How to choose a breast pump

How To Choose A Breast Pump That’s Best for You

How To Choose A Breast Pump That’s Best for You

How to choose a breast pump that’s best for you. Find out all you need to know about breast pumps so you make the right choice.

The decision of whether or not to use a breast pump will come up as you continue to nurse your newborn.

You start breastfeeding your child within thirty minutes to two hours after they get born and immediately you put her to your breast, your breast will respond to her sucking motion and supply the breast milk (colostrum) already produced for this time.

Yea, your breasts start producing milk as early as 16 weeks of pregnancy, but I’m sure you already knew this.

As your baby continues to suckle, your breast responds to her demands and should start to produce more milk to meet her needs.

Breastmilk production in the breasts just like a lot other things works on the sheer principle of demand and supply. The more breast milk your baby consumes during each feed, the more your body will need to make.

However, this isn’t always the case and sometimes, you’ll find your breasts don’t produce milk at a pace that matches your baby’s food needs.

I faced this with my daughter, Isabella. My breastmilk production just wasn’t meeting her hunger needs and she was often left hungry and would cry incessantly.

Related: 30 Top Reasons to Breastfeed a Baby (Benefits for baby and mom)

In my case, a few reasons were responsible for this low breastmilk production; she wasn’t latching properly and also had a weak suck.

I knew I had to increase my breastmilk production and since I knew one of the ways this happens, besides putting her to suck often which wasn’t working anyway, was to use a breast pump.

Breast pumps are mostly used to ensure the continued production of breast milk. They are also a godsend if, for any reason, you cannot feed your baby – whether you are going back to work, taking a trip, on certain medication, or going out of town.

White and yellow transparent manual breast pump on a table top (how to choose a breast pump)

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Types of pumps

You might already know this, but if you didn’t, there are five types of breast pumps to choose from and each comes with its pros as well as cons.

1) Manual Breast Pumps

Manual breast pumps or hand pumps work without electricity and function when you apply some pressure to them.

They pump from just one breast at a time and you have to create a kind of suction pressure by squeezing a lever to get the breastmilk flowing.

Manual breast pumps are a popular option with moms, seeing as they are inexpensive and quite easy to get the hang of.


  • Seeing as they work without electricity, this breast pump is ideal for most situations, including camping.
  • They are portable and travel-friendly and will fit into your bag easily without adding extra weight.
  • They are also friendly on the pockets as a good manual breast pump is very affordable.
  • Can be used anywhere, even with your baby sleeping nearly as it produces very little noise that would never disrupt your baby’s sleep.


  • The manual breast pumps work on just one breast at a time, which can be time-consuming.
  • Having to exert pressure to get the breastmilk flowing can be tasking on your muscles.
  • This pump expresses milk at a slower pace than an electric breast pump.
How to choose a breast pump
how to choose a breast pump

2) Battery-Operated Breast Pumps

Batter-operated breast pumps work with batteries and are another popular option for nursing moms.

Moms who already have an established supply of milk and want to pump once or even twice a day find this a good option.

These pumps make use of batteries to create suction, reducing the occurrence of muscle fatigue since you’d be using less muscle strength to get the milk out.


  • These pumps are also portable and travel-friendly since they also use a non-electric source of power.
  • They require less physical energy to work.


  • The fact this pump makes use of batteries is worth noticing as this can be hard on your pockets over time.
  • They also pump just one breast at a time, which can be time-consuming.
Electric breast pump (how to choose a breast pump)

3) Electric pumps

Electric pumps use electricity and are considered more efficient than hand or even battery-operated pumps.

These pumps are plugged into an outlet and are designed for pumping both breasts at the same time.

Electric pumps are considered much stronger and can help establish that initial boost in your milk supply.


  • Electric breasts pumps can be used to pump from both breasts at the same time, giving you speed in your pumping.
  • They have a higher number of pumps, so you are done with your pumping in no time.
  • Electric breast pumps come with indication markings or levels so you know how much breastmilk you have collected at each time.
  • They are fast and quite efficient.


  • These pumps are quite expensive, and you’d need to have the budget for it to get one.
  • They are also larger than the manual or battery-operated pumps and would require a lot more pocket space to be carried about.
  • Since they require electricity to operate, they can’t be used everywhere.
Bulb-style breast pump (how to choose a breast pump)

4) Bulb-Style Breast Pumps

The bulb-style breast pumps, also called bicycle horns are also a manual-type breast pump.

You place the transparent shield over your breast and squeeze the bulb, producing a suction that draws the milk from the breasts.

This milk gets stored in the bulb and is then transferred into your storage container.


  • This breast pump is as inexpensive as they come, most times even less expensive than the regular manual breast pump.
  • They also don’t require batteries or electricity which makes them great for all occasions.
  • They are portable and can fit into your bag.


  • The bulb-style breast pump is considered unhygienic as the bulb comes with a closed compartment. No matter how much you try to clean them, you might not do a thorough job of it.

Consequently, they become contaminated and a likely breeding ground for bacteria.

  • Squeezing the bulb produces the suction that draws out the milk, however, this suction is not consistent and can damage the tissue around your breast.
  • This pump has also been known to promote common breastfeeding issues like sore nipples and mastitis.
  • The bulb is quite small and can only hold so much milk. You’ll also find that the suction strength reduces as the bulb fills up, requiring you to empty it frequently.

Read Also: 11 Ways to Boost Breastmilk Supply Fast

5) Used Breast Pumps

A used breast pump doesn’t seem like such a great choice and is not exactly a type of breast pump, just an option to get one.

I was also slightly put off by the option of a used breast pump the first time I heard of this option. The very thought of re-using something so personal, that had been used by someone I didn’t exactly know, didn’t sit quite well with me, that is until I learned most of the parts can be changed.

People buy used or second-hand breast pumps locally from friends and family who are done birthing or via Facebook marketplaces and groups for moms or parents.


  • Seeing as these breast pumps have been used, they typically sell for cheaper than the market price, so if you are on a budget, this should fit in well with your plans.
  • Used breast pumps can be manual, battery-powered, or electrical and would come with the added benefits of each of these types.


  • These breast pumps have been used, which doesn’t always go well with some people.
  • While these breast pumps are usually promoted as sterilized, they could carry some bacteria particles, leaving you and your baby prone to infection.

If the previous mom used the pump when she had a nipple trauma, blood contamination could also occur.

Final Words

Choosing a breast pump that’s right for you is hinged on a few things, like your budget, how often you plan on pumping, if you would love speed and efficiency, and if you plan on carrying it on your person.

Taking these into consideration before making a purchasing decision always ensures you make the best decision that’s right for you.


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Tags: types of breast pumps, how to choose a breast pump, how to choose a breast pump that’s right for you, breast pumps pros and cons to know

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