14 of the best breast pumps – electric, manual, wearable, singles and doubles tested by mums
Breast pumps are a great choice if you need or want to express breast milk regularly. We put them through their paces and asked real mums to recommend their favourite electric, manual, wearable and handsfree pumps
Breast pumps are designed to help express breast milk regularly and efficiently while offering comfort and convenience. They may also help if you're experiencing any problems with breastfeeding. We’ve rounded up 14 of the best electric, manual, wearable and handsfree breast pumps as tested by real mums and midwives, to help you on your breastfeeding journey.
Whether you choose to use an electric or manual pump, expressing can help you collect and store your breast milk. Some people express because they want their partner to be involved in feeding – they can give milk in a bottle, perhaps taking over a nighttime feed and giving you the chance to catch up on sleep. Expressing is useful if you're going to be away from your baby for any reason, maybe you're going back to work or will be staying away overnight. And a breast pump can provide relief if you suffer from engorgement, and help to prevent mastitis. It can also aid oversupply, although as pumping may further stimulate it's best to speak to a lactatation consultant for advice in this situation.
Save 25% off everything at Lola & Lykke
Save big on essentials for new mums with Lola & Lykke’s biggest sale of the year, with 25% off everything including breast pumps, support bands and more.
Highlights of the sale include the Lola & Lykke Smart Electric Breast Pump, a 3-time Gold Award winner in the MadeForMums awards, which is on sale for £109 down from the regular price of £145.
There’s also the Lola & Lykke Breastfeeding Starter Kit which is down to £184 from the regular price of £245.
The sale is live now.
Best electric breast pumps at a glance for 2023:
- Best smart breast pump: Elvie Single Breast Pump, £269
- Best budget wearable pump: Fraupow Wearable Pump, £89.99
- Best breast pump for powerful handsfree pumping: Pippeta Compact LED Handsfree Breast Pump, £98.99
- Best double wearable pump: Medela freestyle hands-free double electric breast pump, £299
- Best budget double wearable pump: Wren Hands-Free Double Breast Pumps, £179.99
- Best breast pump for wireless pumping: Lola & Lykke Smart Electric Breast Pump, £145
- Best breast pump for electric and manual pumping: Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone Electric Breast Pump, £99.99
- Best breast pump for powerful pumping at home: Ardo Alyssa, £180
- Best budget double electric breast pump: Tommee Tippee Made for Me Double Electric Breastpump, £169.99
- Best breast pump for multiple pumping options: MAM 2in1 Single Electric Breast Pump, £258
Best manual breast pumps at a glance for 2023:
- Best breast pump for simple manual pumping: Tommee Tippee Made For Me Single Manual Breast Pump, £32.99
- Best breast pump and collector: Elvie Curve, £34.99
- Best breast pump for quiet manual pumping: MAM Manual Breast Pump, £48
- Best manual breast pump for comfort: Lansinoh manual breast pump, £35
For some, the early days of breastfeeding can be particularly challenging. There are many reasons why breastfeeding can get off to a slow start and using a breast pump can really help you to manage the situation. “If a baby isn’t able to transfer sufficient milk from the breast due to prematurity, illness or oral restrictions, the team looking after you will recommend expressing your milk,” explains lactation consultant Katherine Fisher. A breast pump helps to mimic the action of the baby at the breast and stimulate milk production. “Expressing can also make it possible to give your baby breast milk if there are anatomical reasons why you can’t feed, or if you simply elect to offer expressed milk and not breastfeed,” Katherine adds.
If you’re at all concerned about your baby's feeding, ask for advice from your health visitor or midwife – or search for a lactation consultant in your area. And remember, it is completely up to you whether you continue trying to breastfeed your baby.
To find the best breast pumps out there, we’ve researched and rigorously tested a range of different pumps. Our list is split into electric and manual pumps, and you can read more about each type below. Each of our recommended picks have been used regularly and reviewed by breastfeeding mums with young babies. We also spoke to experts – such as midwives and lactation consultants – to see which products they recommend. We’ve combined all of this feedback to bring you the best breast pumps on the market.
Electric vs manual breast pumps: what’s the difference?
Electric breast pumps
Electric pumps are great for those looking to express excess milk or to maintain their milk supply, particularly if you are returning to work. Electric pumps create suction using a motor powered by mains, USB cord or batteries. These powerful pumps create a rhythmic suction pattern and allow you to control suction strength and frequency, enabling you to pump larger volumes of milk in less time. They are more expensive and often noisier and bulkier than manual ones, although some newer, premium pumps feature a quieter design.
