Best Manual Breast Pump Reviews

Let’s be honest, breastfeeding is a wonderful experience. You get to spend those precious hours close to your baby and bond with them.

You won’t always be able to breastfeed your baby. That’s why it’s a great option to get yourself some assistance. How? You ask. Well, that’s in the form of a manual breast pump, of course.

Breast pumps are a practical aid for new mommies. It’ll help you with those not so great days and nights, or when you return to work or travel.

Whether this is your first baby or your third, I’m here to help you. I’ll examine and review the best manual breast pump available so you can effortlessly pick the perfect one!

You can always wait till after you give birth to decide whether you need a breast pump or not. However, it’s worth noting that you‘ll probably need to pump somewhere along the line.

Let’s take an in-depth look at the world of pumping and why you’ll probably need to do it.

Who Needs a Breast Pump

Needing a breast pump differs from one mom to the next. Your decision to use a breast pump depends on a number of factors, so let’s take a look at each and 

Breastfeeding Issues

You may be facing issues when breastfeeding, which pumping can help alleviate.

Some mommies suffer from irregular milk supply, especially if you’ve just given birth. Pumping helps maintain or increase your milk supply.

If your baby is having trouble latching on your nipple, you can still make sure that your baby is eating by giving them pumped milk. Moreover, pumping softens the nipple making it easier for your baby to latch.

Pumping will also help with relieving the pressure, engorgement, when it isn’t time to feed or when you start weaning your baby.

Time Away from Baby

Some mommies can’t stay with their baby all the time. You may have to return to your job, tend to your other children, or any other commitment. Or you may just need a much deserved night off.

Whatever the reason is the pump is here to the rescue. You can always make sure that your little one always has their milk supply by pumping and properly storing your milk.

Medical Conditions

Some mommies suffer from medical conditions ranging in seriousness. For example, Mastitis requires frequent draining of the breast to avoid serious complications and aid with the healing process. 

When to Start Pumping

There is no right answer to this question. Some mommies though choose to pump immediately, while others choose to wait till they feel they need to.

However, if you do choose to pump it’s recommended to do so 3 to 4 weeks post-delivery. If you start sooner this may stimulate excess milk production, as the milk supply is usually high during the first couple of weeks.

Another reason to postpone pumping the first few weeks is that breastfeeding creates a bond between you and your newborn. So, I recommend you breastfeed in the beginning to create and strengthen this bond

On the other hand, you may face issues such as your baby being unable to feed properly, or you may need to be away from your baby. In this case, you can start pumping once you deliver to ensure your baby is getting the proper needed nutrition.

Types of Breast Pumps

All breast pumps have essentially the main components; breast shield, pump, and container. What differs is the way the pump is operated. There are 3 main types of breast pumps for home use; manual, electric, and battery-powered.

Manual Breast Pumps

As the name suggests you operate this breast pump by hand. These are great as you only need the pump to do the pumping anywhere and anytime. They are also portable, which is very convenient for mommies!

There are two types of manual breast pumps; levered pumps and silicon pumps.

Levered pumps have a handle that allows you to pump the milk. Some models have only one lever, while others have two. The single lever model is used for the extraction of milk, while in the two-lever option, one stimulates the letdown while the other controls the milk flow.

Silicone pumps, otherwise known as milk catchers, are essentially not really pumps. Rather they container like with a suction cup used to attach to your breast and collect any milk that overflows, while your feeding from the other breast.

Most manual pumps are single pumps, meaning you can only extract milk from one breast at a time.

Electric Breast Pumps

This type needs electricity to operate. The basic pumping technique is the same, however, you don’t use your hand to pump. Instead, this is done by plugging in the pump and choosing the setting you want.

The electric pump comes with options of how intense/fast you want the pumping to be.

This option has it’s pros and cons. On the one hand, these are powerful and are perfect for maintaining and increasing your milk flow. On the other, it requires you to be near a power outlet, which may not be the case all the time.

Electric pumps can either be single or double pumping, so you can extract milk from one or both breasts at a time.

Battery-Powered Breast Pumps

They are small, portable, and easy to use when you’re not home and need to pump.

