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Breast Pump Review

November 19, 2016

If you read my previous post about my experience with breast-feeding you will know that during the first 10 days I really struggled, as a result I tried my hand has expressing milk, mainly as a means to give me boobs a break and also let Daddy join in with the feeding routine.

As promised I want to give you a brief overview of the pumps I have used, what I like and disliked about them and the ones I would recommend.

Disclaimer – I would just like to say before I start that this post is not sponsored in any way, the products being reviewed were purchased by us after extensive online research.

So without further ado, in 4th place: Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Electric Breast Pump / RRP £99.99

This is the most expensive of the pumps I have bought and by far the biggest disappointment. In the box you receive:

  • Electric Pump including base stand and mains or battery-powered control pod with a ‘let down’ feature and 3 speeds to choose from
  • One Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature bottle, it is attached to the pump to collect the milk. Simply attach the teat and lid and it’s ready for feeding.
  • Small storage pot with lid
  • Some breast pads
  • Plastic microwave steriliser box

The things I like:

  • The bottles are short and stumpy, this is actually a great feature as it means the pump as a whole when assembled isn’t too big or long. It doesn’t get in the way or bump into your lingering mummy tummy when you’re using it.
  • The microwave steriliser is small enough to carry around. I’ve used it when visiting my parents to store my pump in my changing bag and then sterilise it after use at their house. It’s also great for sterilising smaller items like dummies and teethers.
  • If kept sealed, the steriliser box will keep your items sterile for up to 24 hours.

The thing I don’t like:

  • The pump is top-heavy with a very large and bulky flange, if you set it on the table whilst you get settled it will most likely topple over. You’ll still need two hands to hold it in place; one on the flange to stop the suction coming loose and leaking milk all down you and another to hold the bottle, keeping it straight to encourage the milk to flow down into the bottle.
  • There are a lot of parts, taking it apart to clean and sterilise is quite an effort compared to the other pumps I have.
  • It’s slow, even on the fastest setting. Whilst it is easier to sit and hold it in place rather than pump by hand you’ll be there for twice the time.
  • It’s loud, my god is it loud. If you thought you could sit and enjoy TV with it on, forget it! I’ve even tried to tuck the electric hub under a blanket to dampen the sound but that just caused the plastic tube to fall out making the whole thing stop working.

Overall view:

Hopeless, just hopeless. It takes far too long to assemble and clean. It takes twice as long to achieve the same amount of milk as my manual pump. The humming is so loud you can’t hear the TV over it and it’s expensive! I’ve essentially paid £99.99 for a microwave steriliser box.

In 3rd place: Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Manual Breast Pump / RRP £19.99

This was the first pump I bought, I didn’t know much about pumping at the time and had read online that Tommee Tippee bottles were good and this is why I bought the matching pump. After further research I found out that it can take quite some time to pump manually and this is why I later bought the electric version of this pump.

In the box you get:

  • Manual Pump
  • One Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature bottle
  • Small storage pot with lid
  • Some breast pads
  • Plastic microwave steriliser box

The things I like:

  • Compared to the electric pump it is much easier to assemble and clean, it has fewer parts to worry about and isn’t as heavy.
  • Small and compact it fits easily into the steriliser box to be taken out with you.
  • You’re more in control of the speed, it will pump as quickly as you can pump your hand.
  • Unlike the electric version, it’s quiet. There’s no electric suction hum so you can watch TV at the same time.

The things I don’t like:

  • It has no speed change, there is no ‘let down’ option or the option to increase the suction for more milk flow. It is just one setting for the whole time. This isn’t very efficient compared to the other pumps I have.

Overall view:

When compared to the electric version I would choose this pump out of the two. If I only had these two to choose from I suppose I would be happy with it but once you know what else is out there it just doesn’t measure up.

In 2nd place: MAM Breastfeeding Starter Set / RRP £75

I purchased this set after getting frustrated with the Tommee Tippee pumps I had already purchased. The main reason for choosing this set was the anti colic bottles and the online reviews all said it was fast. Not that anything could be slower than the Tommee Tippee pumps.

In the box you get:

  • Manual pump with ‘let down’ setting, 2 suction settings and a ‘long flow’ setting
  • 4 Anti Colic, self sterilising bottles
  • 3 storage pots with lids
  • breast pads
  • small plastic teat tongs
  • 2 nipple shields with protective box

The things I like:

  • The flange can be positioned at different angles to give you maximum comfort and help you to be able to see the milk as it flows down the tubes.
  • The pump has 4 settings, the first is ‘let down’ to encourage milk flow to get started, two stronger settings and a further ‘long flow’ setting that allows you to hold the handle down and let the milk flow without having to keep pumping the handle.
  • Storage pots are similar in size to the bottles meaning they can hold a full portion of milk unlike the Tommee Tippee pots which are very small.
  • The bottles are great, they have tiny air holes in the bottom to help prevent colic (the don’t leak though due to a rubber sealant in the base of the bottle)
  • These holes in the bottom of the bottle mean you can add a small amount of water to the bottle, pop it in the microwave and it will sterilise without the need for an additional steriliser box.

The things I don’t like:

  • I personally haven’t used the self sterilising feature of these bottles so I take them apart and sterilise them in my Tommee Tippee steriliser along with my other pumps. Doing it this way the bottles are a bit faffy, you have to take them apart into 5 pieces; the body of the bottle, the teat, the teat ring, the lid, the silicone sealant and the base with the holes in.
  • The pump handle is heavy, not to hold or carry but to pump. It is stiff, uncomfortable in my hand and gives me hand and arm ache whilst using it.
  • The ‘long flow’ feature doesn’t work as well as I would want given it is designed to make things easier for you.

