Breastfeeding is a very personal subject which is very much about personal choice. If you’re reading this article, chances are you want to know more about this handy device, the breast pump.

Truth is that many of us would like to breastfeed our baby, since it is a very beautiful moment which strengthens our bond. However, there may be some situations where this is simply not possible, like when the baby does not feed well, or if it hurts too much, among other situations. A breast pump will solve those problems.

Key Facts

  • Many studies confirm that breast milk provides many benefits to the baby at a nutritional level, added to the wonderful emotional bond that breastfeeding creates between a mother and baby.
  • With the pace of modern life, it is not always easy to have sufficient time and a suitable place to carry out this practice. Therefore, breast pump becomes a very useful device.
  • When buying the right breast pump for you, you should consider some aspects such as the type of pump, suction intensity, design and material it is made from.

Ranking: The best breast pumps on the market

These days, there is an enormous range of breast pumps to choose from. Choice is a great thing, but this can also be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the four best breast pumps on the market, and what you can expect from each.

Best Electric Breast Pump

A nursing mom knows that breastfeeding is serious business. This double electric pump from Bellababy will help you breastfeed your baby safely and easily. The petal cushion of this product is built with soft silicone and imitate the rhythm of a sucking baby, making it comfortable and pain-free. It has a large capacity battery and can be charged by a power bank making it convenient to use.

Best Manual Breast Pump

With over 1 million nursing (breastfeeding) mothers using this product, the Haakaa manual breast pump is less complicated to operate and the easy to clean and store. It is made from 100% food-grade silicone and has no health risk. It runs without a battery or power, so you can use it anywhere and anytime. All you need to do is squeeze, press to your breast and the pump works using natural suction.

Best Hospital-Strength Breast Pump

This Spectra Rechargeable Breast Pump is designed for optimal comfort and to bring confidence when breastfeeding. This pump is light-weight and weighs only 2.9lbs. it can be used as a single pump or double pump, depending on your need at the moment. It is equipped with easy to use touch button, with digital controls to adjust the pumping speed and rhythm and also features a timer to monitor your pump duration.

Best Portable Breast Pump

When you need to step out and be away from your baby for a while, the Medela breast pump will help you express your breast milk with ease and it is very comfortable to use. It is also great to travel with as it is very light-weight and easily fits into your purse. This breast pump is designed for busy breastfeeding mothers and is designed for convenience for home, office, travel or anywhere usage.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about breast pumps

Especially for first-time mothers, it is common to have doubts and concerns around the use of a breast pump. No doubt, the best way to solve this is to get to know this product and the many advantages it can bring us. In order to do this, we will explain everything you should know about this device, and answer the most frequently asked questions about its use.

There are two types of breast pumps on the market: manual and electric, and whichever you choose it is important that you feel comfortable.
(Source: Choreograph : 50427815/ 123rf.com)

What is a breast pump and what advantages does it have?

A breast pump is a device designed to pump breast milk for storage in order to later give it to the baby with a bottle. This way, we will always have this natural food available for our child, which is also considered by many specialists as their “first vaccine.” Let’s look at its advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages
  • Lets you feed your baby with breast milk
  • Very useful if you are not able to breastfeed in a public place
  • Ideal if your baby has problems feeding
  • Alleviates pain from excess milk
  • The father can also feed the baby
Disadvantages
  • Some women find them uncomfortable
  • Some worry that it will hinder bonding

Using this type of product has numerous advantages, both for mothers and fathers, as moms will not have to breastfeed at inconvenient times, and for dads, since it will allow them to be a part of these first moments of feeding their babies. In addition, it is very beneficial for babies to feed on breast milk during the first months at least.

What types of breast pumps are there?

Currently, advances in technology have delivered a variety of different models of breast pumps to the market. However, there are two main types: manual breast pumps and electric breast pumps, which have different extraction methods. When it comes to electric breast pumps, there are different sub-types.

