manual breast pump and
Last updated: 06/09/2020

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Feeding your baby is one of the most wonderful and fulfilling experiences that you can have as a mother. However, as everyday life can be hectic or if work commitments get in the way, you may need to look for alternatives ways to ensure that your baby can still be properly fed. By purchasing the appropriate baby accessories, you can ensure that your baby continues to stay well fed, even during the busiest times.

A manual breast pump is a fantastic and truly revolutionary solution to assist with breastfeeding and to ensure that your baby receives adequate levels of breast milk. Regardless of whether you are a full-time mom or if you will go back to work after maternity leave, a manual breast pump will make feeding easier for both you and your baby. We have prepared the following guide so that you can learn everything there is to know about manual breast pumps and purchase the model that best suits you.

Key Facts

  • Many women are unable to directly breastfeed their children due to work, health or other reasons. As women are increasing in the workforce and returning to work earlier after birth, being with their baby for every feeding session is often impossible, which is where manual breast pumps come into play. With these devices, mothers can prolong the breastfeeding period of their babies and ensure that their babies continue to have access to breast milk.
  • Feeding your baby natural breast milk has many benefits for the health of your baby. The creation of manual breast pumps means that there is absolutely no excuse for denying your baby of this natural product. Manual breast pumps are very convenient and can be easily carried everywhere you go, allowing you to extract milk multiple times throughout the day. This enables you to maintain a well-stockpiled amount of breast milk for your little one.
  • When you are ready to select a specific breast pump model, it is important to consider certain aspects such as the quality and manufacturing materials used, included accessories, compatibility, and size. Once your new manual breast pump has arrived at your doorstep, it is important to read the instructions carefully and closely follow the recommended maintenance processes.

Our Selection: The Best Manual Breast Pumps on the U.S. Market

As there are so many different models, sizes, and brands of manual breast pumps on the market, it is very easy to become overwhelmed as a consumer. To make your search easier, particularly if you are a first-time mother or have recently given birth, we have selected the four best manual breast pumps on the market. We have taken into account expert opinions and reviews from other mothers when preparing this list. Take a close look at the products as we are very confident that there is a model that suits your needs.

The Amazon Choice Manual Breast Pump

The Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump is the Amazon Choice product as it offers a convenient and quiet pumping solution at an affordable price. This manual breast pump gives you the ability to pump anywhere because it’s so compact, lightweight and doesn’t require electric power.

Amazon Best Seller Manual Breast Pump

The Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump is the most portable and travel-friendly pump you’ll find as it doesn’t need any cords, cables or batteries and is ultra-silent. This manual breast pump is recommended by nursing mums, magazines, nurses, doctors, and lactation consultants all over the world. The Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump is made with FDA-approved, high-quality food-grade silicone and is BPA, PVC, lead and phthalate-free.

Most Sold Manual Breast Pump

The Medela Harmony is a manually operated breast pump that has been designed for occasional use when you’re away from your baby. With a small, portable, and lightweight design, this breast pump can be taken with you anyway and used discretely with ease. This model includes a soft-touch, ergonomic swivel handle that makes it easier to operate by yourself.

Highest Rated Manual Breast Pump

The NatureBond Silicone Breast Pump is one of the most natural ways to collect breast milk manually through natural suction pressure. The sleek and soft silicone design ensures maximum comfort for breastfeeding mummies when collecting breast milk. With a rating of 4.5 stars on Amazon, this is one of the highest-rated manual breast pumps available on the market.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Manual Breast Pumps

Before purchasing a manual breast pump, it is important to understand a little bit about these products and the important role that they play in breastfeeding. To help you learn about these products quickly, we have prepared the following section by answering the most frequently asked questions from new mothers when it comes to manual breast pumps. We really hope that this guide will help you choose the manual breast pump that suits your situation and become a valuable product in your day-to-day role as a mother.

blue eyes baby looking the camera

Natural breast milk provides many benefits for new born babies.
(Source: Reana: 37371555/ 123rf.com)

What is a manual breast pump exactly?

