Fertility

A Handy Guide To Choosing The Best Breast Pump For Everyday Use

Updated on 7 July 2021 • 13 minute read
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Overview 

Did you know that your breast milk can protect your baby against infections? It might even provide long-lasting active immunity years after you’ve stopped breastfeeding. (1)

Research shows that breast milk can protect against the following conditions:

  • Acute and prolonged diarrhea
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Otitis media (painful infection of the middle ear)
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Neonatal sepsis (blood infection)
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis (a devastating disease in newborn babies caused by bacteria invading the intestinal walls)

 

You can choose to breastfeed your baby directly. But you can also express milk into baby bottles using a breast pump.

Should you use a manual breast pump every day? What are the possible side effects of using a breast pump? What is the best breast pump to get through insurance? How do I choose a breast pump? 

We’ll answer all these questions below as we help you find the best breast pump for everyday use.

 

The Best Breast Pump for Everyday Use

You can choose manual, battery-operated, portable, wearable, single electric, or double electric pumps, depending on your needs.

You can even get a free hospital-grade breast pump through insurance, depending on your policy and what model you choose.

If you need help in choosing one, the following are our top picks for the best breast pumps for everyday use:

  • Haakaa Breast Pump; $12.94
  • Lansinoh Manual; $25
  • BellaBaby Double Electric Breast Pump; $53.99
  • Spectra S2 Plus; $159
  • Philips Avent Comfort; $199.99
  • Spectra S1 Plus Electric Breast Pump; $200
  • Medela Pump in Style Advanced with On-the-Go Tote; $268
  • Medela Freestyle Flex Double Electric Breast Pump; $379.99
  • Willow Generation 3; $499.99
  • Medela Symphony Breast Pump; $2,002.49

 

Read on for more detailed info about each breast pump, mama.

 

Haakaa Breast Pump

  • Pricing: $12.94
  • Weight: 0.24 lbs
  • Noise Level: Silent
  • Pump System: Closed-system, catcher pump

 

Why It’s Good For Everyday Use

  • Pump Type: Manual
  • Settings: You manually squeeze the pump to create suction.
  • Suction Strength: Not rated
  • Convenience: It’s a one-piece silicone manual breast pump that’s easy to use and clean.
  • Special Features: Simplest Manual Pump
  • This pump has a body that acts both as the suction pump and the container for collecting your breast milk.
  • It’s made from food-grade silicone
  • It can help you deal with engorgement.
  • It can also let you collect milk to feed your baby.

 

Cons

  • The catcher part of the pump can make it more prone to contamination.
  • It might not be as powerful as electric pumps.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

Over the first 24hrs of having this, I’ve pulled over 10oz of otherwise wasted milk! I can’t believe how well it works! Initially, I was concerned that it wouldn’t work because I do not leak that much at all. But, if you are one of those people, rest assured the suction totally changes this! I have the 90oz 1st generation Haakaa and am glad I went with this one just because it’s the smallest one.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Negative Reviews 

With this product, it can be hard to suction my breasts. And when I think I’ve suctioned well enough, it has a tendency to fall off and waste my milk. It’s just not worth it. So I’m sticking with my electric pump. However, for the little it costs, try it for yourself. Everyone’s experience is different.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Lansinoh Manual

  • Pricing: $25
  • Weight: 0.75 lbs
  • Noise Level: Silent
  • Pump System: Closed

 

Why It’s Good For Everyday Use

  • Pump Type: Manual
  • Settings: You pump your milk using an ergonomic lever handle.
  • Suction Strength: Up to 250 mmHg
  • Convenience: It’s a small, lightweight, and portable pump that doesn’t need batteries to work.
  • Special Features: Best Manual Breast Pump
  • It features two-mode pumping: for stimulation and expression to promote letdown and pumping efficiency.
  • It can help you deal with engorgement and clogged ducts.

 

Cons

  • You need to squeeze the lever to operate the pump. 
  • Your hands might get tired squeezing the lever if you use this for regular pumping sessions.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

I have my manual pump for when I get clogged ducts, or I’m in the car, but don’t underestimate it! This pump can extract milk better than some of my double electric pumps.” – Reviewer on Aeroflow Breast Pumps.