  • Manual breast pumps: also known as mechanics pumps, they use a manually operated extraction system. We can control speed, duration and suction intensity at all times.
  • Electric breast pumps: they allow a comfortable and very fast extraction. They are powered by electricity or batteries. Duration, speed and suction are programmed.
    • Simple electric breast pumps: the most known one, which pumps from one breast and then the other.
    • Double electric breast pumps: the most innovative one, which can extract milk from both breasts at the same time, reducing thus time.

The type of breast pump we choose will solely depend on our needs. One is not better than another, simply there’s one that suits us more than another. In fact, some of us will have to try the two main types to know which one is best for us. The important thing is to feel comfortable when using it.

How do you use a breast pump?

The first time we use a breast pump may seem like something from another world, but when we have some practice, we will realize there is no such mystery in its use. The first thing to do is following specific manufacturer’s instructions of each product. In addition, these are some general indications given by experts:

  • Keep in mind hygiene rules for washing your hands and utensils for both, breast pump and storage containers.
  • Find a comfortable to use the breast pump.
  • It is recommended to give a chest massage before starting the extraction, always from outside to the nipple.
  • Ideally, the funnel must be wet for its proper adhesion.
  • Choose a speed and suction intensity that suits you. If you use a manual breast pump, you can set the pace yourself.
  • You should know that the normal sucking of the baby is first faster, so the milk flows, and then it decreases. You can use this as a guide to choose the extraction rate with the pump.
  • When your breast is swollen and you notice a tickle, it is time to go slower.
  • You can continue massaging your breast during the extraction, especially insisting on the hardest areas.
  • When milk stops coming out, switch to the other breast and repeat the process.
  • Pour the milk into a clean container for storage and write the date of extraction.

For some women, it is useful to have a picture of the baby or something that belongs to them when extracting to stimulate the production of milk. We should not worry if the first few times we do not get all the milk we would like (even if we get anything), it is something that must be learned.

Which breast pump funnel is right for me?

The first thing we should know is that we are not always going to use a single funnel during the entire period of breastfeeding since the size we need can vary. Having the ideal size of the funnel is essential to get the maximum comfort and efficiency of the breast pump. There are funnels with different dimensions according to the diameter of the nipple:

Nipple diameter Funnel size
More than 17 millimeters 21 millimeters
More than 20 millimeters 24 millimeters
More than 23 millimeters 27 millimeters
More than 26 millimeters 30 millimeters
More than 32 millimeters 36 millimeters

It is very important that the funnel completely surrounds the nipple and is centered without rubbing or moving forward or backward. The size of the breast pump funnel usually is 24 millimeters, but most of them have extra funnels sizes so we can chose the one that better suits us.

How should I store the milk extracted with breast pump?

In order for us to use the extracted milk, we must store it in the proper way. This way, we will prevent it from being damaged and causing illness to the baby. For this, it will only be necessary to consider some indications and guidelines when determining the temperature and the place where we will store it.

Type of milk Place Temperature Time
Colostrum (first secretion after delivery) It does not matter Ambient temperature (27/32 ºC) Between 12 and 14 hours
Recently extracted It does not matter 15 ºC 24 hours
Recently extracted It does not matter 10/22 ºC 10 hours
Recently extracted It does not matter 25 ºC Between 4 and 8 hours
Recently extracted Refrigerator 0/-4 ºC Between 5 and 8 days
Frozen Domestic freezer -15 ºC 2 weeks
Frozen Combo freezer -18 ºC Between 3 and 4 month
Frozen Commercial or industrial freezer -19 º C + 6 months

The most important thing is to always label each containers with the date of extraction, so that we know how long it has been stored. In addition, once out of the freezer, it can be refrigerated and consumed for up to 24 hours, but we must never freeze it again.

Is it necessary to heat the extracted milk from a breast pump?

Milk comes out of your breast at an average temperature of 35 and 37 ° C, that is, body temperature. If we are going to give to the baby right after the extraction, it will not be necessary to heat it, as it already is at the ideal temperature. However, it is normal for us to store the milk and give it to the baby after a while.

