Best Breast Pump for Working Moms Reviewed: Ameda vs. Medela
Hi! My name is Cassandra Parker and, as you can see, I’m the mother of a beautiful baby girl. I’m also a full-time nurse from Seattle, Washington, and although I love staying at home and taking care of my daughter, I also wanted to get back to work as soon as possible. As you probably know, a mother’s milk is very important for an infant, and I wanted to find the best breast pump so that I could store some for my daughter’s caregiver to feed her while I was at work. I decided that it might be helpful to others if I shared my breast pump reviews, so I decided to create this post.
After finding the best breast pump for me, I don’t think I would ever go back to regular breast feeding even if I was a stay-at-home mother again. A good breast pump is so much more convenient, and for some mothers and their babies, a breast pump can be vital. For example, a premature infant may not be able to breastfeed, but will be able to feed from a bottle. Sometimes the breasts may become engorged, a painful condition when they become overfull. A breast pump can be a lifesaver in this situation. If you’re a mother taking medication which can be harmful to your baby, a breast pump can be used to store milk ahead for times when you need to take it.
Mechanical vs. Electric Breast Pumps
There are both mechanical breast pumps as well as hand pumps. The electric versions are much better if you will be pumping each day, and although they are larger, there are also portable versions. Although manual breast pumps are much more inexpensive, they require a lot of physical effort and can be quite tiring. I personally prefer mechanical breast pumps, but I’ll also review the better manual ones in case you’re interested in those.
Choosing the best breast pump is an important task, so to help you pick the best one for you, I’ve compiled a list of the best breast pump reviews based on both my experiences, the experiences of others, and other reviews on the web. I’ve also scoured the internet to find the best prices and deals, because I know that as a mother, saving money is always a good thing.
Without any further delay, here are my best breast pump reviews below
Best Breast Pumps
Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump
Ameda is a breast pump manufacturer only second to Medela, and the Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump is their most popular model on the market. It is a electric double breast pump that comes around the mid-price range, although there are a few different versions that come with extra accessories.
What’s In The Box:
- It depends on which version you get.
- Two 4oz storage bottles(Ultra version has six bottles)
- AC power adapter
- Two 36-inch tubes
- Two adapter caps
- Two silicone diaphragms
- Two pump bodies with breast shields
- Four white valves
- Refidgeration bag with ice packs(Ultra version only)
- Carrying tote(Ultra version only)
The Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump received excellent reviews across the web, averaging 4.2 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon. It is also one of their best selling electric breast pumps.
Comfortable And Quick To Use
The Purely Yours breast pump is comfortable to use; it has adjustable suction and speed, so you can vary it to make it as comfortable for you as possible. It is recommended that you start the pump at the highest speed, and then adjust the suction to what is comfortable for you. Unfortunately, this is not a hands-free pump, which can make it a bit tricky to handle both bottles. On the upside, it will work with any of the hands-free pumping bras on the market. It’s recommended that you get one of these to go with it; you won’t regret it.
A great thing about the Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump is that it uses a closed system, meaning you never have to wash out the tubing because neither milk nor condensation can enter the tubing. It’s a great feature that I think all breast pumps should have, because it makes it so much easier to clean and maintain and there is no risk of contamination in the tubing.
The noise the pump generates is about average for an electric pump. It’s not silent, but you will be able to use it while talking on the phone without the person on the other end knowing that you’re using a breast pump.
Portability of the Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump
Again, this highly depends on which version you get. The standard version comes with only the pump, no carrying cases. It is, however, small enough to fit in your purse or any other carrying bag you might have. The ultra version comes with a refrigeration bag for bottles of milk as well as a carrying bag for the breast pump itself.
The pump will also run on 6 AA batteries. Battery operation is a great feature to have if you plan on using the breast pump in the car or away from home. It’s recommended that you use quality batteries if you plan to use the battery operation, as cheap batteries might result in less than optimal operation. I’d recommend that you pick up some good rechargeable batteries to use with this breast pump, as it will save a lot of time, hassle, and most importantly, money.
The final verdict on the Ameda Purely Yours Ultra Breast Pump
The Ameda Purely Yours Ultra Breast Pump is a great value for the price. The basic version without the extra accessories is quite inexpensive, but even the ultra version, which is comparable to the high-end Medela Freestyle breast pump, is nearly $100 cheaper than the Freestyle. This is the best value for the money when it comes to breast pumps.
- Double breast pump gets the job done quickly
- Extra bottles and refrigeration bag with the ultra version are very useful
- Battery operation makes for convenient use while traveling
- Closed system means the tubing does not need to be cleaned
- Different versions available at different price points
The Not So Good;
- Requires a total of 6 AA batteries to run. Recommended that you buy some rechargeables.
