If you are exclusively pumping breastmilk you will likely need between 15-35 ounces per day depending on the age (and hunger!) of your baby.
This is a lot of milk and you will need a high-quality and reliable electric breast pump to ensure that you can meet these milk supply demands in comfort, and with minimal inconvenience.
I have spent countless hours on my own pumping journey. As a Mom who returned to work within months of giving birth I know only too well what it is like to be constantly pumping, cleaning, and carrying a breast pump around.
I have used this experience to review the best breast pumps available so you can buy knowing that you have the most suitable pump for your situation.
In This Post:
Single Vs Double Electric Breast Pump
Every breast pump on our list is a double electric breast pump for one simple reason…. Time.
- Single Electric – Pumps one breast at a time, cheaper to buy but takes twice as long to use.
- Double Electric – Pumps both breasts simultaneously. More expensive, but necessary!
When exclusively pumping you will have 6-10 pumping sessions per day. That is already a huge time burden and the cost savings are simply not worth it.
So make your life easier and buy a double pump. Otherwise you may burn out twice as fast and give up!
Best Breast Pumps For Exclusively Expressing in 2021
1. Medela Advanced Pump In Style – Best Overall Breast Pump
- 1 x Pump In Style main unit
- 1 x Cooler bag + ice pack
- 4 x Bottles with lids
- 1 x Double pumping kit and breast shields
- 1 x power adaptor + battery pack (AA batteries)
Medela is the #1 recommended breast pump in the USA, and for good reason.
They have really put a lot of thought and effort into their breast pump packages, ensuring that women have everything they need for pumping success.
The Pump in Style Advanced is the perfect all-in-one system for exclusive pumpers. The kit includes a microfiber tote bag (other options available on the Medela website), small cooler with contoured ice packs, 4 storage bottles with lids, and pump and flanges.
All very user friendly and easy to clean. Great for first time Moms!
The 2-phase expression technology and adjustable suction speed allow for double pumping and optimum breast draining. All plastic parts that touch the breast milk are BPA-free and there is also an option to use batteries rather than the AC adapter (8 AA batteries not included).
There is only one flange size included – 24 mm – but other flanges sizes are available on Amazon or through Medela directly.
It does have an open system (the only one on my list that does), so you do need to be conscious of moisture buildup in the tubing and clean it regularly along with the other parts.
The motor is also very loud, which may be a deal breaker for moms who plan to pump in the nursery where your baby may be asleep.
- Comes with everything you need to pump and store
- 2-phase expression technology for optimum draining
- Battery option for on-the-go use
- Comes built into a convenient carrying bag
- The open system allows moisture build-up in the tubes
- Noisy motor
2. Spectra Baby USA Hospital Grade – Best Value Breast Pump
- 1 x Spectra S2 main unit with night light
- 1 x Detachable power cord prongs
- 2 x Milk bottles
- 2 x Backflow protector
- 2 x Duckbill valve
- 2 x Tubing
- 2 x 24mm flanges
- 2 x 28mm flanges
Coming in a close 2nd on most pumping moms’ lists is the Spectra Baby USA – S2 Plus. It is an affordable hospital-grade pump that makes pumping easy, day or night.
The lightweight (only 5 pounds!) and compact pump has a digital display for easy reading and push buttons rather than dials for speed and suction adjustment. It also employs 2-phase expression technology to mimic your baby’s eating patterns.
This pump is easy to use in the nursery no matter what time of day or night it may be. The motor is extremely quiet, there is a built-in nightlight, and it even has an auto power-off feature that triggers after 60 minutes of inactivity in case you fall asleep after pumping.
Along with the pump, you get 2 wide neck collection bottles (which are BPA/DEHP-free) with lids and two flange sizes – 24 and 28 mm. These are also easy to clean.
The biggest downside to this pump is that there is no battery option to use it unplugged.
You can also upgrade to the S1 model if you are willing to spend a bit more. We thought the S2 was 95% as good, and offered great value. You can read about the differences between the S1 and S2 here.
- A closed system to prevent moisture mold and mildew growth in the tubes
- Hospital grade suction power
- Digital display and easy push buttons rather than dials
- 2 flange sizes (24 and 28 mm)
- No option to run on batteries
3. BelleMa Effective Pro – Best Lightweight Breast Pump
- 1 x Main unit
- 2 x Collection kits
- 2 x Tubes
- 4 x Tube connector
- 1 x Storage bag
The BelleMa Effective Pro breast pump is a great alternative for the bigger name brands.
It has several features that are similar to the Spectra S2, including a closed system, dual-phase expression, quiet motor, and LCD screen display.
However, there are a couple of great features that are unique to this pump.
First is IDC technology. This allows you to control each side of the breast pump individually, giving you three pumping methods to choose from: right, left, or both.
This also allows you to adjust the suction for each side individually for a customized pumping experience.
The second is a memory feature that remembers your preferences and prior settings. This saves the hassle of trying to reset or adjust the default settings back to what you need.
Along with these features, this pump kit comes with 24 mm flanges with comfortable silicone cushions, two wide neck bottles with converters to allow it to fit regular bottle neck sizes, and a 10V AC adapter.
There is no built-in option to run this pump on batteries, but there is a rechargeable battery pack that is available for separate purchase as well as a USB charger.
Be forewarned that several users have said that the pump stopped working after 3-4 months of heavy use (10-12 times a day; more than likely due to exclusive pumping).
There is a warranty on the motor for a year, which will give you a replacement unit, but you only have 30 days to return the product for a full refund.
