What Is The Best Manual Breast Pump?
Image Via: MAM

What Is The Best Manual Breast Pump?

Breastfeeding your child is one of the best decisions that you can make for the overall health of you and your baby. A mothers’ milk provides the best nourishment possible, gives comfort to mother and baby, and helps to form a strong bond. With so many positives, it’s hard to imagine why some women choose not to breastfeed, but the fact is breastfeeding comes with a long list of challenges. From sore nipples to oversupply problems, there are many undesirable aspects to breastfeeding. Many of these issues can be solved by using a breast pump.

Whether you are planning to pump exclusively or just to keep up your supply, you will need to choose a breast pump that will work best for you. Manual breast pumps are very effective at pumping milk and can be a much better option than electric pumps. Choosing the best manual breast pump is an important step in having a successful breastfeeding journey with your little one.

Who needs a breast pump?

After the breastfeeding relationship is established within the first four weeks of your baby’s life, you will find yourself in situations that require the use of a breast pump.

Whether you would like to have a night out without your little one or are planning to go back to work, pumping and saving your milk will be necessary. A manual breast pump can be a great choice for women who are planning to breastfeed and pump or pump exclusively.

Choosing a manual breast pump

There are many pumps on the market, so finding the best one to suit your needs will require some research.

The main things to keep in mind are how often you will be using your pump, how much time you’ll have available to pump, and how discreet you would like to be while pumping. Some women may have to pump every two to four hours, especially in the beginning.

If you find that you will need to use your pump very frequently, it is important to choose on that will be both comfortable and durable. If you are a mom that will be pumping at work, you may have less time than desired to pump even though you must be provided adequate time to pump.

If this is the case it is important to purchase a pump that works quickly while still pumping a large volume of milk. Some women may find that they are uncomfortable with others knowing that they are pumping. While there should be no shame in feeding your baby, if being discreet is your preference you should look for a pump that is easily concealable and, perhaps, hands-free.

Analyzing the challenges you may face and the conditions you will be under when you pump is a great first step in choosing the right manual pump.

Advantages of manual breast pumps

While electric breast pumps are what most people think of when they think of breast pumps, manual pumps are gaining popularity among nursing mothers.

There are many advantages to using a manual pump instead of the often used electric pump. By exploring the advantages, you will give yourself the a better idea of what will work best for your unique situation.

No need for an electrical outlet

Finding a comfortable place to pump that also touts a place to plug in can be difficult. Moms who travel frequently or find themselves in remote areas will infrequently have access to the electricity needed to use their pump.

By using a manual pump, you no longer have to worry about when or if you’ll be able to plug in.

Gentle on breasts

Electric pumps can be quite powerful. While some may prefer an extremely strong suction and extraction, for others it can be uncomfortable or downright painful.

If you are using an electric pump and find that you are having issues with sore nipples or breast tissue, you may find that a manual pump will reduce discomfort and better suit your needs.

Use while nursing

pumping and nursing

One of the most notable features of manual pumps is the fact that they are silent. Even the quietest electric pumps are noisy, especially if you are trying to pump while you nurse.

Many moms find that pumping one side while they nurse on the other allows them to have a faster pumping session. Since nursing your baby provides a faster letdown than pumping alone, it is important to capitalize on this ideal pumping time.

A noisy pump can be distracting to a curious little one which can derail your nursing session quickly. Also, many babies nurse to sleep and a noisy pump would keep them awake.

If you are concerned about the inconveniences of a loud electric pump, a manual one is worth considering.

Less to carry and clean

Image Via: Follow Mum

The most noticeable advantage that manual pumps have over electric pumps is the compact size and lack of parts. Electric pumps have the main unit which supplies the suction, long sections of tubing, flanges, membranes, and various other parts.

Not only is that a lot of things to carry with you, but it is also a lot of parts to clean and sterilize after each pumping session. With a manual pump, there are no tubes to clean or heavy units to carry. They can easily fit a small bag and be carried easily.

