Best forMoms who pump frequently and want a pump they can take anywhere
Top BenefitsEasy to transport, strong suction, can be used with batteries
ConsiderationsLouder motor compared to other pumps, benefits from hands-free pumping bustier, delicate membrane
Bottom lineA compact and portable option for moms who need to pump on the go or those who need more powerful suction
Built into a small black backpack or a black tote bag, the compact Medela Pump In Style Double Electric Breast Pump is portable and powerful—it has the strongest suction of all the pumps we tested. With only one dial to adjust suction and one button to switch between stimulation and expression phases, the controls are super simple. But actually making adjustments while trying to hold on to the collection bottles can get a little tricky, so you may find it's easiest to use this pump with a hands-free accessory, like a pumping bra or bustier.
With only five parts to put together (collection bottle, breast shield, membrane, etc.), all of our parent testers found the Medela Pump In Style Double Electric Breast Pump easy to assemble and disassemble. The manual features photos of the pump rather than illustrations, which eliminates a lot of guess work when it comes to which pieces connect to each other. Our testers all said the instructions were easy to follow, and they were able to start using their pumps quickly after an initial sterilizing boil of the appropriate parts. One of our testers noted that, at times, the tubing would disconnect from the pump, though none of the others had similar issues.
All of our parent testers said they were able to pump without discomfort while using the Medela Pump In Style Double Electric Breast Pump. The majority found that the 24-mm breast shields that come with the pump fit perfectly, but Medela offers four additional sizes: 21 mm, 27 mm, 30 mm and 36 mm. The right fit is essential to comfortable, efficient pumping.
With a super paired-down control panel—only one adjustment dial and let-down button—we like how simple it is to use the Medela Pump In Style. When you first start a pumping session, the pump is in stimulation phase to get your breastmilk flowing; this mimics the way a baby suckles when they first latch during a feeding. After two minutes, the pump automatically switches to the expression phase, but if your milk starts to flow before the two-minute mark, or if two minutes of stimulation is not enough, simply pressing the let-down button will switch between the phases.
Aside from comfort, suction and leakage are the two main issues that can make pumping a trial. The Medela Pump In Style Double Electric Breast Pump provides strong suction, which allowed our parent testers to pump efficiently. One of our testers did note, however, that she had to lean forward while pumping to get optimal suction and flow. Feedback from our mom testers was mostly positive when it came to breastmilk leakage. All but one of our testers experienced either no leaking or a few drops of leakage every so often. Only one of our testers experienced issues with repeated leaking around the breast shield, and she generally had issues with getting an airtight seal between her breast and the breast shield. The majority of our testers told us that their breasts felt fully drained after a pumping session, and none experienced any nipple pain, cracking or bleeding while using the Pump In Style.
As with many double electric breast pumps, you can use the Medela Pump In Style as a single pump—all it takes is a simple adjustment to the tubing and you're good to go. The pump also comes with a handy battery pack that requires eight AA batteries. The testers who used the battery pack were satisfied with the amount of pumping time the batteries provided.
Most of our testers agreed or somewhat agreed that it's easy to use this pump in a dark room, but that likely won't be a huge concern because this pump is on the noisy end of the spectrum, and most felt they couldn't pump in the same room as a sleeping baby or partner.
In our lab tests, we used a noise meter to measure the volume of pumps by setting the pump at its highest setting and pressing the breast shields against our skin. Of all the double electric breast pumps that we tested, the Medela Pump In Style Double Electric Breast Pump was the noisiest, though it's worth noting that lullabies played at a low volume would be enough to drown out the purr of this pump.
One mom reported that she didn't feel comfortable pumping in the same room where her child was sleeping for fear of waking her up, and none of our testers felt completely confident that the noise wouldn't wake up a sleeping partner if pumping in the same room. That being said, the vast majority of our parent testers only described the noise as “somewhat loud.”
This pump is fairly easy to sterilize, clean by hand and clean in the dishwasher. (Note: As with any pump, check the instructions for which parts are dishwasher-safe.) After cleaning, the majority of our parent testers noticed condensation in the tubing and were divided on how easy it was to clear out. We found the pump’s valve membrane to be quite small and delicate compared to other membranes that we've come across in our lab testing. A damaged membrane can impact the pump’s suction, so you'll want to handle them with a little extra TLC. However, if it does get damaged or lost, replacements are readily available at a low cost.
Having a pump built into a backpack or tote is super functional and makes transport a breeze. All of our testers agreed that the system was compact and most found it lightweight and easy to pack up and transport. We also appreciated that the breast milk collection bottles that come with the Pump In Style are compatible with all other Medela pumps and the Calma feeding system.
It's worth noting that a couple of our parent testers found it somewhat difficult to detach the bottles from the pump without spilling any milk. To help avoid this, Medela suggests unplugging the tubing from the back of the breast shields before disconnecting the bottles.
Our mom testers unanimously rated the quality and performance of the Medela Pump In Style Double Electric Breast Pump as very good, with the value ranging between good and average—which makes sense given its higher-end-of-the-range price tag. The majority of testers said they were very satisfied with the pump, and one even noted that the Pump In Style was a much better than other pumps she had used in the past. Every one of our testers said they would purchase this pump and would recommend it to another parent. With its convenient backpack design, strong suction, quality construction and compatibility with other products in the Medela range, the Pump In Style is well worthy of the Today's Parent Approved seal.