What type of breast pump should you buy?
There are many types of breast pumps available on the market today.
First and foremost, it’s important to know why you need an electric breast pump - is it crucial to maintain your supply and provide breastmilk to your baby every feed? Or are you just using it occasionally to collect a 'rainy-day' freezer stash? Or relieve full and heavy breasts when you're away from your baby?
When should you buy a breast pump?
Your pumping needs are usually only evident after the first week or two of breastfeeding. So decisions about which pump to purchase can be made during this time. This is because, like all technology, if you need to be using a pump 8-12 times a day to maintain your supply/exclusively express - you'll need a better quality, more expensive hospital-grade breast pump.
When would you buy a manual hand pump or single electric?
For occasional expression, you may just want a manual hand pump or single electric, for example!
Types of breast pumps:
Manual/hand pump – A lightweight, portable, quiet and cheap breast pump. You manually control the pump to express, this can produce less output however due to difficulty achieving adequate suction/pressure.
Battery operated – Portable, inexpensive, has both single and double-electric options. However, often run slower, less power, require a lot of batteries and more suitable for infrequent use or for portable use only.
Single-electric – Powerful electric pump, but only allows you to pump one breast at a time. Cheaper then buying a double electric, but more time consuming. This breast pump requires electricity to operate.
Double-electric – Powerful electric breast pump that allows you to pump on both breasts at the same time. Expensive and requires electricity. If hospital grade, these types of pumps generally produce the greatest output of milk and are the best option to help maintain milk supply.
Written by Keryn Thompson, RM & IBCLC