We all know breast is best – but what about when you want to have a break from your baby? It’s no good having grandparents or your best mate at the ready, all primed to babysit while you go out and have some fun (or even just pop to the shops without interruptions) if they cannot feed your baby for you.
Yes, there’s formula, but a breast-fed infant might not take to that straightaway. So one of the new baby essentials has to be a breast pump, so you can express milk to be used in your absence (or even while you’re sleeping).
Finding the best manual breast pump can be confusing if you’ve never breastfed before – which is exactly why we’re here to help.
CLICK HERE to see the top breast pump we recommend
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Why buy a Manual Breast Pump?
Using a breast pump means you can have a break- or just catch up on sleep – while someone else feeds your baby. Breast milk is best, and it’s also free. It even helps you to lose any weight gained during pregnancy far faster. A decent manual breast pump needn’t cost a lot, either.
Using your very own supply of breast milk saves on shopping, making up formula and is quick and simple to use. Having your own breast pump at home gives you feeding flexibility, as well as freedom.
There are seven manual breast pumps listed in this guide, and the average cost is around £17.50 at the time of posting. Once you’ve bought the pump, there are no ongoing costs – except for perhaps a pack or two of reusable breast pads.
Best for baby
Breast milk gives your baby everything they need – and even boosts their immature immune system.
Buying a breast pump gives you the option to carry on breastfeeding for as long as you’d like, even when your little one is on solids or their teeth have started to appear.
Best for mum
It’s easy to go wherever you want or need to when breastfeeding, as there’s no fuss abut carrying around bottles of formula or trying to get them to just the right temperature.
When you’re not around, your baby can be fed by someone else when you use a breast pump to express milk in advance.
What to look for when buying a manual breast pump
With so many manual breast pumps on the market, it can be confusing. What’s the difference, and what are the advantages of each? The following factors are some of the key considerations.
Brands might really matter to you, they might not. Either way, the brand of breast pump can be important because of compatibility.
When using the pump the milk flows into a feeding bottle, and each manufacturer will ensure their pump fits their bottles perfectly.
Cleanliness is paramount when you have a newborn, so you will need to think about how easy it will be to keep your chosen breast pump hygienically clean.
A breast pump isn’t always the easiest object to carry or store, due to its shape. It’s also important that it can be kept as clean as possible while it’s in your bag – or stored in the cupboard.
A stand can be useful, so you can place the pump on a hard surface while in use – without any spills.
Leaning forward to express milk isn’t the most comfortable position for everyone, and pumps can also cause hand strain. Some manufacturers address this by designing their pumps to be as comfortable as possible to use.
How many bottles?
Breast pumps that come with several bottles are great, because you can use those to express, store then feed milk while always having one or more spares.
You can buy extra bottles, but it may save time and money if they’re already included with the pump.
The Top Manual Breast Pumps
We’ve examined and assessed the range of manual breast pumps, to save you yet more time. For your convenience, here’s a run-down of some of the best manual breast pumps your hard-earned cash can buy…
The specially shaped breast pump
Tommee Tippee have come up trumps with their ‘Made for Me’ manual breast pump. This pump is specially designed to fit women’s hands.
This means less power is needed when pumping, reducing hand strain when in use. The soft, cushioned cup is made from pliable silicone and treats tender, hard-working breasts with the care they surely deserve.
See Tommee Tippee’s Made for Me pump HERE
The breast pump with three cups
Philips Avent is another leading name in baby feeding products, and their Comfort manual breast pump comes complete with three cups. This pump is small and lightweight.
Philips say the design has been clinically proven to create a more comfortable position when in use, reducing the need to lean forward. The innovative petal cushion also mimics baby’s suckling, which assists with let down.
View the Philips Comfort manual breast pump HERE
The one-piece breast pump
You may not have heard of Haakaa, but their unique one-piece breast pump is a bestseller. The one-piece construction makes is so simple, discreet and quick to use – especially useful for those who wake in the night and need to express milk rapidly and silently, as there’s no need to put any pieces together or make sure it’s all connected.
You can pour the milk straight into any make of bottle too.
Check out the Haakaa one piece manual breast pump HERE
The all-in-one breast pump set
NatureBond’s pump is similar to the Haakaa one, as it’s also made from silicone and the milk can be poured into any bottle. Several useful extras are included with this model, however – a bottle stopper, strap, dust cover and even an attractive storage pouch.
Find out more about this NatureBond breast pump set HERE
The breast pump with a stand
The Medela Harmony Breast pump comes complete with a decent stand. This product is lightweight, so it’s a cinch to take with you anywhere. It’s also easy to clean.
Like some other pumps, this Harmony manual breast pump simulates a baby’s sucking to stimulate flow.
See the Medela Harmony breast pump HERE
The bargain manual breast pump
Little Bloom’s manual breast pump offers great value, and is thus ideal if you want a second pump to keep by your bed, in your bag, in the car or at the grandparents’ house. It has a one-piece design and there’s a lid included too.
This eco-friendly model is cruelty-free and made from high quality, BPA-free silicone.
Read more about this great value breast pump HERE
The breast pump with superb storage
Tommee Tippee have cornered the market when it comes to providing a practical, easy-to-clean storage box for your manual breast pump. All parts are dishwasher compatible too – a godsend for busy new mums.
This pump is designed for use with the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature range of feeding bottles.
Find out all about this breast pump with storage box HERE
The best manual breast pump for you
Whether you want a big brand breast pump complete with storage, or a bargain buy just to try out or to keep as a spare, there are plenty of affordable breast pumps to choose from.
Grab a pump, store some milk and you’re good to go, while your baby benefits from the nourishment only a mum can provide. We wish you best of luck with choosing the right product – and with the exciting journey of motherhood.