Most electric pumps now have at least 2-phase programmes that are designed to closely mimic the way a baby feeds – light but fast sucking initially to stimulate flow, followed by slower and deeper sucks that draw out large quantities of milk – promoting greater comfort and efficiency.
More like this
There are now a number of wearable electric pumps that charge up and then slip into your bra for hands-free pumping, making them more convenient than something with trailing wires.
Electric pumps are either sold as singles – which allow you to express milk from one breast at a time – or doubles – which enable you to extract milk from both breasts simultaneously. While double pumping cuts expressing time in half, they are more expensive (not twice the price of but certainly more than their single counterparts).
Electric breast pumps are also good for draining breasts with blocked ducts, engorgement or mastitis or when it’s too painful to breastfeed.
Manual breast pumps
There are two types of manual pumps; ones that require you to pump using a handle, and ones that use vacuum suction in order to extract breast milk. The more traditional hand pump can take a fair amount of effort and time to pump a volume of milk, and it’s not always possible to adjust the level of suction, so these types of manual pumps are often more suited for occasional use. They are only available as singles because, well, you’ve only got one pair of hands and you usually need both – one to hold the breast shield in place, the other to pull the handle.
Vacuum suction pumps are newer and fit onto your breast like a suction cup. Once fitted (there is a knack to it) it will stay attached to the breast while the vacuum pressure extracts milk. These pumps often double as let-down milk collectors – meaning they collect small amounts of milk from the other breast while you're breastfeeding – making them more versatile than a hand pump.
Both kinds of manual pumps are cheaper, portable and tend to be more compact and weigh less than electric versions. They are usually quieter than motorised pumps and you don’t need to remember to charge a manual pump or worry about batteries. However, in general they take much longer to express milk than an electric pump.
Which type of pump should you use?
Portable or wearable, silicon, hospital grade… there are so many alien terms when it comes to choosing a breast pump, they can make the whole process feel more daunting than it should be. Read our guide to help you choose the best pump for you.
Electric pumps are powerful, convenient but a little pricier than manual pumps. They are available wired, battery-operated, wearable and hospital grade. See our detailed section on electric breast pumps above.
Wearable pumps are either manual or electrical. They offer more freedom than traditional pumps because they're self-contained and worn inside of the bra, where the milk is collected. They are not attached to any tubes and are wireless, making them more discreet than traditional electronic pumps. Wireless pumps have the motor, breast shield and bottle integrated in one unit and don’t require mains power or your hands to hold them in place, offering both discretion and freedom as you can carry on virtually as normal – be it at home or out and about.
Manual pumps Some manual pumps require you to use a handle – these are good for occasional pumping. Vacuum pumps are more versatile, if you can get the knack. See our section on manual breast pumps above for more information.
Let down collectors and silicone pumps can be used to empty full breasts. They are often more eco-friendly options, and they collect milk every time a baby feeds on the opposite breast, so no milk is wasted.
Medical or hospital grade pumps are powerful, robust, and durable. They are best for mums with low milk supply or engorgement, but are expensive and usually hired out to multiple people, rather than purchased. There are some hospital-grade pumps available to buy if this is something you require for a long period of time.
What should I look for when buying a breast pump?
Type of use - There are so many reasons you may want to express, and this is key to deciding what kind of pump will suit your needs best. Frequent pumping with a double electric pump or medical pump may help when trying to increase a low milk supply or deal with engorgement. If you just need to pump occasionally, a manual or collector pump would suffice. If returning to work from mat leave you may want to discreetly express at your desk, so a wearable or manual pump could be best for you.
Portability - If you don’t want to be tethered to a plug socket while you pump, look for a pump that can run off batteries or a rechargeable power pack. This will mean you can move around while pumping. Some pumps are wearable – meaning you can pop them inside your bra. They have no wires or tubes so you can even leave the house while wearing them. For traditional double and single electric pumps, there are accessories such as specially designed expressing bras or bustiers that hold the breast shields and bottles in place to give you a hands-free option. However, the wires and tubes of these pumps do still get in the way, making movement limited.
