Knowing a breast pump is a must-have item when preparing a newborn checklist, I went to the store to buy one.
I thought it would be easy like buying a piece of bread. But then when I arrived at the store, I got lost looking at different shapes, sizes and types. And I didn't know which one was the right one for me.
Fast forward to today, I own 2 electric breast pumps and 1 manual breast pump. And the question I hear a lot is, is electric breast pump better than manual one? Can an electric breast pump collect more milk than manual pump? Which one is better for your milk supply?
In this article, we are going to answer all of them and a lot more so you aren’t left hanging with all of your burning questions.
The difference between a manual and an electric breast pump
First, you need to know where these two machines differ and how they work. Electric and manual breast pumps have different designs, structures, and operating mechanisms.
Electric breast pumps
They operate thanks to an electric motor, allowing you to pump milk automatically. As a result, you don't have to use manual force like manual breast pumps.
The structure of a normal electric breast pump includes a motor, a suction cup (hopper cap, massage cushion, anti-reflux valve), milk bottle (bottleneck, nipple, bottle base), vacuum cord, cap bubbles, and vacuum bubbles.
Manual breast pump
You need to use your hand to press on the lever, or some types let you use their suctions and just put them on your breast and let the suctions do their job.
Generally, it has a simple structure. A manual breast pump usually has details such as a hand squeezer, breast funnel, milk bottle, one-way valve, and user manual.
How Different Breast Pumps Affect Supply
Electric breast pump
For moms who have large busts and produce plenty of milk, using a double electric breast pump is the most convenient. Thanks to the help of an electric motor, it is possible to pump a larger amount of milk daily.
Besides, electric breast pumps often have a massage mode that copies the baby's sucking to stimulate the mother to produce milk.
However, as a mom who suffered from sleep deprivation like myself, i didn’t have a lot of milk, this massage mode does not help much. So i needed to combine a single electric breast pump with a manual pump and applied my own massage technique to stimulate let down.
Manual breast pump
The amount of milk expressed will be cyclical and intermittent, not pumping for a continuous time.
Yet, with a manual breast pump, you can adjust the milk at the right time to get the most milk. If the mother has less milk or clogged milk ducts, using a hand pump combined with manual massage is much more effective.
How Different Breast Pumps Feel
Electric breast pump
They have massage features and different capacities. It helps you feel more comfortable every time you pump, limiting burning pain.
When you use an electric breast pump, you don't need to use force from your arm, all you need to do is to sit and rest. This helps you to reduce fatigue and stress.
Manual breast pump
They cannot massage breasts like electric breast pumps, so they will feel stronger. If you don’t do it right, it can make you sore after every pumping session. But don’t sweat just yet, even if you don’t know how to do it right yet, using it a few times or to stimulate milk, preventing clogged milk ducts is fine.
Yet, unlike an electric breast pump where you can just sit and relax, your wrists and hands get tired quickly with a manual breast pump. Especially, on days when you have to go to work or a day with too much work that makes you feel tired, pumping by hand makes you feel even more depressed.
Electric vs Manual Breast Pump Cleaning
Electric breast pump
As an electric breast pump has more parts than a manual breast pump, you need to pay attention when you clean them. Make sure you check the air wire if there is any milk drop in it and dry it properly before putting it back to the machine, otherwise your breast pump will get broken.
Clean the air valve, dry it thoroughly to create suction power. You need to clean and sterilize parts properly.
The motor only needs to be wiped with a clean cloth.
When milk flows into the machine, it should be brought to a service center immediately for an inspection.
Manual breast pump
Manual breast pumps are designed to be quite simple, so cleaning is not as difficult as electric models. You need to clean the milk bottle, and the suction cup, the suction valve is okay.
Furthermore, if your manual breast pump has a rubber ball, you don’t have to clean it very often.
The pros and cons of electric breast pumps
- Compact, convenient design: just plug in the power, then put the hopper on the breast and press the button. Easily adjust the pump speed and vacuum as desired. You can choose to buy an electric or battery breast pump.
