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How to Choose and Use a Breast Pump

Lori Ramsey


The difference in breast pumps varies as much as differences in cars. You have your cheap versions, your expensive versions and all in-between. Which you pick should depend on your pocketbook and your preferences.

Which type and brand you choose depends on several things. Are you pumping because you are employed and are leaving your baby with a sitter? Are you pumping to have a day/night out occasionally? Are you pumping to relieve engorgement or inverted nipples? Depending on these situations you should choose your pump accordingly. Below are a couple of popular brands, listing how they are powered and what they are best suited for.

Manual pumps

Ameda One-Hand - Pumps one breast at a time. Suited for stay-at-home moms, engorgement relief, inverted nipples. (I own this pump and it's great!)

Electric pumps

Ameda Purely Yours - Powered with batteries, AC adapter or car lighter adapter. Pumps both breasts at once. Suited for full-time working moms.

Medela DoubleEase - Powered with C batteries or AC adapter. Pumps both breasts. Suited for part-time work, nights out, to relieve engorgement, inverted nipples.

Medela Lactina - Powered with AC/car adapter or battery pack. Pumps both breasts. Suited for full-time working moms, long-term usage.

Medela Mini-Electric - Powered with two AA batteries or AC adapter. Pumps one breast at a time. Suited for at-home moms, or nights out, inverted nipples.

Medela Pump in Style - Powered with batteries, AC adapter, car lighter adapter or rechargeable battery pack. Pumps both breasts. Suited for part/full-time work, excellent for long-term usage.

All pumps whether manual or powered come with full instructions. It's very important to read the instructions in order to pump correctly. Not following the instructions will result in sore nipples and/or an inadequate supply of pumped milk. Always make sure that all parts of the breast pump are clean. Most can be cleaned with warm soapy water. It's also important to be sure the breasts are clean.

My Best Advice for Successful Pumping

Once you learn how to properly pump the breast milk there are a few tried and true things you can do to insure the best supply of milk. If you can, try to pump when your breasts are full. "Bring" in your milk supply by either stimulating your nipples with your thumb and forefinger, or by massaging the entire breast until you feel the "let-down". Also try placing a warm wet cloth over the breast to help stimulate the milk. When you feel the "let-down," place the pump upon the breast as described in the manufacturers instructions and begin pumping.

Note - If you have a pump for one breast, you can successfully pump the free breast while feeding your baby on the other one. This can be done only if you have a "one-handed" type of pump. This works well because the nursing baby will bring in the milk in the free breast and you can take advantage and pump out a good supply.

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