10 Best Breast Pumps | March 2017

Breast milk provides the best nutrition for any growing infant. Ensure your precious one has all he or she needs with one of these convenient and feature-rich breast pumps. Skip to the best breast pump on Amazon.
10 Best Breast Pumps | March 2017

Overall Rank: 6
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 9
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 10
Best Inexpensive
Built for busy moms, The First Years Memory boasts a digital touch screen that automatically tracks and stores data for up to 10 sessions. We like the convenience, but it doesn't seem to be powerful enough to maximize pumping.
Feel confident using the hospital-grade Spectra Baby S1, designed as a closed system to ensure hygiene. It has a great massage feature which helps to stimulate letdown, but the breast shields are on the smaller side.
Pump anytime, anywhere with the hands-free Freemie Freedom. It gives you the flexibility to pump with your clothes on or off, thanks to the concealable collection cups, which fit nicely inside your regular or nursing bra.
Sit back and relax using the Philips AVENT Single SCF332/11, featuring three convenient settings and a soft, warm massage cushion that helps to stimulate milk flow. The compact design makes for a great travel companion.
  • natural, breast-shaped nipple included
  • backed by a 2 year warranty
  • small footprint is easy to store
Brand Philips AVENT
Model SCF332/11
Weight 1.9 pounds
The lightweight Ameda Purely Yours is equipped with 8 adjustable suction levels and four cycle speeds for greater flexibility. The bottles conveniently sit inside the machine to prevent any spills when walking.
  • light enough to carry with one hand
  • soft flexible tubes move around easily
  • separate car adapter available
Brand Ameda
Model pending
Weight 3.1 pounds
The powerful Spectra Baby S2 makes life easier with massage and expression modes that can be easily switched back and forth. It can also can be programmed to the most effective speed and rhythm to suit your body.
  • adjustable suction in either mode
  • includes a convenient nightlight
  • motor life of 1500 hours
Brand Spectra Baby USA
Model SPS200
Weight 3.8 pounds
The unique Philips Avent Double Electric allows you to sit at a comfortable upright position due to the pump's angled neck, for a natural flow from breast to bottle. All parts are lightweight and dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
  • soft massaging cushion
  • simple to use and operate
  • 3 expression settings
Brand Philips AVENT
Model SCF334/12
Weight 4 pounds
The Medela Advanced Starter Set features a 2-phase expression technology that offers portable convenience which you can take anywhere. Plus, it is a great value, and is compatible with all standard sized bottles.
  • made from bpa-free plastic
  • includes a carrying bag with handle
  • two 5 oz medela bottles & lids
Brand Medela
Model 57081
Weight 4.6 pounds
When you're on a budget but need relief, turn to the Nibble Double Electric, which is an efficient machine that offers powerful strength in a super silent dual air pump design. Use it as a double or single pump to suit your needs.
  • flexible silicone gel shield
  • separate suction for better results
  • produces a natural sucking action
Brand Nibble
Model DD90
Weight 4.3 pounds
The Medela Pump In Style Advance is a working mom's dream, equipped with all the essentials needed to pump several times a day, including an AC adapter, battery pack, insulated cooler bag and an ice pack.
  • built-in bottle holders prevent spills
  • can also run on aa batteries
  • comes with a durable canvas tote bag
Brand Medela
Model 57063
Weight 8.3 pounds

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: 03/26/2017 | Authorship Information