A manual breast pump is a device that is used to extract breast milk from a mother’s breast so that the milk can be stored in bottles and provided to the baby at a later point in time. Manual breast pumps do not require batteries or electricity to operate. Manual breast pumps are easy to transport as they are small in size, and unlike electric breast pumps, they can be used anywhere as they do not require a power source.

Below we have summarized the benefits and drawbacks of manual breast pumps:

Advantages
  • Silent devices
  • Lightweight
  • Small
  • Economical
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble
  • Comfortable to use
  • Easy to clean and sterilize
Disadvantages
  • Fatigue may occur during long extractions
  • Extraction takes longer than with an electric breast pump

How do I clean and sterilize a manual breast pump?

All manual breast pumps should be washed well before the first use and properly cleaned after every use to prevent the growth of bacteria. It is also highly recommended to sterilize your manual breast pump at least once a day. When cleaning your pump, you must completely disassemble the product before washing it manually or in the dishwasher.

When it comes to sterilizing a manual breast pump, boiling water must be used in order to adequately kill all bacteria and germs. Be very careful when handling boiling water as burns can easily occur. To sterilize your manual breast pump, after cleaning the pump, submerse each part in a pot of boiling water and allow them to soak for a few minutes. Carefully remove each piece and allow them to drain and dry with a clean cloth.

Deborah M. ConsoliniSidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University

“The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for a minimum of 6 months and introduction of appropriate solid food from 6 months to 1 year.”

When should breast milk be extracted?

There are many cases where extracting breast milk is beneficial for both the mother and baby. For example, premature babies that are kept long-term in hospitals are unable to always be fed directly from the breast. Similarly, some newborns find it difficult to suck and extract milk from the nipple because the breasts are too swollen. In these scenarios, a manual breast pump is ideal for producing some breast milk reserves so that your baby can always be fed on time. Below we list the most common reasons for using a manual breast pump:

  • Premature babies or babies experiencing difficulty sucking the breast
  • Swollen, sore, or cracked breasts
  • To stimulate milk production
  • To store milk for later consumption
Mother holds breast pump in her hand

These devices can make life much easier for mothers.
(Source: Evgeniia Sobolevskaia: 84261781/ 123rf.com)

Why is it important to breastfeed my baby?

The milk that a mother naturally produces is a truly unique product that contains all the particular nutrients that your baby needs to be healthy. The milk that one mother produces is not the same as the milk from another, which is why, generally speaking, your specific breast milk is suitable only for your baby. Producing breast milk is a natural bodily process that provides numerous benefits for your baby’s growth and development.

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Did you know that studies show that babies that are breastfed have fewer allergies to external environmental factors and foods? According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), all babies should be exclusively breastfed up to six months of age and then solid food may be introduced, while continuing to breastfeed until at least 2 years of age.

When you breastfeed your baby directly from the breast, you will be creating an irreplaceable bond with your baby that a bottle cannot replace. The time that mothers and babies spend together during feeding is unlike any other and creates a connection between the two. However, as we’ve mentioned, being present for every feeding session is close to impossible, which is where breast pumps come into play.

How do I continue breastfeeding when I go back to work?

Even though many mothers are unable to be with their babies all the time, often due to work commitments, breastfeeding can still continue, thanks to a breast pump. These devices allow you to fill up a few bottles in advance, so that your partner, nanny or carer can feed your baby with your breast milk while you are at work. This ensures that your baby continues to receive the benefits of your breast milk, even when you are not around.

If you are required to return back to work while your baby is still breastfeeding, it is recommended to offer your baby the opportunity to feed directly from your breast when you get home, if this is possible. This ensures you maintain the important connections that are forged between mother and baby by breastfeeding.

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When it comes time to stop breastfeeding, breast pumps are the ideal device to avoid discomfort or mastitis (an inflammation of breast tissue that commonly affects women who are breastfeeding). In addition, breast milk banks exist in the U.S to help babies that do not have access to their own mother’s milk. You could consider donating your excess breast milk.

mom with her boy

Your little one will appreciate the constant availability of your breast milk. 
(Source: Alena Ozerova: 53676502/ 123rf.com)

How should breast milk be stored?