Price - Prices of breast pumps vary dramatically, with non-electric manual pumps starting at around £20 and high-tech, electric pumps that promise hands-free wireless pumping retailing up to around £250 – and up to £500 for a double. In between, a decent single electric hand-held pump will set you back around £130 to £150.
Ease of cleaning – You have enough to think about without having to worry whether your breast pump is completely clean. Germs can grow quickly in breast milk residue so you will have to clean and sterilise it after every use, and that means taking it apart and putting it back together again. The best pumps come without too many fiddly parts. Some are even colour coded so you know which pieces to remove to wash.
The best pump for you will depend on your needs and preference. As with virtually all parenting products, there are dozens of different choices on offer so if you’re unsure which breast pump is right for you, use our buyer’s guide to help you decide.
Can I use a second-hand breast pump?
Buying second-hand pumps is cheaper than brand-new pumps, but this is generally not recommended by manufacturers. This is because plastic parts can deteriorate or become defective with frequent use and over time. If it is not a closed system pump it is possible for milk to be drawn up the tubing and into the motor housing and this could increase the risk of cross infection. Have a chat with your midwife, health visitor or a breastfeeding consultant before you buy a second hand pump, and if you do, choose a brand that sells spare parts so you can replace any worn out elements.
You can find out more information such as when to start using a pump below our list of the best breast pumps.
Here’s our pick of the best electric breast pumps for expressing milk in 2023:
1. Elvie Single Breast Pump, £269
– Best smart breast pump
Type: Electric wearable | Hands-free: Yes | Power: Rechargeable via USB | Award: Gold – Wearable Electric/Battery Breast Pump, MadeForMums Awards 2022
Billed as the first silent wearable breast pump, all the parts of this high-tech pump are hidden away inside the minimalist white hub. The Elvie’s unique features are that it is completely tube-free, hands-free – it’s powered by an internal battery that can be charged via a USB cable so there’s no need for a power cord when it’s in use – and silent. It’s discreet and designed to be worn inside your bra so you can, in theory, pump anywhere.
“This is a game changer as, instead of being chained to the sofa holding the breast shields and attached to a motor by wires, you can carry on as you were,” revealed MFM home tester Tamara. “I also found the pump so quiet, I could pump when we had company over, often without them realising.”
The lack of tubing also means there is no chance of breast milk getting sucked into tricky-to-clean plastic and fewer parts to clean and assemble, as MFM reviewer and mum-of-3 Gabrielle discovered, “putting the Elvie pump together took moments as there are only 5 parts.” The Elvie App is essential to control the pump remotely as, once it’s in your bra, it’s impossible to change the settings. “Plus, it allows you to monitor your milk production and track your pumping history for each breast,” commented Gabrielle. “Luckily, it’s easy to install and navigate, even for the least techno-savvy person or sleep-deprived mum.”
There have been reports that it can leak if you move around too much while pumping – bending over and moving too quickly can cause spillage – but there’s no denying this pump revolutionised the market and paved the way for other wearables featured here, and it’s still lauded as one of the very best. A double pump is also available (£499).
Pros: Wearable, no tubes or wires, discreet,
Cons: Expensive, does occasionally leak or spill
Read our full MadeForMums Elvie single breast pump review
2. Fraupow Wearable Pump, £89.99
– Best budget wearable pump
Type: Electric wearable | Hands-free: Yes | Power: Rechargeable battery with USB type C port | Awards: Silver – Wearable Electric/Battery Breast Pump, MadeForMums Awards 2022
Small enough to wear and express while breastfeeding on the other breast, this lightweight, portable pump delivers up to 7 breast pumping sessions on a single charge.
Despite having no wires and no plugs, our testers report that the Fraupow has good suction, and it also boasts an anti leak lip and a storage capacity of 180ml.
This pump impresses with its simple assembly, affordable price and portability. Our parent tester Casmine, who tested this with their 2 month old, called it “A really useful pump that is extremely effective. I was worried that the suction might not be as strong as other pumps but it really was.”
Parent tester Alexandra said it was the “best product I ever tried. Comfortable to wear and easy to use. Portable as well, fits in my bag without any issues, has saved me time.”
