Expert / 1 August, 2021 / Ellie Thompson

How To Pick Your Pump: The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Your Breast Pump

If you’re an expectant mama wondering where to start when it comes to choosing the right breast pump, according to Medela, it can be wise to wait a bit.

“Being prepared is important and it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with different breast pumps in advance – but it’s only once your baby is here and you know what your breastfeeding situation is that you’ll really know your requirements.” Says Sioned Hilton, lactation expert at Medela.

To cut through the noise, we take a closer look at Medela’s range of breast pumps and explore the differences between them so you can shop the right breast pump with confidence.

What are the different types of breast pump?

There are three main choices when it comes to breast pump technology and it’s important to understand the differences so you can decide which breast pump is right for you, at the right time.

Manual v electric breast pump

Manual pumps are cheaper, quiet, and great for occasional expressing, but they can be hard work if you’re using them frequently. Electric breast pumps are easier, as the motor is programmed to do the pumping for you.

Medela’s electric breast pumps beneift from 2-Phase Expression technology that mimics a baby’s natural sucking behaviour. This creates an effective and more natural way to express.

All of Medela’s electric pumps can be battery operated, so they’re convenient to use on the go.

Single v double breast pump

A single electric breast pump is perfect if you’re only expressing every now and then, whereas choosing a double pump expresses draws milk from both breasts simultaneously. This is a true benefit if you’re going to be expressing regularly.

A double breast pump saves you time, halving the duration you spend expressing, and when your supply is established delivers 18% more milk (on average), in comparison to pumping from each breast in turn. Research also indicates that the milk expressed using a double pump has a higher fat and calorie content too.

We recommend investing in a double pump if you’re a busy mum that needs to express regularly.

Hospital-grade breast pump

Hospital-grade breast pump

The Medela Symphony double hospital-grade breast pump is ideal for those expressing frequently when feeding multiples for example or returning to work. It is also important for mothers relying on a breast pump to initiate, build and maintain milk supply.

What’s great about the Symphony breast pump is that it offers unique research-based suction and cycles that mimic the unique newborn sucking pattern. The Symphony pump has been clinically proven to initiate, build and maintain milk production. If you’re pumping within the first five days after your baby is born, need to build your supply, or are experiencing breastfeeding challenges, the Symphony pump is a great option. It can also help support you while you resolve any issues, and give you breathing space if you want to explore which pump is best for you.

The Medela Symphony double hospital-grade breast pump is ideal for those expressing frequently, or for mothers relying on a breast pump to initiate, build and maintain milk supply.

For details on how to rent a Medela Symphony hospital-grade breast pump, click here.

Which breast pump is right for me and my baby?

Choosing a breast pump that matches your needs and lifestyle is important, as this is a product you might rely on for a while. When selecting a pump, consider how often you expect to pump, your personal circumstances, baby’s needs, and also, where you are in your lactation journey.

The three stages of lactation:

The first 14 days are critical for initiation and building supply. The build phase continues for the following 14 days as supply and breastfeeding is established by 1 month of age.

Best Maternity And Nursing Bras For Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

Medela Symphony Double Breast Pump

If you’re having trouble initiating supply, or your baby can’t feed from the breast and you need to express every feed, it’s worth renting the Medela Symphony pump for a month or two to help you get established.

It’s best to start using the Symphony hospital-grade double electric pump within hours of birth. The Symphony has initiation technology that will mimic a newborn’s feeding pattern.

The Medela Symphony is the pump of choice for many hospitals and birthing units and you can rent one for home use too. Find out how to rent a Symphony.

REMEMBER: It’s not unusual for babies to have latching problems or for new mothers to have concerns about milk supply, so do seek help from a lactation consultant or breastfeeding specliaist, as their advice may help.

Choosing your own breast pump

Many women will prefer to invest in their own breast pump, and may not need the initiation program the Symphony offers. Most of us will also want something portable, especially breastfeeding mamas wanting to return to work.

With that in mind, it’s best to look at investing in a lightweight portable breast pump that will last. We recommend opting for a double electric model that will save you time, and enable you to collect more. The Medela Swing Maxi or Medela Freestyle Flex are both brilliant choices. The Medela Freestyle Flex is your best bet for a lightweight option, and this pump also has a USB rechargeable battery for complete reliability

Swing Maxi™ – Double

Once breastfeeding is established and you want to move on to express milk from time to time, a manual breast pump or single electric breast pump could fit the bill.

Swing Flex™ – Single

TOP TIP: “Remember that expressing effectively isn’t only a matter of which breast pump you have. How and when you use your breast pump can make a big difference to the quantity of milk you collect. And correctly fitting breast shields are a must,” says Sioned.


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