Best Breast Pumps for Working Mothers in 2020
Let's face it, being a working mom is challenging, to say the least. You need all the help you can get to pull off the Herculean task of being productive at work and taking care of your baby at home. And breast pumps can make life a lot easier for moms, especially the working moms. But when it comes to shopping for one, the experience can be quite overwhelming. First of all, there are hundreds of make and models on the market which in itself can be confusing enough. To make matters worse, if you don't exactly know what to look for while buying a breast pump, you can end up with a pump that is just not right for you. A pump that is perfect for one mother can be a total nightmare for another.
Even after spending hours scouring the internet for the best breast pump, many moms end up being more confused than clear about their choice. Well, we are here to end your dilemma once and for all. In this comprehensive guide, we will talk at length about everything you need to know before you buy a breast pump. We will also take a look at some of the best breast pumps for working moms on the market that you can buy. So, let's find you the best breast pump that you can rely on, shall we?
What to look for in a breast pump?
A breast pump is not an item that you should buy randomly just because someone recommended a certain brand or model. It is important to understand that you may be looking for something entirely different in a breast pump than someone else. Before you make a decision, you should carefully consider some of the most important features that matter to you the most.
Here are some of the things that you should be looking at before you make your decision to buy a certain breast pump.
How frequently are you going to use the pump?
It is one of the most important questions to ask yourself. In general, there are three kinds of breast pumps.
- Breast pump for occasional use
- Breast pump for frequent use, and
- Breast pump for moms who have a baby less than eight weeks old
Breast pumps for occasional use can be both manual as well as motorized. These are ideal for moms that are separated from their babies for a short duration of time during a few days of the week. They can provide one to two feedings up to twice a week.
Pumps for regular use, on the other hand, are ideal for working moms that are separated from their babies for several hours a day. They are perfect for moms that have already established a good milk supply and with babies that are nursing well. Most women prefer a double pump that is efficient, quick and easy for regular use.
If you are a mother that has not yet established a regular milk supply and if your baby is less than eight weeks old, you will need a hospital grade double electric pump. These pumps are suited for the following scenarios.
- If the baby was born prematurely
- If the child is too sick to nurse on its own
- If you are exclusively pumping
- If you have undergone any surgery such as breast reduction surgery, or
- If you are having difficulties in nursing for any other reasons
The take home message is, you will require a different pump to cover different needs.
Portability of the pump
As you are a working mother, portability of a breast pump is a key feature to look for before making a decision. If the pump is portable, you can carry it with you to your work and express milk during your breaks. It might not be that important of an issue for stay at home moms, but for working moms, this is a make or break feature. Imagine if you end up buying a big pump that you can't lug around, it will be quite useless, wouldn't it?
Another feature that a working mom should look for in a pump is adjustability. The amount of suction that works for one mom may not work for you. Hence, it is important to get a pump that has an adjustable suction capacity. Many quality pumps come with an easily adjustable suction that you can control to give best results for you.
The power sources
Most of the pumps available on the market can be categorized into either manual or electric. While a manual pump does not require any batteries or electrical input, it can be slower to express milk using this type of a pump. However, as it does not need any external power, you can rely on it better. Even if you run out of batteries or if you are having power issues, the manual pumps still work just fine.
On the other hand, the battery-powered pumps are easy to carry, they are quick and don't require any effort at all. But, the operating costs can be high as you will have to charge or in some cases, replace the batteries frequently.
If you are a working mother, a battery powered pump gives you more flexibility and better performance. That said, you should keep one manual pump handy just in case of some unforeseeable circumstance.
Ease of cleaning
It may sound like a minor feature, but the ease of cleaning is one of the most important features to look for in a pump. As a working mother, you don't have a lot of spare time on hand, and if the pump is difficult to clean, it can eat away your precious time that you can spend with your baby. Furthermore, if the breast pump is not thoroughly clean, it can be a breeding ground for microbes, and we certainly don't want that!
Some breast pumps need to be disassembled before you can clean them. Putting them back can be tedious and at times frustrating. Look for a pump that is easy to clean and even if you must dismantle it; it should be easy to put back together.
Safety precautions regarding the use of breast pumps
Safety of your baby is the most important thing in the world, and you should exercise certain precautions while using a breast pump as well. Here are some of the things that you should be careful about while using a breast pump.
- Never buy a used breast pump: If you have a friend or a relative who is willing to loan you their used breast pump, it can be an enticing idea. Breast pumps are not cheap, you know. But, if you think about it, it is not such a great idea as far as the safety goes. Both the FDA and various breastfeeding experts warn against it. Breast milk carries viruses such as CMV and HIV, and hence it is not in your best interest to buy a used pump.
- Seal the other side of a double pump if you are using only one side: This is a common mistake that many moms do early on. If you bought a double pump but are expressing milk from only one breast, you must seal the other side. If you fail to do so, the pump will not work properly, and you will not get enough suction.
- Use breast shields (flanges): The breast shields that come with the pumps may not be perfect for you. Your nipple should not turn red or white while expressing milk. Here is a great video explaining how your nipples should look when you are using a pump. If you pay attention to your nipples while the milk is being expressed, you can quickly figure out whether you need different shields or not. Most women need to get bigger shields than provided by most manufacturers. You can easily get additional breast shields to make the whole process pain free and efficient.
Now that we know what to look for in a great breast pump let's take a look at the top 5 best breast pumps on the market that are worth your time and money.
