breast pumps

Insight from our breastfeeding expert, Courtney Miller, RN, BSN, IBCLC

primary pumps

Examples of a primary pumps: Spectra S1, Spectra S2, Motif Luna, Baby Buddha, Pumpable Genie Advanced, Medela Sonata, Medela Symphony, Medela Pump in Style

One of the most frequently asked questions I get as an LC is what kind of pump should I get? The biggest thing I recommend is checking with your insurance. Most major insurance plans will cover a pump under the Affordable Care Act. Be sure to check with your insurance on how much they will cover. They often have certain medical suppliers that they work with and they can direct you on how to order your pump. Most suppliers require a prescription to be sent from your OB provider. 

Let’s talk about the different types of pumps. An important thing to remember is that pumps nowadays are pretty great! And affordable. So even if your insurance does not cover one, it is easier to get a pump today than it was even 10-15 years ago. Also pumps labeled “Hospital Grade Pump” are not necessarily better than the pumps that are currently on the market. Hospital Grade simply means that the pump can be shared by different patients and it is a closed system. It does not mean that it is stronger or is better. 

So what kind of pumps are out there today?

  • Double Electric 

  • Single Electric

  • Wearable

  • Hand/Manual 

So what is my favorite as a pumping mom and as an IBCLC? The double electric pump! With the double you can pump both sides at the same time saving you precious time.

The pump I typically recommend is the Spectra S1 or S2. These pumps are essentially the same pump. One can be battery operated (the S1) and the other has to be plugged in (the S2). This pump is great. It is a closed system which means it has a barrier between the pump parts and the tubing/pump. This helps prevent breastmilk and moisture from getting to the pump motor. The suction is very strong and a lot of the moms I work with have given great feedback on it. I also used this pump with my first and really liked it. Most insurances will cover the S2 completely (the one without a battery) and some insurances may cover the S1 (with a battery) for a small upgrade charge. If it’s financially possible for you, I would recommend the convenience of the S1 with the battery. 


secondary pumps

Pumps that are wearable can be considered secondary pumps.These typically are smaller pumps, which can mean a smaller, weaker motor. This also includes wearable cups and flanges that can attach to a primary pump. For some reason these wearable cups just don’t have the strength even if they are hooked up to a “primary” pump.  Sometimes these pumps and cups work great for moms, but everyone responds to pumps differently. These can be a great option if you are unable to use a primary pump due to a work schedule or due to chasing around another tiny human! But I always recommend a primary pump for the pumps in the morning and at night.