 

Negative Reviews 

Do not buy this pump unless you have large nipples. Both flanges that are included are way too big and make pumping painful and inefficient. I bought this while I’m waiting for my electric pump to come in, and it’s horrible! Also: it leaks from the flanges while pumping!! I don’t know if it’s the angle or what, but I keep losing milk that goes down the flange instead of into the bottle. Hate this pump. Only bonus: it’s fairly easy to clean and assemble.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

BellaBaby Double Electric Breast Pump

  • Pricing: $53.99
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs
  • Noise Level:
  • Pump System:

 

Why It’s Good For Everyday Use

  • Pump Type: Single and double electric pump
  • Settings: Four different modes and nine levels of suction, with massage and letdown
  • Suction Strength: Up to 300 mmHg
  • Convenience: It uses one lithium-ion battery that can pump for three hours.
  • Special Features: Most Affordable Electric Pump
  • It’s a closed pump with an LED screen and digital buttons.
  • It’s among the cheapest of electric pumps.
  • It’s lightweight, portable, and compact enough to fit in any bag.
  • You can directly pump into the milk storage bags.

 

Cons

  • It’s a noisy pump.
  • Some moms who used the product complained that the suction is too strong. 

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

I’ve been exclusively pumping and bottle feeding my little one and needed a light, portable pump. Unfortunately, the majority of the electric pumps I found were either too heavy to carry around or too expensive. So I took a chance and bought this brand and don’t regret it one bit.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Negative Reviews 

The flanges are really short and only come in one size, never mind, they get almost cut off and made even smaller halfway down the flange. It’s small, but the screen is super sensitive, so it’s not exactly easy to carry around. Also, if you try to hack it and use other flanges, you lose a crazy amount of suction. Not recommended.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Spectra S2 Plus

  • Pricing: $159
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet
  • Pump System: Closed

 

Why It’s Good For Everyday Use

  • Pump Type: Single and double electric
  • Settings: 12 vacuum suction levels, with letdown and expression modes
  • Suction Strength: Up to 270 mmHg
  • Convenience: It’s a hospital-grade pump with a handle so you can easily move it around.
  • Special Features: Best Value For Your Money; Quietest Breast Pump
  • It remembers your favorite custom settings for massage and expression modes.
  • It comes with an LCD screen, nightlight, and timer.
  • It promotes better milk flow with massage and letdown modes.
  • It can be a good choice for working moms who need a pump that can express a good amount of milk in less time.
  • It can convert into a hands-free breast pump using a pumping bra (costs around $20 to $30).
  • It uses BPA-free plastics. BPA (bisphenol-A) is a toxic chemical used in plastics.

 

Cons

  • It doesn’t have batteries.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

I just love this breast pump! It is way more silent than the old one I have. I love the peacefulness of it. I love the light and the bottle holder it has. It is comfortable. This pump really is it for me, not heavy or loud, and easy to use. I love the two types of settings for the letdown and pumping. This pump I do recommend. I am strictly BF (breastfeeding), and pumping is very much less time-consuming.” – Reviewer on Aeroflow Breast Pumps.

 

Negative Reviews 

The flange is so poorly designed you have to bend over your painful recently pregnant belly. If you had a c-section, it would be a torture session. Your back will be broken by the end. Don’t buy it! It will be a horrible waste of money, and you probably won’t have time to return it since you have a newborn to feed. Also, you will need to buy a bigger flange because the ones they come with are too small, mind you, I have really small breasts. And then it works like crap!” – Reviewer on Aeroflow Breast Pumps.

 

Philips Avent Comfort

  • Pricing: $199.99
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Noise Level: Noisy
  • Pump System: Closed

 

Why It’s Good For Everyday Use

  • Pump Type: Double electric pump only
  • Settings: One stimulation mode, with three expression settings
  • Suction Strength: Up to 128 mmHg
  • Convenience: It comes with a handy travel bag.
  • Special Features: Most Comfortable Pump
  • It’s a lightweight pump.
  • The flanges and breast shields come with built-in massage cushions for more comfortable breastfeeding sessions.

