Home improvement

The 10 best manual & electric breast pumps in 2020

cropped view of mother breastfeeding her child in apartment

Electric and manual single or double breast pumps from Medela, Philips Avent, and Lansinoh make breastfeeding a lot easier and can help to prevent milk congestion in particular, but also to stimulate lactation.

Electric or manual hand pumps are also particularly useful if breastfeeding causes you problems and pain and your nipples are inflamed. If you are working or would like to spend a relaxing evening with your friends, you can easily express your milk beforehand, store it in a bottle and even freeze it. So daddy can also feed your little darling at any time.

In the Breast Pump Test and Comparison, you can learn all about the advantages of electric and manual breast pumps from Lansinoh, Medela, and Philips Avent. You will also find all the useful information about what to look out for in breast pumps and how to use and sterilize them.

You can also find out where you can buy, rent, or hire electric single and double breast pumps and hand pumps from Medela, NUK, ARDO, or MAM. The matching accessories, such as breast milk containers or a practical bottle set, are of course also included.

Why breast pump

Using a breast pump during breastfeeding can have several reasons and advantages for you as a mom. Below you can read in detail about when a breast pump is useful and why it can never hurt to have a (hand) breast pump in the house.

Breast pump for premature infants

A breast pump is especially useful if your little one was in a hurry and was born too early. Premature babies are usually a bit weak at the beginning and it will be difficult for them to find the necessary strength to suckle on your breast. If this is the case, you can use a breast pump to pump out the milk. The precious breast milk is then fed to your little darling through a feeding tube.

In most cases, it is possible that a breast pump will be prescribed for you by your doctor so that your health insurance company and not you have to pay for the costs. You can find more information about breast pumps on a prescription at the end of this article.

Breast pump for breastfeeding problems

Your body is not allowed to rest even after birth. No sooner is your little one in the world than it is hungry and wants to be breastfed. With some mothers, breastfeeding works right away and without any problems. Some mothers, on the other hand, have difficulties and have yet to find the right breastfeeding position with their little darling.

Incorrect application to the breast, as well as too little or too much milk production, can lead to milk congestion and inflamed nipples. A breast pump is worth its weight in gold when it comes to such breastfeeding problems and can provide a remedy.

Breast pump for milk congestion

Although the causes of milk congestion can be of different natures, for the affected mummy, however, milk congestion is always an unpleasant and painful experience. Milk congestion can manifest itself as redness on the skin, swelling, and hardening of the breast, as well as pain, fever, and chills.

How to counteract milk congestion

Since milk congestion can quickly lead to very painful mastitis, it is important to treat the symptoms early on and to counteract them. To ensure that breastfeeding is a pleasant and enjoyable experience for you and your baby.

Breast pump for inflamed nipples

A breast pump can not only work wonders for congested milk but can also be a great help for inflamed nipples. Sensitive nipples are not unusual after birth and at the beginning of breastfeeding.

Incorrect positioning of your baby on the breast is one of the most common causes of sore nipples. Your baby does not take the nipple, areola, and surrounding tissue of your breast properly into his mouth and sucks in the “wrong place”. This can be quite uncomfortable for you and can lead to inflamed nipples.

Just try a few other breastfeeding positions with your darling, in most cases, you will not have problems with sore nipples in the future. For more information on breastfeeding positions and techniques, check out the library and the breastfeeding pillow article.

Inflammation of the nipples can also be caused by your baby not sucking on the breast properly because he or she does not open their little mouth wide enough and therefore chews more on the breast and sucks less on it. To allow your breast to recover a little, it is a good idea to pump out the milk in the meantime and try breastfeeding again after 1-2 days.

Another cause can be too full breasts. This leads to your little darling not getting a good grip on the nipple. It is therefore advisable to empty the breast a little before breastfeeding with a manual or electric breast pump. This makes it easier for your little darling to put the nipple in her mouth properly.

Sucking without milk flow and a milk-donor reflex that is not working one hundred percent will cause your little one to suck hungrily on your breast but not enough milk comes out. This irritates your nipples and can cause inflammation. A breast pump can also help here.

