Pumps 101: Everything to Know

Pumps 101: Everything to Know

Choosing the right breast pump can feel pretty overwhelming - there’s a ton of types, each with different functions and purposes. Every mom has their own opinion about what's best for you, and their heart is usually in the right place.

Don’t feel stressed - because that’s where we come in. We’ve put together a quick guide of all the breast pumps that you might need as a mom that’s getting started but doesn’t have time to read through every possible review. Let’s dive straight into the world of pumps.

How They Work

But before we talk pumps, let's first understand how they work. Breast pumps mimic the way a baby suckles at your breast, creating and releasing a suction that triggers your breast to start lactating. 

They usually consist of three main parts: the breast shield or flange, the pump itself, and the milk collection container. The breast shield creates a seal and stimulates the letdown reflex, allowing milk to be expressed from the breast. All breast pumps follow these core design principles, but additional features may differ from pump to pump, which we'll cover right away.

Types of Pumps


Here's what you've been waiting for - a list of all the breast pump types available 

  • Manual Pumps
  • Portable Pumps
  • Electric Pumps
  • Hospital-Grade Pumps

Manual Pumps

Manual pumps, operated by squeezing a lever or horn with your hand, offer a simple & straightforward pumping experience. They don't require batteries or electricity, making them portable and cost-effective for moms that need no-frills pumping. They’re decent alternatives if you need a quick pump to relieve engorgement or you can’t access your main pump, but they require constant manual effort to use. 

Portable Pumps

Battery-operated pumps offer more convenience and portability compared to manual pumps. They provide the benefits of manual pumps with the added advantage of automated suction, making pumping easier and more efficient. Battery-operated pumps are suitable for occasional and on-the-go pumping. They are compact and allow for single or double pumping. Pumps like the Air Plus are designed to snugly fit in your bra without any embarrassing bulges peeking out.

Electric Pumps

Electric pumps are designed for pumping with more suction, but require a socket to plug-in for every use. Compared to manual and portable pumps, they offer stronger suctions for greater milk yield at the cost of mobility and being less discreet. They’re ideal for moms that need help with producing higher yields, and don’t mind being attached to a wall. However, if you’re a mom that’s constantly on the go and values a low profile, an electric pump is better suited for pumping only at night when you’re done with all other chores.

Hospital-Grade Pumps

Hospital-grade pumps are powerful and efficient, designed for moms with specific needs, such as preterm babies or low milk supply. They offer strong suction and customizable settings for optimal milk expression. Hospital-grade pumps are usually rented from hospitals or specialized rental providers. These pumps provide the highest level of performance and are recommended for moms facing challenges in milk production. 

Picking the Right Pump

When choosing a breast pump, consider your specific needs and circumstances. This will help you to decide which type of pump is suitable for your needs. For example;

  • If you plan to pump on the go & handsfree, you’ll want a portable breast pump for comfortable & discreet pumping. 
  • If you plan to only pump in one location, an electric pump will provide the function you need. 
  • If you’re struggling with low yield, a hospital-grade pump is recommended for the extra functionality.

Regardless of which breast pump you choose, always remember that breast pumping shouldn’t be painful or stressful. We encourage you to talk to friends, family or support groups if you have any concerns about your pumping experience. And if you ever need an ear, you can contact the team at support@supermamalab.com or our Instagram!

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