Choosing the Right Breast Pump

January 5, 2012

[Updated October 25, 2017]

Every breastfeeding mom has a unique experience. Some moms find breastfeeding easy and uncomplicated, while others find it more challenging. No matter what, all moms breastfeed better with the support of family, friends, and often with the help of a good breast pump. So how do you choose one?

Different moms have different needs, and that’s why we offer a range of breast pumps. Manual breast pumps are great for moms who spend most of their time with their babies, while electric breast pumps are the better choice for moms who are frequently separated from their babies.

Before you pull the trigger on purchasing a breast pump, it’s important to consider a few factors:

How often you’ll pump.

Will you pump every day at work, but still nurse while you’re with your baby? If so, a daily-use double electric breast pump, like the Pump in Style Advanced, the Freestyle, or the Sonata will make pumping faster and more efficient. If you only plan to pump occasionally – once a day, or a few times a week – an occasional-use single breast pump like the Swing or Harmony may be just as effective. However, if you’re exclusively pumping, it’s best to have a hospital-grade (multi-user) breast pump like the Symphony.

If you want to rent a breast pump.

There are a few reasons you might want to rent a hospital-grade (multi-user) breast pump – like if you have a premature or hospitalized baby, if you and baby had trouble breastfeeding after birth and were unable to properly initiate your milk supply, or if you just want to use the same breast pump or equipment as you did in the hospital. Many moms are familiar with the Symphony, which is designed to help initiate, build, and maintain milk supply. But the Symphony isn’t just available while you’re in the hospital. You can actually rent this breast pump from hospitals, lactation consultants, or medical equipment stores.

How mobile you want to be while pumping.

If you want to be able to walk around and multitask while pumping, consider a lightweight breast pump you can use hands-free (with the right pumping bra), like the Freestyle. If your schedule allows you a consistent time and place to pump, a breast pump that plugs into the wall is a great option. Or, for a middle-ground between those options, some breast pumps like our newest, Sonata, are able to run on battery so you can pump away from the outlet when you need to.

Additional features to fit your lifestyle

Once you’ve weighed out your basic pumping needs, ask yourself in what other ways your breast pump could make your experience easier. After all, you’re probably going to be spending more time with it than you will with most people in your life for a while! Here are some additional features that might get you “pumped” for what’s to come:

  • Tracking: If you’re the kind of mom with an app for everything, consider ditching the paper pumping log for a “smart” breast pump that connects to a mobile app for real-time tracking. Plus, with an app like MyMedela you get extra perks like personalized content, encouragement, and reminder messages.
  • Noise level: Any mom who’s been around breast pumps knows that “quiet” isn’t the first word you’d use to describe them. And while some find the steady rhythm soothing, if you’re concerned about disrupting neighbors, coworkers, or sleeping spouses, choose a breast pump that’s quiet (without sacrificing performance).
  • Performance: All Medela breast pumps come with our patented 2-Phase Expression® technology, which mimics a baby’s natural nursing rhythm with a “Stimulation Phase” (fast, light suction) followed by an “Expression Phase” (slower, deeper suction). This technology, when double pumping compared to single pumping, has been proven to get more milk in less time, so whichever Medela breast pump you choose, you can be confident in your decision.

How did you choose a breast pump? Share in the comments below.

8 thoughts on “Choosing the Right Breast Pump

  1. I need your advise, I got inverted nippes 1st baby i’m very sad I failed to im pregnant for my 2nd bb, can u please give me some advise which pump should i choose?

    thank you

    • The Freestyle and Pump in Style are our most popular double electric pumps. You can also talk to an LC about the best pump for your situation. Check out our breast pump selector tool for customized results:

  2. Please tell me the MAJOR differences between all these 4 electric pumps:
    Medela Freestyle Electric Breast Pump
    Medela Pump In Style® Advanced On-the-go Tote
    Medela Mini Electric Plus Double Breast Pump
    Medela Swing™ Breastpump


  3. I want to increase my milk supply and I have been mix feeding (beast and bottle) for the past 6 months. Which pump could help me to increase milk supply and get rid of the top up formula feedings?

    • Hi Parker,

      Congratulations on your new little one and for breastfeeding for 6 months! What a wonderful accomplishment. To maintain and increase breast milk supply, we recommend pumping with a double-electric pump such as the Medela Pump In Style Advanced or Freestyle. You can take our Product Selector quiz and learn more about what pump might best fit your needs here: Please also feel free to reach out to our Lactation Consultant for tips here: Hope this helps – keep up the great work!

  4. Dr.Ramandeep Kaur says:

    Hi! I m planning to return to work.would like to buy breast pump to feed expressed milk to my baby.i m confused between medela swing maxi and freestyle breast pump.what is the advantage of buying freestyle over swing maxi?

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