The 10 Best Breast Pumps

Updated November 09, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Breast Pumps
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We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Breast milk provides the best nutrition for any growing infant, but sometimes you don't have the luxury of staying at home with your little one. To ensure your baby has all he or she needs once you return to work, try one of these feature-rich breast pumps that help stimulate a natural flow to optimize your milk supply. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best breast pump on Amazon.

10. Freemie Freedom

For an unconventional alternative, check out the Freemie Freedom. It features concealable collection cups that fit nicely inside your regular or nursing bra for flexibility to pump with your clothes on or off. But it is a bit awkward to use at first.
  • comes with funnel sets in two sizes
  • each cup holds up to 8 ounces
  • tubes are hard to clean
Brand Freemie
Model Freemie Freedom FG031
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Philips Avent Manual

The Philips Avent Manual features a helpful angled neck, so you can sit in the most comfortable position for optimal milk flow. Its easy one-handed operation makes it versatile to use wherever you are, but it requires more time on your hands than electric pumps.
  • takes minimal effort to work
  • pliable five petal massage cushion
  • only fits wide-mouthed avent bottles
Brand Philips AVENT
Model SCF330/20
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. BelleMa Mango

The BelleMa Mango is a decent choice when you want electric operation without a high price tag. It has a preset letdown function for quick stimulation, but the speed and suction strength can not be controlled separately, which may slow down the overall pumping session.
  • works on wide or narrow neck bottles
  • great as a secondary option
  • batteries drain quickly
Brand Bellema
Model XN-2201M3
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Medela Harmony

The Medela Harmony is worth a try if the thought of an electric pump makes you cringe. It serves as a great travel companion that can easily fit into a diaper bag without taking up much room and helps to alleviate engorged breasts at any moment.
  • quick and easy assembly
  • user-friendly swinging handle
  • quiet and smooth operation
Brand Medela
Model 67186
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Nibble Double/Single

The Nibble Double/Single is great for a busy mom who just can't nurse on a regular basis. It's an affordable option with hospital-grade quality that does the work for you and offers a gentle pumping action that is less painful for those with sore nipples.
  • good for nursing multiple babies
  • 10 adjustable levels
  • hygienic without any milk back flow
Brand Nibble
Model Nibble GLP-8
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Ameda Purely Yours Ultra

The Ameda Purely Yours Ultra is a great all-around pump at a decent price. Its sleek, contoured design is easy to clean and maintain, plus the built-in bottle holders act as an extra hand while pumping to keep your milk from spilling over.
  • integrated battery pack
  • includes a car adapter
  • not hospital-grade quality
Brand Ameda Purely Yours Ultr
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Medela Swing

The Medela Swing is best for occasional pumping while on the go. It features the patented 2-Phase Expression technology that gets you more milk by accurately mimicking a baby's sucking motion, and most of the parts are interchangeable with Medela's other electric pumps.
  • great speed control
  • a neck strap and belt clip
  • fits discreetly inside a work bag
Brand Medela
Model 67050
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Spectra Baby S2

The Spectra Baby S2 makes pumping a breeze with a user-friendly digital interface and the ability to program the speed and rhythm to best suit your body. Also, the suction is adjustable whether in massage or expression mode with a super powerful maximum strength.
  • helpful timer function
  • convenient nightlight
  • long motor life of 1500 hours
Brand Spectra Baby USA
Model SPS200
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. BelleMa Effective Pro

The BelleMa Effective Pro is a winner for versatility, efficiency and performance. This fully closed pump system has a left, right or dual method to choose from and each side can be controlled independently for customized comfort.
  • flexible silicone cushions
  • a bottle converter
  • handy memory function
Brand Bellema
Model XN-2210M2
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Medela Pump In Style Advanced

The Medela Pump In Style Advanced is a working mom's dream when you need to pump several times a day while away from home. It's loaded with all of the essentials, including two 24mm breast shields, a battery pack, an ice pack and a four-bottle insulated cooler.
  • simple one-touch operation
  • can also run on aa batteries
  • stylish tote bag for portability
Brand Medela
Model 57063
Weight 8.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

Proactively Pumping For Baby's Benefit

Nursing is a natural and biologically important part of rearing offspring, both in the human and animal world, even for creatures you'd never expect. For busy women concerned about the extra time required to feed their little ones while working or away from home, a breast pump is a very useful tool for ensuring they get the nutrition they need when direct breastfeeding is not convenient or possible.

