The best breast pumps that don’t drive you crazy

Manual pumps

1 The Haakaa manual breast pump Check it out
2 Mam manual breast pump Check it out
3 Tommee Tippee manual breast pump Check it out

Electric pumps

1 Medela Swing single electric breast pump Check it out
2 Nuby Natural Touch Digital Breast Pump Check it out
3 Avent Comfort Single Electric breast pump Check it out
4 Spectra S2 double hospital grade breast pump Check it out

Pregnancy, birth and the early post-natal phase are pretty much all about feeling uncomfortable, sore and full of aches. Of course, your precious bundle makes it all worth it but wouldn’t it be nice just to feel a little less niggled by multiple parts of your own body. That’s why you need a breast pump that doesn’t drive you insane.

Every breastfeeding mother has her own lifestyle and a unique attitude towards breastfeeding. Choosing the best breast pump for you will depend on how you want to breastfeed your baby and how often you plan to feed it with a bottle.

Do I really need a breast pump?

  • Are you planning on going back to work?
  • Do you need to relieve breasts that are heavy and sore from too much milk?
  • Do you want your partner, children or parents to help feed your newborn?
  • Is there a need to boost your milk supply or store some milk?
  • Is your baby enable to not suck or eat directly from your breast?
  • Do you want to give breast milk to your child, but you do not want to breastfeed?
  • Are you the parent of twins?

If you answered yes to at least one of these question then you should consider a breast pump. You can’t be expected to breastfeed permanently and be with your baby 24 hours a day. If you want to continue giving your baby breast milk, a breast pump is a very effective way to maintain good milk production.

Having the right kit, such as a breast pump, oodles of breast pads, gallons of nipple cream and a nifty drop-cup bra to hand will make the first weeks much easier.

What is the best breast pump?

You could read breast pump reviews all day, every day and still feel confused about the right choice for you. It’s such a personal product as all bodies, boobs, women and babies are different.

I’ve selected the best breast pumps and tried to gather as much info as possible to help you choose the one that will fit you the best.

Manual breast pumps

The Pros

  • Cheaper. A good choice if you know it’s only for occasional use.
  • Light, compact and quiet. Ideal if you’re out and about a lot with another child or going back to work. The Haakaa breast pump is one piece, super lightweight and will fit in a handbag.
  • Easier to use than electric on full breasts.

The Cons

  • Pumping can tire hands and wrists so choose one with an ergonomic handle like the Mam manual breast pump.
  • You need hands to pump and hands to stop a toddler licking the cat.
  • Slower to produce milk.
  • May take time to learn the best rhythm to pump. A pump with ‘two phases’ one for initial pumping, the other for established milk flow.

The Haakaa manual breast pump

To be fair this is a pump for Mums already in a solid breast-feeding and pumping routine. You need to know where best to position it and to already have consistent flow. Once there, this silicone breast pump is portable, easy to use and awesome value.

A wonderful useful sizeThis nifty little manual breast pump is so light, hand/baby bag sized and is made of a single piece of soft and comfortable silicone.

Features
  • Easy to clean. I think this is the best manual breast pump I’ve come across in terms of washing and sterilising. No faffy taking apart and re-building twenty-five times a day. Just wash it out and chuck it in the steriliser.
  • Portable and discreet. I would have adored this when I was breast feeding as I had no qualms about feeding or pumping whenever and wherever I needed to. (Blackpool pier while chatting to the fella who ran the dodgems was my favourite!)

Mam manual breast pump

Mother and Baby magazine voted the Mam breast pump as the Best Manual Breast Pump of 2016. There have been newer models arriving on the market since then but I still love this pump for the adjustability and comfort it offers a feeding Mum.

Features
  • Comfortable and adapts to your movements

The soft suctions pads adapt to each breast and rotate 360 degrees so you can suddenly make a grab for a falling toddler while continuing to pump! It’s also possible to pump with your right and left hand, lying down and sitting. 

  • Not too fiddly

The Mam manual breast pump breaks down into just four pieces so it’s fairly simple to wash, sterilise and then re-assemble at 3am when your poor boobs are full and sore but it will be a cold day in hell when you wake a sleeping baby to feed.

  • Easier transitioning to bottles

The award-winning Mam anti-colic bottles attach directly to the pump   so that milk can be used or stored without mess or storage bags.

  • Controllable suction

Most women find that at the beginning of a pumping session more suction is needed to get the milk flowing and then once established it can be reduced. The controllable dial on this pump allows that which makes expressing comfier and quicker.

Tommee Tippee manual breast pump

The Tommee Tippee manual breast pump is the cheapest breast pump Argos sells and at around £20 I think it’s great value for Mums who are only going to express when a night out beckons and baby will be on the bottle as well as Mummy.

Features
  • Fit most women

The soft, flexible cup ensures a perfect fit for most women. Reviews suggest that ladies with bigger boobs might need a bit more practice with it so think on if you’re over a D cup     

  • Simple to use

With just three pieces it’s quick and simple to put together which is important when your breasts are sore and you NEED to release some milk and it needs to be right now.

  • Quiet

As with all manual breast pumps, the Tommee Tippee is whisper quiet. So, if you’re multi-tasking by feeding and expressing at the same time (women’s bodies are just amazing aren’t they?!) then baby won’t be startled or disturbed.

  • Clever design

The pattern on the cup isn’t just for decoration. Oh no, they’re clever! The ripples are in fact designed to massage your breast as you express encouraging faster let down of milk.

