skip to main content
Best Breast Pumps of 2024, According to Real Parents & a Baby Gear Expert
Updated on
April 1, 2024

Best Breast Pumps of 2024, According to Real Parents & a Baby Gear Expert

By Jen LaBracio | Medically Reviewed by LC De Shay-Evans
Babylist editors love baby gear and independently curate their favorite products to share with you. If you buy something through links on our site, Babylist may earn a commission.
Pinterest logo.
Best Breast Pumps of 2024, According to Real Parents & a Baby Gear Expert.
Best Breast Pumps of 2024, According to Real Parents & a Baby Gear Expert

Breastfeeding provides a great source of nutrition for your little one and an opportunity to bond and connect with the newest member of your family. But there are certain circumstances—like if you’ll be away from your little one, need to go back to work and pump there, are looking to share feedings with your partner, you’re struggling with feeding or low breast milk supply or you’d simply prefer to pump—when a breast pump can be hugely helpful.

Choosing the best breast pump will depend on your lifestyle and personal preferences, but there are a few brands and models that consistently rank high on the list for many breastfeeding parents. Here’s all the information you’ll need to select the best breast pump for you and the top choices according to Babylist users and experts—there’s one for every situation and every budget, too. Bonus: did you know you can get a free breast pump through insurance?

Babylist’s Top Picks for the Best Breast Pumps

Best Breast Pumps at a Glance

Pump Type Price Weight Power Source
Spectra S1 Electric $216 3 lbs Plug or battery
Elvie Wearable $549 13.6 oz Battery
Willow Go Wearable $349 5.6 oz Battery
Momcozy S12 Wearable $139 2.34 lbs Battery
Pumpables Genie Adv Portable $180 8.8 oz Battery
Medela Harmony Manual $34 9.3 oz Manual
Haakaa Manual $12 15.2 oz Manual
Motif Luna Electric $229 2 lbs Plug or battery
Baby Buddha Portable $189 8 oz Battery
Dr. Brown’s Customflow Electric $99 2 lbs Battery
Medela Symphony Electric $1,999 6.7 lbs Plug

Babylist’s Picks for the Best Breast Pumps

Best Electric Breast Pump

Did you know that insurance will cover all or most of your breast pump?

The Scoop
  • Rechargeable battery for wireless pumping
  • Adjustable suction with tons of settings
  • Quiet
What Our Experts Say

Packed full of features and with countless positive user reviews, there’s a reason (a lot of them, actually) why the Spectra earns our top spot when it comes to the best electric breast pump. This hospital-strength pump delivers big power with way less bulk and noise. Digital controls let you adjust speed and suction to customize and maximize output, and the pump uses a closed system, which keeps milk completely separate from the pump pieces and ensures better hygiene and performance. There’s a rechargeable battery that lasts up to three hours, so you’re not always tethered to an outlet while pumping. Users also love the helpful extras like the timer and nightlight for late-night pumping sessions and that the pump remembers your exact settings from your last session and automatically reverts to those the next time you turn it on.

What’s Worth Considering

The Spectra S2 The main differences are price (it’s less expensive than the S1) and portability (it doesn’t have a rechargeable battery, so you’ll always need to be plugged in when pumping), but otherwise is pretty comparable.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I loved everything about this pump! As an exclusive pumper, this was a must. It’s lightweight and has a rechargeable battery, making it easy to move around or bring to work. I was even able to pump in the car on my commute home easily. The light built into the handle was perfect for pumping in the dark or low light settings while baby was being fed. Also easy to adjust settings.” -Kate

Additional Specs
Includes Valves, adapter, tubing, (2) 24mm flanges and (2) 28mm flanges, wide-neck bottles and back-flow protectors
Weight 3 lbs
Dimensions 7.5” x 7”

Best Wearable Breast Pump

Did you know that insurance will cover all or most of your breast pump?

The Scoop
  • Hands-free pumping
  • Quiet and discrete
  • Pump into reusable containers
What Our Experts Say

The original Elvie is the top choice among Babylist users for a hands-free, wearable breast pump. With zero cords or attachments, everything you need (even the motor) is right in the pump cups. The Elvie is extremely quiet, super discrete and easy to stash in your diaper bag or even a small purse or tote to take on the go. One thing worth noting is that unlike some wearable breast pumps, the Elvie uses reusable milk storage containers, not disposable bags, to collect your milk while you pump. Users also note the helpful guide lines located inside the breast shields to help you find the proper alignment for your nipples at each pumping session. (Alignment is important because it helps you achieve a good seal between your breasts and the shields, and a good seal equals good suction and a successful pumping session.) There’s also an app that tracks your pumping sessions, approximate milk quantity and time.

