What are the Different Kinds of Breast Pumps?

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  • Written By: L. Hepfer
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2019
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With a large percentage of women working outside of their home, breastfeeding could prove to be very difficult were it not for breast pump. Breast pumps give a woman the flexibility she needs to go back to work and the comfort of knowing she is still able to give her baby the best nutrition available. There are various kinds of breast pumps on the market, and a little research can go a long way when investing in one of these machines.

Pumps are not only used by working mothers, but are used by mothers that need an occasional break and leave the baby with a babysitter. Not only is a breast pump used to pump out milk to store for future use in feeding a baby, there are other reasons they come in handy. Pumps are great for relieving engorgement, when the breast is so full of milk that it is hard for the baby to grasp hold of the nipple for good suction.

Breast pumps can be a great way to store milk in advance for the father to enjoy some feeding time. The suction on the pump easily pulls out flat or inverted nipples, giving the baby a better opportunity to latch on correctly. Pumps become convenient for the premature baby who is too small to breastfeed but can still gain the best nutrition being fed the mother's milk through a bottle.


There are basically three different types of breast pumps. Manual pumps are the most inexpensive on the market, and they require no electricity or batteries to operate. Pumping with a manual breast pump can take place at any location.

These type of pumps produce a pumping and squeezing action to create suction to draw milk out of the breast. They are generally operated by one hand and pump only one breast at a time. While these pumps may feel more natural, mimicking the baby's sucking motion, they are also slower than other pumps. Manual breast pumps take more time getting used to because a breastfeeding mother needs to learn how to express the milk manually.

Another type of breast pump is the battery-operated breast pump. These pumps are slightly more expensive than the manual ones but offer a few more conveniences. The suction of the battery-operated pumps is stronger and sometimes can be. They work great for mothers who need a small break and are leaving the baby with a sitter.

These pumps are extremely portable and generally pump one breast at a time. Sometimes battery-operated pumps come with the ability to convert to an electric pump by supplying an AC adapter cord with the breast pump. This becomes convenient if the batteries are going dead and there is an electrical outlet nearby.

The other type of breast pump available on the market is the electric pump. These pumps are the most expensive but also allow the most convenience. They work great for working mothers, usually giving them the option of pumping both breasts at the same time. This is convenient for mothers who only have the option to pump while on a break.

They usually offer single or double pumping capacity with quick cycling times. Adjustable suction levels allow the mother to adjust the suction comfortably to mimic their baby, expressing the milk more quickly. Electric pumps come in carrying cases with accessories and sometimes include an adapter to work in an automobile's cigarette lighter.

A mother who decides to breastfeed and knows she will eventually need a breast pump to make life more convenient can usually rent a breast pump from a nearby hospital. This allows the mother to try the different pumps available before spending the money to purchase one. La Leche League is a great organization that helps breastfeeding moms with any questions they have. They also lend support in making the right decisions that best suit the mother's needs.


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