  • Closer to nature

The pump can be used directly with the very popular ‘Closer to Nature’ bottles that Tommee Tippee makes. These have a unique, nipple-like teat to make the transition from boob to bottle a little less stressful.

Electric Breast Pumps

The Pros

  • Less effort. The cup is placed on the breast by you and then the machine takes over. No hand tiring pumping or fiddling with the suction controls.
  • Faster more productive expression. Electric breast pump reviews will consistently tell you how much quicker they are. Parents with more than one child will find this invaluable. Yay! Extra Peppa Pig time with the three-year-old.
  • More settings and adjustability to suit all boobs, any soreness and different levels of milk supply.
  • Choice. Spend more and enjoy extra clever features.

The Cons

  • Significantly more expensive, even for the basic models.
  • Noisier and less discreet. May disturb a baby feeding on the other breast.
  • Cleaning and sterilising are more of a faff with extra bits and pieces to drop or lose.
  • Usually bigger and heavier than manual pumps.

Medela Swing single electric breast pump

Medela produces award-winning breast pumps and receive fantastic reviews from happy customers. I’ve included their single electric pump mainly because of the innovative teat that can be used with their bottles.

Features

The Calma teat mimics the way a baby sucks at the breast, using their tongue and so your little one will find the transition from a breastfeed to a bottle feed much more naturally. They should be used for babies with an established breastfeeding routine and are perfect for when mummy needs a break from the feeding routine.

  • Great accessories
  • The Medela Swing works with Calma teats and bottles.
  • Quick and effective

The swing automatically replicates how a baby would feed. Strong sucks at first to get the milk flowing and then a gentler rhythm.

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable to use with maximum adaptability
  • Quiet

Pumping while feeding or with a sleeping baby in the room is easy with this low decibel machine.

  • Peace of mind

Medela pumps have been used in hospitals for fifty years. It’s likely the hospital grade breast pump your midwife attached you to was made by Medela.

Nuby Natural Touch Digital Breast Pump

In 2018, this was the best electric breast pump UK parenting magazine ‘Mother and Baby’ declared. It’s a recommendation that’s worth being impressed by.

Features
  • Small and neat

For an electric pump this is remarkably compact so if you’re ever planning to express away from home this could be the one for you.

  • Relatively quiet

No-one wants movie night disturbed by the droning of a breast pump. Let’s face it, it’s the closest you’re going to get to a proper night out for a while.

  • Easy to use

The digital controls are simple to use. No computing degree will be required.

  • Five suction and speed settings

That might sound a lot but for the days when your nipples feel like they are on fire you will be grateful for a gentler speed and suck.

Avent Comfort Single Electric breast pump

Knowing how new mums feel, the lovely people at Avent have developed an electric breast pump with comfort as its focus. Research has found that a mum who is relaxed and happy while expressing or feeding will produce more milk and in a quicker time.

Cons

It’s noisy.

This was the main complaint about the Avent Comfort in breast pump reviews.

Features
  • Comfortable positioning

The shape, angle and position of the pump allow you to express in a more natural position. No more leaning forward to make sure the milk goes in the bottle.     

  • Comfortable feel

A soft massage cushion produces quickly and effectively and is even gentle on the let down phase. The unique velvety texture feels immediately warm on the skin.

  • Portable and relatively lightweight for an electric pump.
  • Easy to clean and sterilise, not as fiddly as some electric pumps.

What about a double electric breast pump?

Many designs of electric breast pumps will offer a double pump version. The benefits of expressing from both boobs at the same time far outweigh the slight indignity and your new found sympathy with dairy cows.

  • More effective, faster milk production.
  • The milk produced has higher energy content when a double pump is used.
  • Thorough drainage of the breast which leads to an increase in supply and higher quality milk.

Spectra S2 double hospital grade breast pump

The Spectra S2 is the ultimate double pump with amazing practical features. But it comes at a cost and it is the dearer pump of this selection.

Features
  • Long battery life

The rechargeable battery lasts three hours so it’s an ideal pump to take to work and express. Your boss has a legal obligation to support you with this by the way!

Powerful suction with different speeds and strength to suit each feed

Gentle on your body despite the impressive suction power.

  • Quiet

The lack of noise from this pump allows you to express without disturbing anyone or drawing attention to what you’re doing.

  • A nightlight

Oh, now this a great feature. So simple but so useful, why more pumps don’t have these is hard to fathom. At 3am in a dimly lit nursery being able to see what you’re doing as you pump is pretty useful.

Tips to draw your milk

Breast feeding is an emotive subject for many new parents. If you’re planning on trying to breast feed your new baby you’ll need support, patience and time.

If you are breastfeeding mainly:

Draw your milk in the morning. This is the time of day when you have the most milk.

Draw your milk between each breastfeed, either 30 to 60 minutes after or at least one hour before. This will leave enough milk for the baby to feed.

If you’re exclusively using a breast pump to feed your baby:

Try to draw your milk 8 to 10 times a day, every 3 hours or so. Normal production of breast milk is 750ml to 1L every 24 hours.

Once you have reached maximum milk production, try to maintain a pace that allows you to reach that 1L every day.

Every mum and every baby is different. So you have to what’s best for both of you. If you want more tips we’ve written the ultimate guide to expressing your milk with all our tips and advice to do it like a pro.

Feeding your baby is a mother’s most natural and strongest instinct. It’s about choosing what makes YOU and YOUR baby happy and healthy. Breast, bottle, mixed feeding, electric breast pump, manual breast pump or hand expression are all perfectly wonderful ways to nourish your child.

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