Picking the best breast pump for yourself is no easy task. There are endless options and it’s often a choice you have to make based on little to no experience – “how the heck do I know if I have supply issues?!” That said, a great pump can make a whole lotta difference in your breastfeeding journey and it’s worth digging into. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help narrow down your choices.
1. What type of pump do I need?
There are four main categories of breast pumps:
- Manual breast pumps: These are exactly what they sound like – pumps you use manually with your hand (or hands). They are quiet, portable, and inexpensive. They are a great choice for occasional pumping, travel or as a ‘just in case’.
- Electric breast pumps: These pumps are plugged in (or use a battery) to pump. They don’t require your help so you just hook yourself up and you’re ready to roll. They come in single and double pumps but double is pretty standard these days.
- Wearable electric breast pumps: These are a hand-free portable option that fits right into your bra. They are free from tubes and wires making it a more discrete and mobile option.
- Hospital-grade breast pumps: These pumps are typically for multiple users, offer long-term use and can cost up to $2,000. The closest comparison I could think of is an industrial appliance in a restaurant. They are definitely workhorses but you probably won’t need this kind of heavy lifting.
2. How much pumping will I be doing?
If you’re going to be pumping a fair amount you’ll probably want to opt for an electric breast pump or a wearable pump. A manual pump is great if you want to pump here and there but will be a pain if you need to use it every day.
3. Where will I be doing most of my pumping?
Do you need something lightweight because you’re hauling it to work every day or can you go with something bigger because you’re going to be pumping at home? Will you have access to an outlet or will you need something that can run on a battery?
4. How much do I care about noise and mobility?
Do you need something quiet because you want to pump while making calls at work or is sound not a big deal? Do you need to stay mobile because you have a busy toddler who is famous for flushing stuff down the toilet, or can you stay fairly put?
5. What will my insurance cover?
Most insurance companies will cover a breast pump. How much will vary from company to company. Many will also make you get a prescription from your doctor.
In an effort to make this easier, some organizations will help you pick out a pump then take care of all your insurance paperwork.
What’s the catch?
There really isn’t one. Essentially these companies are breast pump stores that recognize what an ass ache it is to deal with insurance so they submit your claim and are paid by the insurance company instead of you.
Some will even help you figure out which is the best pump for you depending on what your insurance covers. (They have true breast pump pros – you won’t be talking to some sales guy named Eddie.)
To sum up picking the best breast pump
Most of your breast pump choices come down to your lifestyle and budget – bigger and more expensive doesn’t always mean better. Narrow it down to two or three options then see what your insurance will cover. There are some great pumps out there so take the time to find the one that’s best for you.