Flat or inverted nipples as well as skin that is too brittle and dry can also cause nipple inflammation. If you would like more detailed information on this topic, the babys10 reading corner is always available for you.

Stimulation and regulation of milk production

A breast pump helps you to regulate or stimulate your milk production. Some mothers may have difficulty producing milk at the beginning of breastfeeding because the body needs a little time to adapt to your baby’s needs.

Despite the many tips on breastfeeding, breastfeeding is and remains a constant learning process for every mother and her child. Therefore, you should not let yourself be unsettled if breastfeeding does not work right away and without minor difficulties.

Milk production depends essentially on three factors: The duration, frequency of breastfeeding, and the intensity of suckling. Just give yourself and your baby a little time to adjust to each other. If you have any questions or uncertainties, you can always contact your midwife or lactation consultant.

Increase in milk production

If your body does not produce enough breast milk, in the beginning, you can use a breast pump to stimulate milk production. A delayed or insufficient milk donor reflex can have various causes: Stress, hormonal imbalance, incorrect attachment to the breast, or inflamed nipples are the most common culprits.

Regulation of the quantity of milk produced

If your breasts are often swollen or the milk ducts are often blocked, your body may be producing too much breast milk. Excessive lactation can also be reduced by using a breast pump.

Let your child drink on one breast for as long as he wants and pump the other breast. Never empty this breast completely, but only until the pressure is bearable and you feel well again.

However, to regulate lactation, it is also possible to use a breast pump to pump out just enough breast milk before every breastfeeding until the first milk donor reflex (fast and flat sucking rhythm) has slowed down. Choose the lowest level of a breast pump, otherwise, milk production is stimulated and not reduced.

You would like to reduce lactation, but still, need some breast milk in stock? Then pump only the amount of milk your little darling needs to get full.

If you would like to reduce lactation in the long term, but still be able to express some breast milk, pump out both breasts until they are empty. Proceed as described above: Let your child drink from one breast as long as he wants and pump the other breast. Never empty this breast completely, but only until the pressure is bearable and you feel well again.

If you pump breast milk directly for your little one from the beginning, it is perfectly sufficient to pump at longer intervals and for a shorter period of time to reduce the production of milk. You might also try sage tea, which can also help to reduce breast milk production.

Pumping off in stock

The possibility of being able to express breast milk at any time with a hand or electric breast pump makes breastfeeding a little easier and gives you certain independence. A breast pump not only works wonders for breastfeeding problems but also allows you to collect a supply of breast milk when you cannot be near your little baby to breastfeed him.

Pumping to stock is useful if you are separated from your little darling either for a short time or even a little longer. If you want to have a relaxed evening with your girlfriends during the week, you can pump out the desired amount of milk after the last breastfeeding meal, when one-third of your usual breastfeeding break is over. So if there is a two-hour break between breastfeeding, you will pump out the milk after about 40 minutes.

It is perfectly sufficient if you repeat this process once or twice per day before or the day itself. Then you should always have enough milk in stock to enjoy the evening.

If you are at work or have to take medication that you are not allowed to take while breastfeeding, for example, it is advisable to pump out enough breast milk early and over a longer period of time. For more information on storing and preparing breast milk, see the article on baby bottles.

Since breastfeeding is reserved for women only, pumping out the milk from the reservoir is also a great advantage for daddy: He can feed your little darling with the valuable and nutrient-rich breast milk, hold him in his arms, cuddle him and strengthen his bond with your child.

Electric breastpump or manual breastpump

A breast pump is a sensible purchase for every expectant mother. You are always prepared for all possible eventualities and your baby can be fed with breast milk even if he or she has breastfeeding problems or is working.

In the next section, you will now find out whether a single or double breast pump is best suited to your needs. You can choose between electric breast pumps and manual breast pumps. The Medela Swing, the Lansinoh 2in1, and the Philips Avent SCF332/01 are the test winners in the electric breast pump category. But NUK and ARDO (Calypso) also have great electric breast pumps in their range.

Manufacturers such as Philips Avent, Lansinoh, MAM as well as NUK (Jolie) and Medela (Harmony) are at the forefront of the hand-operated breast pump market. Find out all about the respective advantages of manual and electric breast pumps from Philips Avent, Medela Lansinoh, and Co.

