Manual vs. Electric Breast Pump – BabyBuddha Products
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Manual vs. Electric Breast Pump
by Team BabyBuddha

New moms are often overwhelmed with all kinds of decisions. This is especially true when it comes to breast pumps. With thousands of different kinds of breast pumps on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you.

By looking at your lifestyle, you can narrow it down between the two most common types: the manual vs electric breast pump.

This guide can help you decide which type of breast pump will best suit your needs. So, that's one less decision you'll have to make.

Manual vs. Electric Breast Pump: Which Is Right for You?

Manual and electric breast pumps both have their pros and cons. Deciding which one is right for you is a completely personal choice. However, there are a few factors you should keep in mind when choosing a breast pump.

For starters, you'll need to know how much you plan on pumping. Lots of moms choose to nurse their babies, and so they won't require as much pumping. But, not all moms have the time to nurse all day and need a pump that does a bit more for them.

The next thing you'll want to consider is your budget. How much are you willing to spend on a breast pump? Do you have insurance that would cover the costs?

And finally, keep in mind how portable you need your breast pump to be. Do you plan on doing a lot of traveling while nursing? Or, are you mostly planning on being at home?

These three considerations will play a major factor in deciding which pump is best for you. Now, let's look at each type to determine how each type of breast pump stacks up.

Manual Breast Pumps


The classic breast pump, manual breast pumps have been used for years. They have a lot of benefits, especially if you're on a budget. But, there are also a few drawbacks.

Pros of Manual Breast Pumps

To begin with, manual breast pumps are usually pretty cost-efficient. In fact, you can get a top-of-the-line manual pump for around $40 or less. That definitely won't break the bank.

It may be good to begin with a manual breast pump, especially if you've never used a pump before. This can help you determine how much you'll actually need it, as well as help you get familiar with pumping before making a major investment.

Additionally, manual pumps are great for travel. They're easily portable and don't require any access to outlets or electricity. They also provide new mothers with complete control over the suction and speed of the pump.

If you've never breastfed before or plan on traveling quite a bit, a manual breast pump may be the best bet. They can help you stay comfortable and are ready to go wherever you are.

Cons of Manual Breast Pumps

Despite the benefits, there are a few drawbacks to manual breast pumps. They don't collect as much milk as an electrical breast pump. In fact, they're far less efficient. 

For busy or working moms, this may be a pretty big problem. Manual breast pumps can take a lot of time and effort, especially if you need a lot of milk. Some mothers grow very tired during manual breast pumping, as it is all done by hand.

If you only plan on pumping occasionally, though, a manual breast pump is relatively risk-free! 

Electric Breast Pumps

Electric breast pumps were developed to help working moms collect all the milk necessary for a hungry baby. They are incredibly efficient, but there are still a few drawbacks to consider. Still, you may find the benefits outweigh the costs.

Pros of Electric Breast Pumps

For moms that need to pump daily, electric breast pumps are ideal. They are especially useful for working mothers who are unable to nurse as frequently and therefore need a high volume of milk.

Electric breast pumps are also useful for mothers who need to produce more milk, as they can help express more milk from the mammaries. Double pumps can make this process even quicker.

For most modern mothers on the go, electric breast pumps are a godsend. Additionally, most electric pumps come with special carrying bags or backpacks designed to keep expressed milk cool.

Cons of Electric Breast Pumps

There are some drawbacks of electric breast pumps that must be considered, however. For starters, electric breast pumps tend to be much heavier, bulkier, and louder than their manual counterparts. They also generally require the use of electricity.

Modern technology is working to make electric breast pumps lighter, quieter, and battery-operated, however. But, they still aren't great for travel.

Additionally, electric breast pumps are much more costly than manual pumps. Most electric pumps are around the $100 range or more. So, they definitely aren't super budget-friendly.

Still, if you're planning on feeding your baby mostly expressed milk, they can be well worth the investment. They're also useful if you're feeding multiple babies, or plan on having more in the future.

How to Pump

Whether you decide on a manual or electric breast pump, the process for pumping is pretty much the same. For a manual pump, you'll have to do a bit more work, but you'll still need to follow the same steps.

It is important to pump for at least 15 minutes, even if milk stops flowing, in order to stimulate the milk supply. You might pump for longer, depending on your flow.

The steps for pumping are as follows:

  1. Read the pump instructions
  2. Wash your hands
  3. Clean the pump
  4. Center the nipple in the flanges and lean forward
  5. Pump at slow speed with low suction
  6. Pump for 7 minutes
  7. Stop and massage the breast for 1 minute
  8. Pump for 7 more minutes
  9. Store the milk and keep cool

And it's just that simple! 

Making the Right Choice for You

Now that you know the difference between the manual vs electric breast pump, you can more easily make your decision. It really all depends on your needs and wants as a mother.

Contact us today to found out how you can get your breast pump covered through insurance!

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