Choosing a Breast Pump


If you have made the decision to breastfeed, it’s time to start investigating breast pumps. They are not all alike! An excellent resource to start with would be your provider or a lactation consultant. They will be up on all the newest brands and may be able to give you some guidance on what works best for your lifestyle. 

Reasons To Consider a Breast Pump

  • You plan on returning to the workplace after maternity leave
  • You will regularly be away from your baby for 3-4 hour stretches
  • You are adopting a baby and would like to nurse
  • You have been instructed to use one by a provider (such as if your baby is in the NICU, or is premature)
  • To manage engorgement


Check your Insurance!

Most insurances will cover a double electric breast pump, but they may not cover the latest and greatest with all the bells and whistles. Make sure you understand what is covered and what may need to be out of pocket.

Questions to ask your insurance provider:
  • Where may I obtain a pump? (there are many Durable Medical Equipment providers, be sure you know which one is covered by your insurance)
  • How soon may I order my pump? (some allow you to order at any time during the pregnancy, some have you wait until 30 days before your due date, others require the baby to be born)
  •  Will I need a prescription from my physician?
  • Which pumps are covered?

Types of Breast Pumps

Hospital Grade Breast Pumps

These are medical-grade, top of the line pumps and are the preferred choice if you have a preemie or if you have multiples. A lactation consultant should be able to help you assess if you need one.  You can rent these pumps from the hospital, from medical supply stores and even from some pharmacies. 


Double Electric Breast Pump

This is the pump most often chosen by moms returning to the workplace or plan on regularly providing expressed breastmilk to their baby. You can express both breasts at once, and once your supply is established, they can be helpful in regulating your milk production. They work with a standard adapter and must be powered with electricity.

Battery Operated Single Pump

This pump is a good solution if you plan on being with your baby most of the time, but want a pump you can use on occasion. You have to do each breast separately so it’s a little slower, but they work well and are cost-effective if your insurer doesn’t cover a pump. Also, a good solution if you are traveling or in areas without electricity.


Manual Breast Pump

Similar characteristics to the battery-operated single breast pump, but it works with gentle sucking as you pump. A good solution for the breastfeeding parent who only occasionally needs to pump. Lightweight and portable, too!


Breastmilk Collector

Gently secures to the breast you are not feeding on so that when letdown occurs it allows for hands-free collection of breastmilk. 



When You Get Your Pump

Read the manual! Wash all pieces prior to the baby’s arrival so you are ready to use it.

Breasts and nipples come in all shapes and sizes, and many pumps offer different size flanges. If you feel like your pump isn’t fitting correctly, or if you are experiencing pain when you use it, check with a provider or a lactation consultant. 

Christy Liebe

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