Before you buy a breast pump, check to see if it has these essential features.
Compared to, say, strollers or adorable baby clothes, breast pumps might not be the most exciting new mom purchase to shop for. But the model you choose could make a big difference in your pumping experience, experts say.
"New breast pumps are coming out all the time, and it can be confusing for a new mom to try and consider all the choices," says Helen Anderson, RN, chief lactation officer for Fairhaven Health. The good news? "Just about any pump will work if it has a few important features." Here, the essential ones to consider, plus some highly recommended models below.
What to look for in a breast pump
• When in doubt, go electric. Although manual pumps are a good backup for those times when you won't have access to an outlet (this one gets great reviews on Amazon), Anderson strongly recommends making an electric pump your go-to. "They're more consistent and provide the best suction," she explains. With manual models, "the suction is inconsistent and your hand will wear out before your pumping session is done."
• Double suction is twice as good. Having two suction cups lets you pump both breasts simultaneously, which is both convenient (you'll finish up faster) and beneficial for your flow. "Research shows that you make more milk and remove more milk when both breasts are working together," Anderson notes.
• Adjustable settings help you change with your baby. "Every baby feeds differently, and the way babies feed when they are 3 months old might be very different from the way they feed when they are 6 months old," says Molly Petersen, a certified lactation counselor at Lansinoh. A model with different suction levels will let you find a pumping rhythm that works best for you and make it easier to adjust to changes over time.
Ready to shop? Here are four that come highly recommended.