The best breast pumps

Breast pumps are the ideal choice if you want to express breast milk regularly, so we highlight the best breast pumps as tested by real mums.

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No matter how eager we are to breastfeed our babies breastfeeding can be painful, a lot harder than expected and sometimes, just not possible.

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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. Medela Swing Maxi Double Electric Breast Pump, £239.99

Type: Electric

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Breast Pump – Gold

The Swing Maxi pump is small but powerful – Medela say mums will express 18 per cent more milk and potentially save up to two hours a day, great for those who are frequently pumping, and for whom the hefty price tag makes it worthwhile.

It’s the brand hospitals choose, offering reassurance to new mums.

Our MFM judge says: “The machine is simple to put together and easy to use and adjust.”

The Calma bottle is included in the price – a useful addition feeding bottle which allows baby to control the flow of milk.

However, the deep growling noise is a downside compared with the quieter MAM 2-in-1 pump. Babies could be woken up with the noise and there’s no disguising the pumping sound if you’re out and about or at work.

See the MFM full review of the Medela Swing Maxi Double Electric Breast Pump

Available from: Mamas & Papas, Medela and Amazon

2. Elvie Pump, £249

Type: Electric 

Elvie’s innovative wearable breast pump has been designed to be wire-free, allowing you to wear it inside your nursing bra so you can walk around whilst using it and pump discreetly on the go.

It can also be paired with your smartphone using the Elvie pump app where you can control the pump, monitor milk volume and keep track of your pumping history.

Elvie designed the pump to be silent and whilst our reviewer found it to be quiet they also found it leaked, couldn’t be used while charging and  said it had a short battery life.

The single pump costs £249 but you can also buy the double pump set for £449.

Our reviewer says: “An innovative and beautiful-to-behold breast pump that’s wearable, smart and almost silent.”

See our full review of the Elvie Pump

Available from: Elvie, John Lewis and Mamas and Papas

3. MAM 2-in-1 Single Breast Pump, £130

Type: Electric & Manual

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Breast Pump – Joint Silver

Great if you need to switch from electric to manual when you’re out – and the rechargeable battery has a 5-hour life so mums don’t need to sit by a plug socket. The digital touchscreen’s handy timer helps keep track of pumping times.

The included storage pots fit neatly in the fridge, but can’t be used as bottles, unlike the convenient Medela Swing Pump and Feed kit, so you do have to decant the milk. However, our MFM judge says: “I love the sleek design of the machine and the touchscreen which makes it so easy to use.”

Our judges say it’s much quieter than the Medela when they are both on the highest suction setting – a bonus for keeping baby undisturbed, or discreetly pumping at work.

Available from: Asda, John Lewis and Amazon

4. Philips Single Electric Breast Pump, £125

Type: Electric

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Breast Pump – Joint Silver

A straightforward to use electric pump with an easy-clean closed system that means no milk spillage in the tubes. It’s a bit cheaper than the Medela Swing single pump, but has fewer extras in the pack. There’s just one bottle included in the price, so you’d need to buy more bottles or containers, compared with the multiple storage pots included with the MAM 2-in-1.

Our MFM judge finds it “very easy to use and with simple tactile buttons. Not too many parts to fiddle around with either.”

See the full MFM review of the Philips Single Electric Breast Pump

Available from: Philips, Argos and Mothercare

5. Medela Swing Pump And Feed Set, £144.99

Type: Electric

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Breast Pump – Joint Bronze

This pump can flip to battery operated, unlike the Medela Double pump, a major bonus for mums who want to put this lighter-weight kit into a handbag to head out of the house. It comes with 3 bottles and 5 pump-and-save breastmilk bags for freezing or storing.

As with the Medela Double Pump, the Calma feeding bottle is included, designed to help babies switching from breast to bottle and back again. The round pump is compact but it’s still one of the noisier models on the market and is at the top end for price. Our MFM judge says: “Excellent quality product that pumps really well. It’s quite highly priced compared to others on the market, but definitely worth considering.”

See the full MFM review of the Medela Swing Pump

Available from: Medela

6. Nuby Natural Touch Ultimate Double Breast Pump, £144.99

Type: Electric

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Breast Pump – Joint Bronze

The touchscreen technology of this double pump gives lots more information than the Medela double, and comes in at almost £100 cheaper.

The countdown timer is a useful addition and with nine different pump speeds mums can express more milk in less time than a pump with three speeds like the Philips Single Electric Breast Pump.

The Nuby pump draws down from the breast rather than squeezing the nipple, which can help encourage milk let down.

Our MFM judge says: “The pump was invaluable in helping me start my breastfeeding journey and took a lot of stress out of a difficult time.”

Available from: Asda, Boots and Amazon

haakaa

7. Haakaa Manual Silicone Breast Pump, £21.99

Type: Manual

The Haakaa is a basic manual pump ideal to use on one breast while baby feeds on the other side, so no milk is wasted soaking into a breast pad. It’s a sleek and stylish design with a cute flower stopper. It’s really useful on the go option, and is completely silent, as opposed to any of the electric pumps.

Because it works by suction as opposed to a pump, we also think it’s not as medical-looking as the Lansinoh or NUK manuals, with their bulkier pump handles.

Milk can be easily decanted into any bottle, so although that’s an extra expense, it gives parents complete choice to find the bottle which works best for baby. The pump has a capacity of 150ml but mums wanting to express regularly would need the convenience of an electric pump.

Available from: Haakaa, Amazon and Bella Baby

8. ARDO Calypso Double Plus Electric Breast Pump, £144.95

Like the Nuby Natural Touch, this is a reasonably priced double electric pump almost £100 cheaper than the Medela.

It also takes 6 AA batteries for when you’re out and about, although our reviewer found it sometimes cut out when used at its maximum settings.

The Calypso includes three different sized breast shells to get the best fit and can be used as a double or single pump depending on what you want and need to express, as well as 64 combinations of settings to adjust the pump cycle and vacuum.

Our reviewer says: “A great value double electric breast pump which is easy and quiet to use, simple to clean and has lots of options for personalisation.”

See the full MFM review of the ARDO Calypso Double Plus Electric Breast Pump

Available from: ARDO, Amazon and Argos

9. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Single Electric Breast Pump, £99.99

Type: Electric

The Tommee Tippee is a great price single electric pump – considerably cheaper than the Philips or MAM. It’s a good step up for mums who need a bit more power compared with a manual pump, but don’t need the capacity of regularly expressing with a double pump. There are only three speeds of suction to choose from, lacking the multiple settings of a pump like the Calypso or Nuby, but that also means it’s simpler to use. It comes with just one milk storage pot and bottle, unlike the MAM, which is reflected in the price.

See the full MFM review of the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Single Electric Breast Pump

Available from: Argos, Asda and Mothercare

10. Lansinoh Single Manual Breast Pump, £35

Type: Manual

The Lansinoh is a straight-forward, good value manual pump with an ergonomic handle designed to allow for easy, one-handed pumping without putting strain on your wrist. It comes with a Lansinoh feeding bottle and one teat, and although it’s compatible with the rest of the Lansinoh range, that needs to be bought separately. The custom bottle stand helps to prevent spills – a lifesaver when you’ve spent ages expressing precious milk only for baby to knock it over with a flailing arm.

See the full MFM review of the Lansinoh Single Manual Breast Pump

Available from: Weldricks, Boots and Asda

We’ve got a round up of the best feeding gear….

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