Criteria used to rate a breast pump
Type of pumping
When looking at breast pumps you will find three different types of pumping action. Single, double simultaneous, and double alternating. With the differences being as follows:
Single pumps – These allow you to pump one breast at a time. Designed for occasional use, this type of pump is recommended for women expected to pump once or twice a day.
Double simultaneous – This type of pump is designed for women in a hurry, and can be put under heavy usage. With a pumping action on both breasts at the same time you can expect to half your pumping time.
Double alternating – This type of pump will operate on one breast at a time, but requires to be connected to both breasts and will alternate the suction. When one side creates suction it releases the other side. Some women find this more comfortable than a double simultaneous pump, and they are generally more affordable.
This is not something to take lightly. The inconvenience of having a pump break can be a real problem, causing a break in feeding patterns for your baby among other things. There are some more reputable brands as is explained in our reviews section, and generally speaking you get what you pay for. However, there are some other elements to take into account when choosing a durable breast pump.
Some pumps are designed and marketed for heavy or regular use, while others are specifically designed for occasional use. Always read reviews and check the manufacturers recommendations if you are unsure of the recommended workload.
Over using a pump will reduce the life expectancy of the motor. You can replace the motor, and many other parts of breast pumps, and this is usually a more affordable way to extend its life. If you are after any parts check our spare part section here.
A lot of women prefer to have a quieter pump so they can be more discreet. Efforts have been made in more modern pumps to make them quieter, and this is something we will try and comment when reviewing different models.
It’s important for almost all women that pumps are easily portable. Pumps need to be able to be unpacked, packed, and transported easily and conveniently. Not just in transport and a carry bag, but around the home too.
A pumps effectiveness is rated on how fast its pump cycle is. A baby sucks 45-55 times each minute on average. The closer a breast pump’s speed is to this cycle the more effective it will be at drawing milk.
Level of comfort
This is obviously one of the more important aspects when choosing the best breast pump. Having an uncomfortable pump will make the whole experience distressing The good news is there are plenty of comfortable models on the market, we’re confident you will find one that is comfortable for you.
You need to take into account the breast shields, and the pump cycle. Pumps with a one-size fits all shield can be a bit hit or miss. It is worth gauging what size shield will fit well, and spending the time to find the appropriate size.
Regarding the pump cycle, auto-cycling is widely regarded as being more comfortable than the manual alternative. This can be somewhat subjective, but manual pumps will often have longer suction intervals, leading to the discomfort.
Sterilizing and maintaining your breast pump
Maintaining a breast pump means sterilizing it daily to ensure it is kept hygienically clean. Any parts that come into contact with breastmilk need sterilizing, this can be done via a few different methods; boiling the parts in hot water, using a dishwasher, using an electronic sterilizing kit, or using a microwave sterilizing kit.