The Breastpump Mystery Solved: Which One Works For You?

BreastpumpEvery new baby shopping list out there tells you need a breastpump.

But go to a store, and you're faced with a list of choices with a cost range from $30 to $1,300.

Before you go crawl back in your bed for an infant-like cry, let's break this one down for you.



The Stir asked Susan Rappin, director of product management for Medela -- one of the leading breastpump makers -- to tell us how moms can choose between the three types of pumps on the market (regardless of brand).

Hospital Grade Pump

  • Made for moms who are experiencing trouble with breastfeeding such as inverted nipples, low milk supply or need to initiate supply.
  • Most commonly used by women whose children are born prematurely or are going to be separate from them for a significant period of time after birth (due to time in the NICU or mom's health complications)
  • Heavy duty, these are made for multiple use with women getting their own pump kit that attaches to the large unit.
  • Can be covered by health insurance if medically necessary.
  • These are the expensive types -- sometimes costing as much as $1,300 -- but they're available for rental for around $60 to $80 a month which can be good for moms who aren't sure if they want to pump and don't want to commit to the full cost of an at-home pump until they know. 

Daily Use Pump

  • Made for moms who anticipate long periods of time away from baby, these are perfect for a mom who wants to keep up her supply when she goes back to work.
  • Run off of electric or battery; moms can decide which will work better for them. If you're frequently on the go, a battery pack can make the difference.
  • Accompanied by carry bags to hide the pump and/or cooler bags to keep pumped milk cold, part of what you pay for are the accessories with these pumps.
  • With a double pump system to draw milk from both breasts at the same time, these are more efficient than a single breast pump.
  • Can be made hands-free for multi-tasking.
  • Costing anywhere from $200 to $400, they fall in the mid-range for investment.

Occasional Use Pump

  • Usually manual, although some electric single use pumps are available.
  • Made for a mom who doesn't spend much time for baby, these are easily portable.
  • Good for producing one bottle (perhaps for Dad to give the baby dinner or when stuck away from baby at a one-off event), they aren't very efficient. Prepare to set aside a block of time and both of your hands for the job.

Regardless of which you choose, Rappin advises women don't try to cut costs by handing one of these down. Aside from the hospital grade pump, breastpumps are not approved by the FDA for use by more than one woman. 

"You kind of get one shot to do this right," Rappin says. "There are lots of choices out there, but investigate, make a wise investment. Look for research-based pumps."

Do the breastpump choices intimidate you?


Image via Medela


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