Manual hand breast pump

Manual single breast pumps are intended for occasional use at home or on the move. If you do not have any major problems when breastfeeding and only want to bridge a short period of time when you cannot be at home with your little darling, a manual breast pump is perfectly adequate.

So you can pump out the desired amount of breast milk as needed and for a later time, store it in the refrigerator or freeze it in the freezer and warm it up again at any time. So your little darling can be fed with the valuable mother’s milk at any time of day or night. A hand breast pump should not be missing in your household and is definitely part of the initial equipment for your baby. Such a manual breast pump is not expensive either, you can get it from about 30$ (25 €).

Individually adjustable pumping rhythm

Hand pumps are small, handy, and easy to use. They fit in almost any handbag, are quickly assembled and cleaned. Manual breast pumps work without electricity, so they are great for use on the go. Most manual breast pumps have an ergonomic handle that is suitable for both left- and right-handed operators and can be operated from different angles. The suction power and the speed of the pumping rhythm can be determined individually by you using the pump levers.

Make sure that your breast pump is designed so that the milk can flow directly into the bottle. You do not have to bend forward or take up an uncomfortable sitting position. Just sit back and relax and make yourself comfortable on a chair, the sofa, or in your bed.

2-phase manual breastpumps

The Lansinoh and Medela Harmony hand breast pump has a 2-phase pumping system. In the first phase, the so-called stimulation phase, the milk flow is stimulated by rapid pumping movements. This pumping rhythm is very similar to your baby’s drinking and sucking behavior. This is because at the beginning of every breastfeeding meal your little darling is usually very hungry and sucks greedily on your breast.

Once the milk-donor reflex has been stimulated and the milk begins to flow, you switch to the pumping phase. In this second phase, the pumping movements or suction rhythm slow down. The suction is stronger and longer so that the breast milk can be pumped out efficiently.

Hand breast pumps with nubs & massage cushion

The Philips Avent breast pump, for example, has a massage cushion made of silicone, which is particularly pleasant and soft on the skin and stimulates the flow of milk. The NUK Jolie Single Breast Pump also has nubs on the inside of the teat, which can further enhance the effect.

No matter which manual breastpump you choose, always make sure that the breastcap or suction cup matches the size of your breasts. If the teat is too small or too large, the breast milk cannot be pumped out properly. The manufacturers of breast pumps usually only supply a breast cap, but if this is too small or too large for you, you can always re-order a suitable teat for your breast size.

Electric breast pump

Electric breast pumps have the advantage over manual breast pumps in that they do the work of pumping for you. If you have a job or suffer from frequent milk congestion, inflamed nipples, or other breastfeeding problems, pumping your breast milk several times a day can be quite tiring in the long run. Electric breast pumps work like the traditional manual breast pumps, but take over the annoying part for you and you can relax and rest a bit while you pump.

Battery or mains operation

Electric breast pumps operate either on battery or mains power, with some models, e.g. the Lansinoh 2in1 breast pump, you can choose between the two modes according to your needs. This means that an electric breast pump can also be used on the move.

2-phase technology

Most electric breast pumps, like the hand pumps, have two different pumping phases that mimic your baby’s natural sucking pattern: A stimulation phase to stimulate the milk flow and a pumping phase. Depending on your wishes, the phases can be switched seamlessly or at the touch of a button.

Pump modes & adjustable suction power

Depending on the breast pump, the pumping phase (2.Phase) you can choose between up to three different pumping modes so that pumping can be adapted to your individual needs. The Lansinoh 2in1 and the Philips Avent electric breast pumps offer this great function: If you have a low milk production, it can be stimulated in the 1st pump mode. Modes 2 and 3 are intended for pumping with a normal or larger quantity of milk.

The suction power is also individually adjustable and can be regulated in eight different levels on some models. Soft massage cushions in the suction cup also make pumping out particularly pleasant for you.

Matching chest cover & quiet motor

Just like with hand breast pumps, it is important that the teat fits perfectly on your breast and surrounds the nipple well. However, the breast cap should not be too tight otherwise the nipples can become sore and inflamed. To avoid this, you can purchase additional smaller and larger teat sizes as an option.