What’s Worth Considering

The Elvie is expensive, even if it’s covered under your insurance plan. Unlike the Willow, another popular wearable pump, you have to stay (mostly) upright while pumping, otherwise it will leak. There are a lot of parts to clean, including a few smaller ones. The bottles only hold up to five ounces of milk. And many pumping parents report that they don’t get the same output with a wearable pump as they do with a traditional one.

What Babylist Parents Say

“The Elvie Pump is so convenient to use, working literally hands-free, which is invaluable when looking after a baby and any spare moment could be used for countless other tasks (I’m pumping with the Elvie as I type this!) Being able to control the pump and assess the volume of milk in the bottle via your phone is brilliant. I found the pumping levels comfortable and produced as much milk as with my previous electric pump. I would 100% recommend the Elvie Pump.” -Jo H.

Additional Specs
Includes 2 Breast Pump Units, (2) 24mm flanges, (2) 28mm flanges, (4) 5 oz bottles, 4 storage lids, 4 seals, 4 valves, 4 spouts, 2 carry bags, 4 bra adjusters, 2 USB charging cables
Weight 7.3 oz
Dimensions 5” x 4.3” x 2.7”

Best More Affordable Wearable Breast Pump

Did you know that insurance will cover all or most of your breast pump?

The Scoop
  • More affordable than OG Willow and Elvie
  • Strong suction with 2 modes and 9 levels
  • Pump into reusable containers (5 oz or 7 oz)
What Our Experts Say

If you’re looking for a more affordable wearable alternative, the Willow Go is a good choice. Like its more expensive counterpart, the Go fits right in your bra for hands-free pumping. There are two modes (stimulation and expression) and nine different suction settings, and you’ll get about five pumping sessions without having to recharge the batteries. Milk is collected in reusable storage containers so you won’t have to deal with buying disposable bags. The pump comes with five-ounce containers, but you can also purchase seven-ounce ones separately if you have a bigger supply. There’s also a compatible app that allows you to operate the pump and connect to experts.

What’s Worth Considering

You can’t be quite as mobile with the Go as you can be with the original Willow—you’ll need to stay (mostly) upright while pumping. Nipple alignment is a bit tricky. There are five parts to clean for each pump, which is time-consuming.

What Babylist Parents Say

“After a lot of events that happened post-birth, I ended up needing to build back my milk supply. It was really hard taking care of a newborn while stuck to a wall, so I ordered these in attempts to allow myself to pump while caring for my daughter. It has tremendously helped me by allowing me the ability to pump while my hands are tied with her. Highly recommend if you’re on the go or need something just while busy with baby and can’t stay tied down to a plug.” -Bonnie

Additional Specs
Includes 2 Willow Go Pumps, 2 Flanges (21 mm and 24 mm), 2 5 oz reusable containers and Charger
Weight 13.7 oz
Dimensions 5.3” H x 4.7” W x 3.15” D

Best Affordable Wearable Breast Pump

Did you know that insurance will cover all or most of your breast pump?

The Scoop
  • Hands-free pumping at a fraction of the price
  • Double-seal flange design for snug fit
  • 5-6 pumping sessions on one charge
What Our Experts Say

Love the idea of a wearable pump but not looking to spend a ton of money? Meet Momcozy’s S12, the affordable answer to hands-free pumping. With a small, individual motor on each side, the S12 offers a slightly different design than the Willow and the Elvie but provides the same ultra-convenient hands-free pumping experience. The clear cups, even with the motor attached, are lightweight and slip right into your bra for an easy and discrete pumping session. They feature a double-sealed flange for a snug fit, which is important for proper suction. There are three modes and nine suction levels and a run time of about one and a half hours. But the best part? The double set will cost you only a fraction of what you’d pay for other similar wearable pumps.

