No matter how eager we are to breastfeed our babies breastfeeding can be painful, a lot harder than expected and sometimes, just not possible.
It’s usually at these times we move on to expressing our milk – and that’s when the breast pump comes out of the box.
What’s a breast pump?
For any breast pump virgins out there, here’s our quick explanation on the vital tools.
Breast pumps are used to express breast milk so we can store it and feed it to our babies with a bottle.
There are single pumps and double pumps – those that work on one breast at a time and those that can express from both breasts in tandem.
Manual pumps require us to pump a handle in order to create suction and express breast milk. Manual pumps are often designed for occasional use, but are cheaper and lightweight.
Electric pumps have suction powered by mains or batteries. They look very similar to a manual, with a breast shell and milk collection bottle, but there’s no handle because you don’t need to pump with your hand.
Many electric pumps let us control the suction strength and speed and they are often efficient but are more expensive, noisier and bulkier than manual ones.
Like any parenting product there are loads of different types out there! So if you’re unsure which breast pump is best for you, don’t worry, our buyer’s guide will help you make up your mind.
Check the top ten of best breast pumps:
1. Haakaa Manual Silicone Breast Pump, £15.99-18.99, MFM Gold Award Winner
This is a great little pump for on the go – when you need to express silently and quickly, without faff. Made from 100% food grade silicone, our silver award winner convinced the judges with its nifty travel size and novel design.
It doesn’t require assembly, cord or batteries and uses a natural suction mechanism that’s easy to operate in any situation.
It fits into a handbag or changing bag, has superior comfort, is dishwasher safe and has a suction base to prevent spillage. A very practical alternative or companion to more expensive electrical pumps.
What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about the Haakaa Manual Silicone Breast Pump:
“The pump is soft and tactile but effective. Its compact size and shape mean you don’t need a bulky electric pump taking up space. The stopper is a nice design too and handy for stopping spills and keeping the milk sterile. It fits in the steriliser well, so is easy to clean and keep safe for baby.” Mum of 1, Lucy
“A fantastic travel breast pump. I love that it’s eco friendly, easy to use, with a nice floral design. It is well thought out.” MFM Reviews Editor Hazelann Williams
You can buy the Haaka Silicone Breast Pump from Amazon, and Boots
2. Medela Swing Pump & Feed Set, £144.99, MFM Silver Award Winner
This great starter set contains the award winning two-phase Medela Swing Breast Pump, two bottles, a Quick Clean bag, Pump & Save bags and 3 150ml breastmilk storage bottles.
The pump uses Medela’s two-phase expression pumping technology which aids milk let down and comfort, and its size and use of batteries means it is super portable. Our silver award winner has a range of vacuum levels and settings so it can be easily adapted to different needs and comfort.
What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about the Medela Swing Pump & Feed Set:
“I was a little apprehensive about expressing milk as a first time mom but I did find the pump easy to use. I like that the package comes with storage bags to freeze milk, and it’s really handy that it comes with cleaning equipment.” Mum of 1, Laura
“I was really impressed with this breast pump set. It is surprisingly powerful, and my baby fed happily from the Calma bottles. The Quick Clean steriliser bag is great. It doesn’t take up a lot of space when not in use and is holding up well to use. I would definitely recommend the pump to friends as it is easy to use and effective.” Mum of 3, Sarah
You can buy the Medela Swing Pump from Boots, Amazon and Medela
3. Philips Avent Single Electric Breast Pump, £125, MFM Joint Bronze Award Winner
Our joint bronze award winner was designed to be Philips Avent’s most comfortable breast pump yet. It features a soft massage cushion and allows users to sit comfortably without the need to lean forward to catch the milk effectively.
It is ideal for frequent use, it goes straight to a gentle stimulation mode when switched on and then lets you choose from three different pump settings. It can also be used with batteries which is handy if you need to pump at work or while travelling.
The accessories also include a well-designed bottle with a natural teat that promotes natural latch-on.
What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about the Philips Avent Single Electric Breast Pump:
“I’ve been using this pump for just under 2 weeks. I like this pump, it’s simple to use and comfortable, easy to clean and I get a good yield from it.” Mum of 3, Deanna
“This is a good breast pump. I liked the fact it wasn’t that noisy which is good for any mum with a newborn and needing to express in the early hours! I would recommend this product.” Mum of 2, Taryn
You can buy the Philips Avent Single Electric Breast Pump from Boots and Philips Avent
4. Nuby Natural Touch Ultimate Digital Breast Pump, £130, MFM Joint Bronze Award Winner
This is a great breast pump designed with a natural approach to pumping in mind. It encourages milk let down by mimicking baby’s feeding action, and has a stimulation mode and 9 speed levels to select from.
The super soft silicone cup has a three-phased action – massage, draw and collect – to encourage milk flow. It also features touch screen technology and a rechargeable battery (lasting up to 3 hours) to make it great when out and about.
What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about the Nuby Natural Touch Ultimate Digital Breast Pump:
“Great that it is quiet and that you don’t need to have it plugged into sockets to use.” Mum of 1, Anna
“The best thing about this pump is the pumping action which is so gentle but really effective. It is incredibly comfortable to use and while it’s not quicker than my high grade double pump it isn’t slow and results in a great supply of milk. The digital interface is really easy to use and by having such a range of stimulation speeds I expect first time mums and those who find expressing difficult would be much more likely to produce milk with this pump. The timer is a handy and unique feature, useful if you need to power pump or increase supply.” Mum of 2, Bethan
You can buy the Nuby Natural Touch Ultimate Digital Breast Pump from Boots, Amazon and Mothercare