Top 5 breast pumps on the market
Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote
One of the most popular double pumps on the market, the Medela hits all the right notes. The pump comes with an easy-carry tote bag that makes it easy for a working mom to carry it around. One of the best features of the pump is a two-phase pumping mechanism. It closely simulates a baby suckling, and hence, the expressing milk is easy and quick. You can use the Medela from a wall outlet as well as using an inbuilt battery pack in case you are not near a wall outlet. The bag also comes with a cooler bag and contoured ice packs that can keep the milk fresh for the baby. Another great thing about this pump is the fact that it is quite easy to find accessories to this pump as it is very popular.
- Excellent build quality
- Operates both on batteries as well as from an electric outlet
- Comes with a great tote bag with built-in cooler compartment with contoured ice packs
- Good power and a two-phase suction mechanism
- The pump is a great buy, but one issue that is quite common is the fact that milk and condensate can accumulate in the tubes. As a result, you will need to clean the tubes frequently which can be an irritating, to say the least
Spectra Baby USA S2 Double/Single Breast Pump
The Spectra Baby is one of the best portable breast pumps on the market. It is a great pump for you if you are having difficulties to establish milk supply. It is super quiet and will drain your breasts to the last drop. The pump is light so that you can carry it around without feeling the weight. One of the best features of the product is the unique backflow prevention technology which prevents the milk from getting into the moving parts of the pump. The whole operation is as hygienic as you can get. The pump also comes in with a built-in timer and a night light for easy operation. The build quality is also excellent, and the pump uses imported plastic material in construction. You can control the suction using the two buttons on top of the unit. Overall, this breast pump is perfect for moms who want to keep the weight of their bags down without compromising the quality and efficacy.
- Good build quality and a lightweight design
- Powerful and adjustable suction for precise control in expression of milk
- Hygienic mechanism preventing milk from getting into the motor
- Built-in timer and night light
- One of the biggest drawbacks of the pump is the fact that it is exclusively electric powered. You won't be able to use batteries to operate this pump. So, if you are not near a power outlet, you are out of luck!
BelleMa Effective Pro Double Electric Breast Pump, with Independent Dual Control
The BelleMa Effective Pro is a versatile pump that is one of the best breast pumps for a working mom. The best feature of this pump is nine adjustable levels of vacuum that you can control with a touch of a button. The pump offers independent control on both the suction cups. You can even adjust the vacuum level independently for each side of the pump. It also features a great anti-backflow mechanism to ensure proper hygiene. The soft cushions are very comfortable and get the work done with minimal discomfort. The breast pump utilizes BPA and phthalate-free plastic in all its attachments including the milk bottles. The pump also has a memory feature that remembers your favorite vacuum setting for both the cups. The pump can work on electricity, battery pack as well as a USB cable from a car charger which makes it one of the most versatile pumps for moms who have to travel a lot.
- Solid build quality with BPA and Phthalate-free components
- Individually adjustable suction power
- Hygienic backflow prevention mechanism
- Built-in memory feature that remembers your favorite settings
- Can be operated using a wall outlet, a battery pack as well as from a USB cable from a car charger
- The pump can get a bit hot while operating mainly from a wall outlet
Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump
Arguably one of the best portable manual breast pumps, the Philips Avent is our favorite. The pump contains a wide mouthed bottle rather than the elongated bottle that is featured in many other similar models. One of the most enticing features of this pump is the fact that it is compatible with the Philips Avant bottles and containers. It is small and can fit in your purse without taking up much space. As the pump is manual, you don't need any batteries or electric outlet to use it. The pumping mechanism is also easy to use and quite fast compared to similar manual models from competitors. You can even operate it with one hand. Cleaning the pump is easy as well. You can even sterilize the whole pump in a microwave in 5 minutes. If you are looking for a manual pump, look no further, this is a pump for you!
- Easy to use and a compact design
- Easy to clean
- Smooth mechanism to express milk; can be operated with a single hand
- One of the most affordable pumps on this list
- You don't have to lean forward while expressing milk; easy on your back
- Can get a bit tricky to get a good suction. You may have to press quite hard against the breast to establish a good seal.
Medela Freestyle Breast Pump
If you are looking for a double breast pump that offers an entirely hands-free operation, look no further. The Medela Freestyle is a well-built pump that is as easy to use as it is effective. You can operate from a wall outlet or an included battery pack. There are as many as nine suction levels. It also comes with an inbuilt timer to automate the whole process. You can use this pump on the go when you are working on your desk as well.
- Offers true mobility; completely hands-free operation
- Easy to clean
- Nine levels of suction
- Lightweight; easy to carry around at work
- It comes with an in-built cooling bag and custom ice packs
- It may take some practice to use the hands-free functionality but trust me; you will get there with a little practice!
- The price can be a bit steep for some
After carefully testing and reviewing the best breast pumps on the market, the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote is the clear winner. It is a great breast pump that offers working moms the best value for their money. It is comfortable to use, easy to clean and quite powerful. Regarding power input, the Medela can work on battery packs or can draw power from a wall outlet. Hence, you can use the pump at work and even on the go if a wall socket is not available. Another feature that makes the pump a great buy for working moms is the inclusion of an easy carry tote. It also contains desiccated cold compartments for storing milk and custom ice packs to keep it fresh.
We hope that this article narrowed your search for the best breast pump. If you find the information in this article helpful, please share it with your friends and help every working mother find her perfect breast pump!