However, since this pump works on batteries, it isn’t very powerful, so it doesn’t stimulate high milk production.

Ideally, you can use them to pump once a day, but you still need to breastfeed to maintain the flow of milk.

Battery operated pumps can either be single or double pumping.

Why Choose a Manual Breast Pump

So, why would you choose a manual breast pump versus a more high tech electric one?

Easy, for one thing, a manual breast pump is reliable and low maintenance. You won’t run out of batteries or have to look for a power outlet in order to pump.

You may also choose a manual breast pump as it feels more natural, more like your baby’s feeding instead of a machine sucking on your breast.

Moreover, it’s a low-budget option compared to electric models.

How to Use a Manual Breast Pump

Using your manual breast pump is straightforward. There are 4, let’s call them steps, to consider.

Pumping

You simply place the breast shield on your areola with one hand and use the other to squeeze the pump trigger to suck the milk into the container. And… Voila! The milk is ready.

The amount of milk produced differs from one mom to the next, however, most mommies find pumping 10-15 minutes at a time ideal.

Storing

Properly storing your breast milk is of utmost importance. You need to pick the correct container and place it in the correct temperature to ensure it’s safe for consumption.

Cleaning

Proper cleaning of your manual breast pump is very important to make sure it’s sanitary to use again.

Maintenance

Always make sure that all parts are working correctly and replace any that aren’t. This ensures you get the best out of your pump.

Pros and Cons of Manual Breast Pumps

Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the manual breast pump.

Pros

  • Works quietly, which is perfect if you’re pumping next to your sleeping baby or at work.
  • It’s portable, small and light, perfect to carry around in your bag or for travel.
  • Relatively cheap compared to electric and battery-powered pumps.
  • It doesn’t require a power supply, so you can use it anywhere with no restrictions.

Cons

  • It requires time and effort since it falls on you to do the pumping.
  • They aren’t designed for heavy-duty pumping and might wear if used frequently.
  • Not very effective in helping with solving serious lactation problems such as Mastitis.
  • Slow milk extraction rate compared to their electric counterparts.

How to Choose the Best Manual Breast Pump

When choosing a manual breast pump these are a few things to consider to make sure it’s the right fit for you.

Smooth Operation

You should choose a model that will allow you to pump smoothly and help you express milk with the minimum effort. So, considering the ergonomic aspect of the handle is essential to your relief.         

Comfort

Pumping isn’t the most pleasant experience. Accordingly, getting a pump that has a silicone massage cushion is great as it gently massages the breast and stimulates the ejection of breast milk.

Size

Size plays an important part in choosing the right pump for you. For example, if you’ll be using the pump more outside your home, then getting a smaller sized pump would be more convenient.

Spare Parts

As with anything you may need to change or replace some parts, so the availability and price of spare parts are important to consider.

The Best Manual Breast Pump: Roundup Review

After looking at the ins and outs of the manual breast pump, I’ll now review the top 5 available from some of the biggest breast pump brands in the market.

1. Medela Harmony Breast Pump

Best Manual Breast Pump - Medela

Medela has over 50 years of experience as one of the leading breastfeeding brands in the market, so it’s no surprise their Harmony pump made it on our list.

This model features a 2-phase expression technology, which promises to produce more milk in less time. Convenient and efficient if you are tight on time. Moreover, this makes it ideal if you need help increasing your milk supply.

The handle has a soft ergonomic handle to make your pumping experience more comfortable. No hand cramps then!

Not only that, but you can also use the handle to adjust the suction level to your preference. You can start off by initiating the milk production then switch to the longer side of the handle for a more paced expression of milk, which is more comfortable and less painful for you.   

Customers who bought this pump find it perfect for its relatively fast milk extraction rate and small size.

Pros

  • Ergonomic handle
  • Efficient, more milk in less time
  • Portable
  • Moderately priced

Cons

  • Not suitable for frequent use
  • Some reports of the o-ring easily breaking

2. Haakaa Manual Breast Pump 

Best Manual Breast Pump - Haakaa

The Haakaa pump is one of the simplest designed pumps on the market. This silicone pump attaches to your breast by simply squeezing it, and is designed to easily fit any breast shape or size.

