The First Years Natural Comfort Premium
Average price, $140
The First Years is a company that many moms know and trust, but breaking into the breastfeeding market is a new move for them. The price and availability for this product are both quite good but we tend to stick with what we’re sure will work, particularly when it comes to investments like both breastfeeding and the costly equipment associated with it.
I’m happy to see that the flanges are made for comfort and suction, but I’m not sure I care for the style of the pump. It seems awkward, even though it’s designed to be easier. Perhaps it would just take some getting used to.
It does come in a bag for transportation and includes a breastmilk storage cooler. It has individual controls for each side.
This product is mass marketed through the Wal-Mart chain, and it is advertised as being hospital-grade. I haven’t tried the pump so I can’t tell you if it is, in fact, hospital grade. The reviews I’ve seen of it don’t look good. I know that the competition (hospital grade double electric) sold by Medela runs 4 times the cost of this pump, so at this point I would say that caution is warranted.
Bailey Nurture III
Average price, $150
Because of the low cost and high availability of this pump, I would be remiss in not mentioning it.
This pump is a single-person short-term use pump, so if that’s all you need, I wouldn’t rule it out.
It does have its good points. The cost, for one, is great. However, other pumps have come on the market for about the same cost that I feel are better for women. The other pumps that I have used make this one seem very outdated.
While you have ultimate control over the power of the suction (by the dial) and the length of the draw, much of the pumping action is handled manually. I found this very frustrating because you have to navigate the tubes to cover a hole on the top of one of the flanges. It is not comfortable, and will leave marks on your finger or thumb because you have to create a seal over the hole.
The tubes are not sealed away from the pump, so they need to be cleaned more often than you would expect. Also, parts that don’t typically need replacing on other pumps will need regular replacements on the Nurture III. If you can find these parts locally, that is fine. You can order them on their website as well.
The pump was also loud, and I didn’t really care for that.
It is compact, which is one of its best selling points. However, many of the pumps on the market now are also compact and are much more stylish. It comes with a small bag that stores all that you need (including extra supplies) and a breastmilk storage cooler.
Average price, $150
I can’t help but like Lansinoh. The company and the products it offers have left me smiling more than a few times. I’m glad to see that they finally came out with a double electric pump.
I haven’t personally used it yet, but I’ve heard about it and the price is great. It doesn’t offer as many options as some other pumps which can cost $100+ more, but I’ve grown to trust the brand name and am impressed with the fact that it is an every day use pump for the same cost as the Nurture III, without a lot of the grief.
It still offers multiple power sources but it doesn’t come with a bag or storage. These are not difficult to find in this day and age so I don’t see it as much of an issue. For the mom who pumps at home or doesn’t need to transport her pump, it’s not cost-effective to pay for all the extra things you don’t need anyway.
Evenflo Elan Dual Electric
Average price, $160
Designed similar to the Natural Comfort Premium by The First Years, this pump also advertises one hand dual pumping. Evenflo is another brand name that is well known for bottles and other baby supplies, but is trying to break into the breastfeeding market.
Reviews for this pump were similar to the Natural Comfort Premium, in that it is ineffective and the motor wears out easily. While I have not tried this pump, I would not feel comfortable recommending it to anyone.
Ameda Purely Yours
Average price, $200
The Purely Yours is fairly well-known and is often recommended in place of the Medela Pump in Style as a close second. It has many of the same options as the Pump in Style (reviewed below) for a somewhat lower cost. The only complaint I have heard is that it tends to wear out faster than the Pump in Style, so if you’re looking for short-term or intermittent use, this may be an option for you.
Ameda is another company that has been making breast pumps for quite a while. I personally have used their manual pump and thought it was fantastic.
Medela Pump in Style
Average price, $250
The Medela PIS (Pump in Style) has long been recommended to nursing mothers by lactation consultants. Medela has been in the business of helping mothers to breastfeed for over half a century. With a wide range of products for almost every potential nursing difficulty, Medela has paved the way when it comes to bringing products to the mass market. If you’re into brand loyalty, Medela is an easy way to go.
The PIS is for single-person every day long-term use. While it is not a hospital grade pump (like their Lactina), it is nevertheless a powerful and versatile pump for the investment. The accessories that either come with the pump or are purchased separately make this pump an easy buy for the mom on the go. It comes in a stylish bag or even a backpack, both of which contain a breastmilk storage cooler. It can be powered by AC adapter or batteries. There is even an adapter for your car.
There are several things that I didn’t like about the PIS. For one, you don’t have as much control as I would like over the way that it pumps. I’ve found other pumps to be more versatile in this department. For two, Medela tends to be pricier than other models which offer the same or more options because their products are so much more available. For three, I’ve not found their customer service to be as helpful as other companies I have dealt with.
All in all though, I do recommend this product because it offers the options that most women need to sustain their supply and nurse their babies for as long as they like.
Average price, $250
A relatively new pump from a name that moms have trusted for generations. I had the opportunity to conduct a product test for this pump and I was very impressed. This pump contains a completely enclosed tubing system, so the pump can be shared or sold. All someone would have to do is pick up the tubing and cups and every part of the pump is safe for them to use.
I was also impressed with the amount of control I had, the design (the enclosed tubing makes for easy cleaning), how quiet it was, and how it looked. Inside the large bag that it comes in are 3 other bags. One holds your personal supplies like the cups and tubing. One holds the AC adapter, car adapter, and other accessories, and the third is your breastmilk storage cooler. They are different sizes so you can find them by grabbing, and they have stylish tags to differentiate one from the other. All of those bags fit easily inside the large bag which contains the pump.
Avent Isis iQ
Average price, $349
Avent has repeatedly impressed me with their innovative, quality products and fabulous customer service since I started using them in 2001. Now they’ve come out with a new product, the Avent Isis iQ Duo Twin Electric Breast Pump. The product description states that it has a hospital grade motor, and in seeing the price tag I would believe it. The iQ allows for ultimate control over how the system works for you and has a memory feature to save your settings.
The cups are the same style that I was originally impressed with. They are soft and comfortable and during pumping they gently massage the breast to help with letdown.
Their breast pumps work with the Avent feeding system, which many breastfeeding mothers use when they have to bottlefeed to prevent nipple confusion. Avent also has a host of products including containers that you can pump into and store breastmilk in, saving your costlier bottles for their intended purpose and a new electric sterilizer with advanced features.
Avent uses an enclosed pumping system, so you don’t have to worry about milk backing up into tubing and creating problems with cleaning and hygiene. Their products are also easy to assemble and sterilize and don’t tend to show the wear that other boiled plastic shows quickly.
As I’ve stated, I’ve found their customer service to be extremely helpful. When you have to get extra parts or if you end up with an issue with their product, I’ve little doubt that they will assist you quickly and easily. I’ve even had them send me free upgrades to their old manual pumps because they redesigned them.
Manual pump parts are included when you purchase an iQ, as is adequate breastmilk storage. They also include an instructional DVD.
When choosing a breast pump, it’s important to understand what your needs will be. If you just need a pump for short term use (a couple of months) then the high-end pumps could be overkill, but if you’re really going to need a pump because you have to spend extended time away from your baby, then I would recommend one of the pricier pumps because it will save you a lot in time, money, and sanity down the road. As with all things, you get what you pay for, but there is such a thing as too much.
All in all, I’m happy with the variety of products on the market to meet a mother’s needs. As breastfeeding becomes more popular, the products that we see will continue to expand and change to keep up with the growing need.
I’m happy to see all the new and interesting products on the market, and I’m happy to see mothers breastfeeding and being supported in their decision to do so. Congratulations to all the new and new-again mothers out there and good luck!