Choosing the Perfect Breast Pump

We're thrilled to have Lindsey Shipley, a registered nurse and certified lactation specialist, with us today sharing her tips and advice on all things breast pumps. Her passion and knowledge of breastfeeding are great for moms at any stage of the breastfeeding process. She's one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram where she shares daily tips. 


From Lindsey:

There are a million gadgets when it comes to babies, and we as moms can drive ourselves nuts figuring out which ones we really "need". I remember printing a baby checklist during my first pregnancy and I didn't even know what half the items were! I'm excited to be featured on Momma Society today to talk about choosing one of those baby checklist items: a breast pump. It can be a guessing game when it comes to buying the right pump for you. "So, this goes here?" "That connects to what?" Let me take all the guesswork away for you! As a registered nurse and certified lactation specialist, here is my review of five popular breast pump models. 

This pump is fast and efficient. Its parts all come apart to be washed or boiled. It comes in convenient shoulder bag or messenger bag styles. Size 24mm flanges are included and additional sizes are sold by Medela. It also comes equipped with a cooler and icepack, which is convenient for on-the-go use. This pump is great for returning to work and everyday use; it's a go-to for many Moms, including me! Many insurances also cover the Pump In Style

Many moms rave about the freestyle because of its small size and portability. It comes with a tote bag and also 2 sized of flanges (24mm and 27mm). This pump has a few more digital features including a backlight display, timer, and a memory button to record your sessions. This pump is ideal for a mom who travels a lot or wants more features. The Freestyle may not be covered by insurance. 

This pump could be a good fit for a mom that is going to pump fairly infrequently. It comes with just one bottle and flange, so it doest adapt to double-pumping. If you wanted to pump both breasts, it would take you double the time with the Swing. If you are using the pump mainly to get a little "extra" at the end of the feed, this may be a good option. 

This pump can be compared to the Medela Pump In Style and also comes with a few different bag styles. Some moms have found the parts to be a bit more cumbersome than the Medela counterpart. This pump is also covered under many insurances.

These 2 pumps are hospital grade pumps you can use during your stay or rent from many local retailers. They are especially useful for mothers of multiples, premies, and sick infants to build and maintain their milk supply. The Symphony has a premie+ program card sold separately. The specially programmed card is meant to get pump-dependent mothers a jumpstart on their milk supply. The premie+card is only used until you reach 20ml in volume for each pumping session. 

That being said, what use is a good breast pump unless you know how to use it and care for it? Here are my top 3 tips to breast pump use:

  1. Right Pump, Right Size. Make sure you are not just getting the most expensive or inexpensive pump, but one that fits your needs. Think about: When will I need to pump? How often? What bag style works well for me? Also, it is extremely important that you are using the right size flanges or else pumping could be inefficient or painful. If you are not sure on this, get a certified lactation consultant to help.

  2. Take care of your pump, it'll take care of you! It's important to wash the parts that touch the breast milk after each pumping session. The outside of the pump, inside of its bag, as well as your tubing, should also be wiped down frequently. Also, when not in use, the tubing should be disconnected and placed inside your bag. If you have them connected you run the risk of getting condensation, bacteria and mold inside your pump.

  3. The goodies. It's important to have all the essentials with you to be prepared for whatever pops up. Keep several extra breast milk storage bags in your pump. Extra batteries in case there's not an outlet where you are. Sometimes you may not have access to a sink, so pack some cleansing wipes to clean your bottles and flanges (Medela sells these). An AC adapter works wonders if pumping in the passenger seat of the car. Also a nursing cover if you use one (I love Covered Goods). If you are going to be away for sometime, you may want to pack a small cooler to keep milk cool.

Finally, to cap off my post on breast pumps, I want to share a story of a colleague who had a great experience exclusively pumping. As a lactation specialist, I am an advocate of breastfeeding, but my first and foremost goal when I became a nurse and lactation specialist was to make sure more women knew all their options, so here's another one!

My decision to exclusively pump was influenced by my cousin. She was also an exclusive pumper and prior to talking with her I hadn’t realized that there was an additional option. In my mind it was breastfeed or formula. So being presented with a third option was liberating. I knew the benefits of breast milk, and wanted my babies to reap those benefits. But I was also very nervous about breast feeding. I have one flat and one inverted nipple so I knew that the road to successful feeds would be a bit more challenging. Now, as an L&D nurse, I know these are obstacles that can be overcome with appropriate interventions.

My method of pumping is by no means perfect but it works for me. I try to follow the feeding schedule of a breastfeeding baby, especially in the first weeks, doing my best to establish adequate supply. I love the fact that pumping allows my husband to help with one of the night feeds and momma gets a few extra hours of sleep.

At this point I should probably pause and give a shout out to my amazing Medela Pump ‘N Style! This thing has served me like a champ! It has survived 10+ months of pumping with each of my three children. I have the car accessories and the battery packs so I can pump whenever: in airports and airplanes, on the beach, as well as the comfort of my own home! If exclusive pumping is something you are thinking about I definitely recommend investing in a high quality breast pump.

It was also comforting to know that when I had to return to work, as a night shift nurse, there was a stockpile of breast milk in my fridge and freezer. This reduced the stress I felt as I returned to work. Are there some cons to pumping? Sure. When your toddler has to go potty mid-pump, you can’t just walk in there and continue feeding. It also can take a bit more time to pump and then feed a bottle. Thank heaven for my nursing cover! This is just my experience and I know you will find your own! We are moms, and we all ‘know best’.
— Aubry

What breast pump do you use? How do you like it? 

Connect and learn more about Lindsey & Lactation Link here