A breast pump is a mechanical device designed to extract milk from a lactating mother for storage and feeding to an infant by a caregiver. It is considered a valuable addition or alternative to live breastfeeding. The breast pump operates in very much the same way as a milking machine does on a dairy farm. Instead of sucking milk out of the breast, the pump stimulates milk ejection via a mother's letdown reflex, which is ordinarily brought on during normal breastfeeding by a baby's sucking action on the nipple.

When the nerves of the breast have been stimulated, the oxytocin hormone is released. This hormone then encourages the muscles around the milk-producing cells to contract, thereby releasing milk into the ducts and down to the nipples. The pump stimulates the letdown reflex by using suction to first pull the nipple into the tunnel of its breast shield and then release. This pull and release action counts as a single cycle. The majority of mechanical breast pumps can achieve between thirty and sixty cycles per minute.

Breast pumps are categorized into two main types, manual and electric. Manual pumps are operated by a lactating mother through repetitive squeezing action of the device's handle. This gives the mother direct control over the amount of pressure and frequency of milk ejection. Manual pumps are typically less expensive than electric pumps, but they also require more effort from the parent and cannot extract milk from more than one breast at a time. Electric breast pumps are normally powered by an electric motor that supplies suction through plastic tubing to a horn that fits over a woman's nipple. Those components of an electric pump that come into direct contact with milk are typically sterilized to prevent contamination.

A major benefit to the electric pump is its ability to pump milk from both breasts simultaneously, making the process more efficient than that of a manual pump. Many electric pumps are also portable with their own battery packs and they can fit inside a backpack to remain inconspicuous. Finally, these types of pumps often feature an integrated milk collection system in which the storage portion of the device also functions as a feeding bottle, which prevents the need to transfer breast milk to another bottle.

These devices use either open or closed collection systems. With a closed collection system, the pump and its tubing are separated from the horn (the part that fits over the breast) by a barrier. In a closed system, the suction of the pump's electric motor lifts the barrier to create a vacuum, which extracts a woman's breast milk. By contrast, an open collection system does not use a barrier and allows for the free passage of air through the device while the suction has direct contact with the mother's breast. Open collection systems allow for greater airflow than that of closed systems, which also makes them better suited to deal with a range of breast shapes and tissue elasticity.

What's Best For A Little One

A woman's lifestyle and preference will have the greatest influence on the type of breast pump one decides to invest in. Since many electric pumps are designed with the working mother in mind, finding one with a reliable battery pack will be important. This will allow for pumping virtually anywhere that is convenient and private when not at home.

Efficiency and comfort are also big considerations. Many pumps offer electric operation with breast shields made from soft and durable silicone material that won't be painful or interfere with proper nipple stimulation. Also, finding a pump with double shields will maximize efficiency for a working mother wishing to pump as quickly as possible when time is limited. On the same note, integrated feeding bottles attached to the pump will make it much easier to transport and store freshly-pumped milk for extended periods of time.

A woman must also consider the position they'll be sitting in during a pumping cycle. For that reason, pumps with angled necks allow a mother to remain in an upright position, which stimulates a natural milk flow from the breast directly into the pump itself.

Finally, when concealment and privacy are important, many pumps can operate even when remaining fully clothed through the use of collection cups that fit underneath a nursing bra.

A Brief History Of The Breast Pump

The first patent for a breast pump was filed by Orwell H. Needham in 1854. In 1864, inventor L.O. Colvin filed a patent for a similar device whose main purpose was to improve the milking process of cows. Although simplistic in nature, the process would eventually pave the way for the development of more modern breast pumps for human women. Developers continued to refine the design of the breast pump through the latter part of the nineteenth century.

In 1898, Joseph Hoover patented a pumping device that mimicked the nursing process of a human mother and baby as closely as possible. Hoover's device was designed to encourage a continuous flow of milk along with its pulsating movement that would occur when an infant nursed at the breast.

By 1925, German immigrant and international chess champion Edward Lasker invented one of the first electric breast pumps that imitated an infant's sucking action. It was considered a major improvement to existing, hand-operated pumps of the time. Dedicating his career to helping breastfeeding mothers, Swedish engineer Einar Egnell invented the first truly comfortable breast pump in the 1950s as a response to all previous iterations of the device causing pain and difficulty with milk expression. Egnell's invention was considered a major breakthrough in breast pump research, as it set the standards for pump vacuum and cycling technology still used today by lactation consultants when judging efficiency of the device.

Hospital-grade, personal use pumps continued to emerge throughout the latter part of the twentieth century and their popularity is still going strong today.

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Last updated on November 09, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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