breast pump that has separately adjustable suction and cycle levels, as this will enable you to choose settings that most closely resemble the way your baby suckles.
It is also useful to have a pump that operates in two phases: one to stimulate the let-down of your milk, and then the second for efficient expressing of the milk. Some electric pumps are now surprisingly light, so you may also want to take this into account.
All mums know how important time saving strategies are and an electric pump can be a lot more convenient than a manual breast pump.
A compact single electric breast pump is ideal, especially if you tend to express and breastfeed at the same time. It is small enough to be popped into your handbag or changing bag when out and about too; not to mention that it can be powered by a micro USB cable plugged into a power bank or mains adapter too.
Manual Breast Pumps
Hand-operated pumps are ideal if you express occasionally, for the odd night out or for short periods when you are away from your baby.
They tend to be very light and compact, so they are easy to carry around in your bag. What’s more, of course, is that you don’t need to worry about an electricity supply or any sound – our manual breast pumps are silent during usage.
Some women find that their wrist tires relatively quickly when using a manual pump, so be sure to choose one with an ergonomically designed handle like the Lansinoh one. You may find it takes some time to master the best rhythm for you, but, with a little practice, this will come.
Manual pumps are easier to use when your breasts are full versus when they are soft. Look out for a manual breast pump with two phases – let-down and expression phases – to make each expression easier, quicker and more effective.