Manual vs. Electric - Which Pump To Choose?


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(Photo credit Babble)

There are so many different baby items and essentials on the market, and for a first time mom it can be pretty overwhelming and stressful figuring out what you actually need. Most of the time we only need the bare essentials for our baby. Breastfeeding makes it so much easier because we don’t have to worry about bottles, sterilizers or formula. But if like many other moms, you are going to be returning to work and wish to continue breastfeeding, you will need to get yourself a breast pump.

There are many reasons that moms decide to start pumping; returning to work, letting dad bottle feed or problems latching baby. Depending on the reason and frequency of pumping, you will need to decide between a manual and electric breast pump. Every mom has a different story and every situation is different. You can use the guide below for each to figure out which pump is best for you.

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Manual breast pump

  • Manual pumps are good for occasional pumping. If you are away from your baby every now and again and need to pump to relieve your breasts or build up a small milk stash, then a manual pump will work just fine.
  • Manual pumps are small and lightweight. They are easy to pack into a baby bag or small travel bag, to take with you wherever you go.
  • Moms find that they have more control over the suction and pump speed using manual pumps. This lets you control the flow and pump in a way that is most comfortable for you.
  • Manual pumps are cheaper than electric pumps. If you are still stuck on which to buy, manual pumps are cheap enough to start off with and then progress to an electric pump if need be.

Electric breast pump

  • Electric pumps are best used when you need to express daily. Moms who return to work often find that electric pumps suit their needs the best.
  • A bonus with electric pumps is that some of them come with double pumping action. This cuts down pumping time in half by working both breasts at the same time.
  • Some electric pumps are battery powered, meaning that they are more portable and easier to use on the go.
  • Electric pumps are heavier and noisier than manual pumps, and can be quite difficult to express on the go.
  • If you are going to be pumping daily then an electric pump is a good buy, but they can be pricey. Do some research into the brand you are buying to make sure you are spending your money on a pump that will last and is comfortable to use.

Sometimes in both instances, pumping can be uncomfortable. To help moms adjust to this, inserting the  breast pump cushions into the flanges can do wonders in alleviate the friction and discomfort. The cushions can help make pumping even better.

Breastfeeding is one of the best experiences for mom and baby, so try and keep at it even when returning to work. Choosing a good breast pump will make the pumping experience much easier and more enjoyable making it easier to meet your breastfeeding goals. What’s best for mom and is best for baby!


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