With electric breast pumps, you should also make sure that they are quiet and that the motor does not make any loud noises during the pumping process. With the well-known manufacturers such as Philips Avent, Lansinoh and Medela you don’t have to worry about this: The electric breast pumps are wonderfully quiet and you can relax a little while you pump out and take a well-deserved break from your stressful everyday life.

Electric double milk pumps

Philips Avent, Lansinoh, ARDO, and Medela offer electric double breast pumps, which allow simultaneous pumping of both breasts. This simultaneous pumping saves you a lot of time as a mum and you can spend it together with your little darling.

Pumping from both sides with two pump sets can also help to stimulate milk production and maintain lactation.

Electric double breast pumps have the same advantages as an electric breast pump: double breast pumps usually have the 2-phase technology, the second pumping phase, and the suction power can be adjusted individually. One breast hood size is included in the scope of delivery, other sizes can be ordered if required.

Electric breast pumps with two pumps set either work with batteries or have a power supply. Some models can be operated both with batteries and with mains power.

What is important & to consider with (electric) breast pumps

In this section, you will learn what you need to know when using a breast pump, how to clean and sterilize a breast pump, and which suitable accessories your breastpump should never be without.

Breast pump how to apply & use

Choose the right bonnet for the size of your chest, hold it with thumb and forefinger. With the remaining fingers and the palm of your hand you can support your breast, the sucker should be able to surround the breast so easily. The breast shield should not be too small, otherwise, it can press the breast tissue and obstruct the milk ducts. It is not at all bad if you need a few tries at the beginning until it works smoothly. This is quite normal.

The operation of a manual breast pump and an electric breast pump is very simple. As the models differ in terms of their product features, you should always read the instruction manual first so that you know exactly what functions your breast pump has.

With a manual breast pump, you can determine the suction strength and the pumping rhythm yourself by pushing down the pump lever faster or slower, either completely or only partially. To trigger the breast-donor reflex, press the handle a few times quickly and in quick succession at the beginning until the breast milk starts to flow. The pump-down phase then begins.

An electric breast pump switches from the first stimulation phase to the second pumping phase either automatically or at the touch of a button. Pump modes and suction power can be individually set by you at the touch of a button and adapted to your needs.

How long & how often with a breast pump

A pumping process usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, with some mothers it can take a little longer, especially in the beginning, which is not bad at all. It is impossible to say how often you have to pump out. The frequency of pumping depends on numerous factors: First of all, it depends on how old your little darling is. If your baby is only a few days old, he or she will usually be hungry all the time and will want to be breastfed or fed with breast milk every two to three hours. As your baby grows older, the breaks in breastfeeding will also become longer.

How often you want to express your milk also depends on whether you suffer from breastfeeding problems and if so, which ones. Do you want to stimulate or reduce milk production, do you suffer from milk congestion or inflamed nipples? All these are factors that influence the frequency of pumping.

If you have any questions or uncertainties, you should therefore always consult your gynecologist, midwife, or lactation consultant.

Breast pump how to clean & sterilize

With breast pumps, teats, vials, and other accessories, it is especially important for premature and sick children that the breast pumps are thoroughly cleaned and sterilized. As with baby bottles, you have a choice of different options and practical little helpers.

The breast pump should be sterilized before the first use and cleaned after each use. Sterilize all parts that come into contact with breast milk in a vaporizer or boil them in boiling water for ten minutes. Before reassembling the sterilized breast pump, your hands should be freshly washed.

Wash the accessories such as funnel and bottle after each use first with cold water, then you can clean the bottle thoroughly with warm water, washing-up liquid, and a bottle brush. In order to remove all residues of the dishwashing liquid, it can’t hurt to put the accessories under cold water again.

How often you have to sterilize a breast pump depends on whether your little sparrow was born too early or is ill, in which case special care is required. If this is the case, you should either boil the breast pump in hot water for five minutes after each use or disinfect it in a sterilizer. Otherwise, it is sufficient to boil or sterilize the breast pump accessories thoroughly once a day.

