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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

Tips for Choosing a Breast Pump

Tips for Choosing a Breast PumpMany breastfeeding mothers will find use for a breast pump at some point in their nursing years. Choosing a breast pump can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, though. They all look so similar and use such interestingly descriptive words! Let us help you navigate the breast pump waters.

Choosing a Breast Pump

Breast pumps, though certainly not necessary, can be great tools for relieving a bit of engorgement, keeping your supply up should you need to go on medication, or having some breast milk stored in the freezer for times you may be away from your baby. There is a huge variety in pumps, though, and it can be overwhelming for a mom to choose what kind of breast pump she really needs. Considering your specific situation can help you choose the best breast pump for you.

Major Types of Breast Pumps

Breast pumps come in all sorts of varieties and prices. Most will fall into one of these three very basic categories:

  • Manual Pumps — These are hand operated, inexpensive, and suitable to occasional pumping.
  • Small Motorized Pumps — These pumps are available for purchase at many retailers like Target or Wal-Mart. They run off of batteries or power outlets and may be single or dual-sided. They are more expensive than the manual pumps but also more efficient for more frequent pumping.
  • Hospital-Grade Dual Pumps — These are very expensive dual-sided pumps that are also extremely quick and efficient. Hospitals often offer rentals of these machines.

(Read more about the features of a good breastfeeding pump.)

How Often Will You Need to Pump?

One of the best things you can do to encourage a positive and successful breastfeeding relationship is to avoid being away from your baby for long periods of time. However, that is not always easy or possible. You may need to go back to work occasionally or full-time. You may have an unavoidable hospital stay. You might just want an extended evening away with your husband. These are all things to consider when choosing a breast pump.

If you need to work full-time, you may want to consider a double breast pump or higher-end small motorized pump. These will quickly allow you to express enough milk to keep your baby fed while you’re away. Working part-time might allow you to spend less on a small motorized pump. If you just want a pump to have on hand for infrequent use, a nice manual pump would be sufficient.

How Much Can You Spend?

Cost is another very real factor when it comes to choosing a breast pump. Manual pumps will obviously be the least expensive since they lack the extra manufacturing cost of a motor. If your budget is very limited, you can spend as little as $20 for a manual pump, though most brands will be closer to $40 or $50. If you need a bit more pumping power, small electric pumps generally start around $100 and go up from there. Hospital-grade pumps will be very pricey, but rentals usually run around $50 a month. This may or may not be a good solution for your family in the long run once you add up the cost over many months.

Regardless of the type of pump you choose, there will be extra costs of storage solutions (bags or bottles), spare or replacement parts, bottles and nipples, and other accessories that might come in handy. Be sure to check out those prices as well when considering the overall cost of a pump.

What Are the Reviews?

Along with considering how often you’ll need to pump and the amount you are able to spend, product reviews can tell you a lot. Ask around at a local breast feeding support group. Check with your breastfeeding friends to see what worked for them. The product reviews on large websites like Amazon can give you a great idea of what some ladies loved and others hated about a pump you are interested in. If you have a breastfeeding-friendly doctor or midwife, ask him or her for a suggestion. A lactation consultant or other breastfeeding support professional may also have some good input.

Finally, once you’ve selected your pump, be sure to read our 20 Tips for Pumping Breast Milk to get you started on your way!

Photo credit: planet_oleary

Do/did you have a breast pump that has worked really well for you? Are there other tips you might include?

Kristen is a Christian, wife to her high school sweetheart, and mother to a growing brood of sweet little people. She spends her days keeping the home, homeschooling, making real food, gardening, blogging, and working from home as a Lilla Rose consultant, often with a little person on her lap wanting to nurse. You can find her at Smithspirations and on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.


  1. It is important to note that renting a hospital grade pump is still less expensive than using formula. My son never latched on until he was three months old. A hospital grade pump was the best option to keep my milk until he learned to nurse. The major downside of a hospital grade pump is the size. It isn’t very portable for a working mother. Additionally, if cost is the only factor, sometimes it is covered by insurance or and often times it is covered by WIC.

    • Kristen Smith says

      Those are great additions to note! Thank you for adding that helpful information and also for sharing your experience with needing a hospital pump. I’m glad you chimed in!

  2. Check with your insurance company about pump coverage!!


  1. […] article, please take a minute to see what one of our other amazing authors, Kristen Smith, wrote on breast pumps. She discusses the various pumps in greater measure, and has reviews, pumping tips, and […]

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