Perfect for passive pumping, this pump is made of food-grade silicone, that’s lightweight. This can be your savior from engorged breasts.

Mommies who bought this find it an effortless way of not wasting any breast milk. They also love the fact that it stays in place, making it easier to use when breastfeeding.

It’s also very easy to clean, just boil it for 2-3 minutes!

Pros

  • Suitable for passive pumping
  • Made of food-grade silicone
  • Fits all breast sizes
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Suction less effective after frequent use

3. Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump

Best Manual Breast Pump - Lansinoh
Founded and designed by a breastfeeding mom, it’s only natural that the Lansinoh pump made it on our list.

This manual pump is designed to fit you and your busy schedule. It comes with 2 flange sizes, the standard 25mm, and a larger 30.5mm and has a dual-mode pumping system. This system allows for a smoother letdown and better milk flow, producing more milk in less time.

Worth noting though that compared to others, this pump doesn’t provide the best suction.

This pump is lightweight with a handle that’s designed for comfortable operation to reduce hand fatigue.

A great feature available in this pump is you can pump directly into the pre-sterilized breastmilk storage bags for fast and hygienic pumping. This technique also helps avoid wasting any of the breast milk. This is something all moms would appreciate after all the pumping effort!

Mommies who bought this pump loved it as it allows them to pump fast and extract a higher milk flow and amount.

Pros

  • Can pump directly into storage bags
  • Easy-express handle
  • Dual-mode pumping system
  • Moderately priced

Cons

  • Only compatible with Lansinoh bottles
  • Weaker suction compared to other

4. Philips Avent Breast Pump

Best Manual Breast Pump - Philips
One of the best features of this Philips Avent pump is that it allows you to pump while sitting comfortably.

Its unique design allows for the letdown without having to lean forward, which is the case for most other manual pumps. A much-needed feature after spending all day on your feet, you can finally sit back and relax.

This pump is also light, which makes it fairly effortless to hold while pumping. It also comes with a textured massage cushion which helps stimulate the flow of milk.

Most customers who purchased the Philips Avent, find it ideal for pumping when outside the home. It’s portable and light and perfect to use in the car.

Moreover, as with most other Philips products, this pump is BPA-free.

Pros

  • Allows you to pump while sitting comfortably
  • Includes textured cushion for gentle milk flow
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t fit all standard bottles

5. NUK Expressive Manual Breast Pump

Best Manual Breast Pump - Nuk

This is the ultimate travel pump, at just 5.5 ounces it’s tiny, light, and ultra-portable. It also has a breast cushion to help ensure your ultimate comfort and fits large breasts perfectly.

Not only that, but you can also easily control the suction pace one-handed, with an ergonomic handle that is easy on your hand. This is a wonderful option for the multi-tasking mom!

Do note though, this pump is not as quiet as it’s counterparts. It makes a popping noise when pumping, which can be awkward.

Customers love this pump for its fast milk expression rate. They also find it ideal for use if you have large breasts.

Overall, this is a portable and easy to use a pump that is available at a very affordable price!

Pros

  • One-handed operation
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Noisy when pumping

The Verdict

Picking our favorite from this great lot wasn’t easy, each with their great features. So who’s the winner? After much consideration, Philips Avent made it to the top of our list.

This pump is the perfect everyday pump, it has it all. Comfortable design, lightweight and includes a massage cushion to stimulate better milk flow. Its only downside is that it’s on the pricey side, but really it’s worth the investment!

Related: you might also like our review of the best nursing tanks for new moms!

Princila
 

I’m Princila, founder of Check Ovulation and a proud mom of two. I’m an alumna of James Lind Institute. After working in clinical jobs, my passion for writing took its toll, and I ended up switching careers to work in the medical publishing industry. I also have a passion for healthy food, which prompted me to take several online courses in nutrition and health offered by Wageningen University. (I still haven’t completed the courses thanks to my busy mommy schedule!). When I’m not writing/editing scientific and medical manuscripts or taking care of my family, I use my free time to research, learn, and write about healthy living. I have also authored a few books in the self-help niche using the pen names Princila Murrell or PN Murray.

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