- Somewhat sporadic operation with cheaper batteries. Again, not an issue with some good rechargeables.
This Breast Pump Is For;
- Mothers looking for a great electric breast pump with portability
- Busy mothers looking for a quick-pumping breast pump
- Those looking for something comparable to high-end Medela pumps for a lower price
Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump
The Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump is a basic, affordable manual breast pump by the most recognized name in the world of breast pumps. If you’re looking for a manual breast pump, be sure to read this review, because this is probably the one for you.
Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump Product Overview
- Includes two 5-oz containers with lids
- Includes one bottle stand
- Includes one SoftFit breast shield
- All BPA-free for your baby’s safety
- Fully manual operation – no batteries needed!
The Harmony Breast Pump from Madela is the best selling and most popular manual breast pump available on the market. While electric breast pumps are usually more fully-featured, a manual breast pump is great for those who simply wish to have an inexpensive breast pump to use once in a while. Another great perk of manual breast pumps is that unlike electric breast pumps, they are completely silent, and the Harmony is no exception.
The Medela Harmony is much easier to clean when compared to other manual breast pumps, such as the Avent Isis, as it has fewer parts. Cleanliness is extremely important when it comes to breast pumps, so this makes it a lot more convenient and simple to use.
Perfect for trips and camping
If you’re going on a short trip where you won’t have any electricity, such as a camping trip, the Medela Harmony manual breast pump is a huge boon. Obviously, an electric breast pump won’t be of much use if you don’t have any electricity, which isn’t a problem with a manual breast pump. Keep in mind that you will still need a cool place to store the pumped milk, like a cooler pack. Even if you’ll be somewhere with electricity, a manual breast pump like the Medela Harmony is much simpler to clean and carry, as there’s no need to mess with cleaning tubing or anything like that.
Can be used with only one hand
Also unlike the Avent Isis, the Medela Harmony can be used with only one hand. If you’re a mother I don’t have to tell you how much of a benefit this is. You can even nurse your baby with one arm while pumping with the other; very convenient. If you have existing bottles from another breast pump, there is a good chance they will work with this one as well. There’s no guarantee, but I’ve read reports that this is the case.
You may be wondering if a manual breast pump gets hard on the hand after a while. The trust is that they can, but I found that the Harmony is much easier than most other manual pumps.
What’s the Final Say on the Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump?
If you need a simple, effective manual breast pump that’s very easy on the bank account, you really can’t go wrong with the Medela Harmony manual breast pump. Although electric breast pumps are much more efficient and fully-featured, the Harmony gets the job done at a fraction of the price. Not only this, but Medela has great customer service, so if you happen to have a problem with the pump, they will likely be able to help you or replace any parts if necessary.
I definitely recommend this breast pump to anyone looking for a manual breast pump!
- Very affordable at under $30
- Small and convenient, fits in almost any purse
- No need for batteries, completely manual
- Can be used with one hand, freeing the other
The not so good;
- Slower than an electric breast pump
- Manual breast pumps can be tiring on the hand, although the Medela Harmony better than most
This breast pump is for;
- Mothers who travel often
Medela Freestyle Breast Pump
Medela is the most well-known name in the world of breast pumps, and the Medela Freestyle Breast Pump is one of the top of the line models. It’s a completely hands-free double electric breast pump, with a lot of extra features built in that make it one of the best breast pumps on the market. However, being a high-end breast pump, it comes at a premium price.
What’s In The Box:
- Support belt & extension
- One set of tubing
- Two SoftFit breast shields
- Breast shield spare parts kit
- Two replacement adapters and Four replacement bra adapters
- Four five-ounce storage containers
- Power cord & charger
- Rechargeable battery
- Tote/travel storage bag
The Medela Freestyle Breast Pump is one of the most highly rated breast pumps on the market, currently ranking a generous 3.8 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
There are a lot of great things about the Freestyle breast pump. First of all, it’s a double breast pump, meaning it will complete the filling of the included containers up to twice as quickly as an electric single-breast pump and much more quickly than a manual pump. Among the best features of this breast pump, are…
One of the main advertised features of the Medela Freestyle Breast Pump is the hands-free operation. Most users love this functionality; you can have both hands free to do anything you need to do while the pump is operating. There are some complaints online that the hands-free kit is a bit convoluted to use, but you’ll get the hang of it after using it a few times. It does take a bit of practice, but it’s an incredible time saver to be able to pump and do other things with your hands at the same time.