Microwave sterilization bag

Microwave sterilization bags are very practical, especially when you are on the road or in a hurry. You simply pack a teat, pacifier, drinking bottle, or accessories of your breast pump in a sterilization bag, fill it with approx. 125 ml of water depending on the size and then put the bag in the microwave for at least one and a half minutes. Afterward, teats, pacifiers, and co are disinfected again and ready for their next use.

Compatible system & accessories for your breast pump

The manual and electric breast pumps from Philips Avent, Medela, Lansinoh, NUK and MAM are fully compatible with the bottles and teats in their own range. This means that breast milk can be pumped directly into the bottle and stored for up to six hours at room temperature with a lid.

Breast milk can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours and then warmed up again. Simply place the bottle in a bottle warmer, remove the lid and screw the teat on. And your little hungry dwarf is ready to be fed.

Breast milk bags & breast milk containers

Philips Avent, Medela, and NUK, for example, offer practical breast milk containers that are the perfect solution for collecting, storing, freezing and feeding milk. The breastmilk containers are essential and have a leak-proof lid and can be attached to the breast pump and teats either directly or with an adapter included in the scope of delivery.

The breast milk containers from Philips Avent and Co fit perfectly into the in-house bottle warmers and sterilizers but are usually also compatible with baby food warmers and vaporizers from other manufacturers.

Breast milk pouches are particularly practical and space-saving. They can be easily stacked on top of each other in the refrigerator or freezer. Particularly if you want to express a lot of milk in stock, space in the fridge can get a bit tight. With the breast milk bags, there is still enough storage space left for the other family members’ favorite food.

The breast milk bags are already sterilized and therefore ready for immediate use. The date and quantity of the milk pumped out is always immediately visible thanks to the practical labeling field and the scale. These pouches are also leak-proof and the pouring opening ensures that nothing of the good breast milk goes missing when pouring into baby’s bottle.

The three best manual breastpumps in test & comparison

Breast pump Lansinoh

The manual single breast pump from Lansinoh is the test winner of babys10 among the manual breast pumps. This Lansinoh breast pump is in the medium price range at just over €30 and works perfectly. This breast pump does exactly what it is supposed to. The Lansinoh handheld breast pump is quick and easy to assemble and disassemble. It fits into a sterilizer and can also be easily cleaned in the dishwasher.

The special feature of this breast pump is that it has the 2-phase technology described above and has both stimulation and an evacuation phase that corresponds to your baby’s natural sucking behavior. A NaturalWave teat is included and can be easily attached to the bottleneck.

The scope of delivery also includes a standing floor and a suction hood in size S. With size S, it can be assumed that this is a small chest hood, but this cannot be confirmed in the test. The funnel also fits well with bra sizes 80C or 75D, but each breast is different, so just try it out.

The funnel can be easily applied to the breast with a little routine and is very soft to the skin. The pumping is also pleasant and the pumping rhythm can be adjusted to your own needs. For occasional pumping – even when traveling – this small handy breast pump is simply unbeatable.

Breast pump Philips Avent

At 35 €, the Philips Avent breast pump is only slightly more expensive than the test winner and is also a great companion during breastfeeding and is wonderfully suited for occasional pumping. This manual breast pump does not have a 2-phase pumping system, but soft massage cushions that also stimulate the flow of milk. Everybody is different and every mum, who may not be comfortable with the 2-phase technology, should try this handheld breast pump. Then pumping out is guaranteed to work.

As you would expect from Philips Avent, the products are well thought out and so the breast pump is compatible with all Avent baby bottles, teats, and co. It is also no problem at all to get spare parts for the Avent breast pump.

This breast pump also allows you to sit in an upright and relaxed position and does not require you to bend forward or assume an uncomfortable position to pump.

All accessories are easy to clean and can be combined with baby food warmers and vaporizers.

Breast pump NUK Jolie

At 30$ (€25), the Jolie hand-held breast pump from NUK is the cheapest breast pump in the babys10 test and has made it to third place. This manual breast pump is as light, handy, and quick to assemble as the other two test winners. The suction funnel is not only particularly soft and has a massage cushion, but can also score points with nubs in the suction cup, which also stimulate the milk donor reflex.

