Although this is a guide on the best manual breast pumps, if I’m honest with you, my first experience with manual breast pumps was not very good: no matter how hard I tried and how bad it was, there was no way to express milk and on top of that I ended up with the shattered hand of hit the damn crowbar.
I thought that this pumping thing was not for me, but after learning a bit and asking the pediatrician and several mothers, I realized that I simply had not chosen the right model.
Now I am delighted with the new breast pump that I have which is luxurious and has gotten me out of more than one and two troubles.
This guide will help you with the process of choosing a breast pump, to avoid wasting your money with a useless device or getting frustrated thinking that you are the only one who cannot use one. You will also find recommendations and characteristics of the manual breast pumps best valued by pediatricians and mothers (with options for all budgets). Hope this can help you!
5 Best Manual Breast Pump For Everyday Use
- Philips AVENT Breast SCF330/30 Pump Manual
- Medela Silicone Breast Milk Collector
- Haakaa Manual Breast Pump for Breastfeeding
- Medela Manual Breast Pump
- Chicco Manual Breast Pump Natfeeling Stepup
Next, I leave you a list with the most guaranteed models of best manual breast pump for everyday use, both by pediatricians and by the experience of many mothers satisfied with the results obtained.
Philips AVENT Breast SCF330/30 Pump Manual
This is the best manual pump in the market, these breast pumps, like the rest of philips avent brand models, have been designed with a total focus on comfort and ease of use.
Like their electric cousins, they have a massage cushion in the cup that is very pleasant to the touch and that facilitates the extraction, stimulating the flow of milk. In addition, the milk flows perfectly into the collector (bottle) even if you sit upright, without having to lean forward. This adds even more convenience to the extraction process.
On the other hand, its small size and lightness will allow you to take it everywhere easily. They are assembled in just 3 steps, they have few parts and the best thing. all parts can be washed in the dishwasher. Enough things we wash by hand every day!
I also like the fact that the parts are standard for all Avent food products. Thus, you could use, for example, the bottle of this breast pump in an electric one.
In the box of the SCF330 / 20 model comes the breast pump with a collecting bottle that serves as a bottle, an extra soft silicone nipple and a sealing disk so you can store the milk. Also includes 2 packs with 2 samples of absorbent pads for day and night.
The main drawback that I see with this breast pump is the capacity of the bottle (bottle) which is 125 mL, a tad fair for my taste.
If, like me, you are one of those who need a slightly larger bottle, you have the option of the SCF330 / 13 model, which has exactly the same characteristics but, instead of a bottle, it comes with 3 180 mL collecting cups. In addition, the good thing about these glasses is that the lid is anti-fun, so even if you put it in your bag for example, not a drop comes out. The pack also includes the silicone nipple.
Medela Silicone Breast Milk Collector
Medela is one of the best manual breast pump. This breast pump is the main competitor to the Philips Avent models that we have just seen in terms of quality and satisfaction of the mothers who have used it. Medela is a leading brand in baby products, one of its main strengths being breast pumps.
The main differential characteristic of this breast pump is that it has two-phase extraction technology that will allow you to perform faster and easier extractions thanks to the handle with two positions that very well mimics the way your baby would suck:
- In the stimulation phase, which facilitates the descent of the milk, the short part is used to produce quick and short movements
- In the extraction phase, the long part is used, which produces longer and slower suctions to help the milk flow.
Therefore, it is a very comfortable pump to use, since it allows you to control both the force and the speed of the extraction.
Continuing with the handle, its ergonomic shape also stands out, which will make your extractions more comfortable and will avoid ending up with a sore hand at the end of each extraction.
It is quite compact and light, as well as very easy to assemble, making it a very good option to use anywhere. To this must be added that it is very silent, so you can use it anywhere without becoming the center of attention.
Another point for convenience is provided by the fact that all parts are dishwasher safe, saving you time and effort.
Also, I am a big fan of the Calma teat, which is included with the breast pump. This nipple mimics the nipple not only in the way but in that your baby will have to strain to express the milk from the bottle (as he would when sucking on the breast). Thus, you reduce the possibility that your little one gets used to the baby too soon and does not want to breastfeed.