Pros: Wearable, lightweight, discreet, comfortable
Cons: Not noiseless, need to remember to charge it
Read our full MadeForMums Fraupow Wearable Pump review
Available from: Fraupow
3. Pippeta Compact LED Handsfree Breast Pump, £98.99
– Best for powerful hands-free pumping
Type: Electric wearable | Hands-free: Yes | Power: Rechargeable battery with USB type C port | Awards: Joint Bronze – Wearable Electric/Battery Breast Pump, MadeForMums Awards 2023
With 12 different modes, this wearable, hospital-grade pump delivers an impressive 60mmhg–300mmhg of pressure.
Although it delivers a powerful performance, our testers report that the Pippeta is discreet and comfortable to wear. It has no tubes or wires and features a soft silicone curved cup that fits snugly around the breast.
In the words of parent tester Rebecca, who tested this with their 7-week-old: “I had previously felt a pulling when expressing with other pumps but I didn’t feel a thing with this. It’s not as big as I thought, it fits in a bra easier and isn’t too cumbersome. It feels absolutely great, you don’t even know you have it in your bra.”
The pump is also praised for its effectiveness and ease of use. Parent tester Lara said, "The product was extremely easy to set up and is easy to use. The instructions were clear and concise. The different features allow you to find a routine that works for you and stimulate the most let-down. I now can press the buttons that work for me without looking."
Pros: Wearable, powerful, comfortable, discreet, good value
Cons: Not noiseless, need to remember to charge it, can spill if you lean over
4. Medela Freestyle Hands-free Double Electric Wearable Breast Pump, £299
– Best double wearable pump
Type: Electric wearable | Hands-free: Yes | Power: Rechargeable battery with USB type C port
Wearing a double pump can risk feeling cumbersome and heavy on the breasts but not so with the Medela Freestyle. It has a separate unit you pop in your pocket, meaning the collection cups are ultra-lightweight – they weigh just 76g each.
The pump connects to a SMART app that tracks your sessions, recording how long you pumped for and how much you expressed.
Even the cups have been designed to make life easy. The transparent material makes it simple to align them with your nipple and you can look and check to see if your milk is flowing. Plus, with only 3 parts, they’re a dream to clean and they’re safe to put in the dishwasher.
Pros: Wearable, lightweight, easy to use, simple to clean
Cons: Some might not like having to carry the control unit in their pocket
5. Wren Hands-free Double Breast Pump, £179.99
– Best budget double wearable pump
Type: Electric wearable | Hands-free: Yes | Power: Rechargeable battery with USB type C port
Wren has made the most competitively priced double pump we’ve tested, and they really have thought of everything mums need to start their pumping journey.
Each pump holds 150ml of breast milk, which can easily be decanted using Wren's milk storage bags. They have no wires and no tubes, making them discreet and easy to wear inside your bra.
MadeForMums' reviewer Nina tested the pump while expressing milk for her 4-week-old daughter. She found the Wren to be fuss-free and great value for money, saying: “The more I’ve used the pump, the more effective I’ve found it. I found the first 10 minutes were a little slow for me, but then once my milk was in full flow I could easily express enough to fill a 150ml bottle.”
As well as 2 pumps, each box is filled with 4 bottles & lids, 3 different-sized breast shield adaptors, 2 nursing bra-adjusters and lots of spare parts, as well as a complimentary bottle brush and a cotton carry bag to pop it all in.
Pros: Wearable, great value, lots of added extras, decent battery life, fun colours
Cons: Leaks if you move too much, needs recharging after 2 hours
Read our full MadeForMums Wren hands-free double breast pump review
6. Lola & Lykke Smart Electric Breast Pump, £145
– Best for wireless pumping
Type: Single Electric | Hands-free: No | Power: Mains and rechargeable battery with USB type C port | Award: Gold – Electric/Battery Breast Pump, MadeForMums Awards 2022
Stylish and well-made, with no tubes or wires and a built-in smart touchscreen pump unit, the Lola & Lykke Smart Electric Breast Pump has been designed to support positive postnatal recovery and the health and wellbeing of new mums.
It definitely looks the part, in muted colours with an embossed leaf pattern on the flange. Although aesthetics aren’t top of the list when choosing a breast pump, it’s a nice bonus that Lola & Lykke has put some thought into making this practical item feel a bit more glamorous.
Plus, it delivers on performance, too. There are only 5 parts to this simple pump, making it easy to put together and it features 4 pumping modes ; stimulation, expression, automatic and memory. When charged it lasts for 2 hours, and can be recharged quickly via a USB lead.
