How to Choose a Breast Pump

FamilyFeeding & MealsHow to Choose a Breast Pump

How to Choose a Breast Pump

Purchasing a breast pump for the first time can be confusing and overwhelming, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here’s what you need to know about different types of breast pumps and how to choose a breast pump that’s right for you.

Dual Electric Breast Pumps vs. Hospital Grade Breast Pumps

Ameda Purely Yours Ultra Double Electric Breast PumpAmeda Purely Yours Ultra Double Electric Breast Pump
Dual electric breast pumps come in all shapes and sizes, but are generally divided into two classes. Hospital grade breast pumps are used in an institutional setting and are made for use by more than one person. These systems are usually provided to new mothers in hospital neo-natal units for babies that are pre-term, sick, or having problems breastfeeding. They can also be rented or loaned from hospitals and pharmacies. Hospital grade breast pumps aren’t priced for consumer use: they usually cost $800 to $1000 per unit.

Dual electric breast pumps are similar systems that are made for home use by working moms and women who are not able to breastfeed throughout the day or night. They are the fastest and most convenient of the home-use options. The pumps that most closely resemble their hospital grade cousins are high-end dual electric breast pumps like the Ameda Purely Yours system, or the Medela Pump in Style breast pump. Both have a variety of suction levels to suit your needs, and are priced between $150 and $350, depending on the model.

Electric Breast Pumps vs. Hand Breast Pumps

Medela Pump In Style Double BreastpumpMedela Pump In Style Double Breastpump

Manual breast pumps and portable electric breast pumps are great for moms who don’t pump as often. The difference between them is speed and comfort. Both are portable and lightweight, and can be used on long car trips or when visiting friends and relatives. Manual pumps are the most inexpensive option. They are also more reliable, and are known to break less often than electric pumps. However, if you pump several times per day, it can get tiring and even painful to use a manual pump.

Portable electric pumps (which are usually single) are faster, and less work than manual ones, but because they run on battery power, they tend to cycle slower than home-use ones, and therefore don’t imitate baby’s sucking rhythm as closely. However, they are faster than manual pumps and more affordable than home-use dual electric ones, so they can serve as a good occasional-use pump.

Single Breast Pumps vs. Dual Breast Pumps

Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump

Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump

Single electric breast pumps fall between portable electric and dual electric pumps on a speed and convenience scale. Because they require you to pump each breast separately, they are more time consuming than dual breast pumps. However, a single electric pump for home use is much more affordable for a mom who only pumps occasionally. As long as you plan ahead, a single electric pump can be very useful. Electric pumps for home use have a faster cycle time than portable pumps, so they will do a better job of mimicking the way the baby sucks.

Dual electric pumps, as mentioned above, are the fastest and most convenient of breast pumps. They cut the time it takes to pump in half, and usually offer more options and features than other pumps. There are also many of options for dual electric breast pumps that are not as hard on your wallet as the top-of-the-line home use breast pumps, because they aren’t trying to emulate the hospital-grade machines.

Breast Pump Accessories and Parts

Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage BagsLansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags

Ameda and Medela electric breast pumps have various small parts that often wear with long-term use and need to be replaced. If your breast pump isn’t working the way it should, it’s best to call the manufacturer of your particular pump to determine what part needs to be replaced. A large variety of parts and accessories are available at

Flanges and breast shields are the most high-demand breast pump accessories. Depending on the pump you purchase, you may not be provided with a flange that fits you perfectly. It’s best to talk to the manufacturer about what you need to do to make the fit more comfortable. Each company has a unique solution for this common issue. Once you know what you need, visit our Breast Pump Parts & Accessories section to get it!

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