Most importantly, hygiene needs to be considered when choosing a breast pump. Is this a pump that won't contaminate my breast milk? The answer is in whether it has an open or closed system. Closed system pumps protect your milk from having dust or bacteria blown into the bottles while you are pumping. The biggest offender in this area are the Medela pumps. They do not offer a closed system and the Medela company does not comply with the codes set up by the World Health Organization so it is easy to rule this brand out.
The next consideration is the function. Is it a double electric auto-cycling breast pump with at least 250mmHG which is milligrams of mercury, a measurement commonly used in measuring strength of suction. Most commonly infants do 220mmHG when they suckle, but since breast pumps suction can depend on which type of power you are using and whether or not the valves and filters or diaphragms have been changed regularly, starting at 250mmHG gives you a little wiggle room. Lansinoh breast pumps only do 220mmHG, so you can rule that one out as well.
Another big consideration is flange fitment. Newer brands like Motif Medical only offer flanges in 24mm and 28mm size. You will want a brand that offers at least four sizes ranging from 20mm to 32mm to find the size that works best for you. In addition as I was doing research on the Motif brand, I noted that several of their replacement parts were out of stock on their website including the all important double pumping kit. In addition, this brand is new on the scene so until more parts and information is available on this company, I would rule them out as well. Evenflo also does not offer a small flange size and not many parts are available individually without buying an entire double pumping kit. I would rule out Evenflo because of this and because they are typically a bottle company so not as invested in your breastfeeding success as you would want them to be.
Ok, enough of the "don't choose this pump" warnings. With 25 years experience
in the breastfeeding industry, which pumps do we recommend?
#1 Choice - Spectra S2 Plus Breast Pump
Pros: The Spectra pump has a two year warranty on the motor, does 250mmHG and offers a wide range of breast flange sizes and replacement part options. We love the night light on the Spectra S2 Plus for exclusively pumping moms or for moms with babies in the NICU that have to pump at night. This pump offers a hygienic closed system using a backflow protector. In addition, a Spectra breast pump parts subscription service for the most important and commonly replaced parts. Cons: Spectra company does not offer a combination cooler carrier tote bag or a car adapter for power, but there are great aftermarket options that cover those needs.
#2 Choice - Hygeia EnJoye Breast Pump
Pros: Quality breast pump with a one year warranty that not only does 250mmHG, but also cycles up to 80 times per minute (the average baby does 60 sucks per minute). Also offers a closed system with an apparelled bacteriostatic filter. Cons: Only three flanges sizes are available in this brand, but the flange connector does fit the Pumpin' Pal brand of angled Supershields, so smaller options can be obtained. To see if your insurance qualifies you for the Hygeia EnJoye, visit the Hygeia website.
#3 Choice - Ameda Finesse
Pros: Ameda has been the most consistently breastfeeding forward company since double electric breastpumps were invented 75 years ago by Einar Egnell who founded the company formerly known as Ameda Egnell. While Ameda pumps do not offer the most whistles and bells on the market, they are consistently good and their quality control is apparelled. They offer a two year warranty on the Ameda Finesse and offer flange sizes and inserts in a wide range of sizes including the Flexishield silicone insert that not only reduces to 22 mm, but is the best made silicone insert on the market today. I have personally seen moms with smaller nipples get an ounce of extra milk with the Ameda flexishield. Ameda was the first to offer a closed system with a diaphragm barrier to protect breast milk. Cons: Not as smooth or quiet as some other pumps, but definitely gets the job done!
#4 Choice ARDO Calypso
Pros: Closed system double electric breast pump with a wide range of flange sizes from 22mm -31mm. They have a one year warranty on the ARDO Calypso and are the only company to offer a insert in a 26mm size silicone flange insert called the Optiflow. Considered quieter than the Ameda Finesse. Cons: This pump is not as popular with moms as the top three choices. I would only choose this one if the other three were not available. Having sold breast pumps for 25 years, I can see the writing on the wall so while this pump may work well for you, I do not know how long this company will be around.
Power is also important! All four of our recommendations: Spectra S2 Plus, Hygeia Enjoye, Ameda Finesse and ARDO Calypso have an AC adapter and either a branded or aftermarket car adapter available. If you need battery power regularly, the Hygeia EnJoye LBI model is a good investment even if it not covered by insurance. While most pumps include a battery compartment, don't rely on AA or AAA batteries for good suction if you can't plug in to an outlet or a car lighter as your pump will not have the same power and your milk supply will suffer. The Hygeia EnJoye LBI Breast Pump model with battery is not usually available through insurance as it is a more expensive model.
This review is for the breast pumps most frequently offered by insurance companies and includes information on Medela, Lansinoh, Motif Medical, Spectra, Hygeia, Ameda and ARDO. If your insurance company offers another brand that you would like us to review, please include it in our comments section and we will update this review as needed.
Best wishes for the best milk expression!