 

Cons

  • It doesn’t come with a battery pack.
  • It’s a noisy pump that isn’t as powerful (only up to 128 mmHg) as other electric pumps.
  • The milk bottles (4 oz) are small.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

I ordered the pump after using the manual one, and it has increased my milk production and, at the same time, reduced the time and effort needed for the pumping. The bag is also quite nice and high quality.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Negative Reviews 

I did not like this pump. It was very uncomfortable, in my opinion, even with all the extras/attachments I purchased in addition. I also purchased the Medela brand pump. Night and day difference. The Medela pump was much more comfortable and allowed for a much more successful experience.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Spectra S1 Plus Electric Breast Pump

  • Pricing: $200
  • Weight: 2.42 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet
  • Pump System: Closed

 

Why It’s Good For Everyday Use

  • Pump Type: Single and double electric
  • Settings: 12 vacuum suction levels, with stimulation or letdown and expression modes
  • Suction Strength: Up to 270 mmHg
  • Convenience: This pump’s built-in batteries can last up to three hours.
  • Special Features: Best All-Around Breast Pump
  • It’s the portable twin of the Spectra S2 Plus.
  • It features an LCD screen with an auto-shutoff timer and a nightlight.
  • It remembers your custom settings.

 

Cons

  • It’s still lightweight but has a bulkier design than other portable breast pumps.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

Used the S2 with my first and loved it. I upgraded to S1 this time for the portability.” – Reviewer on Aeroflow Breast Pumps.

 

Negative Reviews 

Only positive thing about this pump is the battery. Save yourself the money and buy something else. It takes twice as long to empty my breast. Suction is very poor even on the highest setting.” – Reviewer on Aeroflow Breast Pumps.

 

Medela Pump in Style Advanced with On-the-Go Tote

  • Pricing: $268
  • Weight: 7.0 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet
  • Pump System: Open

 

Why It’s Good For Everyday Use

  • Pump Type: Single and double electric
  • Settings: This pump uses 2-phase expression technology with a one-touch letdown mode button
  • Suction Strength: Up to 250 mmHg
  • Convenience: This portable pump uses eight AA batteries (around $30 for 8AA batteries and a charger) and comes with different bag options: backpack, tote bag, or Metro bag.
  • Special Features: Best for Travel
  • There’s a cooler bag with one ice pack in the box for storing your milk while pumping on the go.
  • The big tote bag can fit the entire milk collection system plus some extra items.
  • This heavy-duty hospital-grade pump is a popular choice from Aeroflow, Edgepark, and other medical supply companies.
  • It can be used both as a single pump or double pump, depending on your needs.
  • The pump parts are dishwasher safe (top rack).

 

Cons

  • This pump uses a less hygienic open system.
  • It’s heavier (7 lbs) than most pumps.
  • This pump was subjected to a recall (manufacture dates: February 10 to March 3, 2010) because of a compromised circuit board. The manufacturing error caused the affected pumps to turn off mid-pumping session. Others wouldn’t turn on or would make a clicking sound. Other affected pumps lost suction while pumping. Medela recalled and replaced the faulty pumps. (2)

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

This is a great update to the Pump In Style line. I highly recommend it for any mom looking for a strong pump that is easy to use on the go, and that will consistently capture the most milk for the time spent pumping. Better yet, it’s been updated to look more modern and be even more portable without losing the powerful function which, after all, is the most important aspect of any pump!” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Negative Reviews 

The downsides that I have with this pump were that it was not powerful enough at a setting that did not cause me excessive soreness to clear painful blocked ducts – something I struggled with constantly until I switched to a Medela Symphony I rented from Babies R Us based on advice from other exclusive pumpers.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Medela Freestyle Flex

  • Pricing: $379.99
  • Weight: 5.09 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet
  • Pump System: Closed

 

Why It’s Good For Everyday Use

  • Pump Type: Single and double electric
  • Settings: It uses 2-phase expression technology that simulates your baby’s natural sucking rhythm to help increase your milk supply.
  • Suction Strength: Up to 250 mmHg
  • Convenience: The pump uses a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery that can last up to two hours. It also comes with a tote bag and cooler.
  • Special Features: Best Breast Pump For Multitasking
  • This smart pump has a touchscreen LED and can be connected to the MyMedela app on your phone.
  • It has a lanyard for a more secured use as a hands-free breast pump with the help of a pumping bra.

 

Cons

  • It’s more expensive than most double electric pumps.
  • It’s heavier (5.09 lbs) than most portable pumps.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

Quiet. The compact size is really nice. It works well compared to the original Medela, from what I can tell so far. I love the new membrane parts. Much easier to clean. I use my old flanges, as I can’t get used to the new shapes. Happy with this pump!” – Reviewer on Aeroflow Breast Pumps.

