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Vital Baby was launched in the UK in 2005 by father and son team Steve and Dean Tollman. The Nurture Flexcone is the only breast pump the company offer and it picked up Bronze in the MFM 2020 Awards, with judges raving about its efficiency and the major comfort it offered while expressing.
Priced at just under £100, it’s a mid-range option in the market, and it has a few nifty features to set it apart – it’s both an electric pump and a manual one, effectively making it 2 products in 1, which is a handy function if you need a simpler pump outside of the house.
It also has the option of being cordless, with a built-in rechargeable battery, or you can plug it in via USB, another useful plus. Its soft silicone breast cup and flexcone offer easy, pain-free expressing and the pump’s 2-phase expression, complete with 9 speed settings in each phase, are comparable to other market-leading breast pumps and offer the user a really tailored, controlled experience.
Journalist Laura is a mum to a 2-year-old son and a 5-month-old daughter.
What were your first impressions of the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone?
I was unfamiliar with the Vital Baby brand, yet was immediately impressed by the pump’s smart look and relatively compact packaging.
Was is easy to set up?
There are a number of parts to the pump, and I was initially concerned it would be a headache to assemble and use. Included is the base unit and adapter, and all parts of the electric pump (10 in total), plus a teat, collar, a stand for the baby’s bottle, as well as a handle and connector to convert the electric pump to a manual one – plus a pack of free breast pads thrown in for good measure. Despite the amount of parts, it was actually very easy to put together – the instructions are clear and straightforward and I was pleasantly surprised. The home testers for the MFM 2020 Awards agreed at just how quick and simple it was to assemble despite the various parts.
Was there anything missing from the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone instructions?
One thing that could be clearer is that the mains unit battery needs to be fully charged before you can use it. I set up the pump ready to start expressing and then noticed a sticker on the unit that said it needed to be charged in order for the battery to work as effectively as possible. There is nothing in the instructions to underline this, so it would be useful to include this in the ‘before you start’ section.
How does the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone compare to other electric breast pumps?
The Philips Avent Comfort (£125) is a great competitor to the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone, and it’s a product I have already tried with my now two-year-old son when he was a baby. It can’t convert to a manual pump though and it only has 1 massage setting and 3 expression settings and the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone has a total of 18 settings (9 in each phase), which I found to be more efficient for me (more on that later). It’s also slightly pricier.
Like the the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone, Tommee Tippee’s Made For Me Single Electric Breast Pump (£68 on Amazon) has a USB-charged unit that frees you up for cordless pumping. It also has an LED screen that lets you see how long you’ve been pumping for, which is a nifty extra. However, it has 5 massage and 9 express settings, which is less than the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone, it’s slightly more expensive, and it also can’t convert to a manual pump.
Another excellent choice of pump, and one where you can switch between electric and manual modes, is the MAM Electric Single Breast Pump, £130. The rechargeable battery has an impressive 5-hour life, plus it has a digital touchscreen, which is a nice addition. There are two bottles included to Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone’s one, however it is more expensive and it’s not as compact, making it arguably less convenient to travel with. Both pumps have a two-phase expressing method, but again, Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone has more settings.
How does expressing work with the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone?
Like many of the best-selling breast pumps on the market, the Nurture offers a two-phase expression system, although the Nurture has an impressive nine settings to choose from in each phase, which is a considerable amount more than even some of the most premium of pumps. The first phase sends fast, small pulses to massage and stimulate the breast to encourage milk flow, while phase two has slower and longer pulses to initiate ‘let down’.
Is it effective at expressing milk?
Very much so. While I always managed to express a minimum of a few ounces each time with the Philips Avent Comfort, I often found it would pull on the breast, but there was absolutely no pull whatsoever with the Nurture, and it was very effective at expressing.
The efficiency of the pump is one of the overriding themes of the online reviews for the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone. On John Lewis, where it’s currently rated 4.8 out of 5, the majority of shoppers note just how good the pump is at expressing milk, with some even commenting that it helped them to maintain and even increase milk supply in some cases. The same can be said for the home testers from the MFM 2020 Awards, with one commenting: “I’ve used both a Tommee Tippee manual and electric pump, a MAM manual pump, a Lansinoh manual pump and the Haakaa silicone pump, but the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone one trumps them all in milk production!”
How comfortable is it to pump with the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone?
The level of comfort this pump offers is outstanding; it is by far the most comfortable pump I have ever used, manual or electric. It seems to be a combination of the soft silicone cup, and the range of options in each of the two phases of expressing, that allow for such a gentle experience.
I actually checked on occasion that the pump was working correctly because I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a slightest hint of a pull and satisfyingly, I was still collecting milk. Almost all of the online reviews for the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone rave about how comfortable it is – so much so, many even forget they are expressing! Without a doubt, it’s one of the biggest selling points of this product.
Is the pump portable?
The Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone can be used cordlessly, which is a definite plus; it means you don’t have to be tethered by plug sockets every time you use it. It can be charged using a USB cable too, so the lead doesn’t have to be carted around if using it outside the home.
However, Vital Baby doesn’t state how long the battery should last while using the unit cordlessly; I only managed two uses before I needed to charge it again, so I wouldn’t rely on it without a USB or lead unless I knew it was fully charged.
How quiet is the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone?
The pump is definitely quieter than the Philips Avent Comfort, but it isn’t completely silent, which is something to bear in mind if pumping away from home. A handful of online reviewers stated how quiet they found the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone though, with one saying they could pump while their sleeping baby was on their lap.
Is it easy to clean?
In my experience, most electric breast pumps are a bit of a faff to clean, mostly due to the amount of parts there are and just how often you need to do it. The Vital Baby pump doesn’t offer any ground-breaking solutions to minimise this aspect, but it was still simple to clean, sterilise and assemble each time before use, if not slightly time-consuming.
Did your baby like the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone bottle?
She did – the bottle is called the Nurture Breast-Like Bottle, which my previously bottle-refusing daughter took to straight away. Hurray! Suffice to say this makes the Vital Baby Nurture completely priceless in my eyes.
Is there anything you would add to make this breast pump better?
It doesn’t come with a bag, which I found frustrating – there are many small parts that make up the pump and even when pumping at home I was worried I’d lose one. It’s a small, simple design addition that would make the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone much better. Another thing missing that would make a big difference is a secure lid for the bottle you express into, to ensure a spill-free transfer to fridge or freezer.
These minor niggles are mentioned many times over in online reviews for the pump, but almost all shoppers agree the positives of it vastly outweigh these small negatives.
Is the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone good value for money?
Definitely. At under £100, it’s a steal – it’s cheaper than most pumps, yet it has the useful option to be both manual and electric. Its efficiency at pumping milk and incredibly comfortable fit are just two of the most impressive draws.
Where can I buy the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone breast pump?
It’s available from Vital Baby, Amazon and John Lewis.
The Vital Baby Nurture is an extremely comfortable and effective pump, which alone would make it a great buy, but combined with its excellent price, vast expressing functions and brilliant extras, especially the option to be both manual or electric – and it becomes a must-buy.