What’s Worth Considering

Like other wearable pumps, many pumping parents will notice a difference in output when using a hands-free pump versus a traditional pump—and the S12 is no different. There are a lot of parts to assemble/disassemble and clean. And the exterior motor means this wearable isn’t as light or discrete as some more expensive hands-free options.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I wasn’t sure about wearable pumps and didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I’m so glad I gave the S12 a try. It’s SO easy to use and I love it for the times I can’t stop what I’m doing to sit down and pump. Big fan.” -Jen

Additional Specs
Includes 1 Momcozy Wearable Electric Breast Pump, 2 pump motors, (2) 6 oz milk collectors, (2) 24mm silicone flanges, 2 silicone diaphragms, 4 duckbill valves, 2 linkers, 2 bra adjustment buckles, 2 USB cables, 2 storage bags
Weight 2.34 lbs oz
Dimensions 7.2” H x 5.9” W x 4.2” D

Best Portable Breast Pump

The Scoop
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Gentle yet powerful suction
  • Affordable
What Our Experts Say

While many portable breast pumps aren’t a match for their much bigger, much heavier counterparts, that’s not the case with the Pumpables Genie Advanced. It’s small, powerful and portable—a perfect combination. With gentle yet extremely efficient suction, a rechargeable battery with about four hours of pumping time and a weight of just half a pound, it’s easy to see why the Genie Advanced is such a popular choice. Lots of pumpers use it as their primary pump and, like many portable options, it works with either traditional flanges and bottles or collection cups.

What’s Worth Considering

If you’re looking to pair your Genie Advanced with collection cups, try the brand’s Liquid Shield system. It’s a flange system with a special insert made from soft, liquid silicone that molds to breast tissue and mimics the way a baby sucks. Just keep in mind that you need to use the entire kit when pumping; you can’t use just the liquid insert with breast shields from a different brand.

Additional Specs
Includes Genie Advanced, charger (with option to also add Liquid Shield Kit)
Weight 8.8 oz
Dimensions 5” x 3.4” x 2.3”

Ready to Add a Pump to Your Registry?

With Babylist, you can add any item from any store onto ONE registry. Start your registry today and get a Hello Baby Box full of free (amazing!) goodies.

Best Manual Breast Pump

The Scoop
  • Compact and portable
  • Hand-powered and cord free
  • Great for quiet, discreet pumping
What Our Experts Say

A great manual pump is your BFF if you’re an occasional pumper or if you’re on the go and need to express a few ounces quickly and without the hassle or bulk of a full size pump (think date night, a long car trip, etc.). Since it’s small, silent and doesn’t involve any cords, this pump makes discreet pumping really easy. Its angled design allows you to sit comfortably when you pump, ensuring milk flows naturally into the container. It even comes with a bottle stand to help prevent a spill of even a drop of that liquid gold.

What’s Worth Considering

Your hand will get tired, especially if you plan to manually pump more than once a day.

What Babylist Parents Say

“It’s great to have on hand when you may need a pump but can’t bring your electric pump or if you don’t plan to pump. I would recommend getting the help of a friend who’s used one before or a lactation counselor but it’s relatively easy to use and is a life saver to have on hand when you need it!” -Hayley

Additional Specs
Includes One set of PersonalFit 24 mm/medium breastsheilds, (1) 5 oz. bottles with lid, valve and membrane, Harmony connector and bottle stand
Weight 9.3 oz
Dimensions 8.6” x 7”

Easiest to Use Breast Pump

The Scoop
  • Hands-free, one-piece pump
  • No separate parts to clean
  • Ultra affordable
What Our Experts Say

Think a manual pump is a lot of work? Think again. The Haakaa, made from 100% food-grade silicone, is about as low-maintenance as it gets when it comes to pumping. It’s a one-piece pump that attaches to your breast and collects milk using its own suction—no hands (or power source) required. Lots of pumping parents will pop it on while their baby nurses on the other side to gain a few ounces for their freezer stash. Better yet, it’s under 15 bucks.

What’s Worth Considering

Although it can act as a collection device, don’t forget that the Haakaa is a pump. That means that if you’re struggling with oversupply and using the Haakaa at every breastfeeding or pumping session, you’re actually encouraging your body to make more milk.