 

Negative Reviews 

I expected more from such an expensive pump that is an “upgrade.” Battery life is not good. I’ve had it for only five months. At four months, the battery no longer charges past 2/3 bars. It’s portable, but when you try to multitask, there’s no way to carry it that prevents the screen from being bumped. I ended up buying a Spectra out of pocket and prefer that one.” – Reviewer on Aeroflow Breast Pumps.

 

Willow Generation 3

  • Pricing: $499.99
  • Weight: 5.59 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet
  • Pump System: Closed

 

Why It’s Good For Everyday Use

  • Pump Type: Single and double electric
  • Settings: Seven suction levels (includes sensitivity settings)
  • Suction Strength: Up to 245 mmHg
  • Convenience: built-in and rechargeable last up to five sessions
  • Special Features: Best Wearable Hands-Free Breast Pump
  • This wearable breast pump can pump discreetly under your clothes.
  • It connects via Bluetooth to the Willow app so you can check the milk volume without removing the pump.
  • It has spill-proof cups that let you pump in any position.
  • Unlike the other wearable Elvie Pump, it doesn’t have lights on its body that make it visible under your clothes.
  • It fits in your nursing bra ($20), so you don’t need to buy a pumping bra ($20 to $30).

 

Cons

  • It’s more expensive ($499.99) than most breast pumps. 
  • It’s considered an upgrade and isn’t fully covered by insurance.
  • The cup size (4 oz) might be too small for your regular pumping session.
  • It doesn’t come with a tote but can easily fit in any diaper bag.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

Absolutely worth every penny! The container option is super convenient, easy to assemble & easy to clean. All of the parts fit conveniently in my Baby Brezza for drying/sterilizing. They fit snug in most nursing bras & I haven’t had any issues with them not fitting correctly. My only advice is to be sure you are sized correctly to the Willow as the sizing is a bit different from the traditional pumps or just buy inserts for the most accurate fit!” – Reviewer on Aeroflow Breast Pumps.

 

Negative Reviews 

Purchased this online, and it stopped working a month and a half after using. The one had issues right away and wasn’t measuring the correct amounts. The other pump disconnected from the app and would not reconnect. The suction phases stopped working, and it would get stuck in one or the other. I contact support 8+ times now and have gotten little to no assistance other than to reset the pumps. Great idea, but too many problems and added stress for new moms. I would not recommend it.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Medela Symphony Breast Pump

  • Pricing: $2,002.49
  • Weight: 7.05 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet
  • Pump System: Closed

 

Why It’s Good For Everyday Use

  • Pump Type: Single and double electric
  • Settings: This heavy-duty pump uses 2-phase expression technology and has a letdown button.
  • Suction Strength: Up to 250 mmHg
  • Convenience: It’s a heavy pump, but can still be moved around using the top handle.
  • Special Features: Best Hospital Grade Pump
  • This hygienic closed-system pump is FDA-approved for multiple users.
  • It’s designed for heavy-duty pumping multiple times a day by multiple users.

 

Cons

  • It’s an expensive pump ($2,002.49) that’s not covered by insurance for individual purchases. But your insurance might cover rental payments for this pump.
  • It’s a heavy, bulky pump.
  • This hospital-grade pump was subject to a recall (lot #67099S) in 2010. The affected pumps had compromised sterility due to pinholes possibly found in the rigid tray of the packaging. Medela replaced all the compromised pumps. (3)

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

Hospital grade suction power is true to its word. I noticed a significant increase in breast milk output even on the first pump. As an exclusive pumper, this product was a life changer and a must-have. Easy to use and clean. Definitely worth every penny.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Negative Reviews 

I spent big money on this pump. It stopped working after a month, and the customer service was horrible. They basically treated me as if I was stupid. Asking me how I was turning it on and how I was using it?! I told them I needed it replaced, and they stopped responding to me! I’ve heard nothing since and have had to spend even more money to replace it!” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Choosing The Best Breast Pumps For Everyday Use

Different moms have different breastfeeding and pumping needs. 

