BREAST PUMP NEEDS: I recommend getting a double electric breast pump and a manual hand pump, they are both essential.
Medela Pump In-Style Advanced: I had the double electric Medela Pump In-Style Advanced, it was completely covered by insurance. I was satisfied with this pump. It came highly recommended, and is a quality pump compared to a vast majority of pumps on the market. This pump is a solid go-to, but there are things I didn’t like about it. It was noisy. It was not the most comfortable. My nipples were often more sore, swollen, red, and chapped from this pump than from my baby. I struggle to get my milk to let-down for a pump, and with this pump I would often have to cycle back the “let-down” phase 3-4 times before my milk would begin to express. This pump has the option to only pump one side at a time, which is a feature I would have utilized a lot. However, the piece to close off one side (to push the suction to the side in use) would never seal and I couldn’t get enough suction on the side I was trying to use to only pump one side at a time. I do not plan to use this pump again for future breastfeeding journeys. However, if insurance would cover the cost again, I would have it on hand for an additional backup.
Medela Harmony Manual Pump: Having a manual hand pump is a MUST! Ever been engorged? Ever had mastitis? It is uncomfortable and often painful. So, having something handy in your diaper bag or tote that can help relieve the pressure so you aren’t miserable is a must. Additionally, there have also been instances when I have been without power, or my pumps battery pack is dead, etc. and a hand pump has come in handy. In short sum, it is an essential to have whether it be for use of comfort or back-up emergencies. I used the Medela Harmony Manual Pump and plan to use this as a manual pump again in the future. The only con I have for this pump, it doesn’t have any kind of ‘dust bag’ to store it in when putting it in a diaper bag or tote. So, I recommend purchasing an additional wet/dry bag to store it in.
Haakaa Manual Breast Pump: This pump is so simple and handy it has to be mentioned, it is actually zero work. The Haakaa is made from 100% medical grade-eco-friendly silicone. It attaches to one’s breast and collects milk using its own suction, no hands or power sources needed. In the earlier months of my breastfeeding journey, I would nurse my baby from my breast and my milk would let down with the snap of a figure. The side my baby wasn’t nursing on first would leak and express so much milk I would go through several washable and disposable breast pads before she even moved on to that breast. So much milk was wasted. It would have been so easy to quickly put the Haakaa on the breast she wasn’t nursing from and then gain a few extra ounces for storage. There are no added parts, prep and clean up are as low maintenance as possible. This pump is also perfect to carry in a diaper bag or tote, and ideal for quick relief in cases of engorgement or mastitis. Oh! and here is a HUGE bonus, THE HAAKAA IS $20!
Medela Sonata: I gave the Medela Sonata a test run after it came out. It was not released when I first began breastfeeding. I breastfed for nearly two and a half years, a lot of different products came to the market during that time. I plan to purchase the Medela Sonata for my next breastfeeding journey. There are some other pumps I would like to try as well. However, Medela is such a well established company, I trust its durability and functionality to invest in the Sonata too. Sonata is a smart breast pump that connects to an app for real-time tracking on baby’s growth and pumping sessions. It features a 2-phase Expression Technology, hospital grade pump performance, two pumping rhythms, and quiet pumping. Although this was not the ultimate pump in terms of comfort, my milk did “let-down” faster for the Sonata than the Pump In-Style, and I was able to produce more milk as well. And lastly, this is a closed breast-pump, meaning one can’t see nipples going to town through flanges. I pumped in the presence of others frequently, so it is a feature I appreciate.
It has been my experience that Medela pumps come with a lot of parts and pieces. This can be an inconvenience in terms of prep and clean up, additionally the parts need replaced often. However, since Medela is such an established and widely used company, it is very easy to find their products and parts. Furthermore, their customer service has been awesome and even sent me replacement parts free of charge before when needed.
BREAST PUMP WANTS: If able to swing the cost of more than one pump, invest in two double electric pumps. As far as longevity, one pump will really only get you to a year. And, if you exclusively pump, or pump at a high rate, one pump will probably begin to decline in its use before one year. Also, having one pump for home with a solid “pump station set-up” and one pump for travel makes the daily functions of pumping so much easier. Furthermore, there are some new technological advances in the breast-pump world that are more than worth looking into. I am geeking out at the opportunity to purchase and try some of the new breast pumps on the market.
Naya Smart Breast Pump: The Naya Smart Pump is a hospital grade, double electric, closed breast pump that uses HydroComfort Technology. Translation: this hydraulic pump uses water instead of air to create suction producing a more comfortable and productive pumping session. One can use warm or cool water. Warm water would help assist with milk let-down and cool water would help assist with sore and swollen breasts, either way the water would help ease discomfort which is something I’ve looked for in a pump since I began breastfeeding. The Naya uses soft silicone flanges to create gentle compression and suction closer to one’s actual baby. The Naya is said to yield (on average) 30% more breast milk in less time compared to air-based pumps. This pump has an app where one can record pumping sessions, feeding session, inventory, mom’s hydration, tracks milk supply, and gives insights. Additionally, this pump has less parts than the Medela electric pumps which is a HUGE bonus for me; less muss, less fuss. Naya will be releasing their Smart Baby Bottles to pair with this pump in the coming months, as well as, more silicone flange sizes.
Willow Wearable Breast Pump: This pump cups the breast and collects breastmilk in a hidden bag, everything works inside the pump and inside your bra. It has no external tubes, cords, or dangling bottles. According to the company, the Willow pump will initiate a latch (then secure it inside your bra) and once latched the pump will sense let-down and automatically switch to expression phase based on your individual milk production. One’s milk flows into a disposable milk bag tucked securely inside the pump. So, this pump would make it possible to pump while walking around, running errands, playing with baby, or doing chores around the house. THIS IS A MULTI-TASKING HOT MESS MAMA’S DREAM! The pump syncs to an app to track sessions, check suctions, log feedings, etc.
Babyation Smart Breast Pump: This pump is said to be discreet; it uses low-profile breast shields and tubes so one can wear it under their shirt. The pump shields are soft and said to mimic the shape of baby’s mouth. Prep and clean up is made easy with only a few parts, and it is supposed to be a very quiet pump. Babyation is also a smart pump that comes with an app equipped to control, track, and customize pumping sessions to one’s individual needs. This pump was created by a wife-and-husband team who had a desire to improve breast pumps in an effort to make the overall parenting experience better.
CONCLUSION: Every woman’s body and pump needs are different and unique. There are so many breast pump options out there, it can be an overwhelming choice. Breast pumps are also an expense, making the choice of a pump more about money for some people rather than a woman’s body and individual needs. I want to encourage mothers to by the right pump for them, not just the right pump for their insurance policy.
The best pumps keep improving thanks to technology. I wish every woman the best of luck in her breast pump selection process!