Along with the Calma breast pump and nipple, comes an extra bottle and a base that allows you to hold the bottle if you need to stop at some point during the extraction, avoiding spills.
Haakaa Manual Breast Pump for Breastfeeding
Medela Manual Breast Pump
Chicco Manual Breast Pump Natfeeling Stepup
The well-known Italian children’s brand Chicco has renewed its chicco manual breast pump to achieve a more ergonomic handle, a more comfortable, and pleasant silicone cup that adapts very well to most breasts.
The cup has silicone spiral ripples that massage the breast to help the milk flow with a soft and pleasant touch.
In this way, Chicco has managed to improve its breast pump and make it one of the favorites of many mothers.
It also highlights the valve that helps to regulate the intensity of the extraction, being able to adapt it to your needs at all times.
As you already know, another point that adds comfort for me is the possibility of putting the pieces in the dishwasher, and here Chicco does not disappoint us either.
The breast pump is compatible with Chicco bottles. In addition, it comes with a nipple to be able to breastfeed your little one directly from the collecting bottle at the end of the extraction.
The weak point of this breast pump is that it is a bit heavier and bulkier than the other models we have discussed. Therefore, if you are going to use it a lot outside the home, it may not be the most suitable option.
When To Choose a Manual Breast Pump
Let’s start with the essentials: is a manual pump the best option for you? In general, this is the ideal option if you are going to express milk occasionally:
- If you are going to be away from home for a few hours from time to time
- To finish emptying your breasts when your little one has suckled little
- You need to decongest your breasts or in case of engorgement
- You will be a few days without being able to breastfeed (for a trip, for example)
- You have to take medication for a few days but you don’t want your milk to decrease
- You want to learn how to use a breast pump (the manuals are somewhat simpler) before you start using an electric one every day
Keep in mind that the main difference between a manual and an electric pump is who will perform the extraction work: yourself or the motor of the device. Therefore, if you are going to use it frequently (every day) it would possibly be more appropriate for you to opt for an electric breast pump that will be faster and more comfortable.
If you are still in doubt, you can take a look at this guide that I have written on best electric breast pumps. It has been my next field of research now that I am about to return to work and I need a device to help me every day.
From my point of view, the main advantages of a manual pump are:
They are usually quite compact and quiet, so they will be ideal if you want to do extractions outside the home without adding another huge bulk to your bag or being the center of attention. You can even use it while you are in the car, as long as you are not driving.
In addition, they are easier to assemble and clean (they have fewer parts than electric breast pumps), saving you some time, which is appreciated when the hours of the day seem to disappear without knowing very well how, does it sound to you?
Without forgetting something very important: the price! You can find a simple but decent model starting at $ 10-15. However, from my own experience, I recommend that you don’t skimp on price. Better to spend a little more on a good breast pump, than to save $ 15 and have a useless machine at home.
Finally, these breast pumps allow you to have total control over the extraction, since you yourself will be the one who will adapt the speed, intensity and pauses in the suction at all times.
- Easy to use, assemble and clean (few parts)
- More economical, silent and discreet than an electric one
- Small and light
- You can do the extraction at your own pace
- It can be a bit tiring
- Lower extraction speed
- Not recommended for frequent use
When choosing your extractor, the most important points that you should keep in mind are:
Comfort and Cup Adjustment
Breast pumps that have various cup sizes have the advantage that you will have plan B if the one that comes by default does not fit your breasts (or one of them). Think that using a funnel of the wrong size can cause you discomfort and unnecessarily lengthen each extraction. In addition, if the cup is soft, rounded and with anatomical adaptation, your extractions will be more pleasant and comfortable.
Make sure that the crank is comfortable to hold and operate because you will have to repeat the same movement many times and a good lever will make you less tired.
It is important that it is easy to assemble, disassemble, clean and sterilize. Think that you do it many times! Therefore, the fewer parts it has, the less work you will have. For me an extra point is that, in addition, the pieces can be washed in the dishwasher.