The Breast Pump can be combined wonderfully with other NUK products and is quickly cleaned by hand or in a sterilizer. The only shortcoming of this handheld breast pump is that pumping takes a little more force than with other handheld breast pumps. However, the pump is still perfectly adequate for occasional pumping.

The three best electric breast pumps in test & comparison

Electric breast pump 2in1 from Lansinoh

The electric 2in1 breast pump from Lansinoh is the test winner of babys10. This double breast pump enables you to pump out both breasts at the same time in a short time, particularly efficiently and with a high volume. Of course, you can also pump only one breast or breastfeed your baby on the other breast at the same time.

Lansinoh has thus developed a really well-thought-out product for regular and frequent pumping, which adapts to your needs. The 2-phase pumping system, the three pumping modes, and eight individually adjustable suction strengths increase your comfort immensely. Another plus point is the ComfortFit suction attachments, which are supplied in two sizes so that a breast cap is guaranteed to fit your breast perfectly.

The handling of the breast pump is very easy. The 2in1 Lansinoh breast pump can be quickly disassembled and reassembled. Like all other test winners, the collection container for breast milk is compatible with the bottles and teats of the respective manufacturers and can be easily cleaned in a steriliser and prepared in a baby food warmer.

The Lansinoh 2in1 electric breast pump costs approx. 140$ (120€), but in return, you get a very practical breast pump that leaves nothing to be desired and is a faithful companion during breastfeeding.

Breast pump Medela Swing

The Medela Swing electric breast pump is suitable for all mothers who want to express milk regularly and several times a day. Like the Medela Harmony, the Medela Swing breast pump also has 2-phase technology, but the electric version saves you having to pump by hand.

The chest cap fits snugly on the chest and the pumping modes as well as the suction power are comfortable and can be adjusted to your own needs. Everything you need for your single breast pump at home and on the go is included. You can order additional accessories such as breast milk containers for your Medela breast pump at any time to expand your set.

The Medela Swing breast pump works on mains power or with batteries, and handling, operation, and assembly are also child’s play. The breast pump also fits neatly in your handbag if you want to pump on the go. The only small disadvantage is that the motor of the electric breast pump is a little louder than the one from Lansinoh. At 130 €, the Medela Swing is in the upper price range.

Breast pump Philips Avent

The Philips Avent electric breast pump has the same benefits and product features as the Avent handheld breast pump. You will probably have to try this pump a few times to get everything working smoothly, but after 2-3 applications you will get the hang of it.

The Philips Avent electric breast pump also has a stimulation phase and a pumping phase, in which the pumping rhythm can be individually adjusted to your milk production. The operation is simple and self-explanatory, and you won’t even need a manual for the Philips Avent breast pump.

The Avent breast pump costs around 105$ (90€). If you want to pump milk regularly and also want to store larger quantities of it, you can buy the practical breastfeeding set for about 135 €. The bottle warmer and breast milk container are already included in the set.

Where to buy breast pumps

You can buy manual and electric (double) breast pumps from Medela, Philips Avent, Lansinoh, Nuby, and NUK in drugstores such or order them in the online shop.

Babyone and Amazon also offer numerous breast pumps from well-known manufacturers in their range. For example, at Amazon, you can also buy breast pumps from MAM, ARDO (including the Calypso electric breast pump), Mamivac, Tommee Tippee, Ameda, Difrax, Chicco (manual breast pump) and Kinyo.

Used breast pumps from Baby Frank or suitable accessories are available used on eBay.

How & where to rent breast pumps

If your little darling was born too early or if you suffer from breastfeeding problems such as milk congestion, mastitis, or sore nipples, you can have a breast pump prescribed or get a breast pump on prescription.

If you have been prescribed a breast pump by your doctor, your health insurance will cover the costs and you will not have to pay anything. How long you can get a breast pump on prescription depends on your symptoms and your health insurance company or your insurance benefits.

With the prescription, you can easily rent or hire an (electric) breast pump from a pharmacy that offers this service. Just check the Internet first to see if your pharmacy has a breast pump rental service. If you haven’t been prescribed a breast pump, but don’t want to buy your own, you can of course borrow one at your own expense without a prescription.

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