Some parents also find that their baby is able to kick it off if they’re breastfeeding on one side and using the Haakaa on the other. If that’s the case for you, try Haakaa’s Ladybug Milk Collector instead.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I hated my electric pump, but loved the Haakaa. My pumping needs weren’t high since I wasn’t going back to work right away, and I could get about 4 ounces a day out of this just by snapping it on the breast I wasn’t nursing on a couple times a day. Comfortable and took zero effort.” -Heron

Additional Specs
Includes No additional parts
Weight 15.2 oz
Dimensions 1.9” x 1.9” x 6.9”

Best Electric Breast Pump for Faster Pumping

The Scoop
  • Powerful but quiet motor and slim design
  • Designed for pumping more milk in less time
  • Rechargeable battery
What Our Experts Say

A relative newcomer in the world of pumping, Motif has quickly made a name for itself as the maker of one of the best electric breast pumps on the market. The brand’s double electric pump shares lots of similarities to the well-loved Spectra, but with a few key differences. The most important? The Luna was designed to produce more milk in less time. And who doesn’t appreciate that? (You can read the full study here.) Other things pumping parents rave about is the pump’s slim design, hospital-grade suction, the super quiet motor and the rechargeable battery life of over two hours. You’ll also find lots of settings in both massage and expression mode as well as a built-in nightlight and a backlit LCD screen.

What’s Worth Considering

If you’re stuck between the Spectra and the Luna, don’t stress; you truly can’t go wrong with either of these high quality breast pumps.

What’s Babylist Parents Say

“This pump has been awesome. I love the built in light, I love how easy it is to carry, and I’m a huge fan of the cycle and level options.” -Kayla

Additional Specs
Includes Breast pump, (2) 24mm breast shields, (2) 28mm breast shields, 2 silicone valves, 2 backflow protectors, 2 tubing, 2 milk collection containers, 2 milk collection container caps , 2 milk collection container covers, 2 milk collection container disks, 2 bottle nipples, battery and power adapter
Weight 2 lbs
Dimensions 9.17” x 7.68” x 9.61”

Best Lightweight Breast Pump

Did you know that insurance will cover all or most of your breast pump?

The Scoop
  • Smaller than your smart phone
  • Portable and powerful
  • 14 different suction settings
What Our Experts Say

If you’re pregnant or a new parent and you’ve spent even a little time on social media lately, you’ve probably heard the buzz around the Baby Buddha breast pump—and we think it lives up to the hype. Revered for it’s teeny, tiny size and super powerful suction, the Baby Buddha lands somewhere between a traditional closed system electric breast pump and a completely hands-free, portable option. It’s small enough to hold in one hand and light and compact enough to slip in your pocket or wear around your wrist or your neck while you pump. But its size in no way affects its power. This single or double pump has a stimulation mode with five levels and an expression mode with nine, so it’s easy to find a custom setting that works for you.

The rechargeable battery lets you pump without being tethered to the wall. And, while not condoned by the brand itself, there are tons of Baby Buddha hacks to help you figure out how to use your pump with other pump brands’ components.

What’s Worth Considering

Although advertised as quiet, we think the Baby Buddha is actually on the louder side as compared to other similar pumps. The suction is also pretty strong, which is perfect for some pumpers but not so great for others.

Additional Specs
Includes Breast pump, (2) 24mm flanges, (2) sets of duckbill valves, (1) pair of silicon diaphragms, 2 bottles, 2 bottle bases, 2 bottle storage caps, 2 bottle hygiene covers, 2 pump covers, 3 detachable tubes and T-connector, USB charging cable, detachable lanyard, carrying tote
Weight 8 oz
Dimensions 8.3” x 7.6” x 6.9”

Best Affordable Breast Pump

Did you know that insurance will cover all or most of your breast pump?

The Scoop
  • Affordable
  • Soft silicone breast shields
  • Can pump directly into Dr. Brown’s bottles
What Our Experts Say

The Dr. Brown’s Customflow is an impressive double electric pump priced at a fraction of the cost of many similar breast pumps. The pump features two modes (let-down and expression) with multiple settings in each mode so you can find the customization that works for you. (There’s also a memory setting that remembers your preferences so you don’t have to reset the pump each time.) The flanges are made from silicone, which some pumpers report to be more comfortable than hard plastic. And although you don’t have to use Dr. Brown’s bottles with this pump, you’ll save time if you do as you can pump directly into them.

What’s Worth Considering

Users complain that this pump is on the louder side and that cleaning all of the parts can be a pain. There’s also no handle, which makes carrying the pump around a little tougher.

Lansinoh’s Double Electric Breast Pump and the Evenflo Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump are two other well-reviewed pumps that are worth a look if you’re in the market for a more affordable pump.

