Worked for the mothers after several years, we know firsthand the challenges of trying to pump enough milk during hectic workdays. After those first sweet months of maternity leave end, providing your baby with your breastmilk requires some strategic planning. But having the right breast pump makes balancing a career and breastfeeding possible.
When it comes to choosing a breast pump as a working mom, you’ll find yourself deciding between manual and electric options. I’ve pumped with both over the years and can speak to the pros and cons of each. Keep reading for an in-depth look at what to consider when purchasing the perfect work pump for your situation.
When Do Working Moms Need A Breast Pump？
Working mothers typically need a breast pump when they plan to continue breastfeeding after returning to work. The main situations when a working mom would need to pump breast milk at work include:
- To Maintain Milk Supply - Regular pumping sessions (every 2-3 hours) are required to maintain adequate milk production when mom and baby are separated for extended periods during the workday. Pumping mimics feeding at the breast.
- To Provide Breastmilk for Daycare - Pumping allows mom to build up a supply of breastmilk that caregivers can bottle feed the baby while she is working. This allows baby to still receive breastmilk.
- To Relieve Discomfort - Pumping can relieve full, painful breasts when milk builds up during the workday since baby isn't feeding. It prevents issues like mastitis.
- To Allow for Flexibility - Having pumped milk allows working moms flexibility if meetings or appointments run long. Caregivers can bottle feed expressed milk.
- For Business Travel - Pumping ensures mom can provide breastmilk and not have to supplement with formula if she travels for work and is away from the baby.
Overall, breast pumps allow working moms to meet their breastfeeding goals and continue providing breastmilk for their baby even when separated. Pumping at work helps mom, baby, and caregivers. More benefits of breast pump: The Benefits of Hands-free Pumping Bra for Moms at Work
What Are the Different Types of Breast Pumps?
There are two main types of breast pumps:
- Manual Pumps: Operated by hand, not electric. Typically have a handle that is squeezed to create suction. Portable and inexpensive but time consuming.
- Electric Pumps: Use a motor to create suction. More efficient than manual.
In the following part, we will take a closer look at the details of mannual pump and electric pump.
Manual Breast Pumps: Simple and Budget-Friendly
Manual breast pumps are operated by hand, without any electrical power required. Typically, you use one hand to squeeze a lever or trigger to create suction. The suction then expresses milk from the breast through attached tubing and into a collection bottle.
Manual pumps have some advantages:
- Cost effective - Manual pumps are the most budget-friendly options, ranging from $30-50 typically. This makes them the choice for moms on a strict budget.
- Portable and compact - Smaller and lighter than electric pumps. The mini sizes easily fit into a tote bag or briefcase to pump on-the-go. This makes them convenient for pumping at your desk or in your car discreetly.
- Simple to use and maintain - Not much assembly required and parts are easy to clean. Few pieces to wash makes them less complicated.
However, the downsides of manual pumps for working moms are:
- Time and labor intensive - Can take 30+ minutes to fully empty breasts. This is tiring on the hands and tough to find time for during a busy work day.
- Not designed for exclusive pumping - Manual pumps are best for occasional use, not frequent daily pumping required as a working mother. Difficult to get the volume of milk your baby needs.
- Not as effective at triggering let-down - The suction mimics baby's suckling less effectively than electric. This may make pumping output lower and milk removal slower.
Electric Pumps: Efficient Milk Removal for Busy Moms
Electric breast pumps use a motorized unit to create suction and collect milk. They efficiently empty the breasts by mimicking baby’s suckling closely. Benefits of electric pumps include:
- Strong suction removes milk quickly - Most moms can fully empty both breasts in 10-15 minutes with an electric pump. This saves precious time when you have a busy day in the office ahead.
- Collects more milk in less time - The faster and thorough emptying prevents supply issues from infrequent pumping at work. Your baby will get the full nutritional benefits.
- Features like massage mode, suction levels, and speed settings provide options to optimize output and comfort. This high-level of control means you can customize sessions to what works best for your body.
- Designed for exclusive, frequent pumping - Electric pumps are the best choice if you’ll be away from baby for extended periods multiple times a week. You can rely on them for all your pumping needs.
- Prevents clogged ducts or mastitis - The thorough emptying you don't get from a manual pump means milk won't back up or cause issues in your breasts.
Potential cons of electric pumps are:
- Expensive - Hospital-grade models range from $200-$300 or more. But this cost might be made up by saving money on formula.
- Less portable - Electric pumps have a motor unit that requires batteries to make portable. But some battery operated styles are compact for transporting.
- Challenging discreetness - Pump motors can be noisy. This makes it hard to pump totally unnoticed at your desk or other shared spaces at work.
