When my second child was born, I was determined to breastfeed.
I ended up purchasing a Lansinoh Affinity double electric breast pump to be able to pump occasionally so she could have a bottle if I wasn’t going to be around. Once she was born, I struggled with finding time to pump because I was feeding her all the time. When I did pump and try to have my husband feed her in the evenings, she refused the bottle.
I gave up pumping and just breastfed her. It was a wonderful experience, but it made going to appointments for myself difficult during her first year. With my next two children, I didn’t even try to pump. That backfired when my milk dried up during my fifth pregnancy and my fourth baby desperately needed to learn how to drink from a bottle.
Now that my fifth baby is here, I have decided to make occasional pumping work for me so she will be used to a bottle. I did a little research to try to choose the best breast feeding pump for occasional use for myself.
Types of Breastfeeding Pumps (and How to Choose the Best Breast Feeding Pump for You)
Manual Breastfeeding Pump
Manual pumps are the least expensive option and they are good if you need to pump and then immediately use that milk. They work very simply. You just fit the breast shield onto your breast and use one hand to pump. You can control how fast or slow you pump. The major issue with the manual pump is that your hand can easily get tired and I wouldn’t recommend it if you are planning to pump at least once a day to build up milk storage.
Single Electric Breastfeeding Pump
A single electric breastfeeding pump works similarly to a double electric pump. The only difference is the single pump only pumps one breast at a time. I am currently using the Medela Swing Electric Breast Pump to build up a small freezer stash. This single electric pump was about half the price of the double electric pump. I currently only pump once a day, usually in the mornings after my daughter’s first feed. This is to build up a small stash so she will have milk when I need to go to appointments, or if I need to leave her with a sitter so I can take my older children somewhere.
I feel the Medela Swing is a great breast pump because it is super portable. The motor is small enough it can be clipped to a belt loop, and I think the suction on this pump is better than the suction on my Lansinoh Affinity. It can be run off of batteries, or I can plug it into the wall. There are still quite a few parts to clean, but you will have that with any pump.
For occasional or even once-daily use, it works perfectly, but if I were needing to pump multiple times per day, I would definitely go with a double electric breast pump.
Double Electric Breast Pump
There are lots of double electric breast pumps on the market. I’ve mentioned my Lansinoh Affinity. There is also the Medela Pump In Style, as well as the Ameda Purely Yours. I am sure there are others I am less familiar with. There are also hospital grade double electric breast pumps, such as the Medela Symphony, which I have used and it is an awesome breast pump.
The hospital grade breast pumps are very expensive and probably best used by moms who cannot actually feed their babies for whatever reason. Depending on what brand of pump you want, the double electric breast pumps can be a bit pricier than the single electric breast pumps. I know Lansinoh is fairly inexpensive compared to Medela, but I do prefer Medela because I think the suction is better and it doesn’t hurt my nipples quite like the Lansinoh did.
If I were working outside the home or going to be away from my baby for extended periods of time, I would definitely choose a double electric breast pump. Since I am a stay-at-home mom and prefer to feed my baby from my breast directly, the single electric breast pump serves my purpose just fine. I could even get by with a manual pump, but the single electric is just easier to use and I get more milk with it.
Most insurance companies cover breast pumps now to some extent. They all have different specifications, so check with your insurance company before purchasing a breast pump.