But the following are the factors you should consider in choosing a pump for everyday use:

  • Weight
  • Sound (noisy or quiet)
  • Adjustable suction levels
  • Hands-free convenience
  • Power source
  • Cost
  • Portability
  • Comfort
  • Ease of use
  • Ease of cleaning
  • Frequency of use
  • Pumping needs and lifestyle
  • Insurance coverage
  • No recent product recalls


Breast Pump Accessories You Might Need

  • Breast shields and flanges in different sizes
  • Breast pump bag or tote
  • Cooler bag with an ice pack
  • Bottle warmer
  • Nursing bra
  • Pumping bra
  • Breastmilk storage bottles
  • Breastmilk storage bags
  • Bottle drying rack
  • Nursing cover
  • Car adapter
  • Extra charger
  • Extra rechargeable batteries
  • Breast pads

 

Tips for Pumping

  • Relax
  • Think of your little one
  • Stimulate or massage your breast
  • Extract your milk
  • Be patient
  • Store your milk

 

FAQs About The Best Breast Pump for Everyday Use

Do I Need A Breast Pump?

While it’s not a requirement for breastfeeding moms, getting a breast pump can help you with the following:

  • Dealing with engorgement
  • Unclogging your ducts
  • Establishing your milk supply
  • Keeping a stash of breastmilk in your freezer or fridge for future use or emergencies

 

Breast pumps aren’t just for working moms but can also be handy for moms who work from home or stay at home.

 

Can I Use A Manual Breast Pump Every Day? 

While you can use a manual breast pump every day, it can be tiresome to operate one. 

Because you may get a free electric breast pump with your insurance if you live in the US, most moms suggest getting one instead of using a manual pump.

Also, some pumps, such as the Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump ($32.99), are designed only for occasional use or as a backup to your electric pump.

 

What Is The Best Breast Pump To Get Through Insurance? 

Many breast pumps can fill your needs and fit your pumping requirements. 

The following are among the most popular pumps to get from insurance:

  • Spectra S2 Plus
  • Medela Pump in Style Advanced
  • Ameda Finesse

 

Check the following with your insurance company:

  • Whether your policy will cover the breast pump brand and model that you like.
  • How much you’ll need to pay for the upgrade.

 

How Much Milk Can I Pump?

  • It’s normal to only get a small amount of milk during the first few days of breastfeeding and pumping.
  • Your milk volume increases with continued pumping and breastfeeding to meet your baby’s needs.
  • You usually have more milk in the morning.
  • The volume of milk you express can decrease throughout the day.
  • Your breasts may produce different amounts of milk.
  • If you’re an exclusive pumper, you can express around 26 oz to 35 oz per day.

 

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Using A Breast Pump?

  • Some moms report getting sore and irritated nipples due to pumping.
  • Some moms find it difficult to achieve a letdown while using a pump.
  • Some babies may experience nipple confusion and refuse to bottle-feed or to breastfeed.
  • Potential contamination of your breast milk, depending on how it’s collected and stored.
  • It can disrupt bonding with your baby.
  • It can lead to a possible decrease in milk supply, especially with pumps that don’t simulate a baby’s sucking rhythm.
  • It can cause frequent engorgement if you’re pumping excessively. That’s because your body thinks it needs to increase your milk supply to meet your baby’s needs, not knowing that you’re just pumping too much.

 

Summary & Recommendation 

The following are our top picks for the best breast pumps for everyday use:

 

Simplest Manual Pump

  • Haakaa Breast Pump; $12.94

 

Best Manual Breast Pump

  • Lansinoh Manual; $25

 

Most Affordable Electric Pump

  • BellaBaby Double Electric Breast Pump; $53.99

 

Best Value For Your Money

  • Spectra S2 Plus; $159

 

Most Comfortable Pump

  • Philips Avent Comfort; $199.99

 

Best All-Around Breast Pump

  • Spectra S1 Plus Electric Breast Pump; $200 

 

Best For Travel

  • Medela Pump in Style Advanced; $268

 

Best Breast Pump For Multitasking

  • Medela Freestyle Flex; $379.99

 

Best Wearable & Hands-Free Pump

  • Willow Generation 3 Wearable; $499.99

 

Best Hospital Grade Pump

  • Medela Symphony Breast Pump; $2,002.49

 

 

 

REFERENCES

(1) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9892025/

(2) https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfres/res.cfm?id=96744

(3) https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfres/res.cfm?id=93790

 

 

 

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