Additional Specs
Includes 1 Customflow Breast Pump, 2 milk collection kits with SoftShape Silicone Shields (25mm), 2 Options+ Bottles (4 oz) with Level 1 Nipples, 2 Narrow-to-Wide-Neck Adapters for Dr. Brown’s Wide-Neck Bottles, 1 Slowest Flow Preemie Flow Nipple, 2 storage travel caps, 2 tubing, 1 power adapter (6V)
Weight 2 lbs
Dimensions 6.5” x 5.25” x 4.5”

Best Hospital Grade Breast Pump

The Scoop
  • Hospital-grade strength
  • Proven to achieve faster milk ejection and flow
  • Good choice for exclusive pumpers
What Our Experts Say

Don’t get sticker shock just yet—hospital grade pumps are almost always rented on a monthly basis through wherever you gave birth, so there’s no need to worry about forking over a ton of cash. If you’re an exclusive pumper or having trouble with supply, the Symphony may be the pump for you. It boasts a two-phase suction system that’s been proven to achieve faster letdown and faster milk flow. It’s efficient, easy to clean and even has a special system in place to prevent milk overflow.

What’s Worth Considering

This is a big, bulky pump, so you’re not going to want to tote it around unless absolutely necessary. Bottles aren’t included, but can be purchased separately with the Medela Symphony Double Pumping Kit.

What Babylist Parents Say

“As an exclusive pumper, this hospital-grade pump was an absolute must-have. It was quick, efficient and powerful and helped me pump for my son for almost a year.” -Jen

Additional Specs
Includes Breast pump, Symphony 2.0 Program Card, container stand, quick start card, protector for card/cord
Weight 6.7 lbs
Dimensions 10.25” 8.25” 12.50”

Best Breast Pump Accessory

The Scoop
  • Transforms electric pump into a hands-free pump
  • More comfortable silicone
  • Inserts available for variety of nipple sizes
What Our Experts Say

If you already have a breast pump but would love the convenience of a wearable pump, the Pump-A-Collect cups from Idaho Jones are an excellent choice. Compatible with most popular electric pumps, the tubing plubs right into your existing pump, giving you the convenience of a hands-free pumping option without the steep price tag of buying a new wearable pump. The flange is made from silicone for extra comfort, and you can buy extra inserts if you need to customize the size for smaller or larger nipples. (The cup set comes with 24mm flanges.) Each cup holds six ounces of breast milk.

What’s Worth Considering

Many pumpers say they need to pump a bit longer with collection cups than with traditional flanges in order to get the same amount of milk. There are also a lot of parts to clean.

If you’re not loving the Idaho Jones cups, check out these silicone collection cups by Legendairy Milk. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to find the collection cups that work best for you.

Additional Specs
Includes (2) each 24mm flanges, (2) cups, (2) valves, (2) valve bases, (2) membranes, (2) membrane caps; (4) each tubing adapters A and B; breast pump sold separately
Weight 7.7 oz each
Dimensions 5.8” x 4.5” x 4.7”

About Babylist

Looking for the best items for your growing family? Add all your favorite baby products to ONE registry with Babylist.

How We Chose the Best Breast Pumps

  • We analyzed results from Babylist’s Best Baby Products survey, which polled 6,000 Babylist users and asked them to share the baby products they love the most and why.
  • We utilized insight from the Babylist editorial team, including Gear Editor Jen LaBracio, an expert in the baby space for over six years and a mom of two who has written hundreds of baby gear guides and personally researched and tested hundreds of baby products, including many breast pumps.
  • We reviewed customer reviews from hundreds of real Babylist parents.

Types of Breast Pumps

There are five main categories of breast pumps:

