Breast Pumps 101: What to Expect When You're Expecting

Few things are more exciting than finding out you are pregnant. While you may be eager to meet your new baby, there may be a long list of things to do in the meantime. This may include supplies, furniture, and navigating childcare.

If you work outside the home, you may consider adding a breast pump to your list of must-have supplies. But with so many options, you may be struggling to find the best breast pump. Our round-up includes some of the top choices for great breast pumps — all FSA or HSA-approved.

How to Choose a Breast Pump

When picking the best breast pump, there are many factors to consider. You can start by setting your breast pumping goals. If you're planning on frequent breast pumping, especially when working outside of the home, you may prefer a smaller, portable, more quiet electric pump.

You may also compare each breast pump's unique features. Some models offer features to make pumping more comfortable, suction control to produce more milk, and ways to keep the milk bacteria-free. For example, a closed-end system has a barrier that may stop breast milk from leaking into your pumping system. However, an open system may not offer this same level of protection.

The downside is electric breast pumps may be more costly than manual options. You may also see which breast pumps your health insurance covers, and if it doesn't cover the model you want, most breast pumps are FSA or HSA-eligible.

We looked at the best breast pumps on the market to craft our round-up. We compared features, pricing, and user reviews before picking the best options for expecting mothers.

Lansinoh Breastfeeding Starter Set

Those looking to get started with breastfeeding without dropping a lot of money on an electric breast pump may consider the Lansinoh Breastfeeding Starter Set. Lansinoh, one of the best breast pump brands, offers a four-piece starter set with new moms in mind. You will get lanolin, nursing pads, 3-in-1 breast therapy packs, and a nipple everter to make it easier for your baby to latch.

"Great product for when you are engorged," verified buyer Valery writes.

Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump

The Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump is one of the best breast pumps available at an affordable price. It has landed on multiple best breast pump lists, and for a good reason: the swiveling handle makes it one of the most comfortable to use (NY Times). This unique feature makes it easier to change hands or positions during longer pumping sessions.

Some additional perks: this manual breast pump is easy to clean, and although some parts may wear out, it's relatively inexpensive and easy to find replacements. If you prefer to use a manual breast pump, Medela is among the best breast pump brands, and this product is worth a try.

Verified buyer Jamie M. says, "It made pumping so much easier, it works much better than the manual pump the hospital gave me and is just as effective, if not more than an electric pump."

Spectra S2 Plus Double Electric Breast Pump with Tote and Cooler

If you like the Spectra Baby S1 Plus, you may also check out the Spectra S2 Plus Double Electric Breast Pump with Tote and Cooler. This option is also smaller and more discreet than competitors. The Spectra S2 Plus also offers backflow protection, protecting your breast milk from bacteria, with single or double pumping capabilities. You may also love the ability to adjust suction levels for more natural milk flow.

"Easy to use and works much better than my previous pump. I love the night light it has and how much quieter it is," says verified buyer Lisa C.

Medela Freestyle Flex Double Electric Breast Pump

The Medela Freestyle Flex Double Electric Breast Pump is another reliable and portable option. This product is small and lightweight enough to carry in your purse. The Medela Freestyle also offers a digital display and rechargeable batteries, allowing you to pump from anywhere you need. The biggest downside is the Medela Freestyle isn't as quiet as competitors, and the motor isn't as strong as some hospital-grade pumps.

Verified buyer Candis F says, "Very happy with the product."

Willow Generation 3 Wearable Double Electric Breast Pump

While the Willow Generation 3 Wearable Double Electric Breast Pump is the most expensive option on our list, it boasts some impressive breast pump features. This high-end breast pump fits in your bra for discrete, hands-free pumping from anywhere, making it an excellent option for mothers working outside of the home. The product also features unique, no-spill technology regardless of your pumping position. There are also rechargeable batteries and a mobile app that offers personalized tips and the ability to track your milk volume.

"A hands-free option, the Willow is a useful pump for working women and anyone frequently on the move," says Healthline Parenthood writer Catherine Crider.

The Best Breast Pumps for Expecting Mothers

As an expecting mother, there are plenty of difficult choices to make, and finding the best breast pump shouldn't be one of them. Here's a quick rundown of our top picks listed by price. These breast pumps are all HSA-eligible, offering a tax break for your family. While the tax break won't offset the cost, it can make expensive products, like electric breast pumps, more affordable.


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Kate Dore

Kate Dore is a Nashville-based personal finance writer and Candidate for Certified Financial Planner™ Certification. She teaches financial literacy with Junior Achievement and writes for Lifehacker, Business Insider, Investopedia, and Credit Karma. You can follow her on Twitter at @KateDore.

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