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Pumping Sucks. The Best Breast Pumps Make It Easier

Whether you go electric or manual, these are the best ones.

Babies eat. A lot. For mothers who are able to nurse, the American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends that infants be fed breast milk exclusively for the first six months after birth. The best breast pumps enable nursing mothers to pump milk without being tethered to wires, tubes and bottles, and wearable breast pumps free them up to feed tiny humans while also doing other stuff.  Finding the best breast pump for working moms is pretty crucial, because it enables them to actually multi-task while also producing more milk in less time. 

Electric breast pumps are the most common choice among nursing mothers because they have a motor that does the work for them. Moms can opt for a battery-operated pump, or one that plugs into the wall, or both. To get the most milk in the least amount of time, women can get a double pump, which draws milk from both breasts simultaneously. Many of today’s fanciest pumps have something called a closed system: It means that milk doesn’t circulate through tubing or the motor of the pump, thus keeping things simpler and more hygienic.

If mom is primarily breastfeeding but needs a pump to use on occasion, a manual one is a good option. For moms who prefer to operate in hands-free mode while at work or while playing with the kid, they can choose a pump like the Willow that is spill-proof and fits directly into the bra, without any dangling wires.

The Best Breast Pumps

How popular is this pump? Let's just say that if it were human, many breastfeeding moms would marry it. The Spectra, which has a sleek profile and weighs just under three pounds, is a true workhorse. Moms report that it fully empties the breasts (it works as either a double or single pump), and it's also fairly quiet with lots of customizable settings. She can opt to use the rechargeable battery or plug it in, and its small size makes it nice for keeping at work. The pump uses a closed system, meaning the milk stays completely separate from the skinny tubing (so no need to deal with the nightmare of sterilizing it). It isn't officially wearable, but it can be paired with the Freemie Closed System Collection Cup set and eliminate the whole bottle-flange setup. A nightlight and timer are handy extras she'll come to appreciate.

The Luna is the pump to use if you need to produce more milk in less time, because moms swear by its quiet, efficient power. The Luna is a closed-system pump, meaning the tubing stays clean. It has a built-in LED nightlight for midnight pumping that won't wake a sleeping baby. Moms get a single or double pumping option. It weighs only two pounds, so it's ultra-portable.

Medela's newest breast pump has a motor that generates micro-vibrations for to increase milk production. It has 10 adjustable vacuum levels and a closed system. You can use it with either the battery pack, or by plugging it into a socket.

Many, many parents swear by Dr. Brown's bottles, and this is the pump to get if you're one of them. It has a built-in timer and pause button so you can stop and start pumping on your schedule. And it has built-in memory settings to replicate milk production sessions; you pump directly into the brand's bottles. The touchscreen is backlit, with a handy LCD display.

Pretty much the established gold standard in breast pumps, the Medela is designed to be ultra-portable. Medela's new breast pump weighs just one pound, meaning it can go anywhere. It's small. It's mighty. It's designed for moms who pump multiple times a day, and has a closed system that stops breastmilk for getting into tubing. It has a rechargeable battery and Bluetooth connectivity to the MyMedela app.

The new Avent breast pump provides both suction and nipple stimulation, to mimic what happens when she's breastfeeding the baby. It's hands-free, comes with a pumping belt, and a rechargeable battery. Moms choose from eight stimulation and 16 expression levels, and there's a built-in a timer to track each pumping session.

Wear it, and forget it: That could well be the motto of the brilliant Willow. The upgraded version of this next-gen breast pump has a slower, softer pumping rhythm for added comfort. Its smart suction technology adjusts based on her own preferences, so she doesn't need to press any buttons or play with any settings. The app gives her personalized pumping tips. But the name of the game here is convenience. She pumps directly into storage bags or reusable containers. Even better, she can attach the pump to each breast, and use it without having to deal with wires, cords, or any dangling containers. It's great to use at work, at home, or even in the park.

Another wearable breast pump, the Elvie is among the quietest ones on the market, although it's not silent. It's ideal to use while the baby is napping, or while mom is on a conference call. It's worn inside the bra, and has only 5 parts for easy cleaning. The app monitors milk volume in real-time. The pump itself is rechargeable and has auto shut-off when it fills a container.

This is Elvie's manual cousin, and it's so simple to use it's almost ridiculous. Just press the silicone pouch to create natural suction and express up to four ounces of milk per use. The silicone pump sits inside the bra, and lets moms be in hands-free mode. Plus it's virtually spill-proof.

This breast pump is so quiet and so small, it's absolutely ideal for pumping on the go. The best part about this breast pump, aside from its super-quiet motor and the fact that it fits into a purse or pocket, is that it has a built-in rechargeable battery that gets two hours between charges so you can pump without needing a power adaptor. Plus, this breast pump has 10 unique levels of expression mode and five levels massage mode. Moms rave that it empties your breasts out in minutes.

This manual breast pump does all the work for you. You simply suction it to your breast, and the milk flows. It's incredibly soft and made from high quality food-grade silicone. It's especially ideal for plane rides, road trips, and other outings. Oh, and it's dishwasher-safe. Just note that some users say that it doesn't provide enough suction.

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