Using a manual pump

While every manual breast pump is different, they all have a basic procedure for proper pumping. After ensuring that the flange fits properly on the breast, you will use the lever to create a suction on the breast.

After pumping the suction on and off, mimicking the way a baby nurses, you should experience a steady release of milk known as the letdown. When letdown begins, some women can leave the pump attached without continuing to pump the lever.

Others may need to create the suction on and off a few more times to pump the most milk possible.

Most envision having to continuously pump the lever up and down to remove milk, but the process is much easier and less involved. Once you have either emptied the breast or removed enough milk to be comfortable, you can remove the collected milk, store it, and wash your breast pump to be use for later.

The convenience of use that a manual pump provides is desirable for many nursing mothers. 

Medela Harmony 

best manual breast pump

This single breast pump is a great option for those who will be pumping occasionally. Designed for when you are spending time away from your baby, this pump is good for the infrequent night out or weekend away.

If you are planning on using your manual pump minimally but would still like to purchase a quality product, the Medela Harmony may be a good choice for you.

If you are planning on using your manual pump minimally but would still like to purchase a quality product, the Medela Harmony may be a good choice for you.


  • Two bottles included
  • Able to pump while baby nurses other side
  • Compact design for easy travel
  • Very quiet


  • Only pump one breast at a time
  • Not meant for frequent use
  • Letdown stimulation takes longer than some models
manual breast pump reviews

This silicone breast pump is closer to being a milk catcher than an actual breast pump. The design of this hands-free pump is gaining popularity with breastfeeding mothers because the product’s genius is in its simplicity.

Overall, if you need to do more than collect previously lost milk you will need a more effective and versatile pump. If you are hoping to collect previously lost milk, this may be a great option.


  • Use while nursing on opposite side
  • Catch milk that was previously lost
  • Easy to clean
  • No parts to keep track of


  • Not a traditional breast pump
  • Will not collect large volume of milk
  • Difficult to transfer from vessel to bag or bottle

If comfort is the most important factor while pumping, the Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump is worth considering.

By using this pump that keeps a mother’s comfort in mind, you can find pumping to be an enjoyable experience. This pump would be ideal for an infrequently pumping mother who wishes to use a pump that provides comfort above all else.


  • Cushioned flange for comfort
  • Molded for snug fit
  • Massages breasts to stimulate letdown
  • Comfortable suction level


  • Suction not strong enough
  • Must pump lever frequently during use
  • Not hands-free
manual breast pump

This manual pump by Lansinoh is a great option for the occasional pumping mother or for use while on the go.

For occasional pumping, this breast pump may be a great choice. However, if you are looking for an option that will be used multiple times a day, there may be better options.


  • Ergonomic handle reduces hand fatigue
  • Two flange sizes for best fit
  • Wide collection base for less spills
  • Compact design


  • Will only fit Lansinoh bottles
  • Suction is not very strong
  • Must hold pump in place while pumping

This product by Freemie is very different than the other pumps listed. This pump is advertised as a pump you can use without taking your clothes off. This is the most discreet, hands-free way to pump.

This product may need a few issues worked out before it is ready to be the most reliable source of pumping. If you are looking for a discreet and convenient way to pump occasionally, this is a good product to consider.


  • Two cups for simultaneous pumping
  • Use manually or with electric pump
  • Pump without removing your shirt
  • Very discreet


  • Suction from pump provided is not strong
  • Cups may fall off resulting in spilled milk
  • Milk infiltrates tubing when using electric pump

The great attributes of this manual breast pump (The Medela Harmony Manual Pump) far outweigh the negatives. While you do have to pump one breast at a time, that is not unusual in the manual pump market.

The Medela Harmony is comfortable to use, is a great option for working mothers, and is very user friendly. The comfort and strong suction provided while pumping may help some mothers to ease the trouble of sore nipples and tender breast tissue.

Its compact design lends nicely to carrying with you wherever you go and the mechanism is designed to provide a seamless pumping experience. If you are struggling to find the best manual breast pump, the Medela Harmony may be the right option for you.


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