Even if you plan on exclusively breastfeeding for six months, virtually tethering yourself to your baby via your nipple, there will come a time when you want the best manual breast pump. It's one of those newborn essentials you won't regret. For example, the first time your baby sleeps for longer than three hours and your boobs feel like concrete. Or if you're trying to boost your milk supply and galactagogue foods just aren't cutting it.
Electric breast pumps are great, but they don't travel so well and there's a lot of setup and cleaning afterwards. Manual pumps can be popped into your diaper bag and used anywhere from a bathroom stall to the front seat of your car—the passenger seat, please.
Your top priority when shopping for a manual breast pump should be to consider what kind of bottles you're using. Many pumps screw right onto the top of a baby bottle, creating a seamless feeding system. But not all pumps are compatible with all bottle brands, so choose a pump and bottles that go together.
Next, believe it or not, find a ruler and measure the diameter of your nipple. There are different flange sizes for different nipple sizes and you want to find a pump that has a flange that will fit your breast. Pumps work best when they fit properly, and you need one that creates suction properly.
Finally, consider how easy it will be to clean and store, especially if you're going to use it on the go. Look at how many pieces it has and how easy it will be to transfer the milk from the bottle into a milk storage bag.
Is it time to invest in one of the best manual breast pumps? Review our list to see which features, sizes and bottles work best for you and your little one.
This manual breast pump is not only affordable, but it comes with everything you need to get started. It has two different flanges that fit a range of nipple sizes, a bottle nipple, bottle cap, stand and valve. This model is recommended by lactation consultant specialists around the country, affordable and easy to operate. It extracts milk in seconds.
Plus, Lansinoh bottles are compatible with a few other brands of bottles, including Phillips Avent, Dr. Browns, Joovy and MAM. This means that you can mix and match bottles and nipples for storing milk and feeding your baby. We also love the brand's breast milk storage products.
Verified Amazon purchaser, Elizabeth says “This is a great manual hand pump and sooooo convenient on the go! I prefer it over any electric one I’ve tried. Such good suction.” Most of the components are even dishwasher-safe.
This one-piece soft silicone breast pump uses gentle suction to express milk. The best part? You sit back and let it work its magic. No hand workout is required. Use it to pump when baby's sleeping or use it while breastfeeding to catch any milk leaks or when you're using an electric pump on the other side.
It's ridiculously easy to clean and travels well. One thing to keep in mind is that it's not as powerful as other pumps, but it is easy and convenient. Many mothers love it for milk collection when the other breast is being power pumped. While it's not entirely hands-free, it's as close as you'll get for a manual breast pump.
With this set, you get two different manual breast pumps, a nipple and a lid so it's a great option for those who aren't sure which style pump to start with. It's also a good way to make sure you never waste a drop of your liquid gold. Pump on one side using the manual pump while the silicone pump catches milk on the other.
“This has worked wonders for me. At the beginning of breastfeeding, I had this thing attached all the time to relieve pressure. I also used it on the opposite side while nursing. Have a great milk stash now!” says verified Amazon verified purchaser Angie. Some moms swear by this one for every pumping session.
This manual breast pump is the gold standard. But literally—just look at the color. We love it because it works so well. The flange is comfortable for many breast and nipple sizes and it's easy to mimic the way a baby naturally sucks to stimulate let-down.
Why didn't it top our list? It's a bit pricey and it's not compatible with some bottles or nipples from other brands. So when you buy this pump, you're committing to Medela (or standard no-name bottles). Though based on the quality of this hand pump, it might just be worth it.
With this set, you get everything you need to get started with bottle feeding. Designed by a doctor, Dr. Brown's bottles are made to reduce symptoms of colic, spit-up, burping and gas. It conveniently suction pumps mom's milk without the need for noisy motors, electric outlets or batteries.
The green vent system channels air away from the milk in the bottle, which means that milk flow is consistent—no air bubbles. We think that the vent could also make a great funnel for pouring milk into a storage bag. And bonus, Dr. Brown's is compatible with Lansinoh, Phillips Avent, Joovy and MAM.
Not only does this manual breast pump come with a comfortable flange, but it's also designed so that you feel more comfortable using it. Translation: no need to lean forward while you massage your breast. You can sit up straight and let the built-in soft massage cushion do the work for you as you express breast milk.
Amazon verified purchaser Morgan calls this a “trusty little lifesaver”. “It was so easy to use, totally comfortable, and I got just as much milk out as I normally do—possibly even in less time. I’m so grateful that I bought this!”
Phillips Avent is also compatible with Lansinoh, Dr. Brown's, Joovy and MAM bottles.
Manual expression of breast milk is of course possible by hand (a mild squeeze and tug is usually enough to relieve a bit of milk from an engorged breast), but using a well-designed manual breast pump is best. That's because these have clever, hygienic suction chambers designed to get the most milk out in the fastest, most comfortable way.
Some can. You have to read the packaging on the model you own or plan to buy, but for the most part, silicone components easily make it through a top rack dishwasher cycle. It's important to pre-scrub your parts though, and always fully separate pieces ahead of washing to make sure no nook or cranny gets bacterial, fungal or viral growth.
Some plastic manual breast pumps can also make it through the dishwasher, but again, check your model's packaging to see if the plastic is heat-safe and tolerant of dishwashers. Otherwise, a good bottle brush and warm, soapy water in the sink is typically enough for most types of manual breast pumps.
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