Searching for the best breast pump can be a daunting task. No matter how many reviews you read or recommendations from other parents you get, it’s hard to know which model will best suit your individual needs, especially when there are so many pumps to choose from. Well, take a deep breath — you know, like the ones you practiced taking in your Lamaze class — because shopping for a breast pump doesn’t have to be stressful.
Before you frantically search through every option, though, Amanda Glenn (who runs the website Exclusive Pumping) recommends looking at what your insurance will cover.
“If you have health insurance in the United States, you should be entitled to one new breast pump per child at no cost under the Affordable Care Act,” Glenn tells SheKnows. “What insurance carriers will cover varies — some will pay for a manual pump, others for the rental of a hospital-grade pump for a certain number of months and others for a portable double electric pump. However, some medical device companies will allow you to ‘upgrade’ what your insurance covers.”
Once you’ve evaluated your options through insurance, lactation consultant Andrea Tran of Breastfeeding Confidential encourages parents to think about their specific pumping needs.
“Not every mother is going to need a double electric breast pump. You know, if a mom is only pumping once in a while, and especially if she’s buying it herself, she may not necessarily need the Cadillac of pumps,” Tran tells SheKnows.
Tran also encourages parents to ask themselves the following questions:
- How often do I plan to pump?
- Am I exclusively pumping?
- Will I pump solely to have a stash of milk in case of emergencies?
- Do I plan to pump so my partner or someone else can occasionally bottle-feed the child?
- Am I pumping because I’m working and won’t be able to breastfeed during the day?
Having an understanding of why you’re pumping will help you narrow down which kinds of pumps to search for online and in stores.
“A working mom is going to need a double electric pump, and she’s going to want something that has a good reputation for lasting,” Tran adds. “She would also want to think about, ‘Is this a mainstream pump that’s going to be easy to get replacement parts for?’ If she doesn’t have access to an electrical outlet, does it have some kind of battery options or options to use the power outlet in her car?”
Finally, Tran recommends that breastfeeding and pumping parents look for products that are “well-reviewed by other mothers who have actually used [them].”
To help make your work sifting through products online a little easier, we’ve rounded up some of the top-rated breast pumps on the market, many of which are available on Amazon. Read on to see our picks.
The Spectra S2Plus is a hospital-strength double/single breast pump that is a fantastic option for parents who have access to an electrical outlet. Some of the features include adjustable suction levels, a massage mode that gently simulates the feeling of a baby feeding and a quiet motor (perfect if you have a sleeping baby nearby). Additionally, the S2Plus comes with a night-light for nighttime pumping and backflow protectors to prevent bacteria buildup. Bonus: Both Glenn and Tran spoke highly of the Spectra models.
Spectra S2Plus electric breast pump, $159 at Amazon
Unlike the S2Plus, this model is lightweight (about 3 pounds), portable and rechargeable, which makes it an excellent option for parents who need to pump on the go. The S1Plus also features a massage mode, a quiet motor, adjustable suction levels and backflow protectors to make pumping as painless — and as sanitary — as possible.
Spectra S1Plus electric and portable breast pump, $200 at Spectra
Medela Pump in Style Advanced
Medela is one of the most trusted and well-established breast pump brands available, and the Pump in Style Advanced is one of its most popular models. The PISA features two-phase expression technology, which the company says increases the amount of breast milk mothers can extract during pumping sessions. Additionally, the pump comes with your choice of a backpack, tote or metro bag to make transporting the pump, bottles, a cooler and accessories a breeze. Don’t have access to an outlet? No worries. The Medela PISA also comes with a portable battery pack so you can pump whenever, wherever.
Medela Pump in Style Advanced double electric breast pump with backpack, $199.95 at Amazon
If you love the Medela brand and want a hands-free pumping experience, the Medela Freestyle may be the perfect fit. This double electric breast pump comes with a battery pack so you can pump anytime, anywhere. For added convenience, the Freestyle comes with a memory setting so you can set and forget your preferred suction levels.
The cost of the Freestyle is significantly higher than some other models, so you’ll have to determine if the features are worth the extra dough. Glenn, however, swears by the Freestyle’s capabilities — and said she used it for 44 nonconsecutive months of pumping. That’s quite an endorsement!
Medela Freestyle double electric breast pump, $324.99 at Amazon
Philips Avent Comfort
The Philips Avent Comfort double electric breast pump offers three adjustable modes and a massage feature that helps stimulate milk production while also imitating the feeling of a suckling baby. With the Avent, parents can sit back while they pump thanks to the pumps’ angled mouths (say goodbye to sore backs from leaning forward). Along with the pump, customers receive two bottles and a transportable bag with purchase.
Philips Avent Comfort double electric breast pump, $199 at Amazon
Tech-savvy parents, rejoice: The Lansinoh Smartpump double electric breast pump allows users to sync their breast-pumping sessions to the Lansinoh app on their smartphones so they can monitor milk production and easily access tips and resources. With two pump modes and eight suction levels, parents can adjust the Lansinoh to their comfort.
Lansinoh Smartpump double electric breast pump, starting at $177.55 at Amazon
Willow 2.0 is a fantastic option for parents who want a wire-free, hands-free pumping experience. Each Willow cup fits into a bra, so you can wear and pump while at work, driving or doing chores around the house. Each order comes with 24 milk bags that you can easily remove and freeze. A wall charger makes powering up between pumping sessions a breeze as well.
The only downside to Willow 2.0 is the high price tag. If you’re not ready to shell out $500, the company is now offering a special on Willow 1.0 for $399.99 that also includes 48 milk bags.
Willow 2.0 wearable breast pump, $499.99 at Willow
Haakaa Manual Pump
As we’ve mentioned, not every parent needs a double electric breast pump. For some, a manual option will do just fine — and the Haakaa manual breast pump is a beautiful choice. It’s inexpensive and super-effective: To use it, simply squeeze the air out of the base of the pump and center the flange around the nipple. Thanks to the silicone construction, the pump will work on its own to create a steady stream of milk — no need to wear yourself out pumping by hand. When you’re done, the suction cup at the bottom makes it easy for you to securely set the pump on a smooth surface to prevent spilling.
The Haakaa comes in different sizes ranging from 90 milliliters to 160 milliliters, so you’ll have to choose based on how often — and how much — you anticipate pumping.
Haakaa manual breast pump, starting at $12.99 at Amazon
If you’re still confused about how often to pump or which breast pump would work for your needs, consider contacting a lactation consultant or joining an online network of breastfeeding moms. Being a new parent can be scary but neither you nor your breasts need to go it alone.