You can choose from one of the following types of pumps:
1) Hand pumps
A hand pump has a handle that you need to operate and a one-way valve.
2) Constant suction pumps
A constant suction pump has a bulb that you need to squeeze once to create the suction that holds it onto the breast.
3) Electric pumps
An electric pump has a motor. When purchased, they come with the necessary accessories.
Rental and hospital pumps have multiple users. To prevent cross-contamination, each user needs their own pump kit which consists of breast shields, bottles, tubing, and valves. Pump kits are made by a company to specifically fit their pumps.
In general, the more regular the pumping, the more important it is for mothers to use a high quality double electric pump (Meier et al. 2016).
4) Comparing types of pumps
The following table compares the three kinds of pumps.
Table: Comparing Hand, Constant-Suction, and Electric Pumps
Hand pumps are mostly used if a mother is breastfeeding and pumps only occasionally or as a backup to an electric one. Their suction strength is adjusted by the user. They may be difficult to use if the mother has very small or painful hands.
If you find your hand pump is very effective but you wish to double pump, you can buy another hand pump and use both at the same time to decrease your pumping time. This may be easier than carrying around a bigger, heavier electric pump and being dependent on having power.
Constant-suction pumps share some characteristics with hand pumps. They are the newest type of pump and there is very little research about their effectiveness. In online reports, many mothers find them very effective in obtaining milk from one side when the baby breastfeeds from the other. Some mothers report that they are less effective when expressing and not breastfeeding.
Electric pumps are most effective for mothers who pump exclusively and are not breastfeeding regularly or are frequently away from their babies. Recently, electric breast pumps specifically designed to be hands-free have become available.