In this case, it will have to be heated, as it will have been in the freezer or refrigerator. If we have frozen the milk, it is recommended to take it out a day before so that it naturally defrosts without breaking the cold chain. The most used method to heat breast milk is the water bath, which allows heating without exceeding.

It is important that you clean your breast pump before using it.
(Source: Robert Przybysz: 40576678/ 123rf.com)

When milk is not too cold, some people prefer to put the bottle under a hot water flow to make it warm. Using a microwave is not recommended at all. We should always check its temperature on our skin before feeding the baby.

What is the best time to use the breast pump?

Truth is your breast is never empty, so you will always have milk to extract. Still, we must know the breast pump is very efficient to extract the milk already accumulated in your breast, but it is a little harder to rise the milk. Therefore, although any time is good, you must prefer some occasions better:

  • Before breastfeeding: yes, and we should not be afraid to leave the baby without milk, since they are capable of rise the milk with only two minutes of suction.
  • During breastfeeding: while the baby is being breastfed from one breast, we extract from the other, so we take advantage of the so-called ejection reflex.
  • After taking: it will be easier to extract milk as we are taking advantage of the rise.

The most important thing is to choose a moment when we feel comfortable and prepared for extraction. Choosing a quiet, intimate and comfortable place is essential to stimulate the rise of milk. We should not worry if it does not work when we try it, we can try later.

Shopping criteria

Knowing what aspects we have to look at when buying a breast pump will help us make the right choice, the one that best suits our needs. Here we have the most important purchase criteria that must be considered to buy this type of device.

  • Type
  • Intensity of suction
  • Design
  • Accessories

Type

The type of breast pump we prefer is completely subjective. Whether manual or electric, we must feel comfortable when using it. There are women who prefer the manual pump because they allow us to have control of the speed, intensity and suction at all times.

However, there are some who prefer the automatic pump because they usually do not have too much time for this practice and they get the milk much faster. Pain also influence our choice, since the suction intensity of the electric breast pump is too strong for some women.

A breast pump is very useful for those mothers who always want to have a bottle ready to feed their baby.
(Source: Apatcha Muenaksorn : 68477961/ 123rf.com)

Suction intensity

This criterion is closely related to the pain we just talked about. As each woman has a different tolerance to pain, we recommend to buy a breast pump that has different levels of intensity that can be regulated and adapted to what we feel every time.

In addition, having several intensity levels will also be useful to control the extraction capacity depending, for example, on the time we have. In case of manual breast pumps, we will regulate the suction force of the device.

Design

The design of the breast pump is also important when deciding on one or another, especially considering how we are going to use it. For example, if we are going to use it outside, the more compact and lighter it is, the less space it will take and the easier to transport it will be.

In addition, it is highly recommended to choose a breast pump be as detachable as possible to ease the cleaning process. This way, it will be easier for us to clean each piece separately. Finally, a fundamental requirement for design is that it allows to place funnels of different sizes.

Accessories

Accessories brought by the breast pump can be a determining factor for us when deciding to buy it or discard it. The basic device will be the same and will fulfill its function correctly, but it’ll be better if it comes with elements to make the task more comfortable and easier.

Some of the most demanded useful complements are the container or bottle to store the milk after extraction, an adapter for different packages, a bag to transport the device, spare funnels, and even specialized fasteners.

Summary

Adding a breast pump in our lives will greatly ease breastfeeding. We can feed our baby with breast milk in any situation and in a hygienic and comfortable way. More and more mothers are using this device to always have a bottle ready.

Currently, there are different models that perfectly adapt to our breast and pain tolerance each of us may have. At first, it may be a bit harder but, once we get it, we will not leave this wonderful invention alone. What are you waiting to try it?

If you liked our guide on breast pumps, share it on social media and leave us a comment. We want to know your experience!

(Source of the featured image: Norasit Kaewsai: 93319124/ 123rf.com)

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