Best forBreastfeeding moms who are feeding their babies breastmilk from a bottle a few times a week
Top BenefitsEasy to assemble and use, good suction strength
ConsiderationsSingle pumps are not as efficient as double pumps if pumping regularly
Bottom lineThe Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump is a high-quality, lightweight pump for moms who want to pump and bottle-feed occasionally
The Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump is a high-quality, lightweight pump that you can use to pump one breast at a time. Like all single pumps, it's best suited to a breastfeeding mom who only needs to pump occasionally—if you're feeding your baby breastmilk from a bottle more than three times a week, you'd likely be happier (and save yourself time) with a double pump. The Swing offers two-phase expression technology to maximize the amount of milk you can collect in a pumping session, and our testers found the pump was effective and easy to use. It doesn't have a timer or a backlit digital display, but for occasional use, simpler is better.
Like all of Medela's breast pumps, the Swing is relatively easy to put together and take apart, especially once you've done it a few times. The pumping component—collection bottle, breast shield, connector, etc.—is made up of five pieces that fit together intuitively. If anything is confusing, however, the Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump comes with a detailed instruction booklet that all of our parent testers agreed is easy to follow. As with any pump, you’ll need to take everything apart for the initial sterilizing boil (but be sure to read the instructions to find out which parts shouldn't be boiled). Once the parts have air-dried, you're ready to reassemble and start pumping.
All of our at-home testers reported that they found it easy to put this pump together, and all but one found it just as easy to take apart. They also all strongly agreed that the bottle attached securely to the connector, which cuts down on the chances that you'll end up accidentally spilling your breastmilk. All of our pumping moms felt that they were able to get started using this pump quickly.
Our parent testers all agreed they were able to use the Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump without any pain or discomfort, and that they were able to sit in a comfortable position while pumping. The Swing comes with just one 24-mm breast shield, but Medela offers four other sizes for purchase if you need something smaller or larger.
The Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump features a grand total of four buttons, so it shouldn't take you more than a few seconds to figure out how it works—there's a power button, one button to increase suction, another to lower it, and a let-down button. You'll know you're at the minimum or maximum suction strength when the green light in the middle of the buttons starts flashing rapidly.
When you first start pumping, the Swing will be in a stimulation phase, which gets your milk flowing by replicating the rapid sucking of a baby who has just started feeding. This phase lasts two minutes, but you can still adjust the suction strength during that time. Or, if your milk starts flowing in under two minutes, you can hit the let-down button to switch the pump into the more laid-back expression phase.
All of our testers were able to get an airtight seal between the breast shield and their breasts. Only one reported light leaking from the breast shield, which she described as a dribble every so often. Our testers all agreed that the pump gave them enough suction strength that they were able to pump efficiently (though it's important to note that, unlike Medela's Freestyle and Symphony double breast pumps, single pumps, including the Swing, do not offer hospital-grade suction strength). The majority of our testers told us their breasts felt fully drained after a pumping session with the Swing, and none reported any new nipple pain or blocked ducts while testing.
Our testers told us they were able to use the Swing in a dark or dimply lit room—the limited number of buttons keeps things easy. If you're looking to pump hands-free, our testers said it was easy to use the Swing with a pumping bra.
In our lab tests, we used a sound meter to measure noise levels by setting the pump at its highest setting and pressing the breast shield against our skin. The Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump was one of the quietest single pumps we tested, but the sound was still quite noticeable—think a loud, intermittent purr. One of our testers described the Swing as “very loud,” but the rest felt it was somewhat loud or not very loud. The majority felt that they would be able to pump in the same room as a sleeping baby or a partner without waking them.
Our parent testers all agreed that the Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump parts are easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher. (But be sure to check the instructions for which parts are dishwasher-safe.) The small, thin, white membrane that snaps onto the valve is notoriously delicate, so you'll want to be extra careful when washing it. Thankfully, two extra membranes are provided in the box. Half of our parent testers noticed condensation in the tubing, but they were all able to clear it out easily by letting the tubing air dry.
The Swing's motor unit is small enough that it fits in one hand. It's light enough that if you install 4 AA single-use batteries, you can pump on the go by clipping it to your clothes or wearing it around your neck. (If you're not using batteries, an adapter is also included.) All of our testers agreed that the pump is lightweight and compact.
We like that the collection bottles that come with the Swing are compatible with all other Medela pumps, as well as the Calma feeding system. A Calma nipple is included in the box, so if your child accepts it, all you have to do is screw the nipple onto a filled milk collection bottle and you're ready to feed.
All of our testers rated the quality and ease of use of the Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump as good to very good, and more than half felt it offered good value. All but one of our testers would recommend it to other parents (and the one who wouldn't felt that buying a double is always better than a single if budget allows). Every tester agreed that it deserved the Today's Parent Approved seal, and of course we agree. There's no question that Medela's reputation for making high-quality breast pumps is well-earned, and you can count the Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump to do what you need it to do.
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