9 Things to Consider When Choosing a Breast Pump

Last updated: April 24, 2019
Published 2:10 pm

1. Purpose and frequency of use

A manual pump will be enough if you are a mother who has a lot of free time at work, given an extended break time or a mom who works from home and may find a way to pump enough while using a manual pump. A manual pump will also work if the mother’s milk supply is well established. An electric breast pump will work best if you are a new mom with a low milk supply and you will be required to spend more time away from the baby because of work, an electric breast pump will be more efficient for moms who are busy and needs to finish pumping and express a good amount of milk for a limited period of time, like limited break times because of a very busy work environment.

2. Budget

Of course, the budget is a very significant aspect to consider when you’re opting to buy a pump. Mothers will likely stick to their price range and make sure no money will go to waste so you would want to see and know which pump will work best for you before buying plus you should know how much you are willing to spend and how much you can spend. Since there are tons of breast pumps available on the market to suit all budgets, every mother will be able to choose one that will fit the budget perfectly. If you really need to express a quite a bit very often and you are planning on having more children, then buying a good breast pump should be an investment for you. Also, there are health insurances that may cover the expenses for your breast pump so if you have one that does then there’s no need to worry at all.

3. Pumping time

Another thing to consider is the time you have for pumping, how long can you pump for a day or how much time do you have for pumping. As a new parent who is still trying to adapt the added things to do in life, this may really take some of your free time most especially if you are a mom who is already returning to work. Some mothers may have strict break time limits or employers who are inflexible with regards to pumping time. Just a quick tip for the moms who have limited time to pump, a double breast pump will be of great help since it increases the efficiency of the pump by cutting the expressing time to almost in half since you can pump from both breasts at the same time. Double pumping also boosts your milk producing hormones through increased stimulation.

4. Hygiene

One of the most important thing to consider is the hygiene. It is very important to keep the milk you give your baby to be clean and be free of bacteria, viruses or any other infectious agents that may come from unhygienic pumping and pumping materials. When you want to buy or rent a breast pump it is good to note that the one you will be choosing has a closed system pump. A closed system pump has a barrier between the collection apparatus and the motor and also prevents the outside air from contaminating your expressed milk while an open system does not have a barrier and cannot prevent the milk to be left inside and may cause molds to grow and contaminate the motor. All the tubing and other parts of the pump must be dry, clean and disinfected before use.    

5. Ease of use and comfort

There is a reason why comfort is a thing to consider when choosing the best breast pumps especially if you are a working mom. If you feel frustrated, stressed or anxious, which may be possibly felt by a lot of working mothers. A pump which ensures effort to keep you comfortable and promises ease of use while pumping can help you calm down and relax thus helping you to be able to express a good amount of milk. To make breastfeeding easier at work, it will make quite a bit of difference if you choose a pump that is easy to assemble, portable and user-friendly. There are pumps with different suction levels providing moms with more options to choose from. It is important for the mother to select the suction level that they will be most comfortable with, along with the right flange size, these combined aspects will significantly improve comfort. Stay away from pumps that aren’t ergonomically designed, for example, a manual pump will invariably hurt your hand from pumping manually and an electric one with tons of complicated buttons used just to start it up will be overly confusing for no major benefit.

6. Reliability and Effectiveness of pump

Having a reliable and effective breast pump will make pumping less of a hassle and less miserable at work and will help maintain a mother’s milk supply which is a must especially if you are a working mom who will be often separated from her baby. The effectiveness of the pump can be measured by how much milk can be expressed in the least amount of time and this can be identified based on the pump cycle or the suction speed. A high cycle rate is found most often on hospital grade or high-end electrical breast pumps. On the other hand, a manual pump’s cycle depends only on how many times a mother actively pumps and that may be hard to maintain if you are a working mom. So if you have the budget, it would be best to invest in a reliable and effective electrical breast pump. The best breast pumps that are electrical will save you time, heaches, and will just be overall more reliable than manually-operated pumps.

7. Durability and strength

When choosing a breast pump, it’s very important to know or at least have an idea of how often and how long you’ll need to use the pump. It is important to know the durability and strength you need for your pump basing on how frequently you will be using it, moms must know for certain if they will be an occasional or frequent pumper since frequency of the pump usage must be appropriate and suitable for the pump’s motor. Some breast pumps are designed for frequent use, therefore built with a more durable motor and other pumps are designed to be used for a short period of time. Never make a mistake of choosing a pump that has a motor or a lifespan that exceeds your pumping needs and frequency since it will also cause damages like premature motor wear and tear without it being able to serve well enough. The proper and right choice will definitely preserve the breast pump’s lifespan therefore saving you the stress on repairs and also a couple of bucks you’ll be possibly spending on parts and damages.

8. Portability and storage

When you are a working mom, it is a given that you must carry your pump and bring it with you to be able to express milk at work so you would want to look for a light and compact pump. Portability should also be considered if you are that kind who stands a lot whether working at home or in an office and wants to be able to move around and do other tasks while expressing.  Storage comes with portability and is also an important thing to consider since you cannot carry a pump around with its bottles, tubing and cables dangling around, you have to store the breast pump that you carry in a bag or case so that its parts will not be exposed, of course for hygiene purposes. This is a critical component for choosing the best breast pumps, because portability is analogous with convenience and comfort.

9. Noise

You cannot and should not be able to produce unnecessary noise at work, we know how irritating a loud pump can be because of its motor. The most quiet breast pump is the manual one since they don’t have a motor, but not all working moms can express efficiently using a manual pump especially when they are at work. If you are working in an open office or a common work area where you might think that the pump’s noise will bother your workmates then it is best to consider buying a quiet hospital-grade pump. A quick tip, you may look at videos of different pumps to be able to compare and contrast the quietness of each pump.

Features that are ideal for working mothers

  • Portable, lightweight and compact.
  • Built-in battery or alternative power source.
  • Comes with a tote bag or carrying bag.
  • Reduced noise from the pump’s motor.
  • Can function as hands-free.
  • Easy to clean preferably closed-system.
  • Double breast pump, to be able to pump from both breasts at the same time.
  • Strong and reliable motor for long term use and multiple pumping per day.
  • Affordable or cost-effective.