- IDC technology allows you to control each side separately
- Closed system keeps tubing clean
- Remembers prior settings
- Comfortable flanges
- Optional rechargeable battery
- Battery pack sold separately
- The motor may not stand up to heavy use long term
4. Lansinoh Signature Pro – Breast Pump with Most Inclusions
- 1 x Lansinoh main unit
- 2 x 25mm flanges
- 2 x 30.5mm flanges
- 2 x flange bodies, diaphragms, and diaphragm caps
- 2 x white valves (+2 extra)
- 2 x breastmilk storage bottles (5oz) & caps/nipples
- 2 x bottle holders
- 1 x Tote bag
- 1 x Breastmilk cooler
- 1 x Ice pack
Lansinoh is well known for their breastfeeding products, particularly their lanolin cream, so it is only natural that they would have a breast pump as well.
It doesn’t have as much suction power as some of the higher-end models, but it is a great choice if you are looking for something more affordable (it’s half the price of the Medela).
It features a closed system, 3 pumping styles, 8 suction levels, 2-phase expression technology, and a backlit display.
The breast flanges come in 25 mm size and are soft-rimmed for maximum comfort when pumping. It also includes 2 bottles with nipples (all plastic parts are BPA and BPA-free) and a handy tote bag for travel.
The pump is also small enough and light enough to put in your purse or diaper bag if you don’t want to use the tote that comes with it.
Besides the lower suction power, which may not be the most efficient for everyday use, the other downside to this pump is the loud motor.
- Closed system for easier cleaning
- Lightweight and has a battery option (6 AA)
- Auto power-off after 60 minutes of inactivity
- Very small and lightweight and comes with a tote bag to take on the go
- The loud motor may wake your baby up if you are using it in the same room
- Suction speed and motor are a bit too weak for everyday use
5. Philips Avent Double Electric – Most Comfortable Breast Pump
- 1 x Main unit
- 2 x Extra soft newborn flow nipple
- 2 x Sealing disc for milk storage
- 1 x Travel bag
- 2 x Natural bottle 4oz
- 2 x Travel cover
- 2 x Breast pad sample packs
The Philips AVENT Breast Pump is designed to give a comfortable pumping experience.
They have modified the neck of the pump so you can pump with your back resting against a chair, so you can pump without having to lean forward.
It also features massaging petals that gently massage your breast while pumping.
The kit comes with all the accessories that you will need, but if you need an additional bottle, you will find the nozzle is compatible with most AVENT bottles.
The pumping action simulates a nursing baby which in return, can stimulate milk production.
- Strong suction, but gentle on the breast
- Comes with a bag for easy transport and storage
- The motor is also quite loud on this model
- The nipple shields can sometimes cause friction and can result in blisters if not attended to properly
How do I Choose An Electric Breast Pump
Now we come to the foundation that exclusive pumping rests on: the pump.
It is not enough to say that you should go with a double electric pump; you need to know which ones are the best and what features you should be looking for to ensure your success.
Compact And Easy To Assemble
If you are exclusively pumping, that means you are going to be pumping everywhere. Portability is going to be a key deciding factor for you.
You are going to want something lightweight and small enough to fit into your purse or diaper bag for on the go use.
Some breast pumps come with a lot of parts, which means more for you to clean and assemble. Fewer parts will save you a lot of hassle.
Adjustable Suction Speed
The general guidelines of your breast pump’s motor will determine how efficient it is, or how quickly it can drain the breast.
However, a strong suction right off the bat every time is not the most efficient for pumping.
For your body to effectively release milk, you not only need a strong enough suction but you also need to relax, and you won’t be able to fully relax if you’re in pain from your breast pump.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” suction speed, so you will want a breast pump that is adjustable so you can find what works for you.
Multiple Pumping Modes
In order to drain the breast completely, you also need to know how breastfeeding works in the first place (I will touch on this a bit more later).
Your baby usually has two sucking patterns: one that starts the flow (stimulation) and one that keeps it going (expression).
A good breast pump should mimic these patterns with dual-phase suction settings.
Backup Power Source
If you are out at the park with no power source or if the electricity in your home is out, you will need a backup power source for your pump.
It is better to have a pump with a battery pack option in case there’s an emergency. Even better if there is a rechargeable battery included.
Open Vs Closed System
A closed system means there is an additional diaphragm or membrane that blocks milk flow from backing up into the tubing, and open is – well – the opposite of course.
Milk that collects in the tubing not only makes it difficult to clean but it also creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew due to the moisture buildup.
You will either have to buy new tubing or a new pump if the growth is not dealt with quickly enough.
To prevent pain and ensure optimum breast draining, you need to use the correct shield (or flange) size just the same as you need to have a proper latch with your baby.
This flange should be measured against your nipple and areola size, not your breast size.
Most breast pumps only come with one size (usually 24 mm or so), but additional sizes are typically available for separate purchase if needed.
For More Info on Exclusively Pumping Breastmilk
We have put together a comprehensive guide to exclusively pumping that will walk you through everything you need to know. This includes:
- What you need to get started.
- Pumping schedules.
- Tips for self care when producing volumes of milk.
- Pumping FAQs.
As we have discussed throughout this article, a pleasant breast pumping experience is all about removing points of resistance and inconvenience.
With all this in mind, our recommendation for the best breast pump is the Medela Pump in Style Advanced.
It is easy to use, and the kit comes with everything you need to pump on the go, including a tote bag, cooler with ice packs, storage bottles, and optional battery compartment.
Moms swear by this pump, praising its strength and durability as well as the Medela name.
Even though the initial price tag may be a bit of a shock, it is well worth the investment for the amount of use you will get out of it.