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Manual vs Electric Breast Pump: Which Is Better For You?

When it comes to breastfeeding your baby, you want to make the best choice that suits your needs. One important decision you may face is whether to opt for a manual or electric breast pump.

The manual versus electric breast pump debate is not a simple one, as there are several factors to consider. Rest assured, we have done thorough research on this topic to provide you with all the necessary information. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision that is best for your family.

electric breast pump

How Often Will You Be Pumping?

Many mothers may not find the need to pump frequently, especially if they intend to exclusively breastfeed their babies and have minimal separations from them. In such cases, a manual breast pump would suffice perfectly fine.

However, for those mothers who anticipate returning to work or have regular pumping sessions, an electric breast pump becomes a valuable time-saving tool. With its ability to express milk more efficiently and quickly than a manual pump, it proves to be a practical choice for these busy moms.


When comparing electric and manual breast pumps, it’s important to consider their portability. While electric pumps can be conveniently packed and taken to work or on trips, they tend to be less portable compared to manual pumps. Manual pumps are typically lighter, smaller, and easier to clean, making them a favorable option in terms of portability.

Additionally, manual pumps offer the advantage of not relying on power outlets or battery life. Even if you find yourself without access to electricity or your pump’s battery dies, a manual pump allows you to continue expressing milk. However, it’s worth noting that there are electric breast pumps available that are designed with improved portability in mind. Some models come with discreet carrying bags, making it easier for you to keep everything organized while you’re on the move.


For many mothers, the cost plays a significant role in their decision-making process when it comes to purchasing a breast pump. Some women, even if they plan to pump multiple times a day, may find it difficult to afford an electric pump. Electric breast pumps, including single electric ones, are generally more expensive compared to manual pumps.

However, it’s important to prioritize getting the best pump within your budget. While there are affordable options available, it’s worth noting that some cheap pumps may have durability issues or insufficient suction power, resulting in inadequate milk expression.

If you reside in the United States, it’s worth checking if your health insurance covers the cost of an electric breast pump under the Affordable Care Act. Although some plans may be exempt from this requirement, contacting your health insurance provider will help clarify what options are available to you. They may provide a list of approved models from which you can choose.

If financial concerns are significant, it’s worth considering hand expression as an alternative to pumps. Many mothers have found success in efficiently expressing milk using their hands, eliminating the need for a pump altogether. Hand expression not only proves to be cost-effective but also offers the ultimate portability—after all, what could be more portable than using your own hands?

Before You Buy A Breast Pump

It’s important to carefully consider your lifestyle, financial situation, and pumping needs when deciding on the right breast pump for you. Keep in mind that what works for one mom may not necessarily work for another. Seeking advice from friends and family who have experience with pumping can provide valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t.

Manual pumps are well-suited for moms who don’t anticipate needing to pump frequently, those who are mindful of their budget, or moms who prioritize portability and reliability. On the other hand, electric pumps are ideal for mothers of multiple babies, women who require frequent pumping, or those who need to pump while at work.

Regardless of the type of pump you choose, if you encounter any difficulties, it’s highly recommended to seek assistance from a lactation professional. These experts have in-depth knowledge of breastfeeding and pumping and can provide valuable guidance to help you make the most out of your pumping experience.

Manual vs Electric Pump FAQS

Are there electric breast pumps that are easier to carry while traveling?

Yes, there are electric breast pumps designed for improved portability, often accompanied by discreet carrying bags.

Can manual breast pumps be challenging to use?

Manual breast pumps require manual hand pumping, which some mothers may find more physically demanding compared to electric pumps.

Can manual breast pumps be as effective as electric ones?

While electric breast pumps are generally more efficient, manual pumps can still be effective in expressing milk, albeit with more effort and time.

Ultimately, choosing the right breast pump is an important decision that should be based on careful consideration of your individual needs and circumstances. With the right pump and support, you can navigate your breastfeeding journey with confidence and convenience.