Breast pumps such as the Medela Harmony, thanks to its adjustable lever, have perfected the extraction process by dividing it into 2 phases, as your baby would: a first one of rapid suction to stimulate the descent of milk and a second of slower suction for the milk to flow optimally.
Essential that the parts that will be in contact with your milk are free of BPA (Bisphenol-A) and other materials that can be toxic for your little one.
My breast pump came with a base to hold it, which has saved my life (and that of the sofa) on more than one occasion that I have had to stop in the middle of the extraction avoiding the drop of the bottle and the milk will spill. Bags are also useful to transport it, as well as that; it comes with an extra container to store the milk.
If a component fails, you will greatly appreciate that it is easy to replace (I tell you from experience!). Big brands like Medela and Philips have the advantage that they are sold everywhere, making it very easy to get all kinds of spare parts.
Don’t skimp on the breast pump. It is a device that will be of great help to you, as long as it works well (when it does not work, I assure you it is frustrating). A poor quality breast pump can become a useless junk. If you are going to use them so little that you think it is not worth investing for a good model, I advise you to rent it before buying a bad one.
What Accessories Will I Need?
Most breast pumps have a bottle that can be used directly as a bottle. Even if so, it is quite useful to have an extra bottle to alternate between them and to be able to store the milk in one while you use another to feed your baby.
My recommendation is that you try to use the nipples specially designed for breastfeeding, especially if you want to alternate breastfeeding with the use of the breast pump. The one I like the most is the Medela (Calma teat) which has a special shape that mimics the mechanism and anatomy of the breast.
In this way, you have to suck to activate the milk out of the bottle and the baby does not become “lazy” as it sometimes happens with normal bottles, where the milk flows effortlessly. This will prevent your baby from rejecting the breast as much as possible when you start using a bottle.
Crown jewel. For me, they are the most comfortable and easiest way to store milk after pumping. They can be easily stored anywhere, you can take them with you without the need for cumbersome packages and you make sure that they will always be well free of microbes when you use them, since every time you release a new one.
Of the ones I have tried, the ones I like the most are the Philips Avent ones because they seem to me the most practical. However, if your breast pump is Medela, it may be more convenient for you to use the brand’s own, which are very well coupled to the breast pump.
Disposable Absorbent Pads
Whether you use breast pumps or breastfeed your baby, it is very possible that you will use them to avoid staining your clothes (especially at times of peak production). For me, the important points when choosing them is that they are large (about 4 cm), thick so you do not have to change them at all times and that they have an adhesive to stick to the bra.
Bottle warmer is super useful to warm the bottles comfortably and quickly, ensuring that the milk is always at the optimal temperature for your little one. Personally, I totally discard the microwave option, both for safety and loss of nutrients and because the milk does not heat evenly and it is difficult to control the temperature.
All the pots that you are going to use to feed your little one (which are not few among bibs, breast pumps, jars, etc.) must be sterilized frequently, so I recommend that you buy a sterilizer instead of being every two for three boiling water. You have them of all kinds:
- Microwave sterilizer: a special container to which a little water is added and left in the micro 5-6 min.
- Steam sterilizer: like a kettle that has a small compartment for pouring water.
- Cold sterilizer: tablets that are added to the water in which you put the pots.
How Should I Use a Manual Breast Pump?
Manual breast pumps are quite easy to use; you just have to get the hang of it. Even so, it is normal that at first, it costs a little or little milk comes out. Be patient, you will see how with some practice you will quickly become an expert.
The steps to follow:
- Before you start using your breast pump for the first time, carefully look at the instructions to familiarize yourself with the device.
- Place the funnel (cup) of the breast pump on your chest. Make sure that the nipple fits comfortably: without rubbing (too small) and without the areola slipping into the suction zone (too large).
- He begins to operate the lever rhythmically. It usually helps if you start with quick and short movements (it helps to stimulate the rise in milk) and, once the milk is flowing, you move on to making longer and deeper movements. Don’t worry, it’s normal if the milk takes a few minutes to start flowing. It usually helps to massage the breast from the periphery towards the areola and the nipple; with special emphasis on the hardest areas, (this is where there is more milk).