Portability and convenient rechargeable battery operation
It comes with an included rechargeable battery, which is a great feature. You can expect to get about 3 hours pumping time from a single charge, which I would say will last you about a week under regular usage. Battery operation can be a lifesaver, especially if you travel. Some other electric breast pumps can operate on external batteries, but the included battery with the Medela Freestyle works much better. It will recharge via the AC adapter when it’s plugged in, whether or not you’re using it at the same time.
Another great thing about the Medela Freestyle Breast Pump is that it’s small and compact. It comes with a travel tote, but you can probably even fit it in your purse. It’s convenient to bring along with you to/from work, when traveling, or anywhere else you might want to bring your breast pump along with you. Some mothers use it at work, which seems to work well along with the hands-free system.
The pump has a backlit LCD screen, which is a welcome during late-night feeding sessions. It also has a built-in timer which is very useful. It can store preset settings for pumping so that moms can save their preferred pumping patterns. Of course, none of these things are super important, but they’re very nice extras to have.
What’s the verdict?
The Medela Freestyle Breast Pump is a top-of-the-line breast pump, and arguably the best on the market. Although it comes at a premium price, it’s well worth it for the included features you won’t find elsewhere.
- Double-pump quickly gets the pumping done
- Hands-free operation is very convenient
- Included rechargeable battery lasts a long time
- Very portable; can probably fit in your purse
- Replacement parts are easy to find almost anywhere
The not so good;
- It’s a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for
- Hands-free operation can be tricky to get used to, but works fine after
This breast pump is for;
- Mothers looking for a top-of-the-line double breast pump
- Those who want a convenient, portable pump
- Those who want a pump that can be used completely hands-free while you work
Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump
The Medela Swing Breast Pump is one of the most popular breast pumps among mothers, and for good reason. It was originally developed by Medela for use in hospitals, but was further refined for home use. It’s a personal-use electric pump and is designed to be portable, making it convenient for travel.
What’s In The Box?
- Two storage bottles(2 -5 oz) with lids and travel cap
- Container stand
- 3 Membranes
- Carrying/storage bag
- AC adapter(can also be powered with 4 AA batteries)
- Neck/shoulder strap
The overall reviews of the Medela Swing Breast Pump across the internet are generally quite positive. It currently has a 4.1 out of 5.0 star rating on Amazon.com. Being an electric pump, it’s great because it works automatically allowing you to do other things while the pump is in operation. While manual pumps are less expensive, the benefit of an electric pump is great.
It’s Quite Comfortable To Use
The Swing Breast Pump is nice, because it allows the user to adjust the suction to their liking. Some breast pumps don’t allow you to do this, and many of them are painful to use. It comes with a shoulder strap, which feels comfortable on the neck, but is otherwise unremarkable. You need to use one hand to hold the bottle while pumping, and massaging massaging the breast while pumping helps to encourage the flow of milk. What I’ve seen recommended is to use a long bottle to pump into, which you prop up against your leg. You can massage with one hand, leaving you free to use the other too, for example, type on a keyboard. This is just a tip, and by no means necessary for using the pump, it just makes it easy to do other things while the pump is in operation.
You can expect to take about 20-25 minutes to fill a bottle on average, which optimal flow. It can be powered using the AC adapter, or it also runs using 4 AA batteries. Running off of batteries is a lot more convenient, as you can move around and do other things while it’s running. Batteries last a long time; you can expect to get about 10 full pumping sessions out of them. I’d recommend buying some good rechargeable batteries if you decide to go this route; it will save a lot of money in the long run.
A great thing about the Medela Swing Breast Pump is that it’s small enough to be very portable. It fits nicely in the included carrying bag, or you can use your own purse or carrying bag, if it’s large enough. Being portable, it’s possible to use it while driving or out on vacation away from home. This is definitely a huge benefit if you’d get use out of this utility.
However, just a few downsides…
Some people find the pump to be a bit noisier than they expected. It’s by no means loud, but it’s not silent, either. There is really no such thing as a silent electric breast pump. Just don’t expect to use it discretely in a vehicle or around others without anyone hearing it. All in all, it’s really not that big of a deal.
Being a single pump means it takes longer to pump and fill the containers. The upside is that it’s a lot cheaper than other breast pumps of its level, and pumps just as well. It’s up to you to decide if the extra time is worth it to you or not.
What’s the verdict?
The Medela Swing Breast Pump is one of the highest rated and most popular breast pumps on the market. The comfort it affords along with the relative inexpensive price and portability are hard to beat. If you’re looking for an electric single-breast pump, this is the best one on the market.
- Inexpensive in comparison to other breast pumps of similar quality
- Portable, convenient to use with batteries
The not so good;
- Slower than a double pump
This breast pump is for;
- Mothers who travel and need portability in their breast pump
- Those who need their hands free while using their breast pump
- Those looking for a great mid-priced breast pump