According to mum Katie, who tested this with her 1 month old: “I wish I had this pump with my first baby as it’s powerful with great levels of suction, the silicone flange fits the breast nicely, and does a fantastic job without being too loud. In just a few minutes, I was able to express a decent amount of milk.”
Pros: Extremely quiet, no tubes or wires, compatible with most standard bottles
Cons: Digital display screen overly sensitive
Read our full MadeForMums Lola & Lykke Smart Electric Breast Pump Review
Available from: Lola & Lykke
7. Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone Electric Breast Pump, £99.99
– Best for electric and manual pumping
Type: Single Electric | Hands-free: No | Power: Mains and rechargeable battery with USB type C port | Awards: Bronze – Electric/Battery Breast Pump, MadeForMums Awards 2022
This effective pump has 9 speed settings and uses a 2-phase expression mode that promotes milk production. The Vital BabyNurture Flexcone pump is also hailed for its versatility as the electric pump is supplied with a manual conversion kit, making it a 2-in-1 option that saves you having to buy different pumps individually.
Our testers found this pump to be comfortable, easy to operate and easy to set up. Parent tester Clara, who tested it with her 3-month-old baby, found it to be quick, allowing her to “get cracking with expressing just minutes after getting it out of the box. There are quite a few components which might be overwhelming for a breast pump newbie but it’s definitely not difficult to work out.” The pump allowed her to “express a good amount in a short time”.
Parent tester Ruth, who tested it with her 4 month old, said she could move easily between settings and speeds, adjusting the pump for what worked best at the time, saying: “Pumping is gentle but effective, making expressing quicker than ever; I can express enough for a feed in about 15 mins.”
On the downside, it’s quite a top-heavy unit with a tendency to tip over so you do need to keep a tight hold of it. Our testers also reported that the buttons on the display are quite small and close together.
Pros: Easy to assemble, effective, affordable
Cons: The unit itself is top heavy, buttons are close together
Read our full MadeForMums Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone Electric Breast Pump review
Available from: Amazon
8. Ardo Alyssa Double, £180
– Best for powerful pumping at home
Type: Double electric and medical | Hands-free: No | Power: Mains and rechargeable battery | Award: Gold – Electric/Battery Breast Pump, MadeForMums Awards 2022
Ideal for mums with low milk supply or ones trying to increase milk production, this double electric pump has the power of medical pumps used in NHS hospitals and the comfort and functionality of home pumps.
The Power Pumping programme, with pre-set phases and pauses, mimics babies’ natural cluster feeding to promote milk production. Other features include a memory button that saves your session history and automatically reproduces it during your next session, which our parent testers felt was invaluable when using the pump as a double “while holding both breast shields in place.”
“Personally, this has been a game changer for me, as I used it right when needed. It has allowed me to increase my milk supply and have extra milk for my newborn,” explains parent tester and mum of 1, Hazelann.
The Ardo Alyssa is continuously credited with allowing mums to express more milk than other pumps, in one sitting. The instructions are easy tou understand, while the pump itself is easy to use, comfortable to use throughout and the associated smart phone app makes it easy to track how much milk is being expressed. On the downside, it is one of the most expensive on our list, and it’s not hands-free.
Pros: Powerful suction, affordable, wide range of settings, memory mode
Cons: Need both hands to express or expressing bra, expensive
Read our full MadeForMums Ardo Alyssa Double breast pump review
9. Tommee Tippee Made for Me Double Electric Breastpump, £169.99
– Best budget double electric breast pump
Type: Double electric | Hands-free: No | Power: Mains and rechargeable battery | Award: Silver – Electric/Battery Breast Pump, MadeForMums Awards 2022
Electric breast pumps are not a “budget” item, but at less than £100 for a double pump, the Tommee Tippee Made for Me Double Electric Breastpump offers good value compared to the competition. It has 5 massage and 9 express levels it is powered by a USB rechargeable power unit you can charge it up and pump without needing a power supply. A full charge gives you over 90 minutes of power to pump on the go.
“I was able to express just under 120ml from one side in 8 minutes – and it was more comfortable compared to my usual hands-free pump,” revealed tester Carly, mum of a 3-month-old baby.
The flanges only come in one size, but parent tester Kristina, who tested this with their 4 month old, said, “the flanges were really, really comfortable and the silicone cups made a massive difference as I didn’t feel like there was any friction on my nipple when in express mode.”