- More parts and care required - Electric pumps have more parts and detailed cleaning requirements that take more effort. Proper cleaning is crucial though to avoid mold or bacteria buildup.
Related reading: Should I Switch to Wearable Electric Breast Pump?
The Key Differences between Manual and Electric Breast Pumps
Based on the detailed information about mannual pumps and electric pumps we have just shared, we have summarized the key differences between the two types of pumps:
- Power Source - Manual pumps operate through manual hand expression. Electric pumps use an electrical power source to generate suction.
- Suction Strength - Electric pumps generate much stronger suction that better mimics baby's sucking. Manual pumps create lighter suction.
- Pumping Speed - Electric pumps express milk faster, typically under 15 minutes per session. Manual pumping takes 30+ minutes to fully empty the breasts.
- Pumping Volume - The stronger suction of electric pumps removes more milk in less time. This prevents supply issues. Manual pumps work well for occasional use.
- Portability - Manual pumps are smaller and don't require batteries or power. Some electric pumps are battery operated though for transport.
- Convenience - Electric pumps allow mothers to pump hands-free while doing other tasks. Manual pumping occupies both hands.
- Cleaning - Electric pumps tend to have more parts and require more detailed cleaning. Manual pumps are easier to clean.
- Cost - Manual pumps are far less expensive, around $30-$50. Electric pumps range from $100 into the $300s.
- Comfort - Some moms find manual pumps give them more control over suction pressure and comfort levels.
In summary, electric pumps are more efficient, effective at removing milk, and convenient while manual pumps are more affordable and compact.
Key Factors for Working Moms to Consider When Deciding between Mannual and Electric Pumps
When deciding between manual and electric breast pumps, keep these factors in mind:
- How much time do you have? Manual pumping takes significantly longer. Electric is best for busy moms who need to empty quickly and efficiently at work.
- Can you pump discreetly? Electric motors are louder. Manual may work better if you lack privacy and need to be very discreet.
- Will you pump frequently? Electric prevents supply issues from sporadic pumping. This makes them ideal for exclusive pumping.
- Is portability crucial? Some electric are battery operated for transport but others must be plugged in. Manual pumps are smallest for packing.
- What’s your budget? Manual pumps are cheapest but the savings on formula may justify the cost of electric.
Related info about better to get the milk flowing by breast pump
Our Top Recommendations
Based on most of mothers' feedback and our experience, we usually recommend is investing in an electric pump for efficient pumping at work and having a manual as a backup for weekends and portable needs. This gives you the best of both - fast/thorough pumping during your work hours when needed, plus a portable and simplistic option for home or travel.
If your budget truly only allows one pump, an electric with battery option is best for most working moms who need to pump frequently and exclusively. Our top recommendation of an ideal electric pump would be Momcozy S12 Pro Wearable Breast Pump. The Momcozy S12 Pro Wearable Breast Pump would be an excellent electric pump option for working moms for several reasons:
- Portability - It is a lightweight, discreet wearable pump that fits inside a regular nursing bra. This allows working moms to pump hands-free and with privacy. The wireless design gives moms flexibility to pump anywhere.
- Efficiency - The S12 Pro has adjustable suction levels to quickly and thoroughly empty breasts in less than 30 minutes. This saves precious time when pumping at work.
- Quiet - The pump has whisper-quiet operation. Moms can pump in shared work spaces without disturbing others, an important feature for discretion.
- Rechargeable - It has a built-in rechargeable battery so no cords are required. Moms can pump anywhere without outlets. The long battery life allows for multiple pumping sessions.
- BPA/Latex Free - Made of skin-safe silicone, it provides comfort and avoids irritants with mom's sensitive skin and breastmilk.
- Easy Cleaning - With only 5 parts that detach and go in the dishwasher, it simplifies the cleaning process. Working moms have limited time to sterilize pump parts.
- Dual Pumping - It allows pumping both breasts simultaneously, maximizing efficiency.
In general, the wearability, portability, quietness, and rechargeable power make the Momcozy S12 Pro ideal for busy working mothers needing to pump frequently and discreetly at work.
Another takeaway is to talk to other working moms, read online reviews, and consult your lactation consultant to decide what balance of efficiency and portability suits your needs. Every mom’s pumping needs are unique.
And remember to take full advantage of breast pumping laws - being able to regularly pump during your work day is your legal right! Find the perfect pump fit for you to provide your baby with that “liquid gold” while still shining as a working woman. With the right tools and determination, you’ve got this mama!
Read more about breast pump:
- Why Working Moms Should Use a Breast Pump?
- Breastfeeding FAQs: If I Wait to Nurse, Will My Milk Supply Increase?
- Breastfeeding Diet 101: What to Eat While Breastfeeding