One of the questions I get asked the most is what breast pump do I use? The first breast pump I used when Joey was a baby was a hand-me-down and while it worked well for me, seeing how there are so many more options now for pumping moms, I decided to venture out a little more this time around with Casey. I will be reviewing three breast pumps (Medela, Willow and Unimom) that I have been using regularly and hope it will give you an idea what they’re like based on my unique experience. This is obviously based on my personal experience and others will have different opinions but since so many of you have asked about my opinion on these pumps, I’ve written all about it. This is not a sponsored post but just something I wanted to share because I know many of you are curious. Another thing to note is that I was given all of these pumps as gifts so the pricing did not really factor into my reviews so please keep that in consideration.
I’ve been a faithful Medela pumping user since Joey was a baby. When I first started using it, it was the only brand that I ever really knew and it worked well for me because at the time I wasn’t working and was home most of the time so it was easy for me to plug into the pump every time I needed it. The thing I like most about this pump is that it expresses the most milk for me because it has a good strong suction. (You can adjust the intensity of the suction) I’m also pretty used to cleaning pumping parts now but out of the three pumps I use, this one requires more parts which means more things to clean and sterilize. The thing I don’t like about this pump is that it is a pretty heavy and bulky pump to bring around with you or even just have on your night stand. There are smaller versions from this brand but I haven’t tried those. Another thing I don’t like about this one is that I wish it would just stay on the “stimulation phase” of the pumping and not automatically go to the “expression phase” after 2 minutes. For me the “stimulation phase” is where I am able to pump more milk but when it changes to the “expression phase” (which is a longer suction), it doesn’t really express a lot of milk so I have to go to the pump and press the button to change it back to the “stimulation phase,” which are quicker suctions and then repeat that every 2 minutes. So here’s the break down for me:
- Pros: Strong suction, expresses the most milk for me, dependable, no leaking, comes with a tote bag and removable cooler ice pack
- Cons: Not wireless, bulky and heavier than other pumps, more parts to clean and sterilize, “expression phase” doesn’t work for me, not the quietest of the pumps
My take? I would purchase this if you don’t mind plugging into this every time you need to pump and don’t need to take the pump out anywhere that often. It’s very durable and long-lasting and is probably the best at expressing milk out of the three pumps. Buy it here.
This is the pump that I get THE MOST questions asked about. It’s a wearable breast pump which are pretty much inserts that you put inside your bra. They’re wireless, syncs to your mobile device, and allows you to carry on your day while it pumps your milk without the need for your hands. My opinion? I really like the Willow now but I don’t use it that often. The only times I use it is when I’m out for a long time and need to pump or when I’m needing to do a lot things around the house and don’t have time to be plugged into a machine. At first I did not like this pump because it just wouldn’t work for me. I couldn’t get the latch right and it would pump so much air inside the bags that it would stop pumping because it would think that the bags are “full.” Once I figured out the right latch (which took about a month), it didn’t have a problem expressing milk. I also found useful “Willow Hacks” on Youtube (like how to clean and reuse the bags without cutting them or how to release the air so you can pump more milk into the bags), but I found it to be a lot of work. The thing I like about the Willow the most is how convenient and easy it is to pump when out and about and how you can see how much you’re pumping on the mobile app. If you work outside the home or are out and about pretty often and want to keep your milk supply up by pumping, then definitely get the Willow. The fact that you don’t have to deal with bottles is pretty awesome. You just pump right into the bags, take the bags right out and store them in the fridge/freezer. The thing I don’t like about it the most is that it doesn’t express a lot of milk for me for some reason. I get more milk expression using my other pumps. Another thing I didn’t like about it was it was pretty hard to use at first. The learning curve is pretty intense HOWEVER once you get it (and you will if you keep using it), it is SO convenient to use!
- Pros: Wireless, quiet, syncs with mobile app, milk storage is so easy, cleaning is minimal, just all around really convenient to use.
- Cons: Expensive ($500 for the 2.0 version) but they also offer a payment plan option (currently $43.97/mo. based on a purchase price of $499.99 at 10% APR for 12 months.), there’s a big learning curve, bags only fill up to 4 oz each and are not cheap to purchase (50 cents per bag), does not express a lot of milk for me but that’s just me, also I’ve heard from other users that it hurts for them to use it but I personally never had a pain-issue with them.
My take? I would purchase this only if you do not have the time to plug into a machine all the time but need to keep your supply up, absolutely hate cleaning pumping parts, and if you’re ok spending the money on the extra bags. Buy it here.
This is the newest pump that I’ve been trying out and it is quickly on its way to replacing my Medela pump. The reason being, I am totally over how bulky the Medela is and also because I want the convenience of traveling with my pump when I’m on vacation (I would also bring the Willow but would bring the Unimom so I could pump at the hotel I’m staying where I can clean the parts). The thing I love the most about it is how small it is but still has a powerful suction. It’s not exactly as strong as the Medela, in my opinion, but it comes pretty close to it and I don’t mind it all because it still expresses a lot of milk for me. I LOVE that it is wireless (USB chargeable) and that it has up to 6 versions of both the stimulation mode AND expression mode. I haven’t been using it for a long time (compared to the Medela) so I can’t say how long-lasting it is but so far it’s been doing its job well and I use it every day.
- Pros: USB powered and wireless, strong expression capability, light weight and easy to carry, the least expensive
- Cons: Still has comes with bottles and lots of pumping parts that need cleaning, not quiet
My take? Out of the three, this is the winner. I would buy this one because it sort of has best of both worlds. Wireless, inexpensive, small in size and pumps well. Buy it here.
Hope this review helps! If you have any other questions, leave them in a comment below and I’ll answer them!