- Continue sucking until no more milk comes out of the breast (usually about 10 minutes) and switch breasts to do the process again. Another option is to alternate the breasts every 5 minutes.
- When you finish with the second breast, you can go back to the first and get some more milk.
- If you are going to store the milk , I recommend the storage bags since they are comfortable, easy to transport and you make sure that they will always be sterile (do not reuse them). Write the date of extraction with a permanent marker and store it in the fridge or freezer.
When you have practice, you may be able to operate the breast pump with one hand, which will give you a little more freedom while you pump or allow you to have your little one suckling from the other breast at the same time.
Eye! The extraction process should NOT be painful. It may be somewhat uncomfortable or annoying the first few times, but if you feel pain, try repositioning your breast in the cup and slow down the suction. If it’s still painful, you may be wearing the wrong cup size. Here is a video that explains how to choose the correct size.
How Can I Make It Easier To Express Milk?
At first, it is normal that it takes a bit for the milk to come out. Here are some tips that can help you:
Find a quiet, comfortable and warm place where you feel comfortable. It may seem silly but it is the most important thing. If you are uncomfortable or nervous, the milk will come out with more difficulty and you will become even more stressed, making the process even more difficult.
Think of Your Little One
Keep your baby close (so you can see him) or look at a picture of him. I don’t know if it will be a placebo effect but the fact is that. it usually works!
Stimulate The Breast
Try massaging the breast from the periphery towards the nipple before and during the extraction. It can also help to put something warm on your chest before you start. I like (when I can) take a warm shower just before I start. The heat dilates the conductive vessels, facilitating extraction and also helps me relax.
That simple. The more pumping’s you do, the more you stimulate milk production. Also, try to empty your breasts well each time. The body is wise, if it notices that there is still milk left, the production is reduced so as not to overload your breasts.
At first, it may cost you a little to get the milk out. Do not despair; practice will make it a quick and easy process in no time.
- What is the difference between the SFC330 / 13 and SFC330 / 20?
They are the same in terms of pump characteristics. The only difference is that the SFC330 / 20 model comes with a bottle while the SFC330 / 13 comes with 3 cups that are attached to the breast pump to store milk (although the nipple also comes so that you can give your baby milk directly from the cup ).
- Can you put both natural and classic bottles?
You can put any Avent brand bottle because they have the same thread. You just have to put the blue adapter that goes in the box because the glasses it carries are wider. Also, the glasses are very good, I now use them for fruit.
- Can all parts like baby bottles be hot sterilized?
Yes, without problem.
- Does it include the adapter to express the milk directly to the milk storage containers?
Yes, it is included. You store directly in the containers.
- Can the Calma teat be used with the collection bottle of the breast pump?
Yes, it is placed directly and you can now use it as a bottle.
- I have been told that it comes with several funnels of different sizes for the nipples, is it true?
The breast pump comes with a standard funnel (cup). If you need another size, you have 4 more sizes available, but you have to buy it separately.
- Does it make noise? I have to express my milk in public places and I am a bit hesitant that it sounds a lot.
It hardly makes noise. They are like light puffs.
- The rubber part of the diaphragm (the part that goes inside the lever), does it also have to be boiled to sterilize it.
Everything that comes in contact with milk has to be sterilized, so yes.
How Much Milk Can I Express?
As I have already told you, at first it is normal that no more than a few drops come out. The practice will lead you to more or less rapid and abundant extractions in which you will be able to completely empty your breasts.
The amount of milk will depend on several factors: how many hours have passed since the last expression or time your baby has breastfed, the practice you have, how relaxed you are, the breast pump you use, etc.
In general, when you already have some practice and breastfeeding is well established, the amount of milk per day that you can express (if you exclusively use a breast pump) is usually between 750 and 1,035 mL.
Even so, it is normal that:
- Have more milk in the morning
- The volume of milk you express decreases throughout the day
- Both breasts produce different amounts