Overall view:

This is a great set, you get some much more than just the pump and I can’t rate the bottles highly enough. Amelia loves drinking from them, she very rarely gets gas or hiccups from them which is much better than when we were using the Tommee Tippee bottles.

However, the stiffness and weight of the handle when pumping is enough to make me leave this pump in the cupboard. It’s just too much hard work.

In 1st place: Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump / RRP £30

You might be more familiar with Lansinoh as the makers of nipple cream but they also make brilliant breast pumps. This pump is by far the best I have used and it’s middle of the road in terms of cost although you don’t get much in the package.

In the box you get:

  • Manual pump with two settings
  • Bottle to use as part of pump and for feeding
  • Pump stand

The things I like:

  • It’s lightweight and easy to hold in place
  • The first setting can be used for ‘let down’ to get the milk flowing before moving on to the second stronger setting to keep the milk coming fast.
  • By holding the handle down the pump allows milk to continue to flow, collect in the tubes and then pour into the bottle once you release the handle.
  • It’s fast, the fastest of the 4 pumps I have used
  • So easy to clean and sterilise, only a couple of parts to it and it’s easy to put back together even if you’re in a hurry

The things I don’t like:

  • The bottle is long and thin, this makes the pump overall quite long and it can get in the way when you’re sat down. At the moment I still have quite a flabby tummy and I do find that the bottle can be a little hard to position.
  • We don’t use the Lansinoh bottles for feeding so I transfer the milk into one of the MAM bottles for storage, this is a personal choice and not really a negative of the pump.

Overall view:

I honestly can’t tell you what it is about this pump that I love so much, I think it might be its simplicity; only two settings to worry about, the quick, comfortable, and I love that I can hold the handle down and let the milk flow. The handle is lightweight and easy to pump without giving you arm ache.

Even though I have three other pumps stored in the cupboard I would rather wash and wait for this one to sterilise than use one of the others. That for me is the sign of a great product.

Additional Product: Lansinoh Therapearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy / RRP £12.99

To support the breast pumps we also bought the Lansinoh Therapearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy kit. These are gel pads with little purple gel beads inside. They can be used in 3 ways:

  • frozen to give relief from painful engorgement
  • heated in the microwave and places over your boobs to encourage let down prior to breast-feeding, or to just provide a soothing warm feel if your boobs are sore after feeding.
  • heated in the microwave and wrapped around the outside of the flange of any pump. The heat through the flange encourages more milk as it mimics the warm of your baby being on your breast.

Each gel cushion comes with a Velcro case so that you never put the gel directly onto your skin. I have found this product to be great. I’ve been luckily enough to only need to use it when using my pump and it really makes a difference to my milk supply. Not to mention its been jolly cold in the UK lately and it’s quite nice to warm your boob up whilst it’s exposed.

A little word of warning though, don’t over heat it. It’s tempting because it won’t feel very warm to your hands but it’s very warm against your ever increasingly sensitive boobs. Also, over heating it will cause it to burst in the microwave. We managed to burst one of ours on the first try, little purple beads all over the kitchen floor. So now I’m down to only 1 gel cushion but I only use one at time anyway so this honestly hasn’t made any difference to me.

That completes my first ever full product review, well 4 product reviews. I hope you found it helpful and you might be able to avoid some of the mistakes I made when purchasing my pumps.

My biggest advice is to do your research, don’t just go out and buy the cheapest or most expensive, or most feature laden pump because you just might find that the more basic model is actually more what you need.

Rachel xx


  • Reply
    November 20, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Hi Rachel,
    As a new mum myself to a 3 Wk old this was a great read as like you I am still in the mindset of how am I going to bf in public, can I ask which bottles you use to feed ur little one?as I know this is important especially as I don’t want to confuse my baby.
    Thanks again

  • Rachel Ebuehi
    Rachel Ebuehi
    November 20, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Hi Steph, we have been using the MAM anti colic bottles that came with the MAM pump. We’ve not had any problems with her latching on and we really liked the idea of them being anti colic and self cleaning. Here’s a link to the ones we’ve been using –
    Thanks for reading my blog xx

  • Reply
    November 20, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Thank you I have just ordered this set, lets hope they work 🙂

  • Reply
    November 21, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Hi Rachel

    Im 6 months pregnant and hoping to breast feed and express, your review has been so helpful and i love reading your blog! ❤️ X

    • Rachel Ebuehi
      Rachel Ebuehi
      November 21, 2016 at 12:14 pm

      Hi Ursula, I’m so glad you found it helpful and thanks for taking time to read it. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy x

  • Reply
    November 21, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Rachel,

    Like you I am having a bit of a hard time breast feeding my 3 day old daughter. I’m going to order a Lansinoh single electric breast pump and some mam bottles. Is there any particular reason why you went for a manual and not electric pump?

    • Rachel Ebuehi
      Rachel Ebuehi
      November 21, 2016 at 8:20 pm

      Hi Sarah, congratulations on your new baby! We haven’t ruled out the electric pump but at the time we didn’t have much faith in any of the brands and we had already spent a LOT of money on the other pumps and I didn’t want to waste anymore if it was rubbish. Having used the manual Lanisoh I would be happy to consider the electric one as I think it would be good x

  • Reply
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