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How to choose the right breast pump according to your needs

If I got a quid every time someone asked me this question or I read it somewhere on social media, I’d be sunning myself up somewhere hot with a mojito in hand.

It is the most personal question that deserves the most taylored personal answer. It’s like you asking me which are the best pair of jeans and me sending you to M&S. They probably won’t fit your bum! I guess that’s not really helping you right now. I get it. But hold on. I’m going to try to explain this so you can make that personal choice with some knowledge. So here goes. (Grap a cuppa and a hobnob, it’s gonna be a long one.)

The first question you need to ask yourself is WHY ARE YOU EXPRESSING OR WANT TO EXPRESS?

I’m going to list some common answers below. By all mean, if your answer isn’t on the list, please send it to me and I’ll add it. (also if there’s a link attached to your questions it means I have also written a little blog post about those topics)

I want to express colostrum (before or after the birth): HAND EXPRESSION

My newborn isn’t latching/has never latched and I want them to have breastmilk and learn to initiate breastfeeding: HOSPITAL GRADE PUMP (HIRE)

My newborn has lost weight at their day 5 weight in/My supply is low/My baby hasn’t put their birth weight back on:  DOUBLE BREAST PUMP/HOSPITAL GRADE PUMP (HIRE)

I want my partner to share the odd feed with me/let me sleep at the weekend and do a night feed once in a while: SILICONE BREAST PUMP/THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER

I want to mix feed (breast/bottle EBM) so everyone can feed the baby and I’m not the sole feeder: WEARABLE DOUBLE BREAST PUMP/DOUBLE BREAST PUMP

I want to mix feed with bottles only (EBM/Formula) WEARABLE DOUBLE BREAST PUMP/DOUBLE BREAST PUMP

I cannot/do not want to breastfeed but I want my baby to only have breast milk WEARABLE BREAST PUMP/HOSPITAL GRADE PUMP

God help me Chris, I can’t express anything EVER from a double electric pump and if I wasn’t changing SO MANY nappies I’d believe I don’t actually produce any milk but I REALLLLLLY want to have some milk in the freezer for emergencies: SILICONE BREAST PUMP

I have SO. MUCH. MILK. I could feed a village. My supply is mostly out of control and I worried expressing is going to make it worse: SILICONE BREAST PUMP


Hey guess what? It’s free and you can do it antenatally (to express colostrum) from 36 weeks and postnatally. It’s not recommended to use a pump to express colostrum because there’s so little of it that you’ll just end up coating the side of the pump and get nothing for the baby.

Here’s a video that shows you how to express colostrum antenatally made by my talented friend and colleague, Steph:
Antenatal Expression of Colostrum with Steph Westacott
Postnatally, you might find yourself engorged, maybe when your milk transitions from colostrum to mature milk in that first week postnatal or a bit later on if your baby has missed a feed in the night and slept a bit longer (don’t brag ok… just enjoy how well rested you feel). The quickest way to remedy an engorgement is to hand express, more so if you now have a very hungry baby who is struggling to latch because your breasts are too full and hard. So same technique as Steph mentions in her video above. Best place is in the shower if you can but having a hot (not scolding) flannel on the breast will help soften the tissue too.


These are great at collecting milk, they are inexpensive and can be used as soon as the milk has transitioned from colostrum to mature milk. It can be used at the same time as feeding. I mean it *can* not *you have to*, that’s when all is grant, you’re not fretting about the latch and you are feeding your baby in a position that allows for said pump to attach to the other breast when feeding. When used alongside feeding mum might find she can collect quite a bit of milk that way. I call that the twin effect, which is allows one breast to let down milk at the same time as the other that is being fed (=stimulated) from. Oh the magic of our bodies!

This is a great little pump if you do not need to express religiously or if your baby doesn’t always feed on both breast equally and you want to even them etc.

Also a go to pump for the overachievers in the room. So if you have an oversupply, and you are worried about creating more milk and at the same worried about mastitis from letting the milk sit there in the breast, this is the pump for you. It removes the milk without too much stimulation. WINNER.

NatureBond Silicone Breast Pump

I used the Nature Bond one which has been upgraded since I bought mine and comes with a little strap that you can attach to your bra to secure the pump. I could have done with that when Willow ninja kicked the pump making it fly across the room and emptying ALL the milk in the process.

I cried. 4 years on, I don’t think I have quite recovered yet.


The first company that started the movement was Elvie. I remember seeing this mum in a baby group with a little red light coming out of her top. I thought, shit the bed, she’s a fembot. Of course she wasn’t. The idea behind the wearable pump is simple. Pumping on the go. Yuss I hear you chant. Yes indeed. What more do you want. Well actually, they are not all created equal and some are far better than others.

– Portability:
You’re not stuck to your house when you want to express and that’s pretty good for your mental health. It means you can go out an about and carry on with your life. These are ideals for the full time expressing mums who completely rely on a good stock of breast milk to feed their baby.

– Power:
Some are not really that powerful, meaning they are not really emptying the breast (argh I hate saying emptying, as if the breast was ever empty, it’s not. But what I mean by this is the pump should remove a lot of the milk). That can cause a problem in how much mum is expressing each time and potentially generate a supply problem. I can also leave some milk sitting around which can cause blocked ducts which can then lead to mastitis (ouch).

Remember: the more milk we remove the more the body produces, and so if the pump does a half hearted job at expressing then the body is going to think we only need half so let’s produce less.

– Noise:
Some feedback on some of the wearable breast pump was the noise. Oh lord, it defied the mobile aspect of the device as they were so loud the mum couldn’t leave the house with them on. Waste of money.

So which ones are should you spend your hard earned cash on:

The High End (=expensive) Range:

There are 2 new (as off end of 2023) wearable pumps on the market which mums I know have been raving about. Here we’re talking about mums that are exclusively pumping. I take their feedback seriously because that’s some serious work.

The Elvie Stride Double Hands-free, hospital-grade performance electric breast pump
The Elvie Stride

Medela Freestyle™ Hands-free double electric wearable Breast Pump
The Medela Freestyle™
The Elvie Stride is labelled as a hospital grade wearable pump, meaning more power. It is meant to be stronger and more powerful than their original one and also a little cheaper. With this link, you get 15% off. Currently the best wearable breast pump. Tried and tested by a handful of full time pumpers this pump has received the thumbs up against other brand. It is faster and more powerful, meaning it can drain the breast quicker and fully. As off 01/02/24 and I don’t know for how long, you can save over 20% with the code: medela20

The Med