Prior to extracting breast milk, you must ensure that you wash your hands and clean the pump accordingly. You should also have special milk containers or bags ready to store the milk. It is not recommended to store more than 3.4 oz per container and always remember to write the date of extraction on the container. Breast milk can remain some hours at room temperature and up to several months in a freezer. We explain this further below:

Place Temperature Shelf life
Outside refrigerator 60°F to 77°F 4 to 6 hours
Refrigerator 32°F to 39°F 3 to 5 days
Freezer -0.4°F 4 months
Freezer Industrial 9 months

If you freeze your breast milk, it is recommended to allow it to defrost in the fridge so that the temperature change is not so sudden. Once the milk has defrosted, it can be stored for up to 2 hours at room temperature and up to 24 hours in the fridge. You must never refreeze the milk or heat it up in a saucepan.

Buyer’s Guide

We know that comparing and choosing the most suitable manual breast pump is not an easy task. That is why we believe you should review the most important aspects to find the model that is perfect for you. Below we have listed the criteria that we consider to be the most important.

Materials

When choosing the manual breast pump to buy, it’s important to look at the strength of the materials and components. You must ensure that there are absolutely no chemical compounds used in that plastic that can affect the health of you or your baby.

mom feeding her baby

One of the big advantages of manual breast pumps is that they do not require batteries or electricity.
(Source: Kuzmina: 48931104/ 123rf.com)

Specifically, you should avoid products that contain bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates or lead. The best materials to look for are extractors made from polypropylene (PP) and silicone. Polypropylene is a material that is completely safe and resists temperature changes well. The suction teats that attach to your nipples should be made from 100% silicone.

Accessories and Spare Parts

Many manual breast pumps only come with one bottle, which is far from practical. This is why we recommend choosing a product that comes with a few extra bottles, as you’ll always need them. Some breast pumps also come with a travel case, storage bags, or extra nipple attachments. When it comes to choosing a model, remember to factor in the cost of additional accessories, such as spare bottles, if they are not included in the pack.

When it comes to spare parts, look for well-known brands that have easily accessible spare parts, either online or in a store near you. Although unlikely, a damaged product can be a nightmare for a busy mother that relies on their breast pump.

Compatibility

It is important that you take into account the type of bottles and accessories that you want to use, as some universal breast pumps are compatible with almost every bottle, whereas certain brands only work with their own bottles. We recommend looking for the pump models that are universal so that you are not restricted to a specific brand and can take advantage of promotions from any brand on the market when purchasing extra bottles.

Size

The size of the funnel you need to properly extract breast milk may change as you progress through the breastfeeding process. Choosing the right size funnel is essential to getting the milk flow you need. By default, most pumps usually have a 0.9-inch funnel.

The funnel size depends on the diameter of the nipple. To choose the ideal funnel size, you must measure the diameter (length across) of your nipple and add 0.15-inches. As for the size of the container or bottle, they are usually 4.2 oz. The little table below will hopefully help you with finding the right size funnel:

Your nipple diameter (inches) Up to 0.67 Up to 0.79 Up to 0.90 Up to 1.0
Funnel size you need (inches) 0.83 0.95 1.06 1.2

Ease of Use and Cleaning

The easier your breast pump is to use and clean, the easier your life will be. Manual breast pumps are generally easier to put together, use and wash than electric models. Many women, after having used an electric breast pump for a certain period, switch to a manual model, as they are much more convenient to use and wash.

Summary

It is thanks to breast pumps that mothers can continue to feed their babies after returning to work or in other situations where direct breastfeeding is not an option. Manual breast pumps are the most practical, easy to use and hygienic products for breastfeeding that a mother can use. These products do not require batteries or electricity and allow you to extract breast milk easily in any location.

With a manual breast pump, you can easily fill up and store a number of bottles so that your baby can be well fed while you are away for your little one. When selecting a model, we highly recommend that you take into consideration all the aspects that we listed in the Buyer’s Guide above.

We hope you liked this article about manual breast pumps. Please share it on your social networks and leave us your comments below. Thanks!

(Source of Featured Image: Mukhina1: 39555344/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Ester is a midwife by profession, but due to an allergic reaction she no longer does her job full time. She now gives advice to parents. Her job motivated her to write articles. Her wish is to be able to reach even more parents and answer important questions.