Choosing a Breast Pump

FamilyFeeding & MealsChoosing a Breast Pump

Choosing a breast pump may sound a bit overwhelming, but there are some very simple things a breastfeeding mom can do to determine exactly the right choice for her and her baby. As with most buying decisions, the journey starts by asking some basic questions. By understanding your budget, lifestyle and how you plan to use the breast pump, the choices from Medela are very straightforward.

How Often Do I Plan to Use a Breast Pump?

First ask yourself, “How am I going to use my breast pump?” Are you going to want to pump exclusively, or on a daily basis? Are you returning to work where you will want to pump several times a day? However, no matter how well you plan your breast milk feeding journey, the reality will most likely work out somewhat differently. There might be unexpected visits to a doctor or lactation consultant or other unplanned changes in your every-day life, making a breast pump a valuable part of providing breast milk to your baby.

Medela offers two basic configuration categories – manual or electric, single or double. If you will pump daily, a double pump like Medela’s Freestyle is a good choice. It is an innovative and highly efficient pump, designed with busy moms in mind. For convenience, this breast pump also includes an ice-pack, cooler bag and bottles for breastmilk storage and transport. However, if the price of Medela Freestyle is above your budget and you’re looking for a more simple option for your daily pumping, have a look at Pump In Style. You will still be able to pump more milk with higher energy content compared to a single pump.

Alternatively, are you planning to use a breast pump only on an occasional basis or want to have a simple pump available when you are away for a few hours? If so, there are also some great lightweight and easy-to-use choices. A hand-powered and discreet pump, like the Medela Harmony, might be right for you. Or, if you’d prefer a single electric pump, the Medela Swing single breast pump could be your selection for efficient, effortless and comfortable experience.

Both of these options are great if you occasionally want to leave your baby with your partner or babysitter. You can then plan ahead to pump and store enough breastmilk for them to feed to your baby. Medela also offers the Calma feeding solution to make it easy for someone to feed your little one expressed breast milk in a way that mimics actual feeding at the breast. Using a similar feeding technique can help mitigate breast confusion and help the baby to return easily to breastfeeding.

What is the Best Match for My Lifestyle?

If you are a busy “on the go” mom and want a breast pump that you can carry with you everywhere, Medela has a solution. Freestyle is a double-electric pump that offers portability for you. If you pump exclusively or have to be away from your baby, this versatile pump is a great choice.  A bonus is that the Freestyle has a rechargeable battery, so you don’t have to worry about finding an electric outlet when you are out and about.

If you don’t plan to be away from your baby frequently and only need a pump occasionally, check out either Medela Harmony or Swing. Harmony is a manual pump that doesn’t require electricity or batteries for operation. It has an intuitive design and it’s easy to take apart and clean. If you prefer an electric pump, check out Swing, Medela’s smallest and lightest electric pump.

Should I Buy or Rent a Breast Pump?

Medela offers both a retail or rental breast pump option. Some mothers choose to rent a breast pump because they used the Symphony breast pump when they were in the hospital and liked it so much they want to continue using it. Since it is hospital grade and also supports initiation of breastfeeding, it is also perfect for mothers with twins or little ones with extra needs.

Another thing to consider when choosing the hospital grade rental breast pump is if there are medical issues, such as a premature baby.

Finally, don’t forget that most Medela pumps feature 2-Phase Expression technology with a one-touch let-down button. This technology mimics the sucking behavior of your baby and together with double pumping enables you to express more milk in less time.

There are lots of online resources that you can use to discuss what other moms have decided, and you always can use the services of a lactation consultant to get another opinion.


  • Anita


    I am new here and would love some advice. I am borrowing my sisters Medela Freestyle electric double pump machine. What do I need to buy for sanitary reasons? How do I know what Nipple shield I need? Thank you in advance for all your help?

    • Taya

      Hi Anita. I am the lactation Consultant who wrote the article :). Thanks for the questions! We generally don’t recommend borrowing / re-using pumps but as it is from your sister then, depending on how long she has been using it for, it may be okay. It is best to contact the company directly for the question around sanitation as all pumps are different. In terms of the flange size (which I think is what you mean by nipple shield) it is generally how the nipple and areola is being pulled into the flange. You could start with the 24mm and then move to the 27mm or 30mm for better comfort or possibly even to the 21mm if need be :). Take care and congrats!!

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