- Save energy, free your hands, do not cause hand fatigue because of electricity, you do not have to use hand force to squeeze.
- Some double electric breast pumps also can pump milk from both sides at the same time, helping you to save time effectively and spend time doing other things.
- Pumps quickly and can pump large amounts of milk regularly.
- Massage mode after pumping helps you feel the most comfortable.
- Does not cause breast pain.
- Higher cost.
- Many tools are difficult to carry when going out, you can only use them in places with electricity (except for some battery-powered machines).
- When dropped from a certain height, the machine may be damaged
- Machine cleaning is more difficult.
The pros and cons of manual breast pumps
- Low cost, simple structure, easy to use. Simple structure, usually with a milk bottle, breast funnel, breast pump,... When using a manual breast pump, you need to put the funnel into your breast and squeeze the lever at an optional speed from the slow level first, then adjust the suction force according to the desired force.
- The manual breast pump is convenient to disassemble and clean.
- Durable, compact, safe to use.
- Good when you don’t have a lot of milk and need to combine manual massage while pumping.
- Good for travel.
- There is no massage mode, when done improperly, you will feel a little pain compared to electric breast pumps.
- You have to use manual pressure, so you may feel hand fatigue and not be able to pump milk without time continuously.
- Longer milking time.
How to choose between electric breast pumps and manual breast pumps
We see that manual or electric breast pumps have their advantages and limitations. Thus, which type to buy depends on your wallet and your purpose of use.
Electric breast pumps with a higher price tag will make users hesitate when choosing to buy. But this type of machine also offers conveniences suitable for those who need to express milk several times a day.
Besides, an electric breast pump will help reduce the effort and time of milking so you can do more things.
Manual breast pumps will be more suitable for those who are looking for a low-priced breast pump. Additionally, for those who have little need to pump milk, a manual breast pump will be more worth considering.
Always remember to know your breasts well, you need to select the pumps with the right size and suctions to get the most milk while still making you feel comfortable.
Some electric breast pump products you can refer to:
Some manual breast pump products you can refer to:
Does an electric pump get more milk than manual?
Not really. It depends if you have a lot of milk supply and if you have clogged milk ducts or not. In general, if you don’t have a clogged milk duct and have a lot of milk, an electric pump is the right one to go for.
Is it good to use an electric breast pump?
An electric breast pump offers you many benefits, such as:
- Stimulates lactation, helps you prolong breastfeeding time.
- Pumps milk quickly, saving time.
- Massage mode after suction, creating a comfortable feeling for you.
Do manual breast pumps work better?
A manual breast pump has a simple operating mechanism, so it is easier to operate. It is easy to disassemble and clean. High strength, lightweight.
However, manual breast pumps cannot pump as much and as often as electric breast pumps.
Do electric breast pumps have side effects?
An electric breast pump, if it is of good quality and used correctly, will not have any side effects or affect your health.
The machine feels soft and painless for your breasts: Mechanism of rhythmic pumping for breastfeeding. Adjustable suction and massage speed
Does pumping ruin your nipples?
Pumping will not damage the nipple if the pump you buy is of good quality, suitable for your body characteristics, and knows how to use correctly.
Cases that can cause nipple damage are:
- The breast pump does not guarantee quality: Using materials that are not safe.
You should choose a machine with safe materials such as PP, PES, Hands-Free, or glass that do not contain toxic BPA.
- If the suction hopper is the wrong size or the setting is not correct, you may experience pain. Mothers can also have nipple or breast cell damage.
You need to choose a machine with a suitable size suction hopper.
Pumping 101: Is an electric breast pump better than a manual one?
Now you know which breast pump is right for you, right? You can safely bring a bag to give birth without having to worry about how to get milk for your baby anymore.
We have gone through the comparison between the 2 types of pumps, when which one works better than the other, how to choose the most suitable for you, and notes when using them.
Let it be an easy choice and get yourself the right pump.