  • Hospital-grade breast pumps: These heavy-duty pumps feature powerful motors and a greater amount of “sucks” per minute. They extract milk quickly and are generally fairly quiet, but they’re bulky and lack easy portability. Hospital-grade pumps are usually rented, as they are upwards of $1,000 to purchase.
  • Electric breast pumps: Efficient, portable and adjustable for both suction and speed. While all require electricity to function, some models feature rechargeable batteries, giving you the freedom to pump without being tethered to an outlet. Electric pumps also typically come with a carrying case and cooler for milk transport, making them a popular choice for working parents. Single electric breast pumps are available, but a double pump is the more popular—and more efficient—choice.
  • Wearable electric breast pumps (sometimes also called hands-free pumps): Gaining in popularity over the last few years, wearable breast pumps are just what they sound like—hands-free, completely portable breast pumps that you can wear right in your bra. Everything you need to pump—the motor and battery, the flanges, the bag or container that collects the milk—is built right into a wearable pump. Because of this, there are no exterior tubing, wires or collection bottles needed. Wearable pumps let you pump more discreetly than traditional breast pumps, and some even let you pump in different positions.
  • Portable breast pumps: Portable breast pumps are a cross between a traditional pump and a wearable pump. Portable pumps take the body of a traditional pump and shrink it down to a smaller, more compact size. Whereas a traditional pump may weigh around two or three pounds, many portables are weighed in ounces—anywhere from a few ounces to about 10-12 ounces for the larger portables. If you’re pumping with a portable, you’ll still need to run tubing from the pump to your flanges. To collect the pumped milk, you can use either standard breastmilk collection bottles or collection cups (a wearable milk collection insert) for extra portability.
  • Manual breast pumps: These breast pumps use the pressing motion of your own hand to create suction and pump your milk. Some are easy to operate with one hand, while others require two hands. Because they lack a motor, these pumps are quiet and small (about the size of a bottle), making them a good choice for travel or for occasional pumping.

Breast Pump Terms

Overwhelmed with breast pump terminology? Understanding these key terms will help you better research the best breast pump for you.

Closed system breast pump. A closed system pump means there is a barrier between the breast pump and its parts and your milk, preventing any leaks or overflow into the pump itself. This barrier also prevents moisture from building up in your pump’s tubing.

Open system breast pump. An open system breast pump does not have a barrier between the pump and your milk.

Flange. Also known as a breast shield, the flange is the part of the pump that goes around your nipple and cups your breast. Flanges come in varying sizes depending on the type and brand of breast pump you choose. Some models provide multiple sizes for you to try out, while others offer additional sizes for purchase. Most brands have specific flange sizing guides that show you how to measure and how to choose the correct size.

Valve. Sometimes called duck valves, these small, flexible parts stretch and release each time your breast pump suctions, helping to draw out milk. Valves should be replaced regularly to help keep your pump functioning properly. (Consult your pump manufacturer’s guidelines as to how often.)

Backflow protector. Backflow protectors serve as a barrier between a breast pump and your milk in a closed system breast pump, preventing milk from entering your pump’s motor or tubing. Like valves, certain parts of your backflow protector should be replaced regularly, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations and how often you pump.

Power source. All breast pumps require a power source. For electric, wearable and portable pumps, this is a motor. For manual pumps, the power source is a handle and your hand.

Breast milk bottles. Breast milk bottles are used to collect and store pumped breast milk. You can pump directly into these bottles and use the milk immediately or store it for later use.

Breast milk bags. Breast milk bags are another way to store pumped breast milk. Breast milk bags come in both disposable (plastic) options or reusable (silicone) materials and can store both fresh or frozen milk. Some breast pumps allow you to pump directly into breast milk bags to help minimize cleanup after every pumping session.

Closed System Versus Open System Breast Pumps

As noted above, there are two types of breast pumps: closed system pumps, where there’s a barrier between the pump and your milk, and open system pumps, where there is not. Most experts and lactation consultants recommend closed system pumps due to a smaller chance of contamination. They also note that you should never purchase or use an open system breast pump secondhand for sanitary reasons. If you do choose an open system pump, be sure to closely follow the manufacturer’s directions for sanitizing and cleaning your pump and all of its parts.

Do You Need a Breast Pump?

Since everyone’s situation is unique, you’ll need to think about your lifestyle, employment situation, feeding preferences and how long you plan on breastfeeding when making the decision on whether or not to purchase a pump. If you’re planning on working outside the home after baby is born and continuing to breastfeed, for example, then a good pump is a must-have. But if you expect to be with baby most of the time, it may not be quite as crucial.

We recommend getting a pump if:

  • You’re planning on being away from baby on a regular basis, such as for your job, or for an extended period of time, such as a trip.
  • You’re looking to maintain your milk supply, either because your baby can’t or won’t nurse or you’re dealing with an illness or a medication that isn’t safe for breastfeeding.
  • You’re dealing with low supply or engorgement.
  • You prefer feeding baby expressed milk.