On the downside, our testers all felt the instructions confusing, so this is best not used for the first time in a hurry.
Pros: Good suction power, all accessories included
Cons: Difficult to read instructions, noisy, only one flange size
Read our full MadeForMums Tommee Tippee Made for Me Double Electric Breastpump review
Available from: Boots
10. MAM 2-in-1 Double Electric Breast Pump, £258
– Best for multiple pumping options
Type: Electric and manual | Hands-free: No | Power: Mains and USB-powered rechargeable battery
Portable and versatile, this pump can be used as an electric double or single using either mains or battery power – and as a manual single. This “excellent, sturdy and durable pump is straightforward to use in both electric and manual modes,” according to home tester Hannah, mum of a baby and toddler.
There are 9 different levels for both stimulation and expression, which are controlled by a “sleek, modern display.” As a double, the pump can be set to different suction strengths on each breast and either dual or alternate pumping in 30-second cycles. Our tester Jessica, mum of a 3-month-old baby, found this variety allowed for “pumping personalisation” that led to a higher milk yield.
The motor unit is “roughly the size of a 500ml bottle, so definitely compact enough for travel“, and quiet too, while the battery can power the pump for up to 3 hours, which should get you through a day of expressing. The fact it can also be used as a manual increases your travel options too, making this a great choice if you want a powerful pump that can be used in lots of different ways.
There are plenty of extras in the box, including 2 milk storage pots, 2 anti-colic bottles, 2 extra-slow flow teats, silicone breast shields and covers. “The compatibility with MAM bottles is a standout feature that makes the whole process of pumping and sterilising much easier,” according to Hannah.
Pros: Variety of modes, bottles and storage pots included, long-lasting battery, feeding bottles fit directly into pump
Cons: No hands-free option, can’t pump directly into storage pots
Read our full MadeForMums MAM 2-in-1 Double Electric Breast Pump review
11. Tommee Tippee Made For Me Single Manual Breast Pump, £32.99
– Best for simple manual pumping
Type: Manual | Hands-free: No | Power: Non electric hand pump | Awards: Gold – Manual Breast Pump & Milk Collecting Product, MadeForMums Awards 2022
This ergonomic and compact pump is small enough to fit into your hand for comfortable pumping, and into your changing bag for on-the-go expressing, with no need for batteries, tubes or wires.
Parent tester Hannah found the pump to be effective and commented that “I was able to easily express milk and it’s handy that the pump attaches straight to a bottle so I was able to give my baby the bottle as soon as I finished pumping”. It’s designed to work with Tommee Tippee’s range of bottles, including the ever-popular Back to Nature bottles we recommend for breastfed babies.
The pump also comes with easy to understand instructions for putting together the 7 parts, all of which are BPA-free and dishwasher safe.
At £32.99 the breast pump is definitely worth the money as it helps to ease discomfort with its soft silicone breast shield and to aided our tester’s breastfeeding.
However, our midwife and breastfeeding consultant Alissa pointed out that the pump “would be effective for mums with a well established supply but if you have a low supply, it wouldn’t be a good option.” It also only comes with a single flange size, so fit may vary for different people.
Pros: Compact, easy to use, comfortable
Cons: Not great if you’ve got low milk supply, no alternative flange sizes
12. Elvie Curve, £34.99
– Best breast pump and collector
Type: Manual wearable | Hands-free: Yes | Power: None | Awards: Silver – Manual Breast Pump & Milk Collecting Product, MadeForMums Awards 2022
No longer will breast milk go to waste with this part pump, part milk collector. The Elvie Curve can be used as a manual suction pump to relieve a full breast, or to collect milk let down from one breast while feeding from or pumping on the other.
Comfortable, easy to put together and simple to use, the suction is created by a quick squeeze of the silicone pouch towards the breast, with a valve to ease off or release pressure – allowing you to reposition mid-feed with just a press. The pump sits in your bra and can collect up up to 120 ml of milk.
Like any silicone pump it takes some practice to position the Curve correctly but once the silicone pouch is pressed to create suction, parent tester Amber blown away by how comfortable it was to use, commenting; “wearing like this is was as comfortable as wearing nothing!” And because it’s worn inside your bra, it leaves your hands free and the lack of motor means it’s totally silent when expressing.
The only issue our testers experienced is that the suction tends to decrease if you move around “so it’s not as great on-the-go.”
