Deciding on a Breastpump

Posted 07-14-2014 at 03:11 PM by Banana Cat

Maybe you’re currently breastfeeding, but need to go back to work. Maybe you’ve decided to be an exclusive pumper. Maybe you just want a backup stash of milk for a babysitter. Whatever the reason, you are in the market for a breastpump! Like many other baby-related items, you probably opened up Amazon.com in your browser and immediately felt overwhelmed by the number of brands and types of pumps available. What should you choose?

 

Manual Pump

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Manual pumps: Not for the weak-handed. Alternatively, a good substitute for those strength grip things that are always in the exercise section of the store, but no one ever buys.

 

These are the cheapest pumps on the market, and it can be tempting for the budget-minded family to just grab one of these. After all, electric pumps can run $300 or more and a manual pump tends to be in the $30-$40 range! Manual pumps are also simple pumps—you have the pump itself which screws onto the top of a baby bottle, and that’s it! They are small enough to toss in your bag and you needn’t worry about keeping track of a dozen small pieces. This also makes them simple to clean.

However, manual pumps are powered by you. Most modern manual pumps require you to squeeze a handle, which draws out the milk. You may need to do this for ten or fifteen minutes, which can grow tiring very quickly. You may have health issues that do not allow you to physically do this. You can also only pump one breast at a time, which can be good if you just need to empty one side because baby has just nursed on the other, or it can be bad if you’re in a hurry and need to empty both sides quickly. Many mothers, however, like having a manual pump stored away as a backup. If their electric pump fails, it’s better to have a manual pump than no pump at all!

Single Electric Pumps

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The Medela Swing single electric pump. Sadly, it does not come with a soundtrack of upbeat swing music to listen to as you pump.

 

These pumps are not as popular as other types of pumps. You can only pump one side at a time, and since they are electric, they can be pricey—in the $100-$150 range. However, for someone who would like to pump once a day to several times a week and who doesn’t or can’t use a manual pump, and does or cannot spend $200+ on a double electric pump—this is an option! It can also make a good travel pump, as it is smaller and has fewer pieces than a double electric pump, but can be used hands-free since they are often battery powered as well. I have seen these often recommended for work at home or stay at home moms who would like to keep a couple of bottles in the refrigerator at all times, but are able to nurse their baby most of the time. Still, many women who want to pump just one breast at a time often choose a cheaper manual pump, and women who want to pump quickly spring for a double electric. It’s up to you to decide whether a single electric pump fits into your lifestyle or not!

 

Double Electric Pumps

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Double electric pumps can look positively frightening at first. Am I pumping milk for my sweet baby, or did I sign up for some weird alien science experiment involving contraptions strapped to my breasts?

 

This type of pump is the most common pump, for good reason! They are electric—no need to wear your hands out pumping on your own. They often pump the most amount of milk in the least amount of time. They are also often covered by insurance. These reasons make them a must-have for many moms, but especially for working moms who may only have fifteen minute breaks in which to pump.

The downside is that they can cost well over $250 out of pocket. Some insurance companies simply send you a double electric pump, others allow you to choose a pump, but you must buy it out of pocket and then send in your receipt for reimbursement, which may take a while. Double pumps also have many different parts, many of which are quite small and easily misplaced. Double electric pumps do often come with their own carrying bag to help keep track of things.

If you have used a breastpump, which type did you choose and why? Do you have more than one type?

Filed Under: General, Mommy Talk

Comments

2 Responses to “Deciding on a Breastpump”

  1. Jazzy Drools on July 15th, 2014 6:26 pm


    I preferred the manual pump. I would pump as many bottles as I could fill while my newborn slept. That pump brings back alot of memories.

  2. panda2mom on July 25th, 2014 7:52 pm


    I have a double electric and a manual. The manual has come in handy when in a location that it’s inconvenient to carry the electric. For example, I pumped under my jacket with the manual at the last presidential inauguration! I couldn’t bring the baby, and the electric would have been an issue with security– problem solved.

    That said, I have mild carpal tunnel (thanks, pregnancy) and also work outside the home. The electric is much more convenient for work.

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