What to Keep in Mind When Buying a Breast Pump

Like most things when it comes to baby gear (and parenting, for that matter), there’s no one perfect pump for every parent. There are pros and cons to each, and which breast pump is best for you depends on when, where and how often you’ll be pumping.

Type of Pump

Manual, electric, portable, wearable… How do you know which type of pump is best? Before choosing, you’ll want to think through how often you plan to pump and what your pumping goals are. If you’re an exclusive pumper, pumping regularly (like at work or every night before bed) or simply don’t want to deal with the hassle of a manual pump, then a traditional electric breast pump or a powerful portable pump are the best choices for you. These types of pumps are fast and efficient at removing breast milk and fully emptying your breast.

Pumping very infrequently? Going out for the night or need to pump on an airplane and don’t want to drag your electric breast pump along? Consider a wearable pump or even a manual.

Size and Portability

Hand in hand with the type of pump you choose comes size and portability. Think through things like where you’ll most often be pumping (at home versus on the go) and how often. Also consider if you want to be tethered to a power source at all times or if you prefer a pump with a rechargeable battery.


It’s tough to know the suction and vibration settings you’ll prefer (and the ones your body will respond to the best) prior to pumping, so look for a pump with a wide range of suction settings to give yourself the most options and set yourself up for success.

Ease of Use

Consider things like how easy it is to assemble and disassemble the pump, cleaning options, customer service (are replacement parts accessible and easy to order?) and general pump maintenance.

How to Get a Breast Pump Through Insurance

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed in 2010, health insurers must cover the cost of a breast pump. The type of pump you qualify for will depend on your particular health insurance plan, as each plan has its own set of specific guidelines.

Reach out to your insurance provider well before your due date for plan-specific information about which pumps are covered and how to order one. You can also check Babylist Health, an easy and efficient way to cut through the red tape around ordering a pump. All you’ll need to do is input your state of residence and your insurance provider, and Babylist Health will do the rest, including providing you a list of covered pumps (and upgrade options if you want to pay more), verifying your insurance coverage, requesting the prescription from your doctor and shipping the pump right to your door. It’s not just your pump you can order through Babylist Health—you can also order replacement pump parts like duck valves, backflow protectors and tubing, for free.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to start pumping breast milk?

According to the La Leche League, you can begin pumping once breastfeeding is well established—usually around four weeks after baby is born. However, if your baby is in the NICU, is having trouble breastfeeding or you wish to pump exclusively, you don’t need to wait.

They recommend introducing a pumping session after one feeding each day when your breasts are still feeling full. (For lots of people, this is often the first morning feed.) Around this time, you can also start introducing your little one to a bottle.

How long you breastfeed and pump depends on your personal situation. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends trying to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and then continue nursing, while also feeding solids, through the rest of the first year. Ultimately, though, you need to do what’s best for you, your family and your childcare situation.

How do I know which breast pump will work for me?

Finding the right breast pump is part research and part a process of trial and error. It depends on various factors such as your individual needs, preferences and the specific features of the breast pump, as well as factors like whether you will be exclusively pumping or using it occasionally, suction strength and speed settings and the level of comfort it provides. Reading reviews, seeking recommendations from other parents and consulting with lactation consultants or healthcare professionals can also help in making an informed decision, but ultimately, it may require some experimentation to find the breast pump that suits your needs and helps you effectively express milk.

How often should I clean my breast pump?

You’ll need to clean your breast pump parts after each use. This ensures that the pump is hygienic and free from any bacteria or milk residue that could potentially contaminate your breast milk. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and sterilizing the specific model of breast pump you are using.

Will a breast pump change my breasts?

No, using a breast pump will not change the size or shape of your breasts. It does not have any long-term effects on the structure or appearance of the breasts. However, it is important to note that breastfeeding itself can cause temporary changes in the breasts, such as engorgement or changes in nipple size, but these changes are typically temporary and will return to their pre-pregnancy state once breastfeeding has ended.

Jen LaBracio

Senior Gear Editor

Jen LaBracio is Babylist’s Senior Gear Editor, a role that perfectly combines her love of all things baby gear with her love of (obsessive) research. When she’s not testing out a new high chair or pushing the latest stroller model around her neighborhood, she likes to run, spin, listen to podcasts, read and spend time at the beach. In her past life, she worked for over a decade in children’s publishing. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and their two boys, Will and Ben.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and review products, as well as the Babylist Health Advisory Board.