On top of choosing the safest car seat or the most comfortable crib, mothers are also tasked with choosing the perfect breast pump. While there are tons of breast pumps to suit every need, choosing one without knowing your supply or if you’ll return to work can be slightly confusing.
To learn more about choosing the right breast pump, we asked the BestReviews baby and child expert for help. As a neonatal intensive care unit pediatric occupational therapist and mother, Dr. Aimee Ketchum offers excellent tips and tricks.
Dr. Ketchum recommends a breast pump for every mother, even if they plan to exclusively breastfeed. “Mom might need a break to get a little extra sleep, shower or run to the store from time to time. If there is some breastmilk in the freezer, someone else can feed that baby with a bottle,” Ketchum said. If you’re unsure whether to purchase a breast pump in advance, here are a few additional purposes.
Electric breast pumps: The most powerful are electric breast pumps, which plug into an outlet. They can be single or double. One downside is that you’re tethered to a single space while pumping.
Battery-operated breast pumps: Battery-operated pumps are convenient since they’re portable and sometimes wearable, which means you can use them while doing chores or on the go. However, you have to monitor the battery levels closely. There are both single and double options available.
Manual breast pumps: Also known as hand pumps, manual breast pumps are the best for travel or to keep in your bag when you’re running errands. The main disadvantage of manual pumps is that they only come in single pumps.
All breast pumps are either single or double. A single pump only expresses milk from one side at a time, while double breast pumps express both sides simultaneously. “Double electric pumps are most effective and efficient, so they get the job done quicker, but single manual models are portable and useful on the go,” Ketchum said.
Some pumps are open-system and some are closed-system. In open-system pumps, the expressed milk travels through tubing and the pump mechanisms to get to the bottle. Closed-system pumps are sealed off by a barrier and are more hygienic but more expensive.
Regarding the Affordable Care Act, "Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance does pay for breast pumps for new moms, but the type of pump can vary greatly depending on insurance coverage. The best thing to do is to contact your insurance company and find out what type of pump they cover, where to purchase it, if you need a prescription or not and if there will be any out-of-pocket financing required," Ketchum said.
As a double electric breast pump with a closed system, this option is not only powerful but also more hygienic. Plus, it comes with fewer parts, making it simpler to clean and assemble.
In addition to being an efficient electric pump, it's also portable and rechargeable, which is ideal for traveling. As a bonus, use it as both a single or double pump, depending on your needs.
Consider this Lansinoh model if you're looking for an affordable double electric breast pump. It claims hospital strength suction for efficient pumping sessions.
Thanks to this wearable double breast pump, mothers no longer have to sit in one place when pumping. The gravity-defying latch also allows for pumping in any position without leaking, including lying down.
Conveniently and discreetly express milk while on the go with this manual breast pump. It uses two-phase technology to mimic a baby's natural sucking motion.
Since this electric breast pump is smaller than a smartphone, you never have to worry about lugging a heavy bag of supplies again. It's also extra quiet to allow for discreet pumping.
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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.