Pros: Comfortable, silent, hands free, can be used to ‘catch’ let down as well as extract milk
Cons: Suction decreases if you move around, can only hold 120ml of milk
Read our full MadeForMums Elvie Curve review
13. MAM Manual Breast Pump, £34.99
– Best for quiet manual pumping
Type: Manual wearable | Hands-free: No | Power: None | Awards: Gold – Manual Breast Pump & Milk Collecting Product, MadeForMums Awards 2023
With an ergonomic design and quiet pumping, the MAM Manual Breast Pump is a great option whether you’re at home or out and about. This well-priced manual breast pump received high praise from our parent testers, who said it was, “Really easy to use,” “sturdy and strong,” and “easy to clean”.
Our testers were also happy with the comfort and efficiency of the pump, while the clear instructions also got the thumbs up – making it a great option for mums looking for a simple manual pump that is intuitive to use.
Lana tested this pump with their 2-month-old: “I hadn’t expressed before using this product so wasn’t sure what to expect. It was much easier and more efficient than I had anticipated. The instructions made everything very easy and I was confident with the product immediately. It is very intuitive and comfortable to use.”
Pros: Simple to use, sturdy, easy to clean
Cons: Manual pumps can be slower to use and less powerful than electric
14. Lansinoh manual breast pump, £35
– Best manual pump for comfort
Type: Manual wearable | Hands-free: No | Power: None
With an ergonomic handle you can use with one hand and a simple switch that lets you swap between the let-down and expression stages of breastfeeding, this is a very effective manual pump with an affordable price tag.
As well as being simple to use, the Lanisoh breast pump is comfortable, with a special breast cushion to ensure a secure seal between the breast and the pump.
One standout feature of the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump is a bottle stand to make it more stable. When you've spent half an hour pumping away, you don't want your baby to kick over the bottle of precious milk. Plus, the pump is praised for being small and portable, so you can easily pop it in your change bag and use it on-the-go.
Pros: Simple to use, ergonomic handle, 2 modes, comfortable breast cushion
Cons: Even with the comfortable handle expect to pump for long periods of time, manual pumps can be slower to use and less powerful than electric
When can you start using a breast pump?
As with so much of parenting, there are no set rules – the best time will depend on you and your baby. UNICEF recommends waiting until your baby is 6 weeks old but you may be advised to express milk sooner. Katherine advises this can be as early as day 3 if you need to stimulate milk production or provide milk for top-up feeds. And don’t worry if you’re not filling a bottle on your first day. “Don't be discouraged if you only manage to collect a few drops at first. Keep pumping 6-8 times a day and your milk levels will increase,” Katherine says. "If milk volumes are not increasing a lactation consultant will be able to assist you to find a solution low milk supply can be caused by a number of issues, most of which can be fixed with expert support".
What time of day is best to use a breast pump?
If you’re aiming to build up a store of milk, try to use a breast pump in the morning if you can. “Prolactin levels are highest for the first two feeds of your waking day so you will produce more milk at this time. If you need to pump later in the day, it helps to have a small sleep first. “A nap in the afternoon can also help to boost prolactin levels,” says Katherine.
If your aim is to increase your milk supply, Katherine advises pumping every time you feed your baby. “Expressing at the same time as you are feeding your baby means you’re extending the feed your baby may have made at the breast,“ she explains.
Whatever your reason for pumping, the best time to do it is during a feed by expressing milk from the breast your baby has already fed from. Alternatively, use the breast pump immediately after your baby has fed. ”This way, you’re saving time and you’re not compromising your next feed,” Katherine says. If you’re away from your baby for any reason, aim to use the breast pump at the time you would normally be feeding your baby.
How did we choose our 14 of the Best?
When choosing these breast pumps, we considered factors including cost, pumping power, speed, convertibility, capacity, and comfort. We considered ease of cleaning and maintenance (including charging times). Award winners, home-tested and reviewed products on the list were tested by multiple breastfeeding mums to get first-hand feedback on how they perform in a real setting.
Our 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our independent reviews, testing undertaken during the MadeForMums Awards, and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club. Each year thousands of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.
Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-14, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don’t just tell you what is best, we help you discover what is best for your family.
Six big family moments that matter – and the products that make them easier to navigate
These products from John Lewis & Partners help support the memorable moments of family life.