Choosing a breast pump can be a bewildering experience. As the options continue to grow (and now include wearable pumps too!) we wanted to share our friend Erin's review on 5 breast pumps she's used. Erin is not only a breastfeeding mom, but also a certified doula, lactation counselor and prenatal fitness instructor! Read her informative review below and for more information about her services and blog posts check out her site Doulight NYC:
If you’re feeding your baby breastmilk, the odds are that you’re pumping as well. Pumping can suck, but it doesn’t have to. I’ve done my own market research (i,e, I own way too many breast pumps) so you don’t have to.
A few things to consider when purchasing a breast pump is how often you anticipate pumping. Will you be an occasional pumper? a full time pumper? pump only at work? These answers can help you choose the right pump for you.
(Erin is pictured wearing our Gemma top above)
Most insurances cover a variety of pumps. I see many clients tempted by the Medela Freestyle. It’s portable, comes with a neat little carry bag and looks almost cute. Don’t be fooled. This pump has been reported by many moms as not having strong enough suction. Your better bet for. Medela model pump is the Pump In Style Advanced. While it’s not as easily portable, it does have better suction than the Freestyle. You can get it with a carry bag as well, but it is a bigger pump than the Freestyle.
Another popular brand that is on the rise is the Spectra. I personally have the Spectra 2 and the 9, The Spectra is comparable to the Medela Pump In Style Advanced (which I have as well) but in my opinion is far superior to the Medela. The Spectra 1 is the portable version of the 2 (the main difference is it has a battery and does not need to be plugged into an outlet). The suction strength is great and also has the option to vary suction length so you can customize your pump setting. The downside is that the pump is big and doesn’t fit easily in a bag to be transported. For this reason I got the Spectra 9. This one is Spectra’s version of the portable Medela Freestyle. I’m not a fan. My output is significantly less with the Spectra 9. I have to pump extra minutes to get the same volume I would with the 2. It also does not allow you to vary suction length. If you’re an occasional pumper, you may be fine with this but I’d recommend skipping it.
For an easy to toss in your bag option I love the Medela manual pump. Manual pumps aren’t always the most popular because you have to be hands on (no scrolling social media while you pump!) but you get so much more control. You can control how long and strong the suction is by how long and how fully you press the handle. I get the best output with the manual pump. It’s small and easy to take anywhere. I’ve even pumped in the back of an Uber without the driver even knowing! (Or at least he didn’t seem to notice!).
Wearable pumps are newer on the scene. The Willow is one and another that I’ve been lucky to try is Elvie. Unfortunately I don’t have hands on experience with the Willow. Neither brand is currently covered by insurance and are quite costly (Willow, $479, Elvie &499 but currently waitlisted). I’ve heard mixed reviews from moms who have used the Willow.
To read the rest of Erin's review please check out her post, "What the pump?!" on her blog.
Thanks Erin for spending the time to review and write about your experience with these breast pumps!
Teat & Cosset